Looking for outdoor activities in Istanbul that are both fun and relaxing? Whether you’re searching for offbeat and unusual things to do in Istanbul or must-do activities, this vibrant city has it all! With a mix of beautiful weather and diverse options for both indoor and outdoor entertainment, Istanbul has some of the best things to do in Turkey. So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure full of exciting and relaxing experiences. To make the most out of your trip to Istanbul, we have compiled a list of the top 9 outdoor activities that you simply must experience in Istanbul.
Best Time for Outdoor Activities in Istanbul
Visit Istanbul for outdoor activities from April to June and from September to November, when the weather is mild and pleasant. During the hot summer months of July and August, the temperature can reach up to 30°C (86°F), making it uncomfortable for outdoor activities.
If you do visit during the summer, make sure to stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade.
For more information on Istanbul weather and the best time to visit, check out this article: Istanbul Weather: A Reflection of Its Vibrant Culture.
Here are the 9 outdoor activities that you must experience in Istanbul:
Take a Free Walking Tour
Explore Istanbul on foot and learn about the city’s rich history and vibrant culture on a free walking tour.
We recommend taking a walking tour of the city’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods, such as Sultanahmet, Beyoglu, and Kadikoy. These neighborhoods offer a glimpse into the daily lives of the city’s residents, as well as its rich history.
Or Join the Guided Tour with Locals
Take a Bosphorus Cruise
Enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the Bosphorus Strait and take in the stunning views of the Istanbul skyline and landmarks like the Galata Tower, Dolmabahce Palace, and the Maiden’s Tower. You’ll also see the majestic Bosphorus Bridge, which connects Asia and Europe.
Go to the Stunning Beach
Yes, you read that right! Istanbul has some stunning beaches that are perfect for a day of sunbathing and swimming. Among the most popular beaches in Istanbul are the Kilyos Beach and the Agva Beach.
Kilyos Beach, located on the Black Sea coast, is the most popular beach in Istanbul. The beach is a bit rocky, but it’s still an excellent spot to swim and sunbathe. There are also many restaurants and cafes nearby, where you can enjoy some of the city’s best seafood. Read more…
Go Hiking To The Belgrad Forest
Escape the city and head to the Belgrad Forest for a peaceful and rejuvenating hike. The forest is one of the city’s most beautiful natural areas, and it’s just a short drive away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Belgrad Forest is home to many hiking trails that offer stunning views of the city and its surroundings. The forest is also home to many wildlife species, such as deer, foxes, and wild boars, making it a great place for nature lovers.
Have a Picnic and Watch Tulips in Emirgan Park
If you’re looking for a relaxing thing to do in Istanbul, head to Emirgan Park and have a picnic among the stunning tulips. The park is one of the most beautiful parks in Istanbul and is known for its stunning tulip gardens.
During the annual Istanbul Tulip Festival, the park is transformed into a sea of color as millions of tulips bloom. It’s a sight not to be missed and is one of the must-see events in Istanbul.
Check out these articles about cool parks and outdoor activities in Istanbul that you might find super helpful:
Stroll on Istiklal Street
Take a stroll down Istanbul’s most famous pedestrian street, Istiklal Street. The street is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, and it’s always buzzing with activity. Read more…
Visit Prince Islands
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by taking a ferry to the tranquil Prince Islands. The archipelago is comprised of nine beautiful islands, each with its unique charms. One of the most famous islands, Büyükada, is just an hour away by ferry from the city center. Once there, rent a bike or a horse-drawn carriage, and explore the island’s idyllic lanes lined with charming Victorian-era mansions, colorful gardens, and stunning views of the Marmara Sea.
As you wander around the island, make sure to visit the beautiful Ayia Yorgi Church, perched on top of a hill, and the historic Hamidiye Mosque, built by Sultan Abdulhamid II. And if you’re a beach lover, head to the island’s numerous beaches, such as Maden Beach, and enjoy a relaxing day under the sun.
If you have more time, make sure to visit the other islands too. Heybeliada is known for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, while Burgazada is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in Istanbul.
Before you go, make sure to read our comprehensive travel guide to the Princes Islands near Istanbul for all the essential tips and tricks.
If you want to know more before you visit the Princes Islands near Istanbul, you might find helpful our Travel Guide to the Princes Islands near Istanbul.
Explore Different Neighbourhoods in Istanbul
Istanbul is a vast and diverse city, and each neighborhood has its own unique character and charm. Exploring Istanbul’s different neighborhoods is one of the best ways to get a sense of the city’s history, culture, and people.
Vibrant and Trendy Beyoğlu District
Start your journey in the vibrant and trendy Beyoğlu district, located on the European side of the city. Walk down the bustling Istiklal Street, which is lined with stylish shops, cafes, and restaurants, and immerse yourself in the district’s bohemian atmosphere. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit the iconic Galata Tower, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Istanbul.
Modern Kadikoy and Moda
Next, head over to the Asian side of the city and explore the laid-back neighborhood of Kadıköy. Stroll along the bustling pedestrian streets, browse through the colorful street markets, and indulge in some of the best Turkish dishes at the local restaurants. If you’re a tea lover, don’t miss out on the opportunity to dive into the rich tea culture of Turkey, and visit one of the many traditional tea houses in the neighborhood.
Brilliant Karaköy District
For a glimpse of Istanbul’s modern side, make sure to visit the up-and-coming neighborhood of Karaköy, which is home to some of the city’s coolest cafes, galleries, and shops. Explore the district’s narrow alleys and hidden corners, and discover the unique street art and murals that adorn the buildings.
For more recommendations on Istanbul’s coolest modern neighborhoods, check out our guide to the coolest modern neighborhoods in Istanbul.
Outdoor Activities on Bicycle in Istanbul: Bike Tours
If you’re looking for a fun and active way to explore Istanbul’s outdoor spaces, why not rent a bike and pedal your way through the city’s many scenic routes and trails? Read more…
Great biking spot is the Golden Horn, the natural harbor that separates the European and Asian sides of the city. The Golden Horn has a scenic bike path that runs along its banks, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy stunning views of the city’s skyline and the Bosphorus Strait.
Embrace the Adventure: Bike and Segway Tours for Electro-Transport Enthusiasts
If you’re feeling adventurous, why not join one of the many bike tours that are available in Istanbul? These tours offer a unique way to explore the city, and they’re a great option if you’re not familiar with the area.
Some popular bike tour options also include the Istanbul Old City Bike Tour, which takes you through historic neighborhoods like Sultanahmet and Fatih, and the Bosphorus Bike Tour, which offers breathtaking views of the strait and its many landmarks.
Another great way to explore Istanbul by bike is to rent a bike and create your own itinerary. You can easily rent a bike from one of the many rental shops around the city and then set off to explore the many parks, neighborhoods, and landmarks that Istanbul has to offer.
Ourdoors Activities Tip: Be Sure to Be Safe!
Just make sure you stay safe and aware of your surroundings while biking in Istanbul. Always wear a helmet, follow traffic rules, and be cautious when riding on busy streets. With a little caution and some adventurous spirit, biking in Istanbul can be a truly memorable experience!
Istanbul is a city that has something to offer for everyone. From its rich history and culture to its beautiful natural spaces and outdoor activities, there is never a shortage of things to do in Istanbul.
To make the most out of your trip to Istanbul, be sure to visit during the best time for outdoor activities, from April to June and from September to November, and don’t miss out on these top 9 outdoor activities: taking a free walking tour, going on a Bosphorus cruise, visiting a stunning beach, hiking in the Belgrad Forest, having a picnic and watching tulips in Emirgan Park, strolling on Istiklal Street, visiting Prince Islands, and exploring the historic city walls.
We hope this guide has been helpful in planning your trip to Istanbul and that you have an unforgettable experience in this magical city.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you check the weather before you go, and always prioritize your safety. These must-do outdoor activities are some of the best things to do in Istanbul and will help you experience the city’s beauty and culture in a unique and exciting way.