Top Istanbul Experiences In 2023
We are thrilled to show you our best experiences in Istanbul. This city is vibrant in more ways than one. Colourful in expression, you can see this no matter where you are in Istanbul, whether you are on the busy streets along the Bosphorus, or in remote parts of the city, there is no denying the almost tangible essence of life that surrounds it. Here are some of our top must-try activities when in Istanbul, based on our personal experiences and feedback from our guests.
A Sultan’s View
A luxury hotel in the heart of Istanbul where you can experience a unique view of the elite and royalties centuries ago. Located within walking distance from tourist attractions such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultan Ahmed Square land even the Grand Bazaar, you will be pleasantly surprised by the interior decor of the rooms as everything drips in jewels. From glass chandeliers to the most delicate silk sheets, this is a stay for those who enjoy the finer things in life.
The Heart of Istanbul
Taksim Square is located smack in the middle of Istanbul and has become the most important location for tourists and locals alike. Due to its central location, this square is where most processions happen, including the New Year Parade. The square is also the location for many hotels, archaeological sites, restaurants and tourist attractions. This place lives on until late at night, when live bands, street performers and artists line the streets attracting the crowd to stay on.
A Mosque That Was Once A Church
One of the world's most iconic monuments, the Hagia Sophia is known for being a church that was rebuilt into a mosque during the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. This sacred site has since become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts millions of visitors every year due to its architecture and historic significance. Since its foundation in the Roman Empire, it has been rebuilt 3 times to become the building we know today. No entrance fee is required to enter the mosque as it is used to hold prayers. Be respectful and courteous when you visit this sacred site.
Istanbul’s First Watchtower
The Galata Tower has become synonymous with Istanbul for forming its cityscape and being one of the most recognizable buildings. What once served as a watchtower during the Ottoman Empire is today a museum, commercialised and open to the public as an observation deck offering 360-degree views of the surrounding area. When the tower was built, it was the tallest building in the city, allowing it to be an incredible method of surveillance.
Luxury Dining on The Bosphorus
The Bosphorus Strait is an experience that can’t be missed when in Istanbul. See the beautiful architecture of Istanbul's palaces and old buildings as you embark on a luxury cruise where you will be entertained by sultry live music and an extensive menu of authentic Turkish cuisine. The attentive staff makes the entire experience much more enjoyable.
Experience Culture Through The Whirling Dervishes Show
When it comes to culture and entertainment, Istanbul never runs out of things for you to feast your eyes on. One of the most important experiences is the Whirling Dervishes, an ancient Sufi dance. Be mesmerised by the unique sight of Whirling Dervishes as they perform their spiritual ritual. This 800-year-old tradition has been preserved on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Other key experiences include belly dancing and folk performances.
The Most Picturesque Mosque in Istanbul
Built in 1855, the Ortakoy Mosque was designed by the same architect who designed Dolmabahce Palace. Located right next to the Bosphorus Bridge, this mosque is set in one of the most beautiful locations in Istanbul and highlights the rich cultural heritage of the city. The mosque is open for visitors during prayer times and does not require a ticket to enter. When you’re here, make sure to take the time to explore the surrounding streets. Lined with coffee shops, bars and street vendors, you will definitely want to take your time to discover this bustling part of Istanbul.
Quaint Cultural Town In Istanbul
Fener and Balat are two separate districts that are often mentioned together because of their similarities in terms of architecture and town design. Both places play a significant role in forming the culture of Istanbul and are on the list of UNESCO Heritage Sites. Although often overlooked by tourists, the colourful Ottoman architecture in both towns with tons of hidden gems behind every cobblestone path will show you parts of the town that you wouldn’t find in the major cities. With many ancient religious buildings, quaint idyllic cafes and merchants, Fener and Balat will continue carrying the torch of highlighting authentic parts of Istanbul.
The Shopping District
The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest covered markets in the world with over 4000 shops. This is an iconic landmark where visitors can find almost anything. The Spice Bazaar, the second most famous bazaar after the Grand Bazaar, is one of the best places to fill up your spice rack. With so much to look at, a bustling atmosphere and chatty vendors, you will quickly realise the importance of having these markets in the city. It is a coming together of the entire country, bringing in handmade earthenware, fresh spices from their gardens and decorative lamps and rugs. Make sure to leave some empty space in your luggage for the incredible things you will find here.
Pristine Beaches and Idyllic Beach Towns
Adalar, also known as Princes’ Islands, is an archipelago 20 km out of Bosphorus. Known for its idyllic beaches and nature getaways, Adalar was a place for some of the greatest minds and wealthiest socialites to gather and remains of this period can still be found scattered around the islands. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the islands except for official vehicles. A lush and opulent nature getaway located close to the heart of Istanbul with a rich cultural heritage and historical remnants.
Wanderprime offers hand-picked collections of exceptional experiences in Istanbul. First-class unique stays in beautiful locations, run by dedicated hosts. For more details, explore our Turkey experiences or contact us at 012- 669 0048.