Exploring historic Istanbul

Heading to Turkey? Check out these tips on things to see and do when in Istanbul.

Istanbul has a rich and varied history which has seen it being involved in major political, cultural and religious events for well over 2,000 years.

Blue mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

And while this makes the city a particularly fascinating one to visit, it can pose something of a problem to visitors, as cramming two millenniums’ worth of art, architecture, artefacts and general sightseeing into a few days, or even a fortnight, is a tall order.

So here are our suggestions of what to see and eat and how to try to get the most out of Istanbul, however long your trip is.

What to do

Top of anyone’s to-do list in Istanbul should be the Topkapi Palace, which served as the hub of the Ottoman Empire for over three centuries. It’s recommended you put aside at least half a day to truly appreciate the lavish buildings which include the stunning Imperial gate, the church of Haghia Irene and the dramatic Imperial Treasury.

For culture vultures

As a former European Capital of Culture, Istanbul has plenty to offer those seeking some high-end entertainment, including galleries, museums and concerts. If you’ve only got limited time then the Istanbul Archaeology Museums offers three in one.

With over one million objects spread between the three buildings, spanning almost all eras of history there’s certainly something to suit everyone.

Sweet treats at the spice market – Istanbul

What to eat

With so much to see and do in Istanbul it’s a good job that some of the best food can be purchased on the go from street stalls. To combine your dining experience with some sightseeing head to the Grand Bazaar where you’ll find a wide range of eateries serving kebabs and an array of delicious salads against the busy backdrop of the market.

If you fancy a break mid afternoon then why not stop for dessert? Kunefe, a delicious blend of pastry and soft cheese flavoured with rose water or orange blossom, is one of the most popular sweet treats and will certainly give you an energy boost for more exploring.

What to drink

Turkey is famous for its strong, dark coffee which is meant to be drunk in a few short sips, meaning you’ll have no difficulty fitting in a few over the course of your trip.

In the evening why not try a Raki, or Lion’s Milk as it is sometimes known. This strong, anise-flavoured spirit is traditionally served with cold water and ice. We recommend enjoying one at a rooftop bar overlooking the Bosphorus.

Moment you’ll never forget

One of the best things about Istanbul has got to be enjoying some pampering in the traditional hamams. There are around 20 located around the city including the oldest and largest, Tahtakale Hamami which dates back to the 15th century.

After a visit to the hamam you’ll be bathed, scrubbed and massaged and feeling like a new person. Ready to enjoy the rest of your holiday!

We’ve just released our new Turkey brochure, packed with new tours and holidays to Turkey and beyond. Order yours now: https://www.onthegotours.com/Brochure

4 comments on “Exploring historic Istanbul

  1. Istanbul – very enticing!

  2. Abdul Gaffoor Dalvie

    November 27, 2012 at 11:16 am Reply

    Did the “Turkey Unplugged” tour from 9 to 18 November 2012. An absolutely beautiful and awesome country with Istanbul the Jewel in the Crown. Enjoyed every second of the tour. Breathtakingly and Absolutely Fantastic.

  3. If one want to explore completely different culture then Istanbul should be visited.
    Great Place!!
    Complete IT Services

  4. I found Istanbul very nice place to visit, one of my friend recently visit there and share her experiences.

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