Things to do in Istanbul Travel Guide

Things to do in Istanbul Travel Guide: There is no other place on earth that quite compares to Istanbul. Istanbul is a city of many layers and contrasts due to its location on both Europe and Asia. Istanbul is a city in which the old and the new coexist, as evidenced by the proximity of historical landmarks such as Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace to teeming bars and lively cafes, mosques dating back to the Ottoman era to contemporary art museums and galleries, and traditional carpet shops to trendy boutiques.

In addition to being the transportation centre of Turkey, the city of Istanbul is also the cultural capital of the nation. It is home to a profusion of privately owned art galleries as well as restaurants that are known for their innovative cuisine. It is possible to spend weeks in Istanbul without ever seeing everything since each district has its own personality and atmosphere that sets it apart from the others.

However, this is precisely what makes it so intriguing; regardless of how much you learn, there will always be something that entices you to learn more. Prepare yourself to plunge into this intriguing city by ordering a cup of Turkish coffee and a piece of pistachio baklava and then getting set to explore the city.

Time Zone of Istanbul

The time in Turkey is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and this time zone is referred to as TRT (Turkey Time). Turkey does not implement daylight savings.

Things to do in Istanbul Travel Guide

İstanbul festivals

The schedule of yearly celebrations is often rather packed, particularly from April through October. The International Istanbul Biennial, which takes place every other year, is often regarded as the most significant exhibition of contemporary art. IKSV, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts is in charge of organising this event, and it takes place in a variety of locations, from ancient structures like the Topkap Palace to urban-chic warehouses.

International Film Festival

Films from Turkey, Europe, and Hollywood are shown first at cinemas in Istanbul, mostly in the Beyoglu district. Additionally, the city’s theatres screen the top films from the non-English-speaking globe that were released the previous year.

Tulip Festival

A celebration that lasts for a whole week and is held in honour of the national flower and include concerts, art activities, and contests at various venues all across the city. The city’s municipal government has planted almost three million bulbs, which result in the city being covered in bloom.

Relax and Unwind

Festival of dance and electronic music staged in the bizarre setting of Belgrade Forest’s ultra-exclusive Kemer Golf and Country Club.

Conquest Celebrations

Celebrations lasting a week long to commemorate the Ottoman takeover of ancient Constantinople on May 29, 1453, included performances given by the Ottoman Mehter military band, processions with participants dressed in costumes, and fireworks displays.

The International Festival of Theater

The greatest Turkish plays of the year, performed by both up-and-coming and well-established theatre companies from Turkey, as well as performances by touring companies from other countries.

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Efes Pilsen One Love

The event is often hosted in istanbul and takes place over the course of a weekend. It is considered to be of a somewhat alternative nature and has lots of DJ-led dance sets.

International Music Festival

This incredibly popular festival was first held in 1973 to commemorate Turkey’s half-century of independence. It now attracts world-renowned orchestras and artists from all over the globe to play in sites as enchanting as the cathedral of Aya Irene.

International Jazz Festival

Two weeks of performances and jam sessions with musicians of the highest calibre (with the definition of jazz stretched to include rock artists such as Lou Reed and Marianne Faithful).

Concerts held in the Rumeli Hisar Fortress

Concerts take place every night throughout the summer inside the walls of this Ottoman stronghold overlooking the Bosphorus, and the music ranges from classical to rock.

Rock N’ Coke

brings famous worldwide performers, many of whom are a bit beyond their prime, to the Grand Prix track on the Asian side of the city. This track is no longer in use.

Istanbul Arts Fair

A fair that lasts for a week and sells the work of around fifty galleries located in Istanbul as well as visiting artists from other countries. This includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and textiles.

International İstanbul Biennial

Festival of contemporary arts and media that typically takes place from the middle of September to the first week of November. Observed on even years other than 2013, 2015, etc.

Efes Pilsen Blues Festival

A late-night blues event that lasts for two days and features both up-and-coming local musicians and well-known bands from other countries.

The Best Time to Visit Istanbul

The months of spring (April to May) and fall (September to October) are ideal seasons to visit Istanbul since the weather is pleasant and sunny throughout these months. The Tulip Festival is celebrated across the city throughout the month of April, and during this time, the parks and other green places in the city are decked up with bright bulbs.

During the summer, the city is muggy and extremely hot, and most of the inhabitants leave as soon as they can to go to the beaches in the south. However, the city comes to life at night when the air cools down a little bit, and many stay out all night.

Important Information

Although Turkish is the primary language spoken in Istanbul, due to the high number of people from other countries that live there, you shouldn’t be shocked to hear people speaking other languages. Even if you don’t know Turkish, Turkish people are often pretty kind.

Shop owners, particularly in Sultanahmet, the ancient hub of Istanbul, will frequently encourage you to sit down and have a cay, a little tulip-shaped cup of strong black tea.

Currency is Turkish Lira (TL)

Language: Turkish

The dialling code is +90.

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Best Hotels in Things to do in Istanbul Travel Guide

Corinne Hotel

Because of its location in the middle of Beyolu, Istanbul’s nightlife and entertainment zone, the Corinne Hotel is an excellent choice for those who want to get a feel for the vibrancy of the city. The boutique hotel is located in a late-Ottoman neoclassical edifice that has been painstakingly renovated.

It has a meandering marble staircase in addition to fashionable and modern facilities. Do not pass up the opportunity to have a drink on the rooftop terrace, which is the ideal setting from which to watch Istanbul come alive below.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski

The Ciragan Palace is the most luxury hotel in all of Istanbul, and it is located on the European bank of the Bosphorus Strait. The hotel is housed in an exquisite old Ottoman palace. The Ciragan has an outdoor pool with a view of the infinity edge, a luxurious spa that includes a Turkish hamam, and upscale dining options. The Ciragan is the place to go if you want to have an experience in Istanbul that is comparable to that of Ottoman royalty.

Pera Palace Hotel

The Pera Palace hotel is a vast Art Nouveau beauty that was created for tourists on the Orient Express and throughout the years has welcomed notable guests such as Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, and Queen Elizabeth II. Modern luxury and Turkish history come together at this hotel. The Pera Palace may be found in close proximity to Istiklal Caddesi, the most important street in Istanbul. The five-star hotel has 115 rooms, a variety of restaurants and bars, as well as a spa and fitness centre that are both well equipped.

Splendid Palace Hotel

This stunning hotel can be found on Istanbul’s largest island, and it exudes early Republic charm while managing to be both contemporary and quaintly retro at the same time. One of the highlights of the property is an outdoor pool, at which guests may lazily pass away the day in the warm weather. Bright and airy, each of the hotel’s 60 guest rooms and 9 suites is designed to seem like an island retreat despite its location in the heart of the city.

Best Restaurants in Istanbul


Mikla, which is known for its innovative take on traditional cuisine and was founded by the renowned Turkish-Scandinavian chef Mehmet Gurs, has for a long time been considered to be one of the finest restaurants in Istanbul. The rooftop restaurant of the Marmara Pera Hotel has views that are just as breathtaking as the cuisine served there. If you want to get a feel for the breadth of Mikla’s unique culinary creations, the tasting menu is the way to go. It is suggested that you make a reservation. There are food options accessible both indoors and out.

Akin Balik

This apparently run-down eatery comes to life at night, sparkling with the illumination of string lights and lanterns hanging from the ceiling.

Few More Things to do in Istanbul

Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia is a structure that has been used for a variety of purposes throughout the course of its history, including as a Byzantine church, an Ottoman mosque, a secular museum, and most recently as a mosque once again.

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The laws of the mosques in Turkey must be respected, and visitors are expected to dress suitably; nonetheless, there is no longer a price to view the world’s most impressive palimpsest of a structure. Many of the well-known mosaics and frescoes may still be seen, despite the fact that parts of them have been covered over.

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower, which dates back to the 14th century and was constructed by the Genoese, is a prominent feature of the skyline in Istanbul. Climb to the summit for some of the most breathtaking views over the city, particularly after sunset.

Kilic Ali Pasa Hamam

The traditional Turkish bath, also known as a hamam, is a particularly opulent experience, and one that can be had in its entirety at the Kilic Ali Pasa Hamam. While you work up a sweat on the marble floor of the beautifully renovated historic building, you’ll be left with a spotless finish.

Weather of Istanbul

The weather in Istanbul during the winter is often cloudy and wet, with temperatures ranging from 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the fact that the weather is less than perfect, the city exudes a sense of warmth and cosiness thanks to the street sellers who sell chestnuts that have been cooked over an open fire and the restaurants that serve hot tea in the form of tulips.

The season of spring is characterised by the appearance of the sun and temperatures that range from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and are often mild. Flowers may be found everywhere throughout the city, from scented jasmine to the bright pink blooms that spring forth from Judas trees. Even if it may be a bit cool at the beginning of the end of spring, everyone still sits outdoors to take advantage of the sun.

Summer: The long, muggy, and congested days of Istanbul’s summer often feature temperatures that hover around 85 degrees Fahrenheit and have a humidity level of around 70 percent. The sea that surrounds the city is the city’s saviour; the wind from the Bosphorus while riding a transcontinental boat or a dip in the Sea of Marmara from Istanbul’s islands may take the edge off the oppressive heat.

Autumn: The weather in Istanbul during autumn is mild and pleasant. Both the humidity and the temperature go down throughout the fall, with the former remaining at a pleasant 65 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the beginning of the season and the latter dropping to roughly 60 degrees Fahrenheit by the end. This is the most favourable time of year to visit Istanbul.

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