The location of this city has attracted many armies over the centuries, including the Greeks, Romans, Venetians, and the Ottomans. The fact that this city straddles two continents was not the only pull for attacking armies, it’s also because it’s located at the final stage of the legendary Silk Road which links Asia and Europe together. The invasions from the various armies has given Istanbul the incredible diversity from which it now benefits.
Usually, the city’s invading armies would ransack it rather than enhance it with artistic treasures, however, when the Byzantines visited, they adorned many of the streets, buildings, churches and palaces with incredible mosaics, many of them remaining to this day.
There’s also the culinary heritage of this incredible city to get you excited. The food on offer in Istanbul is just as diverse as it’s unique heritage, which is what makes it such an amazing place for foodies to visit. Local people take what they eat and drink seriously - with many of the restaurants here the best in Turkey. Whether you choose to eat Asian inspired dishes, Italian cuisine, or authentic Turkish food, you’re in for a treat.
If that hasn’t sold Istanbul to you, nothing will. If this fascinating and historical city is on your list of places to visit, we share a list of things to see and do when visiting Istanbul.
If you are wanting to gain an overview of the city, a Bosphorus Cruise is a must for your itinerary. Not only does this trip offer you a wonderful overview of the city, including both the European and Asian shores of the city’s famous waterway, you will also see an array of age-old pieces of architecture that you may otherwise miss.
The great thing about this cruise is there are plenty of options to choose from. You could opt to take a shorter trip that cruises down the river until the second suspension bridge or a longer cruise that goes all the way to the Black Sea. In the summer months, there’s also the option of a sunset cruise.
The best option if you want to see as much of the city as possible and really soak up its rich history and heritage is the full day tour, as this gives you the best experience possible.
You can’t visit Istanbul without visiting this incredible piece of architecture. It was once a church, then a mosque but now this museum is one of the world’s most amazing pieces of architecture and shouldn’t be missed. For years it was under years of construction, but now the building is free of scaffolding and makes an incredible picture,
You can climb up a spiral ramp and head into the gallery to take in the incredible Byzantine mosaic art that is featured across the building. The views are incredible but not as incredible as the artwork that the building is made up of.
Go on a walking tour
If you want to see all the splendor this city has to offer without having to wait in traffic, then a walking tour is for you. Istanbul is an incredible location so taking a tour around the city is an amazing way to soak up the history, heritage and modern culture. If you take a tour around the city, your guide will point out the Silk Road and all the wars linked to it, retelling fascinating stories of how this Turkish city survived and thrived.
You will gain a better understanding of what it is that makes this city so incredible. It’s not just the history, it’s also the culture, the art, the architecture, and of course, the food. What Istanbul can offer is the charm of old Turkey combined with many modern attributes of this impressive country and city. Whether you want to see traditional architecture adorned in mosaics or ultra-modern skyscrapers, you can find a combination of impressive buildings across this city.
One of the best ways to start your trip to Istanbul is with a walking tour, allowing you to immerse yourself in all of the city’s most incredible spaces. Although you can take a free walking tour of the city, you will gain far more from your experience if you opt for a private tour. If you book a tour guide in Istanbul, it will ensure the experience you have exploring this city is second to none.
While in Istanbul, Topkapi Palace is one of those sights you quite literally cannot afford to miss. Created from a complex of kiosks and pavilions complete with four wonderfully green courtyards, this is where many sultans held their residence for almost half a century.
There’s lots to see and do at Topkapi Palace, and one of the top attractions are the Haram which is a cage which used to house the sultan’s women. The treasury is also a must-see, it’s where the crown jewels were housed, including the famous Topkapi dagger, and also the weapon’s room.
There you have it, a guide to what you have to see and do while you are exploring Istanbul. This city has a lot to offer any traveler, which is what makes it such an incredible place to see and explore.