Istanbul in October 2024 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Festivals)

October in Istanbul is a mesmerizing tapestry of colors, culture, and festivities. As the leaves turn golden and the city’s energy takes on a crisp edge, Istanbul offers travelers a unique blend of tradition and modernity. In October 2023, immerse yourself in this enchanting city where the past harmoniously coexists with the present. Join us as we unveil the top 10 things to do and see, along with the exciting festivals that make Istanbul in October an irresistible destination.

City Life & Weather

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.

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)

Insider Advice: Kickstart your Istanbul adventure with the Istanbul E-Pass or Istanbul Tourist Pass. These passes provide free access to around 70+ top attractions, tours and essential local services in the city with around 70% savings.

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 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.

Istanbul in October 2023 promises an enchanting journey filled with history, art, culture, and culinary delights. As you explore its historic landmarks, attend vibrant festivals, and savor the warmth of Turkish hospitality, you’ll create unforgettable memories.

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

Explore Hagia Sophia

Located in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, Hagia Sophia is a former church and museum, now a mosque. It is one of the world’s greatest architectural works and accepted as the 8th wonder of the world, experience the history in the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires.

Famous Hagia Sophia in the evening sun rays, Istanbul, Turkey

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.

Tips:

  • Visit early in the morning to avoid long queues.
  • Dress modestly and be respectful of the mosque’s customs.

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


  1. Hagia Sophia Skip-the-Line Tickets (fastest option and cheapest price on net)
  2. Combo: Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern & Hagia Sophia Tour (one of the best)
  3. Hagia Sophia Tour with Historian Guide (if you want a pro-guide with you)
  4. Combo Ticket & Tour (all in one - Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern, our favorite, no need to look for else, trust us)
  5. Hagia Sophia: Guided Highlights Tour and In-App Audio Guide (great one)
  6. Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour (good one)

Wanna learn more about Hagia Sophia?

Visit Topkapi Palace Museum

Topkapi Palace is a magnificent oriental palace and one of world’s richest museums that is situated on a triangular promontory dominating the Bosphorus & Golden Horn.

This 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 was the residence of the Ottoman Sultans from 15th century to mid-19th century. It has four courtyards, terraces with astonishing views, as well as precious collections, one of the top tourist attractions in the city.

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.

Tips:

  • Allow several hours for your visit to fully appreciate the palace.
  • Don’t miss the breathtaking views from the palace terraces.

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


  1. Skip-the-Line Admission ticket to Topkapi Palace & Harem Section (One of the best and cheapest price on net)
  2. Topkapi Palace Ticket, Tour, Audio App (great one, guide and audio app will lead you for all)
  3. Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Historian Guide (if you want a pro-guide with you inc. Harem)
  4. Combo Ticket & Tour (all top-3 one - Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern, our favorite, no need to look for else, trust us)
  5. Istanbul Must See Highlights Tour (another combo with Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque & Bosphorus Cruise)
  6. Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Half Day Tour (good one)
  7. Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket (good one)

Wanna learn more about Topkapi Palace?

Explore the famous Basilica Cistern

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.

The cistern is a very quiet and peaceful place conveyed by the columns through impressive arches.

Tips:

  • Visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
  • Capture the atmospheric reflections on the water’s surface.

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

  1. Skip-the-Line Tickets to Basilica Cistern (quick entrance + 30 mins. with guide)
  2. Basilica Cistern Skip the Line Tickets + Tour (quick entrance + 30 mins. with guide)
  3. Basilica Cistern Skip the Line Tickets + Tour (another quick entrance + 30 mins. with guide)
  4. Combo: Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern & Hagia Sophia Tour (one of the best)
  5. Combo Ticket & Tour (all top-3 one - Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern, our favorite, no need to look for else)
  6. Basilica Cistern Tour and Skip The Line with Guide (another great one with guide)

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 Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour 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. 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.

The city 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.

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

  1. Hop On Hop Off Istanbul (best price, audio guide will lead you for all)
  2. 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour with Commentary (top selling one)
  3. 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket and Scenic Cruise (combo – good for both bus and cruise trip)
  4. Two Continents Evening Bus Tour with Commentary (evening bus tour is also fantastic)

Wanna learn more about Istanbul Hop-on Hop-off Bus?


3. Enjoy the Top Festivals & Events

Jazz Up Your Nights at Akbank Jazz Festival, October

For music lovers, the Akbank Jazz Festival is a must-attend event. Held annually in October, this festival often kicks off in late September, treating visitors to a diverse range of jazz performances in iconic venues across the city.

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 More info on www.akbanksanat.com/en

Pro Tips:
  • Book your tickets in advance for popular performances.
  • Explore Istanbul’s nightlife scene after the jazz festival ends.

Istanbul International Biennial, September – November

For art enthusiasts, the Istanbul International Biennial is a must-visit event during the autumn season. Held every two years from September to November, this prestigious art exhibition showcases contemporary works by both Turkish and international artists. Explore thought-provoking installations, paintings, and sculptures at various venues throughout the city, making it an ideal time to immerse yourself in Istanbul’s thriving art scene. More info on bienal.iksv.org/en

Istanbul International Puppet Festival, October – November

Puppetry Delights – A Festival for All Ages: October marks the continuation of the Istanbul International Puppet Festival, a delightful celebration of puppetry from around the world. Bring your family to witness enchanting puppet shows that transport you to fantastical realms. It’s a family-friendly event that will ignite your sense of wonder and make your autumn visit to Istanbul truly magical. 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 info on www.istanbulkuklafestivali.com/en/


4. Get Lost in the Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar – A Shopper’s Paradise, with its labyrinthine alleys and over 4,000 shops, beckons for exploration.

You are able to find about anything here in Grand Bazaar from the finest silky shawls and scarves in traditional patterns to traditional items, from antiques, leather goods, ceramics to the famous carpets, from spices, beautiful handicrafts to gold and jewelry.


5. Enjoy the lively atmosphere at Istiklal Street

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?


5. Take a Bosphorus Cruise

Bosphorus cruise 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.

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.

And especially if you take the Bosphorus dinner cruise, or Sunset cruise, you will be mesmerized with the historical monuments that are lit up

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

  1. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table (the best dinner cruise, over 12.000 reviews, check them and enjoy)
  2. Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht 1 (the best sunset, on yacht, don't miss)
  3. Bosphorus on Yacht Cruise with Stopover on Asian Side (great with stopover at Kanlica, we highly recommend)
  4. Sunset or Daytime Yacht Tour w/AudioGuide & Snacks (superb yacht cruise)
  5. Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht 2 (another great sunset, on yacht, don't miss)
  6. Bosphorus Luxury Catamaran Cruise with Dinner Show (superb dinner cruise on a catamaran, don't miss!)
  7. All Inclusive Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Private Table (great dinner cruise, check it out)
  8. Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht 3 (superb sunset, on yacht, don't miss)
  9. Maiden's Tower Ticket w/ Transfer & Audio Guide (cheapest price, the only Maiden's Tower fast track entry online ticket)

Wanna learn more about Bosphorus Cruises?


7. Historical Turkish Bath (Hammam) experience

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. There are many historical hammams in Istanbul where you can enjoy a relaxing steam bath and invigorating scrub by expert attendants.

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

  1. Turkish Bath at Cemberlitas Hamam by Getyourguide
  2. Famous Hurrem Sultan Hamam Experience (on the Sultanahmet Square, on the site of the ancient public baths from 100-200 AD)
  3. Turkish Bath & Spa at Catma Mescit Hamam (great experience at historical hamam close to Galata Tower)
  4. Grand Hotel de Pera Turkish Bath (very good one along Istiklal Street)
  5. Doubletree by Hilton Sirkeci Hotel Turkish Bath (another very good one along Sirkeci)
  6. Turkish Bath Package at Beyoglu Aga Hamami (very good one too)

Wanna learn more about Turksh Bath & Hammams in Istanbul?


8. Mystical night out with Whirling Dervishes Show

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 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.

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

  1. Istanbul Aquarium Ticket & Shuttle Bus from Taksim (great one with fast entry and shuttle service)
  2. Istanbul Aquarium, Wednesday Bazaar & 212 Mall (Solo – Group)
  3. Istanbul Aquarium and Aqua Florya Shopping Mall Tour (good one)
  4. Istanbul Aquarium and Aqua Florya Independent Shopping Trip (good one)

Wanna learn more about Istanbul Aquarium?


10. Feast at the Spice Bazaar

Spice Bazaar – a Culinary Treasure Trove, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, is a feast for the senses. In October, explore its vibrant alleys filled with aromatic spices, exotic teas, Turkish delight, and more. Sample local treats and bring home flavorful souvenirs.

Tips:

  • Engage with shopkeepers to learn about the spices’ culinary uses.
  • Don’t forget to haggle for the best prices.

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