1. GO FROM KADIKOY TO BESIKTAS BY FERRY
Getting on one of the ferries operating on the Bosphorus line is one of the most beautiful, cheapest, and most enjoyable activities to do in Istanbul. If you are on the Anatolian side, you can watch Haydarpasa Train Station, Dolmabahce and Topkapı Palaces, Galata Tower, and important palaces on the shores from the middle of the Bosphorus, until you reach Besiktas by taking the Kadıkoy-Besiktas ferry.
If you are on the European side, you can enjoy the same line by getting on from Beşiktaş this time. Don’t forget to buy bagels and throw them into the seagulls before getting on the ferry.
2. EAT KUMPIRE AGAINST ORTAKOY MOSQUE
The first sight that comes to mind in Istanbul is the view in the photo that also includes the Ortakoy Mosque and the Bosphorus Bridge. It is one of the must-do activities in Istanbul to buy your kumpir prepared with your favorite items from the bakery shops lined up at the entrance of Ortakoy and sit in front of this view and spoon your kumpir.
To sip your tea and backgammon in these cafes, you can buy feed for 1 TL from the uncle feeder and take advantage of the training in the squares.
3. AFTER THE WALK BETWEEN KURUCESME-BEBEK AT NEIGHBORHOOD, STOP AT THE MINI ICE CREAM IN BABY NEIGHBORHOOD
You can walk the Kurucesme-Arnavutkoy-Bebek-Rumeli Fortress line, which has the most enjoyable walking route by the Bosphorus, in about 1 hour, and you can enjoy the Bosphorus to the maximum. During the walk, you can take a break at Kurucesme Park and Bebek Park, which are the most beautiful places to see in Istanbul, positioned at zero to the Bosphorus.
Don’t forget to buy ice cream from Bebek’s famous mini ice cream shop, which serves in a tiny shop before the Bebek Park break. Another alternative is to have a cup of tea and coffee at Bebek Coffee, which is guaranteed to see the famous sights in Bebek.
4. VISIT EMIRGAN GROVE WHEN THE TULIPS ARE IN BLOOM
Visiting Emirgan Grove is one of the most visually engaging activities in Istanbul, especially in April and May, when the tulips bloom. Emirgan Grove is one of the green and forested places preferred by Istanbulites who want to escape from the chaos of Istanbul and leave the arms of nature at the weekend.
In Emirgan Grove and Park, you can take beautiful photos with colorful flowers, tulips in season, trees with unique motifs, and the view of the Bosphorus have a picnic, enjoy breakfast in one of the three mansions, or enjoy eating and drinking at other meals.
5. DISCOVER ISTIKLAL AVENUE. EAT CLAMS AND KOKORECH AT THE FISH MARKET
If you were to tell me two places that must be seen in Istanbul, I would say Ortakoy first and Istiklal Street second. Since we are eating kumpir and drinking tea in Ortakoy, let’s move on to Istiklal Street, one of the most important symbols of the city. When you come to Taksim, you can walk from Taksim Square to Galatasaray High School along Istiklal Avenue, and you can see cafes and boutiques located on the right and left. Do not forget to buy Beyoglu chocolate with whole hazelnuts from Beyoglu Chocolate Shop.
You can visit the Fish Market opposite Galatasaray High School, and have a quick bite to eat kokorech or mussels at Mercan, one of Istanbul’s most famous kokorech shops, at the entrance of the Fish Market. It is also delightful to eat and drink something on Nevizade Street or Cicek Pasajı right next to it.
6. TAKE PHOTOS WITH WAX STATUES OF CELEBRITIES AT MADAME TUSSAUDS MUSEUM
While you are in Taksim, you should visit the famous wax sculpture museum Madame Tussauds on Istiklal Street. From Arda Turan to Hidayet Turkoglu, from Einstein to Leonardo de Vinci, from Zeki Muren to Madonna, from Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga, from MFO to Rihanna, from Adile Nasit in Madame Tussauds You can find the opportunity to see many local and foreign famous names together and closely, from Barıs Manco, Shek to Hollywood stars, and take amazing photos for Instagram.
7. CLIMB THE GALATA TOWER
Whether you come to Istanbul as a foreign tourist or want to be a tourist in your own city, one of the best activities to do is to explore the Galata Tower and its surroundings. You may be surprised at the development and change in this region, which has recently become quite beautiful and has become the focus of tourists.
Having come this far, it is impossible not to climb the Galata Tower, one of the important symbols of Istanbul. You can climb the Galata Tower, one of the oldest towers in the world, and watch the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus panoramically. Galata Tower 2019 current entrance fee is 10 TL. Unfortunately, the museum card is not valid.
8. VISIT THE MISIR CARSISI AND EAT FISH BREAD IN EMİNONU
Eminonu, once the most important commercial center of Istanbul, is still frequently visited by a certain audience for electronic goods, watches, household goods, and clothing shopping.
When you come to Eminonu, you can buy fish and bread from the fancy boats on the beach after shopping at the spice shops and dried fruit shops selling all kinds of spices in the lively Spice Bazaar. After eating your fish bread with the view of Galata Tower in front of you, you can watch the fishermen or have a drink at the cafes under the bridge while passing the Galata Bridge.
9. TAKE NOSTALGIC TRAM AND TRAINS AT RAHMI KOC MUSEUM
When you reach the Golden Horn from Eminonu, you can meet the Rahmi Koc Museum, one of the most beautiful museums in Istanbul.
You can visit the nostalgic Fenerbahce ferry, get on the historical trams and trains, and examine classic cars at the Rahmi Koc Museum, the first important museum dedicated to the history of industry, transportation, industry, and communication in Turkey opened in 1994 with the support of businessman Rahmi Koc.
10. DRINKING SAHLEP ON PIERRE LOTI HILL
You can visit Eyup, one of the districts that have come all the way to the Golden Horn and keep the spirit of old Istanbul alive, and Eyup Sultan Mosque, one of the greatest legacies left by the Ottomans to Istanbul. You can eat Eyup casserole, which is a kind of mince pita, in the historical Eyup Sultan Guveccisi, and climb Pierre Loti Hill from here.
Sipping your salep or Turkish coffee against the Golden Horn view at the historical Pierre Loti Coffeehouse is one of the best activities to do in Istanbul.
11. WANDER THROUGH THE MINIATURE WORKS AT MINIATURK
From Hagia Sophia to Selimiye, from Rumeli Hisarı to Galata Tower, from Safranbolu Houses to Sumela Monastery, from Amasya Yalıboyu Houses to Nemrut Mountain Ruins in Miniaturk Park, where 128 models from Turkey and Ottoman geography are exhibited.
In addition, it is possible to walk around and wave to Beylerbeyi Mansion while crossing the Bosphorus Bridge on foot.
12. TAKE A PHOTO WITH A PADISAH COSTUME AT THE YEREBATAN SARNICI
A visit to the Historic Peninsula is one of the sines qua non of activities to be done in Istanbul.
After viewing the German Fountain, the Egyptian Obelisk, the Knitted Obelisk, and the Serpent Column in Sultanahmet Square, you can visit the famous Basilica Palace from the Byzantine period and visit the large water cistern, where you can sit on the throne of the sultan and the sultan in Ottoman clothes and have a photo taken. Having fun while taking photos is guaranteed.
13. EAT MEATBALLS AT THE HISTORIC SULTANAHMET MEATBALLS MAKER
After visiting the Basilica Cistern, it is fascinating to examine the famous Blue Mosque, with its six minarets, from the outside and the inside. If you’re hungry, the Historical Sultanahmet Koftecisi is waiting for you in its original form.
Leaving Sultanahmet without eating the meatballs and piyaz here would be incomplete. Only in Sultanahmet, there are many similar meatball shops with the inscription “Historic Sultanahmet Koftecisi.” If you want to eat in the original, you should eat at the historical Sultanahmet Koftecisi Selim Usta.
14. BE ENCHANTED WITH THE 8TH WONDER OF THE WORLD, HAGIA SOPHIA
A visit to the Hagia Sophia Museum, which is one of the world’s leading monuments in the history of art and architecture with its dizzying dome hanging in the air, carved marble columns, and unique mosaics, is one of the most beautiful activities to do in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia, one of the most visited museums, is shown as the 8th wonder of the world.
15. JOIN BREATHTAKING ENTERTAINMENT AT VIALAND ENTERTAINMENT PARK
Also known as domestic Disneyland, VIALAND, which has Turkey’s first theme park concept, is an amusement park and a huge living and entertainment complex with a shopping center, restaurants, cinema, and bowling alley.
In Vialand, there are more than twenty entertainment units for each age group. The most ambitious of these is the roller coaster Nefeskesen, which moves on rails at a speed of 110 km. However, SpongeBob, Little Explorers, Little Miners, Palace Swing, Adventures of Dora and Diego, Crazy River, and Viking units are the most preferred entertainment spots for children.
16. DRINK YOUR TEA IN SALACAK AGAINST THE MAIDEN’S TOWER
With its location in the middle of the Bosphorus, which connects the European side and the Anatolian side, the Maiden’s Tower is one of the most important symbols of Istanbul. You can reach the Maiden’s Tower, which is operated both as a restaurant and a museum, by boats departing from Salacak every 15 minutes. Another enjoyable option is to enjoy simit tea at the cafes located on the stairs in Salacak, overlooking the Maiden’s Tower view.
17. PICNIC ON CADDEBOSTAN BEACH
It has a gorgeous coastal arrangement from Caddebostan on the coastal part of Bagdat Street, one of the most decent areas of Istanbul, to Fenerbahce. In this region, you can take your picnic cover and folding chair on weekends and have a pleasant picnic at any time of the day.
18. EAT WAFFLE IN ANADOLU KAVAGI
A trip to Yoros Castle and Anadolu Kavagi is one of the activities to be enjoyed on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. After visiting Yoros Castle and watching the Bosphorus from the top, you can have breakfast in the Yoros Cafe, which is positioned in steps on the slope from Kale to Kavak, accompanied by a panoramic view, ride on wooden swings, and enjoy ice cream, bite or waffles in Kavak.
19. GET BREAKFAST IN THE MIHRABAT GROVE
One of the most beautiful groves of the Anatolian Side of Istanbul, Mihrabat Grove on the ridge of Kanlica, has a 3-kilometer hiking trail in the forest, as well as a magnificent view of the Bosphorus stretching to the Ortakoy coast, Rumeli Fortress, and İstinye Bay on the opposite shore. A pleasant breakfast is served in Mihrabat Grove, where pine trees welcome you with their lively scent.
20. EAT YOGURT IN KANLICA
Eating yogurt in Kanlica, one of the historical districts of the Anatolian Side on the Bosphorus, is one of the most traditional activities to do in Istanbul. Kanlica yogurt, which you can order in the tea garden right next to Kanlica Pier, is served with powdered sugar in its original form. Kanlica yogurt also has varieties with honey, jam, and molasses.
21. HIRE BICYCLES IN BUYUKADA
When we think of the best activities to do in Istanbul, one of the first things that come to mind is BUYUKADA, our indispensable destination that makes us feel like we are not in Istanbul. You can reach Buyukada by ferry or motorboat departing from Kadıkoy, Bostancı, Eminonu or Besiktas for the day. After you arrive, you can start your trip by buying ice cream from Prinkipo, get on the phaeton through the bazaar or, as we prefer, you can rent a bicycle and set off on the Little Tour route.
Rental bicycles with child seats are also available for families with young children. Thus, it is possible to feel like you are teleported to the past while passing by the magnificent houses of the island.
22. GET CENGELKOY PASTRY AND GO TO CENGELKOY CINARALTI TEA GARDEN
When Cengelkoy is mentioned, the first place that comes to mind is the Historical Cinaralti Family Tea Garden, with its location intertwined with the Bosphorus, its magnificent Bosphorus view, it’s garden under the shade of historical plane trees.
It is quite enjoyable to buy borek from Cengelkoy Borekcisi, another famous Cengelkoy. It now has branches all over Turkey and eats borek with tea and the Bosphorus view at the Historical Cinaralti Family Tea Garden. Cengelkoy Borekci’s whole wheat flour walnut cheese pastry is one of the most delicious.
23. COOK AND EAT IN POLONEZKOY
As the backyard of Istanbul, Polonezkoy is one of the rare places where green and forest are preserved. There are many breakfasts and self-catering places in this village, which can be reached by following the Polonezkoy signs after turning the Kavacik turn on the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and passing Acarkent.
After a nice walk, you can have breakfast in Polonezkoy, take your meat, salad and potatoes from the place, cook and eat yourself on the barbecue they prepared, spread out on the grass or hammocks, and enjoy the sun.