Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

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October is a lovely month for the ones who like to enjoy and explore the city in a cool weather, but still shining. October is also a shoulder season, which is perfect for travelers wishing to explore Istanbul without so much crowds and queues. Average temperature is 19°C and precipitation 87 mm.


City Life & Weather

The weather is more rainy compared to September. We recommend you to bring a medium coat and portable umbrella. Also take sweater for some warmer days.

The days are shorter now, the sun set around 18:30. (Average Max Temp.: 19°C – Average Max Temp.: 13°C)

Public holidays, Festivals & Events

  • Republic Day (National Holiday) (29th of October)
  • Akbank Jazz Festival (October, in several venues)

Top Venues

You can follow the calendar of exhibitions and events of our pick of top Istanbul venues from below.

Istanbul’s October 2020 Top 10 Attractions

Things to do in Istanbul are endless and it is not possible to mention all the best attractions in Istanbul. We just put together below the most fascinating ones that best suit for October.

We also recommend you check out our Istanbul attractions opening hours & admissions, one day Istanbul itinerary or 3 day Istanbul itinerary to have a better idea before you plan your days in Istanbul.


1. Visit Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern Trio

Hagia Sophia Museum

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)This place is what every Istanbul itinerary has for sure. If you had just one day in Istanbul the world-famous Hagia Sophia Museum would be the first stop.

Dating back to 325, it is a former church and mosque and declared as one of the world’s greatest architectural works and accepted as the 8th wonder of the world.

It’s like stepping into the holy world of Christianity and Islam, merged on the shell-like apse and under an impressive dome, in a mysterious and mystical ambiance, and a wide range of architectural and art works coming from thousands of years. Such as the golden Christian mosaics and colorful frescoes from the Byzantine era.

We recommend the below ticket options for the great value for money.

Wanna learn more about Hagia Sophia?

Topkapi Palace Museum

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)You’ll admire Topkapi Palace Museum and its famous Harem section and have a detailed look at the rooms, gardens, galleries, collections and the decoration from the past and today.

It is a magnificent oriental palace and one of the world’s greatest architectural works. Once a residence of the Ottoman Sultans, it is also one of world’s richest museums.


It houses the finest samples of seal, book binding, jewelry and box craftsmanship as well as inscriptions, as well as the finest collection of Chinese porcelain in the world.

We recommend the below ticket options for the great value for money.

Wanna learn more about Topkapi Palace?

Basilica Cistern

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)Basilica Cistern Museum is one of the most impressive and mystical buildings in the city.

The two Medusa Heads, which are used as supports under the two columns at the northwest edge of the cistern, take the most interest and attracts the visitors.

We recommend the below ticket options for the great value for money.

Wanna learn more about Basilica Cistern?

We highly recommend you to visit and see all these three museums at once. It would take about 3 hours total. And you should get Skip-the-line-tickets to save yourself from the long queues.

Combo Tickets: Hagia Sophia + Topkapi Palace + Basilica Cistern

This is a great combo ticket. Our favorite. You can visit the above top 3 most visited sights in Sultanahmet with this combo ticket, with skip the lines access. Great value for money. Book your tickets online in advance as they are selling out quickly.

Buy Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern Combo Ticket

Click the red button to buy Combo online tickets and skip the lines.
Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


2. Tour city on Double Decker Tourist Bus

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

The Big Bus Istanbul hop on hop off tour provides service to 19 stops and at least 46 attractions (28 landmarks, 15 attractions and 3 shopping places) on two lines on just one ticket. is a cheap way to discover and explore the popular zones of Istanbul which you just couldn’t walk to and see in one day. It drives through the popular sights along the interesting and different districts and neighborhoods of Istanbul and offers informative pre-recorded commentary that is available in 8 languages.

The sightseeing bus runs every 30/60 minutes and lets you see the most popular popular sights along the interesting and different districts and neighborhoods of the city. And what is great that you can all do it in a couple of hours.

Book Your Big Bus City Sightseeing Tour

There are many channels to buy Big Bus ticket online, including their own website. Get Your Guide sells the cheapest ticket on the market. Buying their ticket online will guarantee your seat and be cheaper. Just click the red button above to buy your Big Bus ticket online.

Wanna learn more about Big Bus Istanbul City Sightseeing Bus?


3. Take Your Seat at Akbank Jazz Festival

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

Akbank’s (a prestigious bank in Turkey) Jazz Festival is a 10 days long music festival, organized by Akbank Sanat Art Venue. You can see some famous and fine jazz artists from all over the world in the city, at the several great venues with low prices. Other highlights include panels, workshops, movies, etc. The Festival takes place in such attractive venues including Akbank Sanat, Hagia Iirene Museum, Babylon, Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, and Zorlu Center PSM. More information on akbanksanat.com


4. Enjoy International Puppet Festival

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

Istanbul’s International Puppet Festival is a 11 days fantastic festival for art and puppet lovers, that is held every year, at the various venues located in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, plus Naval Museum in Besiktas. You can enjoy the puppetry brought from all over the world, variety of events including puppet shows, film shows, video shows, conversations, puppet making workshops, etc. More information on istanbulkuklafestivali.com


5. Enjoy the lively atmosphere at Istiklal Street

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)Istiklal Street is probably the most famous street and entertainment area of the city. It is a long colorful pedestrian street full of all kind of shops, restaurants, cafes and street shows.

You can visit the fantastic Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, the amazing St. Anthony of Padua Church and Pera Museum there.

In between strolling the Istiklal Street and enjoying the lively atmosphere, you can have a lunch/dinner/snack in one of the pretty restaurants along the way.

Wanna learn more about Istiklal Street?


6. Take a Bosphorus Cruise / Boat Tour

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

This is a popular, unique and fantastic forms of entertainment and sightseeing during your Istanbul stay. It is also one of the best ways to discover and enjoy the most beautiful sights and sounds of the city over the sea. Typical Bosphorus Cruise start from the Eminonu pier in every hour.

You’ll be able to explore the city at your own pace on board of the boat, and enjoy all the famous landmarks on the Boshphorus such as Dolmabahce Palace, Ortakoy Mosque, Rumeli Fortress, Maiden’s Tower and the Bosphorus Bridge.

We recommend the below ticket options for the great value for money.

Wanna learn more about Bosphorus Cruise?


7. Historical Turkish Bath (Hammam) experience

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

This will is one of the one time experiences on your Istanbul visit. With a Turkish bath, also called Hammam, you can enjoy an authentic experience, relax your muscles, rest in a steam bath, refresh your body. It will a be unique experience, as well as you will be freshened up.

Buy Turkish Bath Tickets


8. Mystical night out with Whirling Dervishes Show

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)Whirling Dervishes Show is one of the most visited Istanbul attractions with the tourists. It is because that this ceremony is a very unusual event for the tourists and when they hear about it, majority of them try to catch this one hour show and witness the miracle of the whirling dervishes.

There are two popular venues that you can watch this show. Book your tickets online in advance as they are selling out quickly.

Buy Whirling Dervishes Show Tickets at Hodjapasha Culture Center

Buy Whirling Dervishes Show Tickets at Orient Express Hall

Wanna learn more about Whirling Dervishes Show?


9. Visit Istanbul Aquarium and Aqua Florya Shopping Mall

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)Istanbul Aquarium, located in Florya district of Bakirkoy, is one of the best theme parks in Istanbul. With its 6,000 square meters area, a special-themed and 1,2 km long travel route originating in the Black Sea towards the Pacific, the fish species, rain-forest, a gift shop with an area of 470 square meters, 1 restaurant having the Panama Canal view on one side and the sea view on the other, it is also one of the best aquariums and theme parks in Europe. You can also enjoy a great leisure time in the Aqua Florya Mall.

Book Istanbul Aquarium & Aqua Florya Shopping Mall Tour

Wanna learn more about Istanbul Aquarium?


10. Enjoy Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment

Istanbul in October 2020 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Weather, Festivals)

This is one of the most popular night time entertainments in the city. Mostly preferred with the tourists who want to experience a unique attraction specific to Istanbul. Typical dinner cruises start from the Kabatas pier daily at about 20:00 pm and goes for about 3 hours.

While you cruise along Bosphorus and enjoy your meal, you’ll be entertained by traditional belly dancing, oriental show, a henna ceremony, a Romany dance, folk dancing, a live DJ, etc. You’ll be able to see city’s historical sites, including Ottoman palaces, and stunning bridges illuminated by night.

We recommend the below ticket options for the great value for money.

Wanna learn more about Bosphorus Dinner Cruise?


Insider Tips for First Time Visitors

* For time visitors to Istanbul should check and well plan the area to stay, best time to visit the city, best places to see and top attractions, how to save money, where to go for eating and shopping, airport transfer and public transportation, etc. to make the most of their Istanbul visit easy, budget, convenient, and safe.

* We recommend you to have some essential information first, before arriving Istanbul. Make sure you read our pages below. * You can explore the majority of the sights and sounds of the city on foot. You will mostly need to take a tram as for transportation in between old and modern city.

* So get an IstanbulKart as you can have access all the public transportation network of Istanbul. One ride is only 3,5 TL (about €0,5), and you can obtain this card (with 6 TL initial fee) at the ticket machines at any tram station.

* There are also guided tours with professional local guides that you can save yourself from the beggars, and people coming beside and ask for helping with guidance around or for money.

* And with a guide you will learn each detail and story, and have a detailed look at the architecture, mosaics, construction, galleries of the sights coming from the thousands of years.

* You can general admission tickets at ticket windows on location but it will cost you about at least 1 to 2 hours waiting in the line. And this will effect your future sightseeing calendar.

* We recommend you buy your attraction tickets online. This is by far the easiest and great value for money.

* Below, you’ll find our pick of the best and great value for money discount cards, and attraction tickets. You can be sure that we only suggest the proven and top rated ones with travelers’ comments. Our website visitors will also get extra 5% discount in some of the tours and tickets.

Tourist Discount Cards & Tickets Advice

Istanbul has several tourist discount cards. You'll have access to variety of major Istanbul attractions and services with a fixed price and save a lot. This is by far the most practical and cheapest way to explore Istanbul, as well as get airport transfer, public transportation card, unlimited internet, etc. Below you can see our recommendations. There is also Museum Pass for museum lovers.

Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe

The is an innovative city pass. It includes fast track entry to 12 museums (Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Harem, Basilica Cistern, etc), 3 tours with historian guide20 rides with public transportation (IstanbulKart), Bosphorus Cruise and digital guide book and city map. It also offers 20% discounts at the most important Istanbul attractions on their shop. With this card you’ll skip the long ticket lines and not have to pick anything up.

Buy Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


Istanbul Welcome Card Premium

Valid for 7 days, free delivery to your hotel/airport pick-up and includes; Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace fast track entry tickets with 30 minutes guidance and Audio Guide App in 10 languages, Istanbulkart with 10 Rides, Bosphours Cruise (1,5 hours), Digital Guide Book and City Map.

Buy Istanbul Welcome Card Premium

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


Combo Tickets for Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern

Valid for 3 days, digital pass, no need a printed ticket, guidance service with certified guides.

Buy Combo Tickets

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


Istanbul Tourist Pass

This is a digital travel discount pass that is delivered to your phone upon your purchase online, and will be ready to use at your arrival. It includes 30+ attractions and services including skip the line access and guided museum tours, dinner cruise, hop-on & hop-off Bus, airport transfer, unlimited mobile internet, etc.

Buy Your Istanbul Tourist Pass


Guided Istanbul Highlights Tours Advice

We recommend this kind of tours, especially for first time visitors. You are able to make the most of the city's sights and sounds with a private guide and save yourself from the hassle of making an ideal one day to 3 days plan. All will be made by professionals and you'll get skip the lines tickets, as well as pick-up and drop-off hotel transfer.

Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

This is Get Your Guide's top selling and certified tour, which means it has gained one of the best traveler experiences.

You'll discover the magic of Istanbul on a private 1 or 2-day walking tour with skip the line tickets. Enjoy a river cruise and guided tour of the city highlights, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Dolmabahce Palace, and Istiklal Street.

Duration: 7 hours - 2 days
Live tour guide: English, Spanish, German, Japanese
Pick-up from the front desk of your hotel in Istanbul

Book Highlights of Istanbul Guided Tour


Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Tour

This is also Get Your Guide's top selling tour. Has great traveler ratings and comments.

You'll see the sights of Istanbul that most interest you on a customized tour with private guide. Marvel at some of the city's most significant sights including Topkapi Palace, Chora Church, Basilica Cistern, Fener-Balat neighboorhood, and many more.

Duration: 7 hours - 3 days
Live tour guide: Spanish, English, French, German, Italian
Pickup is available from centrally-located hotels in Istanbul, by your guide on foot.

Book Istanbul 1, 2 or 3-Day Guided Tour


Istanbul in One Day Highlights Tour

This is our collaborator Istanbul Welcome Card, providing in-depth guided tours in English to Istanbul's most visited attractions. Has great traveler ratings and comments.

You'll visit the iconic sites such as the Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Spice Bazaar, Topkapi Palace and Harem, learn the highlights of Istanbul from a local guide and discover the historical peninsula and learn the whole story of Istanbul.

Your local guide picks you up at 09:00 from your Hotel in Sultanahmet or Taksim area and together you will start discovering the city like a local with public transportation.

A 6-7 hours tour. A great value for money. You can cancel the reservation free of charge 14 days before departure.

Book Your Istanbul in One Day Highlights Tour


WiFi, Internet & SIM Card Advice

If you will stay in Istanbul for at least 1 week10 days or more, and need to make and receive local calls, than you can buy Turkey SIM cards.

Wanna learn more on Turkey SIM Card?

If you only need internet/data, no need for calls, than we don’t recommend buying Turkey SIM card, we recommend Pocket WiFi for Istanbul. And with pocket WiFi, you can also make and receive voice calls from Whatsapp or Skype.

Pocket WiFi, is a portable and high-speed small device that enables you to make and receive voice calls worldwide, so that you won’t need to purchase a local SIM or open your phone to roaming.

The device has unlimited 4G internet that will let you stay connected anywhere you travel in Turkey. You’ll also be able to share this high-speed and secure connection with up to 10 mobile devices (your laptop, phone, etc.) or friends at the same time.

Wanna learn more about Pocket WiFi?

Airport Transfers Advice

Istanbul has two international airports. You'll find all the transportation opportunities such as Airport Shuttle, Metro, Train, Taxi, Private Shuttle, etc. from the airports to the city center and vice versa from our pages below. Istanbul's both airports are located about 45 km. from the city center. You can take a 1 hour taxi for about €30, 1,5 hours HAVAIST Airport Shuttle for 18 TL (about €2,7), 1 hour shared shuttle for about €15 or 1 hour private shuttle for about €40. There are No direct metro lines to the airports.

Shared Shuttles

This is by far the most convenient, budget friendly, safe, fast and cozy ways to get to your hotel from the airports with comfortable vans and minibuses. It is a one way airport to hotel service.

With a shared transfer, you'll reach your hotel in a van or minibus with other people who have similar arrival time. All travelers will be dropped off one after the other regarding the location of their hotels.

This is much cheaper than a private shuttle transfer, but note that it can involve a waiting time at the airport about 5 minutes to maximum 45 minutes.

Departure Times: in every 30 minutes (high season), every 60 minutes (low season).

Book New Istanbul Airport Shared Shuttle Transfer

Book Sabiha Gokcen Airport Shared Shuttle Transfer

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


Private Shuttles

If you are a group or a family with kids or having lots of luggage with you, than we highly recommend you to take private shuttle transfers for your hotel as they offer a fixed rate, comfortable and safe transfer that include meet-and-greet airport pickups and luggage assistance to your hotel from the airports or vice versa.

This is a good option as while the Airport Shuttles or Public Buses will bring you only to the city center and you’ll need to take a taxi to reach your hotel which will seem to be harder for you, private shuttles will drive you just to the entrance of your hotel.

As for private shuttle transfers, we can recommend Kiwi Taxi as we recently tested them and had a great trip to our hotel. We didn't see any bad comments on internet. They have large selection of comfortable taxis, minivans, luxurious cars and 6-19+ passenger minibuses.

You can check and book your transfer from the below red buttons.

Book New Istanbul Airport Private Shuttle Transfer

Book Sabiha Gokcen Airport Private Shuttle Transfer


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