Istanbul (not Constantiplobe, as The Four Lads song makes clear!) is one of the world’s most intriguing, enigmatic, and captivating cities to exist on Earth.  While there are plenty of other exciting cities you can visit for vacation, there is a je ne sais quoi that makes Istanbul so exciting.  From its ancient history as the final remnants of the Roman Empire to the Ottoman Empire and onto the modern secular metropolis it stands as today, Istanbul has always been a melting pot of cultures.  As the crossroads between Europe and Asia, the city stands as a tribute to human civilization and ingenuity.  So with all of that hype out of the way, what can you actually do there? As you might imagine, finding things to do in a city of such magnitude is challenging as you want to budget your time efficiently.  This post will explore but a few of the most exciting and fascinating activities you can do when you visit the wonderful, the amazing, the one and only…Istanbul!

Visit The Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace is a must-see when you’re in Istanbul. Located on the shores of the glorious Bosphorus, this beautiful palace was home to the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries.  Here, you’ll find incredible architectural details and learn more about the grandeur of life during that period.  However, if you plan to visit this historical marvel (and you should), it’s essential to book your Topkapi Palace tickets in advance to avoid the long lines that tend to accumulate outside locations of such historical importance.  Once you’re inside, one of the main attractions you should make a beeline toward is the Harem, where concubines lived in opulent luxury and intrigue played out between courtiers.  From these chambers, you can also catch glimpses of the beautiful courtyards and gardens of the place grounds, which also happen to be perfect for an afternoon stroll!

Take A Bosphorus Cruise

A trip to Istanbul is simply not complete without a Bosphorus cruise.  As one of the world’s most formidable waterways, it connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea and is constantly filled with ships and luxury liners.  On your cruise, you’ll see some of Istanbul’s best sights, including fortresses, castles, and ancient ruins along the banks of its coastline.  Plus, the natural beauty of its sunsets will leave a lasting impression on you and your travel companions.  The cruise can last anywhere from a couple of hours to an entire day, depending on your choice.  There are also overnight cruises if you want to make your trip even more romantic.  Whichever you pick, prepare to be dazzled by the mixture of dazzling skyscrapers and historical monuments as they pass by.  Depending on your chosen cruise, you may even end the night with a fantastic traditional meal at one of Istanbul’s many restaurants, leading nicely to the next point!

Fun Things You Should Do While In Istanbul

Indulge In The Delicious Turkish Cuisine

While Turkey might be famous for plenty of things, its cuisine sets it apart from other nations.  With the perfect blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors, Turkish dishes offer something delicious for everyone.  In fact, because of its unique location and history, the food has evolved over time to resemble a mixture of Steppe, Indian, European, and myriad other cuisines, making it utterly unique.  From the creamy, flaky baklava to the juicy shish kebabs, there’s so much variety that it’s hard to choose just one favorite dish! Moreover, there are plenty of options for vegetarians as the city is not only cosmopolitan enough to cater to all diets, but the cuisine has a natural propensity to lend itself to vegetarian options when the need arises.  Another great way to experience Turkish food is through culinary lessons that you can book online or find when you’re in the city.  You can learn all about the fascinating Turkish spices, seasonings, and techniques the average Turk uses to create dishes fit for a king (or Sultan, as the case might be!)  The best part of these lessons is that you will visit local markets and bazaars to find the ingredients you need, and you can take the lesson home and continue cooking your favorite dishes.

Visit The Grand Bazaar For The Best Souvenirs (As Well As A Glimpse Into Humanity)

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s oldest and most iconic markets.  With over 4,000 shops selling everything from leather foods to carpets to jewellery, it’s a shopping paradise that can’t be missed.  Compared to other bazaars in the city, The Grand Bazaar offers more variety and a unique experience that includes glass-blowing artisans and fortune tellers! Imagine strolling through these ancient cobbled passages and immersing yourself in an atmosphere filled with spices, exotic fabrics, lamps, and handmade glassware… it’s truly a sight to behold! Beyond its fantastic variety of goods, The Grand Bazaar provides an opportunity to observe Humanity doing what it does best and even the chance to practice your haggling skills if you’re brave enough.  If you’re able to bargain successfully, you’ll walk away with a great deal for souvenirs or gifts that will elicit more profound memories when you’re back home.

Fun Things You Should Do While In Istanbul

Enjoy A Traditional Turkish Bath

Enjoying a traditional Turkish bar during your stay in Istanbul is one of the most memorable experiences you can have.  It is a great way to relax and an excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with the city’s rich history and culture.  You can immerse yourself in exotic aromas, purifying steam rooms, hot stone massage treatments, and much more at the centuries-old Turkish baths.  First off, the atmosphere of a classical Turkish bathhouse is something special.  These historic locations open up into large interior spaces that feature marble floors and jacuzzi pools with steamy clouds rising from their depths like a dry sauna atmosphere.  In addition, many of her private session rooms where multisensory therapies such as aromatherapy incorporate fragrant oils like lavender or cedarwood and traditional folk songs explicitly designed for inducing relaxation.  The experience culminates in a quaint tea Lounge where you will be invited to enjoy light refreshments after your bath while socializing with other guests and relaxing in comfortable lounging areas.

Istanbul has something to offer you no matter what vacationer you are.  From iconic landmarks and exciting neighborhoods to great food and cultural experiences, there’s something to make everyone happy here.  Wonderful things await your arrival in Istanbul; make sure to enjoy every moment and have a great time!