Istanbul Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(Istanbul, Marmara, Turkey)

Photo of crowds at the Spice MarketIstanbul is an exciting, multicultural city, filled with exceptional tourist attractions and character. A host of historic palaces, mosques and basilicas illustrate the generations of development that have taken place here under multiple empires. Virtually all of the tourist attractions within Istanbul are of a historical nature, dating back to several different epochs.

Tourists have the option of seeing the city through Turkish eyes. Hamams, or Turkish baths, continue to pamper guests as they have for centuries. Meanwhile, a walk through the city's marketplaces offers an authentic glimpse into Turkey's eclectic culture.

Spice Market picture

Spice Market

Address: Eminonu, Istanbul, Turkey, TR
Locally known as Misir Carsisi, this functioning marketplace opened in the 1600s. The actual name ' Spice Market' is derived from its original function, although today you will find more than herbs and spices. Handicrafts, dried fruits, Turkish Delight and caviar are all regular items. Serving tourists and locals alike, this marketplace is an excellent people-watching destination.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 08:00 to 19:00
Admission: free

Suleymaniye Bath

Address: Suleymaniye neighbourhood, Istanbul, Turkey, TR
Tel: +90 212 520 3410
The Hamam (or Turkish bath) has been a central part of society for centuries and a very popular attraction for visiting tourists, suiting those planning holidays in Turkey and looking for the ultimate Turkish experience. Traditionally, the baths have a changing room, a cold room and a hot room, although some may also include a warming room to help bathers acclimatise more gently. Historically, both men and women were segregated in the Hamam. However, Istanbul's 16th-century Sulemaniye Bath has integrated the sexes (the only Hamam to do so), allowing families to enjoy the facilities together.
Open hours: daily - 06:00 to midnight
Admission: charge

Dolmabahce Sarayi palace image

Dolmabahce Sarayi

Address: Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey, TR
Tel: +90 212 236 9000
The Dolmabahce Sarayi palace was built in the 19th century by Adbul Mecit and today remains an imposing, hard-to-miss attraction. Known for bankrupting the Ottoman Empire, Mecit spared no expense, even hiring an Armenian architect to impart a more international appeal. The result is an evocative blend of Turkish, European and even Hindu architectural styles, with an equally opulent interior.
Open hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday to Sunday - 09:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge

Grand Bazaar

Address: Istanbul, Turkey, TR
This is one of the world's largest covered marketplaces. Originally built out of wood after the Ottoman conquest, the Grand Bazaar steadily grew over the ages into a sprawling labyrinth of commerce. The layout includes thousands of shops on more than 50 streets, alongside intermittent fountains, wells, mosques and other similar attractions. The Grand Bazaar seems to hold the lifeblood of Istanbul, and is a must for all visitors.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 19:00
Admission: free

Princes' Islands view

Princes' Islands

Address: Sea of Marmara, Istanbul, Turkey, TR
Located off Istanbul's Asian shore, this collection of nine islands is an excellent day trip destination. Residents of Istanbul tend to refer to the nearby Princes' Islands as simply the 'Adalar', which translates as 'The Islands'. Just over 20 km / 12 miles to the south-east and lying within the Sea of Marmara, the Princes' Islands offer a long and interesting history, with attractions to match their heritage, such as Victorian villages and hilltop chapels. Regular ferry trips connect the main resorts of the Princes' Islands, such as Bostanci, Burgazada, Eminonu, Heybeliada and Kinaliada. Buyukada is the biggest of all the islands and also goes by the name of the 'Great Island'. The main reason to pay a visit to the Princes' Islands is simply the peace, quiet and tranquility offered around almost every corner, and locals regularly retreat to these islands for picnics, beach-side attractions and general respite. Cosy rental homes, along with a number of historic buildings, create a pleasing atmosphere. As automobiles are prohibited, transportation consists of horse-drawn carriages and bicycles, creating a strong feeling of yesteryear.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free