1. Discover Sultanahmet, a district drenched in history
Sultanahmet, the center of the Ottoman Empire, the place of departure of the Eastern Roman Empire, is the first stop for Turkish or foreign tourists in Istanbul. Aside from Sultanahmet Square, some other must-see places are the Haghia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque, Basilica Cistern, the Grand Bazaar and the Archaeology Museum. After your Sultanahmet tour hear to the square and grab a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant, make sure you try delicious Sultanahmet köfte (meatballs).
2. Cool down on a refreshing Bosphorus Tour
Explore the Bosphorus of Istanbul, a beautiful natural strait that separates the European and Asian continents, on ferries that depart daily from certain districts. There are tours than last up to 2 hours and tours that last for 6. On these tours you can see symbolic historic sightings, such as Galata Tower, Topkapı Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace, Çırağan Palace, 15 Temmuz Şehitler Bridge, Rumeli Hisarı, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, Anadolu Hisarı, Kuleli Askeri Highschool, Beylerbeyi Palace, Kız Kulesi (Maiden Tower) as well as the beautiful summer houses that line the shore.
3. Explore one of the world’s oldest settlements, Haliç (Golden Horn)
Begin your Haliç (Golden Horn) tour at the Kariye Museum, then head to the Aynalıkavak Manison and Eyüp Sultan Mosque. You can also stop by Cibali, Aya Nikola Greek Orthodox Church, Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, Fener Greek Highschool, Sveti Stefan Bulgararian Church, Ahrida Synagogue, Vlaherna Ayazma and Church. If you want to discover the entirety of Istanbul in a single hour, then head to MiniaTurk; Where you can view 135 Turkish, European, Anatolian and Ottoman miniatures covering an area of 60 thousand square meters. The boats tours in Haliç drop by Eminönu and Balat, great places to shop.
4. Go Shopping!
Istanbul has been a trading city for centuries and remains a shopping heaven. At the historic bazaars, The Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar and Arasta Bazaar you can find plenty of vibrant products. The Grand Bazaar and Arasta Bazaar are ideal for local presents, cloth, precious Stones, antiques and carpets. The Spice Bazaar for natural medicines, herbs, seeds, spices and local ingredients. Nişantaşı is a high-end shopping district, that has an abundance of luxury shop. If you are looking for designer and secondhand clothing stores, then head to Karaköy, Moda and Balat.
5. Swim at the Princes Islands
It wakes around 20 minutes to reach Büyükada, Heybeliada ya da Burgazada from Bostancı, Kadıköy, Kartal and Beşiktaş. At Büyükada, you can visit the Rum Orphanage and the Aya Yorgi Greek Monastery. Burgazada is home to the Aya Yani Church and the Hristos Monastery. When it comes to Heybeliada, some must-see spots are: Triada Monastery and Church, Aya Yorgi Church and Sanatorium. Aside from exploring these historical places you can escape the heat of Istanbul and have a refreshing day at the beach. Make sure to stop by the restaurants on the seashore, that are famous for fish and sage tea.
6. Visit Beyoğlu; A district steeped in history, entertainment and shops
Beyoğlu is famous for entertainment and shopping, but it has a historical richness too. There are numerous mosques, churches and historical buildings for you to discover, starting with. Galata Tower, Çiçek Pasage, Galatasaray Hamam (Turkish Bath), Mısır Apartmant, Doğan Apartmant and Tünel Geçidi (Tunnel Crossing). The places of worship to discover in this district are: Cihangir Mosque, Firuz Ağa Mosque and Ağa Mosque, Aya Triada Church, Armenian Üç Horan Church, St. Antuan Church, Santa Maria Church, Kırım (Anglican Church), Saint Peter and Paul Church. If you are looking for some fun in Beyoğlu, stop by the Fransız Street, Balık Pazar (Fish Market) and Nevizade Street. You can discover all these places by wandering up İstiklal Street or take the two-wagonette, red-white, wooden tramway that has been in use since 1875.
7. The unforgettable cuisine of Istanbul
Istanbul was a capital of two great empires, the bridge of the silk road and a city of culture and trade, and this incredible culmination of cultures has left its mark on the cuisine. Start your day with a warm simit (a sesame coated bagel) or with a traditional Turkish breakfast, then try a fish sandwich in Eminönü or Karaköy. Before the match, eat a jacket potato or chicken and rice in Ortaköy, or try the specialties of Turkish cuisine, on your way to the stadium in Beşiktaş. If you are feeling peckish after the match, there are kokoreç, midye dolma (stuffed mussels), and köfte (meatballs) stands; The perfect end to an exciting evening.