A country that might seem like a baby to separated parents, straddling between Western Asia and Eastern Europe, Turkey is a beautiful country that anyone can fall in love with. The moment you step onto the land of Istanbul, which is known as the Center of the World, and rightly so, because of its strange yet striking mix of East meets West, an overwhelming feeling is sure to be taken over by a city so big that being contained in just one continent seems wrong. When you wander down the streets of Istanbul, the smell of the city’s flavorful food takes over all your bodily senses and you will be greeted by the friendliest people in the world, making you feel like home. From famous hot-air balloons in Cappadocia to Blue Flag beaches, mesmerizing Uludag Mountains to terraces of Pamukkale, Istanbul is a true gem that has got a lot to offer. Check out this list of things to do alone in Istanbul, Turkey.
One show you can enjoy at Hodjapasha is that of Rhythm of Dance. Once famously used as a bathhouse, this cultural center was converted into a dance theater. Turkish arts being admired by tourists all over the world, Hodjapasha is in the center of Old Constantinople, Eminonu. In addition, watching Rhythm of Dance is a pure 4D experience. The dancers, animations moving around the theater, and producing smoke and wind, give it a very real affect. The show is 70 minutes long, and the center is accessible from all over the city. You can also enjoy picturesque views while hopping on a ride to the center.
Rhythm of the Dance Show at Hodjapasha
Duration: 1 hour 5 minutes
2. Get smitten by the architecture of Hagia Sophia
An imperial mosque and a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica turned to Hagia Sophia Museum in 1934. However, in July 2020, it was declared a mosque again. The grand mosque displays commendable Byzantine architecture on the outside and is also a proud member of the UNESCO World Heritage. Constructed in 537 AD, the mosque is famously known for its magnificent dome, which has changed the face of architecture from then onwards.
One must not miss the Deësis mosaic, the tomb of Enrico Dandolo, and the drawings of the Fossati brothers when exploring the Hagia Sophia museum.
Address: Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Website: Hagia Sophia
3. Experience beauty at Topkapi Palace
Situated in the city’s heart, Topkapi Palace is a large museum that was once a home and the administrative quarters of the Ottoman Sultans and then passed onto the ranked officers. The museum has since been dedicated to preserving the true culture of Turkey. Explore the grounds of Topkapi Palace and witness culturally beautiful artifacts such as religious relics, manuscripts, armor, and also Ottoman clothing. The exterior of this UNESCO World Heritage site is home to pavilions embellished with Islamic ceramics.
Address: Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
Website: Topkapi Palace
Opening hours: 1st Apr - 30th Sep: 9am - 6pm; 1st Oct - 30th Mar: 9am - 5pm
Price: 18 USD
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4. Be mesmerized by the marvel of Basilica Cistern
Underneath the beautiful city of Istanbul, you will find hundreds of ancient cisterns and one that stands out amongst the hundreds is the Basilica Cistern. Constructed during the 6th century under the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian, this marvelous cistern has underground freshwater lakes, which is equivalent to the length of two football fields. Explore the masterpiece architecture by renting rowboats and also get a chance to hear stories from locals about Medusa’s head on whether it was placed to portray power or just put at the site randomly during the construction.
Address: Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Website: Basilica Cistern
Opening hours: 9am - 5:30pm (daily)
Price: 3 USD
5. Shop till you literally drop at Grand Bazaar
One of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar has made itself home to over 61 streets of Istanbul and 4000+ shops. Famously known for its must-visit tourist attractions in Istanbul, it can take visitors at least a couple of days to explore the whole market, soaking in its architectural beauty along the way. Shop for a beautiful collection of goodies and also get your hands on the dry fruits, tea, coffee, nuts, antique lanterns and much more available all over the market.
Address: Beyazıt Mh., Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Website: Grand Bazaar
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 7pm (Closed Sundays and public holidays)
Price: Free of cost
6. Go back in time exploring Istanbul Archaeological Museums
Consisting of three beautiful sections at Istanbul Archaeological Museums, the site is located near Topkapi Palace. Get up close and personal with the past as you walk around the grounds of the three museums namely: The Archaeological Museum, The Tiled Kiosk Museum, and The Museum of Ancient Orient. Istanbul Archaeological Museums are among the most impressive historical venues and fine examples of neo-classical architecture.
Address: Osman Hamdi Bey Yokusu Sokak, Gulhane,34122 Fatih/Istanbul
Website: Archaeological Museums
Opening hours: 1st Apr - 31st Oct: 9am - 7:30pm; 1st Nov - 31st Mar: 9am - 5:30pm
Price: 8 USD
7. Pamper yourself at Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam
Experience tranquility and luxury in the Old City of Istanbul as you indulge yourself in a traditional bathhouse. Centuries ago, the now famous Turkish baths, also known as hammams, used to be a notable way to cleanse oneself and to reach a state of relaxation, and it still exists to this day. Presently, locals, tourists or travelers can enjoy traditional Turkish baths as they can be found everywhere across the city, varying from basic to luxurious experiences. This is one way where you can embrace the local side and get a chance to travel like a local.
Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam
Address: Cankurtaran Mh., Ayasofya Meydanı No:2, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Website: Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam
Opening hours: 8am -10pm (daily)
Price: 104 USD
8. Witness the charm of Süleymaniye Mosque
After conquering the Ottomans, Suleymaniye Mosque stands proudly on the grounds of the first palace that was built in the city. Like other notable mosques in the city, Suleymaniye Mosque, although being a place of worship, it is also known for its charitable foundation, otherwise called Kulliye. Known for one of Mimar Sinan’s masterpieces and his largest design, it isn’t just the massive size that is impressive but, also the interior that is elegantly decorated will leave you awe-inspired making this a must-visit place for your trip. There are hospitals, soup kitchen, caravanserai, which is otherwise known to be a resting place for travelers, the famous bathhouse, and schools are all found across all four sides of the mosque.
Address: Süleymaniye Mah, Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Cd. No:1, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Website: Süleymaniye Mosque
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)
Price: Free of cost
9. Be awe-struck by the panoramic view of the city at Galata Tower
Straight out of Rapunzel’s world, Galata Tower is located in Beyoglu and is truly magical. Being one of the most popular sites in Istanbul, witness the gorgeous 360-degree skyline view of the city from the outer balcony of the tower. The best time to visit the tower is during the sunset, but be very aware of the rush hour and the long lines.
Address: Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sk., 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Website: Galata Tower
Opening hours: 9am - 8:30pm (daily)
Price: 4 USD
10. Let your fun side out at Ortakoy
Known as “Middle Village” in other terms, Ortakoy stands true to its name as it is situated right in between the European shore alongside the Bosphorus Strait. During the day, Ortakay is just like any other busy neighborhood, bustling around, and known for its restaurants, cafes, and art galleries. And during the weekends, the whole neighborhood turns to a livelier place by the locals and tourists coming together to enjoy some nightlife. This place holds true to its partying hard by the sea experience.
Address: Mecidiye Mahallesi, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sk. 1/1, 34347 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
Opening hours: 9am - 10pm (daily)
Price: Free of cost
Get ready to discover Turkey
These are some notable and must-see places in Turkey. But, that’s not all, it is a land of marvelous scenery, rich culture, tasty food, and adventure. Get packing and visit this beautiful country, and experience everything Turkey has to offer as you will find yourself doing a great many things.
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