Istanbul – A City Where East and West Do Meet

Istanbul Attractions and Tours, Istanbul Hotels and Istanbul Things to Do:

Istanbul flag seller Follow Me on Pinterest

Istanbul flag-seller shows East and West can meet!

Istanbul is a city of many contradictions. It is Asian and European, modern and ancient, religious and secular, mystical and practical and what makes it so appealing is the co-existence of all these opposing qualities.

Visitors will find Istanbul a melting pot of many attractions.  The large variety of attractions range from grand palaces to ancient mosques, historic museums to bustling bazaars, exotic belly dancing performances to whirling dervishes.

Istanbul Attractions

Many of Istanbul’s tourist attractions are on the European side of the Bosphorus and concentrated in Sultanahmet area, once the heart of the Imperial Centre of the Ottoman Empire. Some of the main tourist sites include:

  • Hagia Sophia
  • Sultanahmet Mosgue (the Blue Mosque)
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Kapali Carsi (Covered Market)
  • Yerebatan Sarnici (the Basilica Cistern)
  • The Hippodrome
  • The Museum of Islamic Art

The Sultanahmet area is also home to a large number of hotels, interesting guest houses, cafes, restaurants, bars, souvenir and carpet shops.

Taksim Square in the Beyoğlu district is where many of the 4 and 5-star hotels are and it is also the commercial centre of Istanbul.

Things to do in Istanbul

No visit to Istanbul is complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar. It is a 15-minute walk from the Sultanahment area or you can catch the tram.

Istanbul tea vendor Follow Me on Pinterest

Tea vendor near Hagia Sophia

The Egyptian Spice Market is another of the Istanbul bazaars where visitors will be fascinated by the colours and smells of the spices and the liveliness of the market.  Some of the stallholders enjoy having a chat even if you are not in the market for their goods.

A belly-dancing performance and a Bosphorous cruise are other popular things to do enjoy.

Istanbul can be overwhelming and if you are a first-time visitor, the best thing to do is to start with an orientation tour of the city.  The Istanbul City Hop-on Hop-off tour is primarily a guided city tour on a double decker bus, however you may hop-on and off at a few selected stops enroute.

Turkey is a country of many differing features and if you have more time in Istanbul, tours to other nearby cities like Bursa, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Gallipoli and Troy are rewarding.

See all Istanbul tours HERE.
Search for Istanbul hotels, read hotel reviews and book your Istanbul hotel online HERE.

Istanbul Map

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  1. avatar says

    Istanbul is a fantastic walking city – but when you feel like you need a rest from all that walking – hop on a boat, take a seat, and enjoy the view. The Bosphorous is the life blood of Istanbul, and no visit to this city is complete without at least one trip on it. Take a short or long cruise up the Bosphorous; hop on a ferry to the Asian side; or take a trip to one of the Princes Islands.

    One hidden gem that made it to my Top 5 City Sights list, was the Archeology Museum, which is adjacent to Topkapi Palace. There’s a group of 3 museums, and the Archeology Museum with get your imagination racing. It’s well laid out, full of ancient relics, and wasn’t crowded – probably because it isn’t well signposted and it’s a bit difficult to locate. A must see!

    • avatarTony Page says

      That’s a great tip about the Archaeology Museum, Jay! I never saw that, but I’m definitely putting it on the list for my next visit.


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