Istanbul, a city that has been the crossroads of cultures and civilizations for centuries, is a must-visit destination for travelers who love to explore hidden gems and experience unique activities. While the iconic landmarks like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Blue Mosque are worth visiting, there are many other secret things to do in Istanbul that will surprise and delight you. In this article, we will take you on a journey to discover 12 secret places in Istanbul that will make your trip unforgettable
Find the Hidden Gems of Istanbul with Local Guides: They are Know Everything
Read a Book in English in İstanbul Kitapçısı Karaköy İskele
Located in Karaköy, one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Istanbul, İstanbul Kitapçısı Karaköy İskele is a cozy bookstore where you can find a wide range of books in English and Turkish. The bookstore is housed in a historical building that used to be a dock for steamboats in the 19th century. The best part is that you can sit on the terrace and enjoy the stunning view of the Bosphorus while reading your favorite book.
Wander The Nostalgic Streets Of Kuzguncuk!
Kuzguncuk is a charming neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul that has preserved its nostalgic atmosphere with its colorful houses, narrow streets, and small cafes. You can take a leisurely stroll and explore the hidden corners of Kuzguncuk, taste delicious Turkish coffee or tea, and chat with locals who are always happy to welcome visitors.
The Highest Hill Of Istanbul: Aydos Hill: Hidden Rooftop Of Istanbul
If you want to enjoy a panoramic view of Istanbul from a different perspective, head to Aydos Hill, the highest hill in Istanbul. It is located on the Asian side of Istanbul and offers a breathtaking view of the city, the Marmara Sea, and the Princes’ Islands. You can also have a picnic, go for a hike, or have a bike ride in the Aydos Forest, which is adjacent to the hill.
Golden Horn View From Pierre Loti Hill: Taste Secret Istanbul
Pierre Loti Hill is a popular spot among locals for its stunning view of the Golden Horn, one of the most beautiful natural harbors in the world. You can take a cable car ride to the hill and enjoy the view from the terrace of the Pierre Loti Cafe, named after the French writer who was a frequent visitor of the cafe in the early 20th century. Read more…
Pierre Loti Cafe is just one of many hidden gem restaurants in Istanbul worth discovering. Don’t miss it!
Guided Tours of Pierre Loti Hill: Don’t Miss Hidden Gems
Drink a Cup of Filter in Moda Ferry Cultural Space
Moda is a lively neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul that is known for its trendy cafes, bars, and boutiques. One of the coolest places in Moda is the Ferry Cultural Space, where you can enjoy a cup of filter coffee, attend art exhibitions, concerts, and workshops, or just relax on the terrace and watch the boats passing by.
Don’t Miss The Best Tours and Cruises in Istanbul
Eat Delicious Fish Ekmek on Galata Bridge
Galata Bridge is not only a landmark of Istanbul but also a foodie’s paradise. You can find many street vendors selling fish sandwiches (balık ekmek) that are made with fresh fish, vegetables, and bread. The best place to try fish ekmek is on the Galata Bridge, where you can enjoy the stunning view of the Golden Horn and the skyline of Istanbul while having a delicious snack.
Go to Non-Touristy Place: Watch the Sunset from Salacak
Salacak is a small neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul that offers a magnificent view of the old city, the Bosphorus Bridge, and the sunset. You can walk along the coast, take a ferry ride, or have a cup of tea in one of the small cafes and enjoy the romantic atmosphere of Salacak.
See the almost 115-year-old Yeni Moda Pharmacy in 88. Moda
If you are interested in historical architecture, Yeni Moda Pharmacy in Moda is a hidden gem that you shouldn’t miss. The pharmacy, which has been in operation for almost 115 years, is a perfect example of Ottoman Art Nouveau style with its colorful tiles, stained glass windows, and wooden cabinets. You can visit the pharmacy and learn about the history of traditional Turkish medicine and pharmacy.
Visit Binbirdirek and Basilica Cisterns
Binbirdirek Cistern and Basilica Cistern are two ancient underground water reservoirs that date back to the Byzantine period. Both cisterns have impressive architecture and are adorned with columns, arches, and intricate carvings. Binbirdirek Cistern is smaller and less crowded than Basilica Cistern, making it a perfect spot for a peaceful stroll and a photo opportunity. Read more…
Take a Private Yacht Tour on Bosphorus
If you want to see Istanbul from a different angle, a private yacht tour on the Bosphorus is a unique experience that you will never forget. You can rent a yacht with a captain and sail along the Bosphorus, passing by iconic landmarks like Dolmabahce Palace, Maiden’s Tower, and Rumeli Fortress. You can also have a romantic dinner or a party on the yacht, depending on your preference.
If you looking for more budget friendly tour, we recommend checking out this article on our blog that covers budget-friendly Bosphorus tours in Istanbul, which cost under 3 dollars: Budget-Friendly Bosphorus Tours in Istanbul (Under 3 Dollars!).
Picnic In Heybeliada Değirmenburnu
Heybeliada is one of the Princes’ Islands, a group of small islands off the coast of Istanbul that are famous for their tranquil atmosphere and pine forests. Değirmenburnu, located on the southern tip of Heybeliada, is a perfect spot for a picnic with its stunning view of the Marmara Sea and the Istanbul skyline. You can bring your own food or buy delicious snacks from local vendors. Read more…
Go to The Bloody Church Of Maria Palailogos In Fener
Fener is a historical neighborhood on the European side of Istanbul that is famous for its Greek Orthodox churches and mansions. Maria Palailogos Church, also known as the “Bloody Church,” is a unique and mysterious church that has an interesting history. Legend has it that a woman was murdered in the church, and her blood stained the walls, which can still be seen today.
More Hidden Gems in Istanbul
For those looking for even more hidden gems in Istanbul, we recommend checking out this article on our blog that covers 15 lesser-known places to visit: 15 Hidden Gems in Istanbul.
Сonclusion: Discover Secret Things to Do in Istanbul
In conclusion, Istanbul is a city full of surprises and hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. By exploring these secret things to do in Istanbul, you will not only have a unique experience but also get to know the city’s rich history and culture. So pack your bags, get ready to be amazed, and enjoy your trip to Istanbul!