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The Best Things to Do in Istanbul

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Top attractions in Istanbul

Hagia Sophia , Istanbul
4.7
Marvel at one of the most significant artistic and architectural achievements in Turkey--and the world--at Hagia Sophia. Commissioned by the
Tickets from $35
Topkapi Palace , Istanbul
4.4
Home to sultans for centuries, Topkapi Palace is a World Heritage Site with a rich history and superb Ottoman architecture. Built by Sultan M
Tickets from $35
Sultan Ahmed Mosque , Istanbul
4.5
Nicknamed for the blue tiles that adorn its interior, Sultan Ahmed Mosque represents an imposing figure in the city's history and skyline. Lo
Tours from $10
Galata Tower , Istanbul
4.3
Take in dramatic panoramic views of the city and traditional Turkish fare atop Galata Tower. A recognizable symbol of the city's skyline, the
Tours from $7
Suleymaniye Cami , Istanbul
4.9
Witness the work of famed Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan at , a majestic religious structure that dominates the Golden Horn and shares similar
Tours from $36
Trip Planner Europe  /  Turkey  /  Istanbul  /  Things to do in Istanbul

Istanbul

4.2
Most tourists flock to Turkey's cultural capital to see the legendary Hagia Sophia, but things to do in Istanbul also include many versatile activities to suit those not into cultural sightseeing. A guided food tour is a great way to experience the unique melange of influences that shaped Istanbul into what it is today. You can spend hours feasting your eyes on the colorful array of offerings and bargain with merchants at Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi), one of the world's oldest and largest covered markets. Historic Areas of Istanbul--a World Heritage Site filled with minarets and church domes--remain the city's biggest attractions, while the northern side of the natural harbor offers lively nightlife.

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Where to stay in Istanbul

The bustling downtown core of old Istanbul is the popular choice among tourists wanting a short walking distance to the city's biggest attractions. Here you'll find hostel-style accommodations and reasonably priced and traditionally decorated hotels, as well as bed and breakfasts and inns with views overlooking the sea. Though often the most affordable, accommodations in the old city can be very overrun with tourists and street solicitors. If you seek a more relaxed stay, consider lodging near Taksim Square. This new, trendy neighborhood is a short 15-20 minute ride from the old city, but puts you closer to restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Though the newer area of the city is a bit more upscale, you'll also find moderately priced hotels and some hostels. Look for luxury hotels in the western suburbs close to the airport, overlooking the banks of Bosphorus.
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