Istanbul is definitely no longer the bargain tourist destination it once was, with some of its tourist attractions even topping the prices of those in Scandinavia! Accommodation offers good value for money and the inner city transportation is efficient and not too expensive, but some of its attractions are quite pricey and the fact that Istanbul has too many of them can really add up to costs. And clubbing in Istanbul (depending on the area) can really blow your budget!

This list will be primarily focused at attractions and events;

FESTIVALS/EVENTS

Children’s Day

A public holiday dedicated to children of Turkey and the world is celebrated annually every April 23rd. Besides performances at stadiums, Turkey is also the host of the “TRT International April 23 Children’s Festival” which gathers children from all over the world who are invited to stay at Turkish families’ homes. They get the opportunity to interact with Turkish kids and learn about each other’s countries and cultures.

Orthodox Easter

Celebrated by the Greek Orthodox community in Fener.

Akbank Short Film Festival

Besides the screenings of films from all over the world, the festival also includes workshops and conferences.

Anniversary of Atatürk’s death

On the 10th November at 9.05, a minute’s silence is held to commemorate the death of the founder of Turkish republic.

ATTRACTIONS

(by area)

Sultanahmet Area

– All mosques; Blue Mosque, Küçük Ayasofya Camii (Little Hagia Sophia), Sokollu Mehmed Paşa Camii

– Hippodrome

– Çemberlitaş

– or you can stroll along Arasta Bazaar

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

The area around Topkapi Palace

In this area you can:

– Sit on a bench and watch the passers-by at the Gülhane Parkı

– Wander through Soğukçeşme Sokak (Street of the Cold Fountain)

– Visit Caferağa Medresesi

– Visit Sirkeci Railway Station which once was the last stop of Orient Express

– Go inside the Yeni Camii (New Mosque)

– Walk across the Galata Bridge

Sirkeci Railway Station Istanbul

Sirkeci Railway Station

Baazar District

– All mosques; Nuruosmaniye Mosque, Beyazit Camii, Süleymaniye Camii, Şehzade Mehmet Camii, Zeyrek Camii, Rüstem Pasha Camii

– Get lost at the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar

– See Beyazit Square and Istanbul University

– See one of the most famous landmarks of the city- Aqueduct of Valens

– Stroll through Sahaflar Çarşısı (Book Bazaar)  (for the literature lovers)

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Grand Bazaar

Western Districts

– All mosques; Fatih Camii, Mihrimah Sultan Camii, Fethiye Camii, Sultan Selim Camii, Eyüp Sultan Camii

– See Tekfur Sarayi

– Visit the Church of St. Mary of the Mongols and the Church of St. Stephen of the Bulgars

– Visit the Ahrida Synagogue

– Visit the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate

Galata and Tophane Area

– All mosques; Azarkapi Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Camii and Arap Camii

– Walk up the Kamondo Stairs

– Visit the Church of St. Peter & Paul

– Visit Neve Shalom Synagogue

İstiklal

– Visit Christ Church and Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage)

or even better;

– Get inside the Pera Palas Hotel whose guests were Agatha Christie and Greta Garbo

– Wander around Taksim Square- the heart of modern Istanbul

Stroll along the İstiklal street

Istiklal avenue

Istiklal avenue

Beşiktaş

– Visit Ortaköy Camii

– Walk through Yildiz Parki

Üsküdar

– All mosques; Atik Valide Camii, Çinili Camii, Yeni Valide Camii, Şemsi Paşa Camii

– See Mimar Sinan Çarşisi

– Enjoy the view from the highest point of the city- Camlica Hill

– Visit the Florence Nightingale Museum

Uskudar, Istanbul

Uskudar neighborhood

Kadıköy

– Walk along the glamorous Bağdat Caddesi

Bagdat avenue Istanbul

Bagdat avenue

ARTS

Free Art galleries

– Galeri Nev

– Galerist

– SALT

– Proje4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art

Other interesting reads;

Mosques of Istanbul

All I ever wanted to know about Ottoman Architecture

Istanbul in photos