The city of Istanbul is one of the world’s greatest metropolises. It spans over two continents, (Europe and Asia), and is full of glorious remnants from its rich history, markets, museums and culinary delights. Therefore, it’s understandable that you would want to see and experience as much as possible of what Istanbul has to offer.

Read our blog post: The Mystery of Istanbul

1. Aya Sofya

The Aya Sofya (formerly the Hagia Sophia) is a splendid orthodox church which was turned into a mosque, then years later it was converted into a museum. Aya Sofya is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture.

2. Topkapı Palace

Built in the 15th century by Mehmet the Conqueror, the sultans of the Ottoman Empire have ruled from this glorious palace near Bosphorus up until the 19th century. The vast construction is a grand display of Islamic architecture.

3. Blue Mosque

The mosque caused a great furore when it was finished in 1616 because it had 6 minarets (the same as the Great Mosque of Mecca). It gets its nickname from the thousands of iznik tiles it has.

4. Basilica Cistern

This enormous underground hall is supported by 336 columns in 12 rows, and one stored the imperial water supply. One of the most famous column bases are the ones with Medusa Head carvings.

5. Little Aya Sofya

This is the miniature version of the Aya Sofya, built before the original to test out if the building structure would work.

6. Hippodrome

This ancient hippodrome completed in 330 AD was a centre of Byzantine public life. Today only a few parts of the Hippodrome remain intact in the Mydani park.

7. Istanbul Archaeology Museums

This important museum complex is comprised of an impressive number of artefacts from Turkey and the Middle East.

8. Grand Bazaar

This vast covered up market can easily be considered the world’s first mall, seeing as it takes up a whole city quarter. Here you can shop for things at cheaper prices, but be careful not to get lost in the maze of shops and stalls.

9. Süleymaniye Mosque

10. Spice Bazaar

Much like the Grand Bazaar, this market is a prime tourist attraction for those that are into culinary delights. Here you can taste a wide variety of lokum (Turkish Delight), nuts, herbs and spices.

11. Dolmabahçe Palace

This magnificently decorated palace shows a clear use of European architecture and design. The interior is a blend between Rococo, Baroque, Neoclassical and Ottoman elements.

12. Chora Church

This 5th century church is famous for its vibrant mosaics and frescoes. These depict a wide range of themes from the genealogy of Christ to the New testament stories.

13. Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

This museum has many Ottoman and Islamic works of art, such as ceramics, calligraphy, wood carvings and a large number of carpets, that range in date from the 9th century AD to the 19th century.

14. Rüstem Paşa Mosque

This mosque has the most stunning perfectly preserved iznik tiles in the city. Covering both the interior and the exterior, these extremely intricate hand painted tiles need to be admired close-up.

15. Yedikule Fortress

Once a part of Constantinople’s defensive walls, this 5th century fortress is a great place to view the superb waters of the Sea of Marmara.

16. Galata Tower

This Genoese tower offers great views of almost all of Istanbul. Visiting it is a must for those that want a great picture of the city.

17. Pera Museum

Istanbul’s most famous art gallery has a fine collection of Ottoman-era paintings as well as other objects from that era.

18. İstiklal Caddesi

This bustling pedestrian zone is filled with restaurants and cafes. The lower end of the street can be reached by taking the world’s oldest underground railway.

19. Bosphorus bridge and Bosphorus strait

Bosphorus strait separates Europe from Asia, and the Bosphorus bridge unites them. The strait is full of boats and ships and has amazing waterfront palaces and houses on both banks.

20. Miniaturk

The Miniaturk Park has all the most well-known and popular tourist attractions of Istanbul and Turkey, but in miniature.

Guide tip:
Istanbul is a huge city and with a long list of impressive attractions. Taking a tour is the best way of seeing all the attractions without having to deal with all the stress and hassle that usually comes along with planning a visit. Laluz Tour is an excellent option that will ensure you see and learn about the most important attractions.