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5 Must See Sites in Istanbul

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5 must see sites in Istanbul

Hagia Sophia Istanbul

1. Hagia Sophia

This former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica later became a mosque, and is now a museum in Istanbul. Tourists flock to see Hagia Sophia so be sure to arrive early to avoid excessive lines. Be sure to set aside a couple of hours at minimum for your visit. Located in Sultanahmet with a small entry fee.

Blue Mosque Istanbul

2. Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Located directly opposite Hagia Sophia is the Blue Mosque (as it is commonly known). This historic mosque was built between 1609 and 1616, making it an exceptional structure to view both from the outside and inside. While you will only need 30 minutes or so inside, the lines can also be excessively long. Arrive early and be prepared to wait. No entry fee.

Basilica Cistern Istanbul

3. Basilica Cistern

Though a less celebrated attraction, a visit to the underground Basilica Cistern is an absolute must for visitors to Istanbul. In Turkish the name translates to “Sunken Palace”.

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

4. Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is believed to be one of the biggest (and most celebrated) markets in the world. There are over 3,000 shops and the Bazaar attracts somewhere between 250,000 – 400,000 visitors per day. It is a true spectacle and an absolute must-see for visitors to Istanbul.

Bosphorus Cruise Istanbul

5. Bosphorus River

Whether you delight in a Bosphorus cruise (for a very small fee) or find yourself on the waters edge, be sure to take some time away from the busy and bustling city to enjoy the river which separates the European side of Istanbul from the Asian side. This photo was taken from the Asian side, on the grounds of a restored mansion – now a 5 star hotel – Sumahan on the Water.

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  • zemkooo@gmail.com'
    Peter
    April 18, 2015 at 4:39 am

    Just one note to correct a great mistake: Istanbul is not a capital of Turkey. While surely a center of ‘everything’ the formal capital is Ankara – a city located in asian-part of Turkey.

  • hind.touissate@gmail.com'
    Hind Touissate
    July 23, 2014 at 2:56 am

    Istanbul is one of my favourite cities in the World !

    Check out 10 places to visit in Istanbul: http://bit.ly/1rx3GJk

    Hind from Morocco

  • accio.thewlis@gmail.com'
    natalia
    June 25, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Hi.- I just found your website and I’ve loved the pictures so, so much. I just got back from Istambul so this post caught my eye. Thank God I went to 4 of these (missed the cisterns, sadly). I really loved Istambul and would like to go back one day. The one thing I didn’t like was the Hagia Sophia: it’s too expensive for what it is. We saw the building in 15 minutes and it was more than enough. Considering the Blue Mosque is across the park and entrance is free, it’s a much better place to go. Also, those ceilings are gorgeous!

    Anyway, thanks for the post, i wish I’d read it before travelling but I know your blog now so I can read on other places 😀

  • bsofu@yahoo.com'
    Brad
    May 25, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Nice summary. One correction to item #5 if I may. The bosphorus is not a river but a strait

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  • mariam_angel10@hotmail.co.uk'
    Mariam
    October 7, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Hey Brooke, I love WOW so much, it’s basically my online Travel Bible which I follow religiously. Just wanted to know how you found your trip to Istabul – I really hope you enjoyed it there!!! And what hotel did you stay in? (I can trust your opinion, because you always choose the beautiful hotels when travelling)

    • worldofwanderlust
      October 8, 2013 at 4:09 am

      Hey Mariam,
      THANK YOU! It’s so nice to hear such big compliments 🙂 I absolutely loved Istanbul and I’m sure you will too… It’s a bustling city with many different faces to it…. every neighbourhood is so different to any other, you will need at least a week to discover the whole city! I stayed in 6 hotels to see different parts of the city. I would highly recommend – Sumahan on the Water, A’jia Hotel, and Divan Istanbul. The first two air on the Asian side so are best enjoyed at the end of your stay for a couple nights to relax on the water and see a different side to Istanbul. Divan Istanbul have a number of locations, I stayed in the one next to Taksim Square – perfect location for shopping and the ‘new’ Istanbul. I would also recommend staying in the Old Town if you want to be close to the tourist sights, though if you stay at Divan it is walkable in a day (albeit a rather big walk!). Hope you have a great time, I have no doubt you will!!!