Things to do for Backpackers in Istanbul, Turkey 

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  • 1

    Grand Bazaar

    127 reviews

    No trip to see Istanbul would be complete without a few must stops, and the Grand Bazaar is just one of those places that has to be experienced. Got the best tasting apple tea, my only regret is that we did not purchase a barrel full! You will experience sensory overload. There is much to see, smell, taste, and touch, ...

    Popular withLocalHistoryBackpackers
  • 2

    Hagia Sophia

    218 reviews

    Hagia Sophia is the most famous landmark in Turkey and one of the most important buildings in western civilization. The Church of the Holy Wisdom was originally built by Constantine the Great but was reconstructed in its current incarnation by Justinian. Throughout Byzantine history it served as the main church of the empire where emperors were crowned. The original church ...

    Popular withHistoryDesignBackpackers
  • 3

    Blue Mosque

    157 reviews

    You are undoubtedly in a Holy Place. An extravagant building. The architecture and relics are astounding. Ladies, remember to respect the traditions and customs and cover your head, shoulders accordingly.

    Popular withHistoryDesignBackpackers
  • 4

    Galata Tower

    70 reviews

    Totally underrated! I read about it but it was never on my must-see list and I think it is absolutely the best first stop to make in Istanbul! It gives you tremendous perspective of the city surrounds and the building itself conveys the strong history of the city.

    Popular withHistoryLocalBackpackers
  • 5


    30 reviews

    In my opinion, if you happen to have only 30 minutes in your life to spend in Istanbul, I would choose the Eminönü Pier. Here you will see Istanbul´s vibrant city life, with spectacular view of the Galata Tower, the city ferries entering and leaving, to carry the people all over the city, including the Asian part of the city ...

    Popular withLocalBudgetBackpackers
  • 6

    The Spice Bazaar

    100 reviews

    I'm not one for crowded overpriced tourist traps, so after a few minutes of being miserable at the Grand Bazaar we decided to check out the Spice Market. Much smaller and low profile than it's more famous cousin. The Spice Bazaar is much quieter and has more useful things at better prices. The shop owners are not as aggressive and ...

    Popular withLocalFoodiesBackpackers
  • 7

    The Bosphorus Strait

    31 reviews

    Connecting Europe and Asia this strait was the center of the world at one time. Beautiful views on both continents can be experienced from here

    Popular withHistoryOutdoorBackpackers
  • 8

    Basilica Cistern

    87 reviews

    Built by the Byzantine emporers, this is a must-see in Istanbul. You can just imagine Perseus and Medusa fighting it out, hiding behind the pillars. There's actually fish in the water too!

    Popular withHistoryLocalBackpackers
  • 9

    Topkapı Palace

    107 reviews

    A visit to this historic palace can take all day so plan accordingly. As a UNESCO site this palace is a must see while in Istanbul. The gem collection is mind blowing and the religious icons are also cool to see

    Popular withHistoryLocalBackpackers
  • 10

    Süleymanıye Camıı

    18 reviews

    The mosque of Sulyman the Magnificent is the finest work of the famous architect Mimar Sinan in the city of Istanbul. The Sulymaniye sits on top of a hill overlooking the Golden Horn. The grounds are isolated from the throngs of shoppers and tourists you'll find around New Mosque or Sultanahmet. Be sure to check out the Ottoman cemetery inside ...

    Popular withHistoryLocalBackpackers
  • 11

    New Mosque

    25 reviews

    The New Mosque of Eminönü is not as new as it name promises. Since 1665 this mosque is part of the Old Istanbul Skyline. It took 68 years to built the mosque. Entering the Eminönü pier by boat, gives you a fantastic view of the mosque.

    Popular withHistoryLocalBackpackers
  • 12

    The Old City

    15 reviews

    The Old City of Istanbul is essentially a triangle bounded by water on two sides and the Theodosian Walls on the third. Inside you'll find most of the major landmarks: palaces, mosques, churches and other landmarks. The Old City is more of a tourist destination while the residential and commercial districts of Istanbul can be found north of the Historic ...

    Popular withLocalHistoryBackpackers
  • 13

    Nevizade Sokak

    10 reviews

    Nevizade is bar central in Istanbul. Set perpindicular to the Fish Market, this narrow street is literally crammed with bars on both sides. In the winter people still line the streets drinking raki, Efes beer or wine while smoking cigarettes and having a grand old time. Some of the ones I would recommend are Akdeniz and Sanata.

    Popular withLocalStudentsBackpackers
  • 14

    Anadolu Kavağı İskelesi

    14 reviews

    Anadolu Kavağı is your last stop on the Asian side of the city, before entering the Black Sea. A lovely fishing town is the perfect place to escape the big city stress. Take a long Bosporus tour to get here and eat some nice fish before heading back to Istanbul's fast life.

    Popular withBudgetOutdoorBackpackers
  • 15

    Historic Areas of Istanbul

    37 reviews

    What a comical title, the whole city is historic. The main historic area is the peninsula bounded by the Golden Horn, Bosphorus, Sea of Marmara and the Theodosian Walls. This triangle of land was ancient Constantinople. Istanbul is the behemoth of land that grew up around this in every direction. The heart of the historic peninsula is Sultanahmet Square and ...

    Popular withHistoryLocalBackpackers
  • 16

    Theodosian Walls, Istanbul

    7 reviews

    These walls stood for over a thousands years and were only breached once. The Arabs, Russians, Bulgarians and even Attila the Hun tried and failed. The Fourth Crusade only succeeded by using the masts of their ships to go over the shorter walls lining the Golden Horn and the Turks needed the largest cannons the world had ever seen to ...

    Popular withHistoryLocalBackpackers
  • 17


    5 reviews

    Eyup is home of one of the largest Ottoman cemeteries. The graves are shaded by pine trees and overlook the Golden Horn. A gondola can take you up to Pierre Loti Cafe. The Eyup Mosque is the burial place of the standard bearer of the Prophet Mohammad and one of the holiest places to Islam.

    Popular withBackpackersHistoryLocal
  • 18

    Chora Church

    9 reviews

    Ironically, because of the iconoclastic period during which the Byzantines destroyed much of their own religious artwork, the best Byzantine frescoes can be found in Venice and Sicily. However, for the intrepid visitors who are willing to venture out to the city walls, Chora Church definitely has the best frescoes in the city. This small chuch is filled with frescoes ...

    Popular withHistoryDesignBackpackers
  • 19


    12 reviews

    Karaköy, Istanbul is located at the European side of the city. With Eminönü it is one of the legs of the Galata Bridge, welcoming large cruise ships from all around the world.

    Popular withHistoryDesignBackpackers
  • 20

    Military Museum

    5 reviews

    The Harbiye (military) museum is one of the least visited but most interesting museums in Istanbul. When I was teaching English in Turkey one of my students brought me to this museum to see the Mehter concert. In a large auditorium we got to witness a full performance of an Ottoman military band. The Mehter were so famous in their ...

    Popular withHistoryStudentsBackpackers
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