More and more of us are travelling to Turkey this year, and what better way to spend your time than in the country’s cultural hub – Istanbul.
If you’d rather spend your holiday on your feet, soaking up the sights than on your back, soaking up the sun, then Istanbul is the place you need to be.
But don’t just take my word for it. I’ve put together some of Istanbul’s best attractions, so you can see for yourself why Turkey is such a popular holiday destination this year.
Hagia Sophia Museum
You can visit this attraction over and over, and still be as fascinated by the history and architecture as the first time you laid eyes on it.
Referred to as “the eighth wonder of the world”, Hagia Sophia is without a doubt one of Istanbul’s most impressive sites.
The current Hagia Sophia is the third construction, and the first dates back to the period (527-565), under the order of Emperor Justinianos.
A former mosque and church, the most interesting part of this visit is the history, and the best way to absorb this is with a guide that can give context to everything you see around you.
At the moment the building is having some work done inside, however you can still admire much of the inside and out.
The cost of tickets is 40 TL. You can find more information about Hagia Sophia, and book your tickets online in advance.
Istanbul is a city of palaces and Dolmabache Palace is one of the most fascinating.
Fourteen tons worth of gold leaves, 131 handmade silk carpets and the largest chandelier in the world gifted by Queen Victoria herself decorate this royal building, so it’s needless to say it is one of the most glamorous palaces ever built.
Enjoy a guided tour to see the iconic crystal staircase and the breath taking Grand Ceremonail Hall.
Afterwards you can enjoy a walk around the palace gardens, where you’re sure to find a nice restaurant with views of the Bosphorus coast.
Buying the ‘all in’ ticket at 40 TL gets you a guided tour of the palace which lasts around 30 minutes. For more information click here.
Located in the centre of historical sites, you can enjoy this beautiful park with a view of Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.
Whatever you plan to do with your day, Sultanahmet Square is a great starting point, or even a great place to wind down after a busy day of sight seeing.
This serene and peaceful attraction is blooming with flowers everywhere, and makes for a nice stroll both day and night, as lights illuminate the fountains and surrounding landmarks later on in the day.
And what better way to enjoy the sun and take in the sights than with traditional Turkish Icecream?
There’s no cost for entry, but you can find out more about Sultanahmet Square and surrounding attractions by clicking here.
Blue Mosque is one of the most important structures of the city. It’s outstanding characteristic is that more than 20 thousand blue, green and white tiles are used to decorate the interior.
An interesting fact is that it it the only mosque in Turkey with 6 minarets. The domes of this mosque have been adorned with dominantly blue hand drawings, and that’s how it was given its name.
The building truly showcases a grand element of history and is considered one of the most emblematic places in Istanbul.
Entry is free of charge, but if you wish to do so you can make a donation to help with maintenance, where you will receive an official receipt.
You can find out more about Blue Mosque before your visit by clicking here.
The Grand Bazaar
Around half a million people stop by The Grand Bazaar every day, and it’s easy to see why from the historical texture that lines the labyrinth of streets with more than three thousand traditional Turkish shops.
Resembling a small city, this is the world’s oldest and biggest bazaar, located right in the centre of Istanbul.
You can spend hours shopping in here for things you can only find in Istanbul. You won’t be charged to enter, but I can guarantee you’ll leave with a real desire to take everything you find home.
Take a sneak peek of what the Grand Bazaar has in store for you by clicking here.