Top 10 Things to Do in Istanbul (2024 Insider Advice Guide)

Istanbul offers great attractions and things to do for travelers, with its colorful daily city life and dynamic nightlife. And a trip to this magical metropolis wouldn’t be complete without seeing the top 10 attractions in Istanbul. Of course it is not possible to mention all the best things to do in Istanbul, but here you may find the most fascinating ones that you won’t want to miss during your Istanbul stay. Make sure to tick these top things to do in Istanbul off your list.

1. Historic Day Out in Sultanahmet

For the ones who are a true enthusiast of history and want to see the city’s historic sites, we highly recommend you to visit and see Sultanahmet neighborhood. It is the best way to get the most out of the city’s sights, sounds, and scents.

Sultanahmet hosts about all of the most visited historical and tourist sites in Istanbul, such as the Sultanahmet Square (Hippodrome)Hagia SophiaTopkapi PalaceBlue MosqueBasilica CisternIstanbul Archaeology Museums and Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts are situated here and all can be explored by walking.


Explore Sultanahmet

2. Take a Bosphorus Cruise

Bosphorus Cruise is one of the more popular and fantastic forms of entertainment on your Istanbul visit.

Typical Bosphorus Cruises begin slightly to the east of the famous Galata Bridge and continues to Anadolu Kavagi which is the Bosphorus’ entrance to the Black Sea making numerous sightseeing stops along the strait.

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)


No Regrets Booking Advice




Read more about Bosphorus Cruises

Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht

This is one of the best and the most attended Bosphorus cruises. It is made on a luxury yacht and has a badge of excellence with over 400 5/5 stars reviews on Viator, and 335 excellent reviews and stars on GetYourGuide.

Highlights: Complimentary drinks and canapés are provided while you sail, find out about the history of Istanbul’s landmarks from your on-board guide, a cruise for all seasons: set sail at any time of the year, weather permitting, set out from an easy-to-find waterfront meeting point near public transport

Includes: This insightful tour is guided and commentated by an experienced host, Complimentary drinks (homemade lemonade in summer and fresh fruit juice in winter), tea and coffee State-of-the-art and customized vessels for passengers, luxury yacht, delicious canapés and snacks served aboard, coffee and/or tea, snacks – Departure: Kabatas pier (see location map)

Book Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht by Viator

Book Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht by GetYourGuide

Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table

This is one of the best Bosphorus night cruises with dinner and entertainment. Take in sights of the Bosphorus on board a mega yacht. Enjoy the city view with a 3-course meal while you listen to live music and watch stage performances at private tables. You can easily see that this Mega Lufer Yacht sells the most and has over 10,000 five star reviews.


Hotel pickup and drop-off is from Sultanahmet, Taksim, Sirkeci, Sütlüce, Kağıthane, Kabataş, Eminönü, Şişli, Aksaray, Karaköy, Levent and Beyoğlu areas. Please wait in the hotel lobby 10 minutes before your scheduled pickup time.

Book Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table

3. Explore the city on Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus

City Sightseeing Bus Tour Istanbul 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. 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 open topped double decker tourist bus really looks cool.

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?

4. Mystical night out at the Whirling Dervishes Show

Whirling Dervishes Show or Ceremony (“Sema” in Turkish) is one of the most visited attractions in Istanbul 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.

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?

5. Visit the charming Museums of Istanbul

For the ones who are a true enthusiast of culture and art, Istanbul museums offers the best of the city’s historical heritage, culture and modern art. Istanbul hosts more than 80 museums and many art galleries showcase all the culture, arts and history; including painting, sculpture, photography and more.

Istanbul Archaeology Museums, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul Modern, Rahmi Koc Transport Museum and Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts are amongst the best museums in Istanbul that won’t want to miss.

Wanna learn more about the most visited museums in Istanbul?

6. Experience and enjoy the Turkish Cuisine

Istanbul offers wide range of Turkish cuisine at the variety of well established, good and luxury Istanbul restaurants. The traditional Turkish cuisine is really worth a taste. Travelers may choose from a wide range of Turkish kebabs, mezes (starters) and dishes that are mostly based on meat.

Also Turkish sweets such as baklava and Turkish delight are worldwide famous. We recommend you take guided Istanbul food and culinary tours to take the advantage of tasting and experiencing Turkish cuisine along the popular tourist zones. Continue reading…

7. Fun day out at the Istanbul’s Theme Parks

Istanbul offers great theme parks ranging from huge ones with variety of great thrills and rides to aquariums, dolphinariums, themed museums and more.

Amusement and theme parks are not only the places for fun, but also great places for your kids’ learning and imagination development. We recommend you to visit the VialandAquarium Sea Life Istanbul and Istanbul LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Continue reading…

8. Enjoy the intense Nightlife of Istanbul

Entertainment in Istanbul revolves around many of the entertainment venues that the city has to offer. The nightlife in Istanbul has really come alive in recent years and the locals will all tell you that the nightlife spreads out in all directions throughout the city.

With its numerous bars, pubs, cafes, night clubs, music venues and restaurants of Istanbul, you can easily spend the night bouncing from one venue to the next. Continue reading…

9. Enjoy the best views of the City

Top Places for the Best Views of Istanbul

You’ll find plenty of great places and viewpoints that you can enjoy a panoramic view of Istanbul, from historic places like towers, mosques and palaces, to rooftop terraces to groves and hilltops. Continue reading…

10. Enjoy the Shopping Scene of the City

The variety of the traditional and modern products offered at the Ottoman’s originated historical bazaars and modern shopping malls, makes the city an attraction center for shopping lovers.

The world famous Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi) is one of the greatest historical malls in the world, with its more than 4000 shops. The Egyptian Spice Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) is also very popular where you can enjoy the scenery of the various spices, dried fruits, basketry, jewelry, drapery and haberdashery. Continue reading…

Top 10 Things to Do in Istanbul by Months

Tours & Tickets

When planning an Istanbul visit, weekend break, getaway or holiday, there are always plenty of tours, attractions, deals, offers, packages and events to choose from and enjoy in the city. You may explore Istanbul via daily tours made by the local travel agents with professional guides. It is a very good option if you don’t want to go through the hassle of making all the arrangements including the tickets, waiting at the long queues and 2-ways transportation by your own.

See All Popular Tours & Tickets


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