Istanbul has always been one of the world’s major crossroads, from the days of ancient Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire to the modern metropolis we find today. As such, Istanbul tourism combines the ancient with the modern and the traditional with the trendy. So what’s to do in this ancient city that spans both Europe and Asia? Let’s find out!
First, most travelers will need a visa to visit Istanbul and they are easily purchased at Ataturk International Airport upon arrival. Most travelers then choose to start their Istanbul holidays in the popular Sultanahmet district, home to the legendary Hagia Sofia, the spectacular Blue Mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and the ancient Hippodrome. Undoubtedly, it’ll be the most mesmerizing and enriching part of your trip to Istanbul.
However, you shouldn't just stick to the historic areas when you travel to Istanbul. Make sure to spend a day or two of your Istanbul holiday exploring the music shops in along İstiklâl Caddesi and checking out the food vendors near Taksim Square. Visiting the Asian side is a good chance to see the modern 21-st century version of Istanbul. Plus, it’s a lovely opportunity to enjoy a cruise along the Bosphorus!
Finally, markets have been an integral part of Turkish life for centuries and your holiday in Istanbul is the perfect chance to wander the sprawling Grand Bazaar near the waterfront or enjoy the sensory explosion at the Spice Market. So if you want to make your Istanbul trip truly memorable, have a look below at all the best sights, restaurants, and hotels recommended by fellow travelers.