Istanbul, known as the city of a thousand mosques, seven hills or one thousand and one nights and in which all the adjectives are few to describe this incredible city, bridge between Asia and Europe. With a perfect mix between the cultures of the East and the West, full of people, color and movement, as if it were all a great bazaar, it is a city that must be traveled once in a lifetime. Feel the call to prayer in mosques, visit Hagia Sophia, get lost in the bazaars, visit palaces, watch a sunset from Pierre Loti or a walk on the Bosphorus, are some of the many things to see and do in Istanbul.
We have made a list of 50 things to see and do in Istanbul, which seem most essential to us on a first visit, based on our trip to Turkey in which we spent 4 days touring the city. We start!
1. Get lost and haggle at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, one of the largest bazaars in the world and one of the best tips for traveling to Turkey.
2. Enter the Süleymaniye Mosque, the largest in Istanbul where we will find in the garden the mausoleums of Suleiman I the magnificent and his wife.
3. Shelter from the heat and look for the two Medusa heads in the Basilica Cistern.
4. Eat a good kebbab and drink Raki, a famous aniseed liquor in Turkey, at the Why Not restaurant.
5. Reach Taksim Square, the heart of the modern part of Istanbul, place of celebrations and demonstrations.
6. Enter the basilica converted into a Hagia Sophia mosque, one of the most beautiful in the world.
11. Visit the Church of San Salvador in Chora, even if it is far from the center, its Byzantine frescoes and mosaics are considered the best preserved in the world.
12. Walk the Istiklal Caddesi shopping and pedestrian street, full of shops and cafés.
13. Find the Sarcophagus of Alexander of the fourth century in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul, one of the best in its field.
14. If we do not have much time or want to have more information about the most important places we can book a tour of Istanbul with a guide in Spanish, or a private tour with a guide choosing us the places we prefer to visit in the city.
15. Cross by boat from the European part from the Eminönü pier to the Üsküdar pier in the Asian part. We will have beautiful views, especially at sunset.
16. Go up to the Galata Tower and enjoy its views, one of the best things to see and do in Istanbul.
44. Eat typical Turkish food with a modern reinterpretation in the Asitane Restaurant, next to the Church of San Salvador de Chora.
45. Avoid wearing shorts or tank tops if we plan to enter a mosque, although they will leave something to cover you if you do not wear anything.
46. Stroll through the neighborhood of Beyazit, starting with its large square. It is characterized by its traditional shops, coffee shops, tea shops and craft workshops.
47. Visit the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, full of ceramics, sculptures, carpets, sarcophagi and various versions of the Koran. It is located in the Ibrahim Pasa Palace.
48. Feel the religious fervor in the Eyüp Sultan Mosque, the fourth most important place of worship for Muslims.
49. Enter the beautiful courtyard and visit the New Mosque or Yuni Mosque in front of the port and very close to the Galata Bridge, one of the most beautiful in Istanbul.
50. Getting lost among people, feeling the calls to prayer, smelling the species ... Istanbul is a city to live more than to visit many things. If you do not have enough time do not try to do them all and just walk and observe.
If you feel like helping us complete the list of 50 things to see and do in Istanbul, add yours in the comments.
** All photos have been provided by Shutterstock.