Best of Istanbul

Best of Istanbul is not a short list. I wrote it first and I tried to cut it in half or so.. But still, "the Queen of cities" is full of never ending possibilities.

Istanbul is mind blowing.

I've been living here since 1995 and I have to admit, there are still some things that I didn't do and places I haven't been yet..

Actually this list doesn't cover everything. But you can find all other things that can be considered "Best of"s on other pages.


Make sure you try these;

  • learn a few words in Turkish just to see the sparkling in the eyes of your Turkish friend while chatting with you,
  • pop into local bakeries [patisseries] to buy simit or pogaca and make a feast for our eyes with all the delicious and beautiful pastries,
  • join the bus tour of Istanbul from the Sultanahmet (audio guide provided in English). This is a great introduction to the city,
  • see the forests of centuries old and mansions in them which belonged to sultans,
  • go to one of the gorgeous hamams for a local spa experience,
  • have a dinner in one of the many “meyhane”s for a taste of Turkish kind of a night-out and the delicious “meze”s,
  • discover the unique Bosphorus Strait with splendid bridges over it and lovely coastline with charming fishermen’s villages,
  • have a day in one of the tranquille Prince Islands which are reachable in 20 minutes by a lovely sea trip,
  • go to local cafes and bistros,
  • taste the world famous Turkish delight,
  • taste the delicious Turkish wines,
  • drink exquisite Turkish beer: Efes Pilsen,
  • drink Vefa bozası, in Vefa,
  • go to tea gardens, for a real tea experience,
  • listen to live music in one of the night clubs in Istanbul,
  • go to an open-air concert in Cemil Topuzlu Open Air,
  • visit some of the delightful, old neighborhoods of Istanbul,
  • go out for dinner in a restaurant, and enjoy the exquisite flavors created by Turkish chefs,
  • shop in a deli,
  • sit in a pastry shop and smell the amazing smells that leads you to a sugar crisis,
  • see the cool energy museum and cultural center of “Santralistanbul”,
  • visit the modern art museum, “Istanbul Modern” on the Bosphorus shore at Tophane, near Karakoy,
  • smoke nargile in Tophane, near Karakoy,
  • Taste the famous, creamy "Kanlica Yogurdu" (Yoghurt) in Kanlica (a Bosphorus fishing village on Bosphorus, Asian Side),
  • Have a breakfast at Rumelihisarı in one of the shorefront cafes, next to the Rumeli Forest along the Bosphorus Strait, with a fantastic view of the glittering backdrop of the Asian continent just across the water,
  • Shop in Kanyon Mall in Levent for a feast of architecture,
  • Attend to a Sema ceremony in Galata Mevlevihanesi (an old Sufi lodge) and get dizzy by the whirls of the whirling dervishes,


Did you know?

Blue Mosque is the only mosque with six minarets and is one of the most significant mosques in İstanbul.

These are the Best of Istanbul in a nutshell, besides the ones that I covered on other pages..

I will be adding new things to this list now and then, so you might want to check it once in a while.

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