If you’re planning a trip to Istanbul and looking for unique things to do, you’re in for a treat. This vibrant city is full of history, culture, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. While there are plenty of must-see tourist attractions, I encourage you to explore beyond the typical sights and discover the secret, relaxing, and fun things to do in Istanbul.
Read a Book in English in İstanbul Kitapçısı Karaköy İskele
One of the most interesting places in Istanbul is İstanbul Kitapçısı Karaköy İskele, a quaint bookshop where you can find English and Turkish books to read.
With a diverse selection of both English-language and Turkish titles, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste. Once you’ve made your selection, take a moment to savor a freshly brewed coffee while you flip through the pages.
Don’t rush – let yourself get lost in the story and forget about the stresses of the outside world for a while. With so many options to choose from, you’ll likely find yourself returning to this cozy spot time and time again, eager to discover your next adventure between the pages of a good book.
Gape at the Stunning Camlica Hill
For a truly breathtaking view of Istanbul, make your way up to the top of Camlica Hill. Once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the city that are sure to take your breath away. You’ll be able to see the sparkling waters of the Bosphorus Strait, the historic Golden Horn, and the charming Old City all at once. It’s truly an unforgettable sight! Read more…
After you’ve taken your fill of the view, why not treat yourself to a delicious Turkish meal at Çamlıca Sosyal Tesisleri? This charming cafe is the perfect place to unwind and relax after a long day of sightseeing. You can enjoy traditional Turkish fare in a tranquil setting, surrounded by the beauty of nature!
Go to the Bloody Church of Maria Palailogos in Fener
For history buffs and art lovers, a visit to The Bloody Church of Maria Palailogos in Fener is a must-see in Istanbul. This 14th-century church is renowned for its impressive frescoes, which are still visible today.
The church also has a dark and disturbing history, having been allegedly used as a torture chamber during the Byzantine era, earning its gruesome nickname.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the church to learn more about its history and view the intricate details of the frescoes up close. Additionally, the surrounding neighborhood of Fener is worth exploring, with its colorful houses and narrow streets providing a glimpse into Istanbul’s rich history and culture.
Visit the Tulip Paradise Emirgan Grove
One of Istanbul’s hidden gems, Emirgan Grove is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city. This park is especially stunning in the spring, when it comes alive with colorful tulips. Take a stroll through the gardens, enjoy a picnic, or just relax and soak up the beauty.
If you’re looking to explore the green spaces of Istanbul, be sure to check out The Best 5 Parks in Istanbul! These parks offer a peaceful respite from the bustling city and are perfect for picnics, strolls, or just soaking up the beauty of nature!
Wander The Nostalgic Streets of Kuzguncuk
Kuzguncuk located on the Asian side of the city, is a true gem with its historic architecture and laid-back atmosphere. When visiting Kuzguncuk, be sure to take your time and wander through the winding streets. Stop at one of the many cafes for a cup of traditional Turkish tea, or browse the local shops for unique souvenirs.
You can also visit the local mosque, which dates back to the 17th century and is a beautiful example of Ottoman architecture. And if you’re feeling hungry, be sure to try some of the delicious local cuisine at one of the neighborhood’s many restaurants.
Enjoying Walking on 10th Street Bostanci Beach
One of the relaxing things to do in Istanbul is to head to Bostan Beach, a tranquil oasis that offers the perfect respite from the stresses of everyday life. As you make your way to the beach, you’ll be greeted by miles of pristine coastline, with soft white sand and crystal-clear waters that stretch as far as the eye can see. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore, listening to the gentle sound of the waves as they lap at your feet, or enjoy a relaxing picnic with family and friends, surrounded by the beauty of nature.
And when you’re ready to explore beyond the beach, you’ll find that the nearby 10th Street is a veritable treasure trove of shops, cafes, and other attractions. From local artisanal boutiques to top-name designer stores, there’s something to suit every taste and budget. And if you’re feeling hungry, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the wide array of cafes, restaurants, and food trucks that line the street, each offering its own unique blend of flavors and culinary delights.
Enjoy Sea View on Moda Beach
Another great spot to relax by the water is Moda Beach. This popular beach is known for its clear blue waters and stunning views of the city. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe, some relaxing things to do, or just enjoy the scenery, Moda Beach in Istanbul is a must-visit.
The Highest Hill Of Istanbul: Aydos Hill
If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the beauty of Istanbul, consider taking a trip to Aydos Hill. This natural wonder is the tallest hill in the city and provides visitors with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. From the top, you can see the city skyline, the Bosphorus Strait, and even the Sea of Marmara in the distance.
But Aydos Hill isn’t just about the view – it’s also a great place to spend the day with family and friends. Bring a picnic and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the shade of the trees. Take a leisurely walk along one of the many trails that wind through the hillside, and discover the diverse flora and fauna that call this place home.
Spring At Fenerbahce Cape!
In the spring, Fenerbahce Cape comes alive with colorful blooms. This stunning park is the perfect place to take a stroll, enjoy a picnic, or just soak up the beauty of nature.
Go to Booksellers’ Street to Find Hidden Gems
Book lovers won’t want to miss a visit to Booksellers’ Street in Beyazıt. This charming street is lined with bookshops, selling everything from new releases to antique tomes. Take your time browsing and you may just find a hidden gem. Read more…
Discover The Galata Mevlevi Lodge
Step into the mystical world of the whirling dervishes with a visit to the Galata Mevlevi Lodge, located in the bustling city of Istanbul, Turkey. Read more…
Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the Sufi order as you explore the museum and learn about the teachings and practices of this mystical sect.
Admire the intricate architecture of the building and the beautiful artifacts on display, which offer a glimpse into the daily lives of the Mevlevi dervishes. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness a traditional dervish ceremony, where the whirling dance is performed as a form of spiritual meditation and connection with the divine.
As you watch the dervishes spin and twirl in their flowing white robes, you’ll be transported to another world, one of peace and tranquility.
Watch Whirling Dervishes Show
Picnic In Heybeliada Değirmenburnu
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and spend a rejuvenating day on the serene island of Heybeliada. This tranquil island is the perfect place to take a break from the demands of daily life and indulge in some much-needed rest and relaxation.
With its stunning natural beauty and idyllic atmosphere, Heybeliada offers a respite from the chaos of urban living.
Once you arrive on the island, take a leisurely stroll along its charming streets and explore its quaint shops and cafes. As you make your way to Değirmenburnu, be sure to take in the breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding landscape.
Once you reach Değirmenburnu, find a peaceful spot to lay out your picnic blanket and enjoy a delicious meal while basking in the tranquil ambiance of your surroundings.
Get a Cruise to the Prince Islands
For a unique perspective on Istanbul, take a cruise to the Prince Islands. These nine islands off the coast of Istanbul are known for their stunning scenery and historic architecture. Spend the day exploring, biking, or just enjoying the view.
If you’re planning a trip to the Prince Islands near Istanbul, be sure to check out A Travel Guide to the Princes Islands near Istanbul. It’s packed with useful information on must-see places and travel tips for this stunning destination. Whether you’re looking to explore the islands’ historic landmarks, indulge in some local cuisine, or simply relax and enjoy the scenery, this guide has everything you need to plan an unforgettable trip.
Make A Wish At Aya Yorgi Church
Legend has it that if you make a wish at Aya Yorgi Church on Büyükada island, your wish will come true. This historic church is a popular pilgrimage site, and visitors come from all over to make their wishes.
Visit Historical Hz. Yuşa Tomb
For those who appreciate history, a visit to Hz. Yuşa Tomb in Eyüp is a must. This historic site is said to be the final resting place of the Prophet Joshua, who is known in Islam as the successor of Moses.
The tomb is not only a pilgrimage site for Muslims, but also a place of spiritual significance for followers of Abrahamic religions. While there, visitors can also explore the surrounding area, which is home to numerous other historic landmarks and cultural attractions that offer a glimpse into the rich heritage of Istanbul.
Go to Beykoz Mecidiye Pavilion (National Palaces)
This remarkable palace, constructed in the 19th century, is a true masterpiece of architecture and design. Featuring intricate carvings and frescoes, the palace’s interior is a testament to the incredible skill of the craftsmen who built it.
And the exterior is equally impressive: the pavilion is surrounded by lush gardens that offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Lindens Bloom in the Groves in June
In the month of June, the groves of Istanbul are filled with the sweet scent of linden blossoms. The linden tree, also known as the lime tree, is a deciduous tree that grows throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.
Taking a stroll through the groves during this time of year is a popular activity for both locals and tourists alike, as the sweet scent of the linden blossoms fills the air.
Learn the Amazing Story Of The Tur-I Sina Church
Tur-I Sina Church in Balat is a hidden gem that’s well worth a visit. This historic church was built in the 19th century, and is known for its stunning architecture and intricate mosaics.
Visit Kariye Mosque
Kariye Mosque in Edirnekapi is a must-visit for art lovers. This historic mosque is known for its stunning frescoes and intricate mosaics, which are among the best-preserved examples of Byzantine art in the world.
See the one-of-a-kind Stefan Sveti Church
The Stefan Sveti Church in Karaköy is a truly remarkable structure that is definitely worth a visit. Not only is it an architecturally unique and stunning piece of history, but it also has a fascinating story to tell. This church was made of cast iron and assembled in Istanbul in Vienna, which in itself is a testament to the incredible craftsmanship and engineering of the time.
As you take a leisurely stroll through the streets of Karaköy, taking in the sights and sounds of this bustling neighborhood, you’ll be struck by the sheer beauty and elegance of the Stefan Sveti Church. It’s a true masterpiece of design and engineering, and a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Istanbul.
Golden Horn View From Pierre Loti Hill
Here, you’ll be able to take in an expansive and sweeping view of the city and its surroundings, with the stunning Golden Horn as the centerpiece of your view. Whether you’re looking to catch a glimpse of the sunset or simply want to enjoy the panoramic vistas of the city, Pierre Loti Hill is the perfect place to do so.
With its peaceful and serene atmosphere, it’s also a great spot to relax and take some time to yourself!
Walk from Beşiktaş to Ortaköy!
One of the best ways to explore Istanbul is on foot. Take a leisurely stroll from Beşiktaş to Ortaköy, stopping at cafes and shops along the way. You’ll see a side of Istanbul that most tourists miss.
Pop up to Vefa Bozacisi
For a taste of traditional Turkish cuisine, head to Vefa Bozacisi. This historic restaurant has been serving up delicious food and drink since the 19th century, and is a must-visit for foodies.
Eat Delicious Fish Ekmek on Galata Bridge
For a taste of Istanbul’s famous street food, head to Galata Bridge. Here, you’ll find vendors selling freshly caught fish sandwiches, known as “balik ekmek.” Grab one to go and enjoy it while taking in the view of the Bosphorus Strait.
If you’re interested in trying some of Istanbul’s famous street food, be sure to check out A Guide to the Istanbul’s Best Street Food for some tips and recommendations. From savory kebabs to sweet treats, this guide has everything you need to know to experience the best of Istanbul’s culinary scene.
Drink a Cup of Filter in Moda Ferry Cultural Space
For a unique coffee experience, visit Moda Ferry Cultural Space. This charming cafe is located at a ferry stop and offers a range of delicious coffee drinks, stunning views, and a variety of books. Sip your coffee while taking in the gorgeous views of the city!
Visit the Starting Point of the World
History buffs won’t want to miss a visit to Sultanahmet Square. This historic square is the site of the first meridian and is considered the starting point of the world’s time zones. Snap a photo and enjoy the historic surroundings.
Visit Sabancı Museum
Art lovers won’t want to miss a visit to Sabancı Museum. This stunning museum is home to a wide range of art and artifacts, including Turkish ceramics, Ottoman calligraphy, and European paintings. Read more…
Eat Yogurt in Kanlıca, but First Go to the Mihrabat Grove
For a taste of one of Istanbul’s most famous foods, head to Kanlıca. This neighborhood is known for its delicious yogurt, which is served with sugar or honey. Before you indulge, take a stroll through the Mihrabat Grove, a peaceful park overlooking the Bosphorus.
See the Most Beautiful Sunset from Salacak
For a stunning sunset, head to Salacak. This neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul offers panoramic views of the city, and is especially beautiful at dusk. Be sure to bring your camera!
Get On The Boat From Üsküdar Beach And Go To The Maiden’s Tower!
For a unique perspective on Istanbul, take a boat to Maiden’s Tower. This historic tower is located on a small island in the Bosphorus Strait, and offers stunning views of the city. Take a tour, enjoy a meal, or just soak up the atmosphere.
Join Nature at Ataturk Arboretum
Nature lovers won’t want to miss a visit to Ataturk Arboretum. This stunning park is home to a wide range of plant species, as well as walking trails, picnic areas, and a cafe.
Stroll on Algiers Street Or Algiers Dead End
Take a leisurely stroll through Algiers Street or Algiers Dead End. These charming streets are known for their historic architecture and laid-back vibe. Stop at a cafe or shop along the way and enjoy the ambiance.
See the City from the Top of Sapphire Terrace
For a breathtaking view of the city, head to Sapphire Terrace. This observation deck offers panoramic vistas of Istanbul, including the Bosphorus Strait, the Golden Horn, and the Old City.
Find Street Art In Moda, Karaköy, Cihangir
Street art fans won’t want to miss a visit to Moda, Karaköy, and Cihangir. These neighborhoods are known for their vibrant street art scenes, with murals and graffiti covering walls and buildings throughout the area.
Visit Istanbul Butterfly Farm
For a unique experience, head to Istanbul Butterfly Farm. This indoor butterfly exhibit is home to dozens of species from around the world, and is a great place to learn about these fascinating insects.
Dive into Tea Culture
Tea is an integral part of Turkish culture, and there’s no better way to experience it than by immersing yourself in the tea culture of Istanbul. Start your journey at a traditional tea house, where you can sample a variety of teas and learn about their history and preparation.
Then, take a stroll through the streets of Istanbul and discover the many tea shops and markets that dot the city. From Turkish traditional black tea to modern flavors, you’ll find a wide range of varieties to choose from.
Try Warm Salep at Rappel
For a taste of traditional Turkish drink, head to Rappel. This charming cafe offers warm salep, a sweet and creamy beverage made from orchid root. It’s the perfect drink to warm you up on a chilly day.
Memory Of The City: Istanbul Library
Book lovers won’t want to miss a visit to Istanbul Library. This historic library is home to thousands of books, including rare and antique titles. Take your time browsing and you may just discover a hidden gem.
See the Almost 115-year-old Yeni Moda Pharmacy in 88. Moda
Step back in time with a visit to Yeni Moda Pharmacy in Moda. This historic pharmacy has been in operation for almost 115 years, and is known for its beautiful historic interior and wide range of products.
Inside The City: Maçka Democracy Park
Maçka Democracy Park is one of the most serene and tranquil parks in Istanbul, perfect for those looking for a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Located in the heart of Istanbul in Besiktas, the park offers a range of activities to visitors, including scenic walking trails, secluded picnic areas with breathtaking views, and a cozy cafe where you can relax and enjoy a cup of Turkish tea or coffee.
As soon as you step into the park, you will be greeted by lush greenery, beautiful trees, and a sense of peace and serenity that is hard to find in the city. With so much to explore and discover, you can easily spend an entire day at Maçka Democracy Park, taking in the stunning natural beauty and enjoying the fresh air.
Visit Binbirdirek and Basilica Cisterns
History buffs won’t want to miss a visit to Binbirdirek and Basilica Cisterns. These historic sites are located beneath the city streets, and are home to stunning architecture and fascinating history. Read more…
Watch Redbud Season of Flowers
In the spring, the streets of Istanbul come alive with the vibrant purple blooms of the redbud tree. Take a stroll through the city and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Istanbul is a city full of surprises, and these unique experiences are just a few of the many things to do in this vibrant destination. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, culture, or adventure, Istanbul has something for everyone. For more information on must-see places and travel tips, check out our website:
- What to See in Istanbul
- The Cats of Istanbul
- Budget-Friendly Bosphorus Tours in Istanbul (Under 3 Dollars!)
- Best Historical Places to Visit in Istanbul
- 15 Hidden Gems in Istanbul
- 12 Instagrammable Cafes in Istanbul You Can’t Miss
More Tips: How to Experience Unique Things in Istanbul like a local
Istanbul is a city that attracts millions of tourists every year, but if you want to experience the city like a local, there are plenty of ways to do so. Here are some tips on how to visit Istanbul like a non-tourist:
- Explore secret places: Istanbul is home to many secret and hidden places that are not often visited by tourists. Take the time to explore these hidden gems to get a feel for the real Istanbul. Some examples of secret places in Istanbul include the Suleymaniye Hamam, the abandoned Ortaköy Mosque, and the secret garden of the Topkapi Palace.
- Get off the beaten path: Istanbul is a city with many popular tourist attractions, such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar. While these places are certainly worth visiting, they are often crowded with tourists. To experience Istanbul like a local, get off the beaten path and explore the city’s less touristy neighborhoods, such as Balat, Fener, and Karaköy.
- Use public transportation: Istanbul has an extensive public transportation system that is cheap, reliable, and easy to use. Take the metro, bus, or ferry to get around the city like a local. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also get a chance to see parts of the city that are not accessible by taxi or tour bus.
- Eat like a local: Istanbul is famous for its street food, and there’s no better way to experience the city’s food culture than by eating like a local. Try street foods like simit, a type of sesame-covered bread, or kokoreç, grilled lamb intestines. Also, don’t miss out on the local street vendors that sell delicious Turkish ice cream.
- Attend local events: Istanbul is a city that is full of cultural events, from music festivals to art exhibitions. Attending these events is a great way to experience the city’s vibrant culture and meet locals who share your interests.
By following these tips, you can experience Istanbul like a non-tourist and get a true taste of the city’s culture and lifestyle. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s hidden gems, getting off the beaten path, or experiencing the local food and culture, Istanbul has something for everyone.
In conclusion, Istanbul is a city that offers a multitude of unique and interesting experiences for visitors. From exploring the secret and hidden gems to indulging in relaxing and fun activities, there’s a lot of things to do in Istanbul.
Whether you’re traveling alone or with friends and family, Istanbul is the perfect destination to create unforgettable memories. With so many must-see sights and must-do activities, it’s important to plan your trip carefully and make the most of your time in this incredible city.
So, if you’re looking for the best things to do in Istanbul, don’t be afraid to step off the beaten path and discover the cool and unusual places that this city has to offer. With a little bit of research and some insider tips, you’re sure to have an amazing time exploring all that Istanbul has to offer.