Famous for its architecture and cultural heritage, Istanbul is one of the most enchanting cities in the world. The capital of Turkey offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities and straddles both Asia and Europe across the Bosphorus Strait.
Istanbul used to be the capital of the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire. Its strategic location brought many armies here including Venetians, Greeks, and Romans, but in the end, Ottomans took over and claimed the city as their own. At the beginning of the 17th century, Istanbul was the second most populous city in the world right after Beijing.
Things to do in Istanbul
1 Visit the Suleymaniye Mosque
The most renowned landmark in the city, the Suleymaniye Mosque is a place of worship that attracts thousands of tourists each day. Inside the mosque, you will find incredible towering domed ceilings which are inscribed with Arabic art. If you are planning to visit the largest mosque in the city, make sure to dress respectfully.
2 Get Your Foodie Fix at Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı)
A visit to the amazing Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı) is one of the best ways to learn about the local cuisine. Here, you will find many Turkish delights including a variety of dried fruits, herbs, nuts, and spices. Keep in mind that this market is one of the most popular attractions in the city and can get ridiculously crowded at certain times. The best time to visit the Spice Bazzar is before 11 in the morning.
3 Explore Istanbul’s Parks
Although Istanbul is not famous for its green spaces, there are several great parks worth visiting here. One of the largest parks in the city, Emirgan Park overlooks the Bosphorus and houses dozens of playgrounds for kids, jogging tracks, and public pavilions. If you wish to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the center of Istanbul, head out to Belgrad Forest where you will find dozens of picnic areas and running trails.
Best Time to Visit Istanbul
The best time to visit Istanbul is in spring and fall. The weather is pleasant during these seasons with the average temperature of 15°C and the room rates are average. From June to August, the accommodation prices tend to increase and there are more tourists on the streets.
Reaching Istanbul by air is very easy as many airlines have daily flights to the capital of Turkey. There are two main International airports here: Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Kurtkoy on the Asian side and Ataturk Airport on the European side.