COVID-19: Stay up to date with our coverage on the coronavirus pandemic. Read more >



What to see in Istanbul

Istanbul Attractions

Istanbul's most prominent attractions are of the architectural variety, a selection of formidable and historical structures that make sightseeing in Istanbul educational as well as visually rewarding.

Sightseeing in Istanbul offers attractions such as the Hagia Sophia, a huge museum and former cathedral, that is adorned with stunning mosaics. Another iconic Istanbul attraction is the Blue Mosque, with its graceful minarets and tiered domes. The 1st century Sunken Palace is supported by hundreds of underground columns, an essential Istanbul landmark.

While sightseeing in Istanbul, Galata Tower offers visitors a 360º panoramic view of the old town. Nearby, the 5th century Land Walls stand testament to the city's resistance of its 1453 conquest by the Ottoman Empire. The Covered Bazaar, or Kapali Carsi, is the oldest and biggest enclosed bazaar in the world, a must-see while in Istanbul.

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

Commonly known as the Blue Mosque, the Sultan Ahmet Camii is one of the most striking structures on the Istanbul skyline. Constructed as an Islamic rival to the Hagia Sophia in 1609, its…

read more

Dolmabahce Palace

The Dolmabahce Palace was home to six Sultans from 1856, when it was first inhabited, up until the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924. The last royal to live here was Caliph Abdulmecid Efendi,…

read more

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is a medieval stone tower in the Galata, Karakoy quarter of Istanbul, sitting north of the Golden Horn inlet to the Bosphorus. Called Galata Kulesi in Turkish, it was erected…

read more

Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi)

The oldest and biggest enclosed bazaar in the world, Kapalicarsi is one of the most enticing and mesmerizing attractions in Istanbul. Also known as the Grand Bazaar, it consists of a vast…

read more

Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

The massive Hagia Sophia is one of Istanbul's most popular attractions, famous for its impressive size, remarkable architecture, and beautiful mosaics and frescoes. It was commissioned as a cathedral…

read more


The ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople was built between 200 and 300 as a stadium for horse racing, chariot racing, and other amusements. Seating up to 100,000 people, there isn't much…

read more

Sunken Palace

Also known as the Underground Cistern or Yerebatan Saray, this eerie cavern was built by Constantine the Great around 532 AD and is supported by 336 columns below ground. Once as a location…

read more

Topkapi Palace Museum

Built by Mehmet the Conqueror as a sultan's palace, the Topkapi Sarayi consists of a collection of buildings arranged around several interconnecting courtyards. Situated on one of the seven…

read more

Turkish and Islamic Art Museum

The grand 16th century palace of the sultan's Grand Vizier, Ibrahim Pasa, today houses the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, containing what many consider to be the greatest collection of…

read more


Become our Istanbul Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Istanbul travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Istanbul or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.