Top Tourist Activities in Istanbul, Turkey

May 8, 2017

Haga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

My Korean classmate and I hopped on a plane to Turkey because we wanted to explore this beautiful country. My classmate DH turned out to be the one of the nicest and smartest and most resourceful travel partners I have ever traveled with. She booked all the hotels, she researched every destination we were traveling to. We arrived to Istanbul after a quiet long flight and the trip started with sightseeing. Where is Istanbul? Some of you may ask me. Istanbul is the capital of Turkey. it is a trans-continental city in Eurasia between the Sea or Marmara and the Black Sea. it is surrounded by countries such as Bulgaria, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Georgia and Azerbaijan.  Istanbul is a fascinating city. There so many things to do in Istanbul. Here are some of the top tourist activities in Istanbul.

Read about how Solo Females Can Travel to Turkey.

Streets of Istanbul Turkey - Best Tourist Activities in Istanbul

Streets of Istanbul – Best Tourist Activities in Istanbul

Best Tourist Activities in Istanbul

We checked out the city center and some mosques. These beautiful historical mosques are some of the main Istanbul points of interest.

Mosque in Istambul - Best Tourist Activities in Istanbul

Mosque in Istanbul – Best Tourist Activities in Istanbul

We had dinner at a random Turkish restaurant. It was a complete tourist trap and they tried to rip us off, so I had to negotiate hard. DH was impressed by my negotiation skills. In the end, we paid much less than they would have liked us to pay. You have to know the rules in these countries otherwise you will be paying the “white men tax” I call it. White men always pay extra in the Third World. We visited the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. This mosque is one of the most important places to visit in Istanbul.

It was beautiful and huge inside, all decorated with gold. It was impressive. The garden around the Haga Sophia was also very beautiful. We also visited the Blue Mosque, which was an enormous mosque in the middle of Istanbul.

Blue Mosque - Best Tourist Activities in Istanbul

Blue Mosque – Best Tourist Activities in Istanbul

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul Turkey

Basilica Cistern

You could see it from anywhere in the city. fter we visited all the main sites of the city, I started wondering what to do in Istanbul next. We continued the journey to the underground World of Basilica Cistern. It was a large bath under the ground with massive columns and statues. It was dark and humid down there, but it was nice to see what was built a 1000 years ago.

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul Turkey

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul Turkey

 We continued our journey to the Grand Bazaar for some shopping. As you know, girls love shopping…. You could buy lots of beautiful stuff there everything was made of  gold to ceramics. You could also bargain. It was great fun! Shopping in the Grand Bazaar was certainly one of the best things to do in Turkey.

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul Turkey

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul Turkey

The next day, we continued our journey to the Asian side of Istanbul. We hopped on a train to Eminonu and then on a  boat to the Asian side. We found a large market and lots of shops on the Asian side. We weren’t too impressed. After that, we visited the Bosphorus Bridge. Bridge was a beautiful long bridge. It was certainly one of the more interesting Turkey tourist attractions. We found a beautiful garden right near the bridge. It was a garden of an old palace that served as a museum today. We hang out there for the afternoon. After seeing enough of Istanbul, we continued our trip to Cappadocia and Pamukkale.

Return to Istanbul

After a big journey all around Turkey, we went back to Istanbul for two more nights. We stayed in Taksim this time.

Taksim, Istanbul

Taksim, Istanbul

It was the center of the modern district with a mall and all the trendy shops. It was one of the main Istanbul tourist attractions with lots of people on the street everywhere. Taksim Square in Istanbul is one of the most important squares of this giant town. If you are wondering what to see in Istanbul, you should definitely check out this vibrant neighbourhood. Many sights were within walking distance. We spent our last days shopping in the Grand Bazaar again. If you are wondering where to go in Istanbul, just head to the Grand Bazaar. You will love it! My friend bought so much Turkish delight that she could barely take all that home. We stuffed ourselves with Turkish delight. I also bought some as souvenirs. My friend was slightly addicted to them. On our last day, we wanted to visit the Topkapi Palace. The palace was one of the most interesting things to see in Istanbul. The palace was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for 400 years. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace was luxurious with all the expensive furniture and chandeliers that you can think of. What I found most fascinating about the palace was that it had a separate part for the harem. It was called Imperial Harem with about 400 rooms. It was one of the most fun tourist attractions in Istanbul.

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

The palace was overdecorated and beautiful, but we did not have too much time to explore it as we had to rush back to the airport and fly back to London. We almost missed our flights again. I would have loved to stay longer in this fascinating city as there were so many places to see in Istanbul and it was so rich in history.

The trip around Turkey was very rewarding overall, but tiring at the same time. I was ready to return back to my comfort zone.

What other city do you think we should have visited in Turkey? Leave a comment below with your suggestion.

turkey places to visit, turkey points of interest, istanbul places to visit, turkey tourist places, tourist attractions in turkey, what to do in turkey, what to do in turkey, things to do istanbul, turkey tourist spots, famous places in turkey, istanbul things to do, best places in istanbul, best places to visit in istanbul,

Pin It Up!

Discovering Istanbul's Fascinating History | Istanbul Turkey | Things To Do in Istanbul | Jet-settera Travel Blog | Turkey Travel Tips





About Barbara

Barbara is a London based luxury travel and lifestyle blogger. She started traveling through Paris, London, New York, Milan, Tokyo at the age of 17 to conquer the World as a model. Ever since, she has visited 67 countries. She writes about the most exclusive jet-set destinations such as Cannes, Venice Film Festivals, Monaco Grand Prix, Oscar Parties in LA, Fashion Weeks in Milan or Paris as well as yacht parties in St-Tropez, Miami Art Basel, Biennale in Venice, Frieze in London or the Royal Wedding in Monaco.

Article Name
Discovering Istanbul's Fascinating History


  1. Comment by Anita Hendrieka

    Anita Hendrieka June 23, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I had the pleasure of visiting Istanbul about a month ago and LOVED it! Cannot wait to go back. The blue mosque was definitely the highlight for me

    • Comment by Barb

      Barb June 23, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      I m so glad, you visited the place as well and had similar opinion. It is indeed lovely!

  2. Comment by Tamara Wilcox

    Tamara Wilcox June 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    I’ve never been to Turkey and I’m not sure I will ever make it there, but it certainly sounds like an amazing mix of beauty, history, and culture. I’ll bet it was wonderful, even if it was a bit rushed!

    • Comment by Barb

      Barb June 23, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Yes, I actually recommend the place. You will enjoy it, if you love history.

  3. Comment by Nisha

    Nisha June 21, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I am reliving my travel to Turkey through your article! This one of the places that has history going back to thousands of years. I would not mind going there again and visit places which I could not last time.

    • Comment by Barb

      Barb June 23, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      Sounds like a great idea! I love going back to the same destination after 10 years and see it again.

  4. Comment by Jen Ryder

    Jen Ryder June 20, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Istanbul looks amazing, and sounds like you and your friend were great travel partners. Love when that works out! My husband lived in Istanbul for a couple of years when he was a kid, and has always wanted to go back. It’s definitely on our list of places to get to soon!

    • Comment by Barb

      Barb June 23, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      I hope you will go back one day too. It s a fascinating city!

  5. Comment by Cat Lin

    Cat Lin June 20, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Looks like you had hit the main sites! Grand Bazaar sounds like a great place to shop and practice your bargaining skill!

    • Comment by Barb

      Barb June 23, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      No doubt! It s so colorful and you can really find anything and everything there.

  6. Comment by divsi

    divsi June 19, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Turkey is on my list since forever. Grand Bazaar looks just so amazing. Have read so much about it and of course the mosques and their architecture! 🙂 Did you visit the Turkish baths?

    • Comment by Barb

      Barb June 23, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      We didnt visit the baths, but we have those at home in Budapest too, so I didnt really need to go in Turkey.

  7. Comment by Jean

    Jean June 18, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Looks like you had an amazing adventure! Kudos to travel partner for being so organised!

    • Comment by Barb

      Barb June 23, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      I know, she is the best! And yes, we had a great time!

  8. Comment by Michelle Berkes

    Michelle Berkes June 18, 2017 at 3:38 am

    I studied the Hagia Sophia in college, and would love to visit it someday! It sounds like you and your friend had a great time in Istanbul!

    • Comment by Barb

      Barb June 23, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      Yes, we did indeed. The Hagia Sophia is a huge, colorful place! It s so impressive.

  9. Comment by adventureinyou

    adventureinyou June 18, 2017 at 2:22 am

    Love the lavish interiors and architecture in Istanbul. There is so much to see and do- it is definitely a place I could spend days just wandering around.

    • Comment by Barb

      Barb June 23, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      Yes, I am sure! It s a great city on two continents. It s definitely worth a visit.

  10. Comment by Victoria J. Yore

    Victoria J. Yore June 18, 2017 at 1:56 am

    I would love to visit Istanbul strictly for the Blue Mosque! The bazaar isn’t something I wasn’t familiar with so that is something I will checkout more!

    • Comment by Barb

      Barb June 23, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      There are a lot of things to do and see in Istanbul. I m sure you will enjoy it very much!

  11. Pingback: Things to Do in Pamukkale, Turkey aka The Cotton Castle of the Middle-East

  12. Comment by himlen

    himlen May 22, 2015 at 4:54 am

    I was able to find good info from your articles.

Comments are closed.

Go top