Istanbul Turkey, Marmara Region

Top reasons to visit:

  • Shopping (8198)
  • History (6212)
  • Monuments (5290)
  • Culture (4740)
  • Sightseeing (4662)
  • Food (4632)
  • Nightlife (1467)
  • City Trip (1444)
  • Friendly People (1318)
  • Old Town (1253)

How can you enjoy the sights in Istanbul while avoiding the crowds?

Alexandru, Moldova

2 days ago Report

Get up early. Most museums open at 9 AM. Crowds are already gathering before opening. If you go later than 10 AM to Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sofia, Basilica Cistern - you're gonna have a bad time. Queues are hundreds of meters long, going slow. The rest of the monuments have reasonable queues, and can be visited later in the day.
Don't go to Taksim Square, or on the road that leads from Taksim to Galata Tower if you don't like large crowds. There are millions of people on that main street.
Might help getting a museum pass. At the time of our visit, it would've made up for its cost, and we wouldn't have to wait in long queues because we'd get an express pass.

What is it in Istanbul that makes history come to life?

Dan, United States of America

16 days ago Report

Istanbul is a bustling city with a dramatic backdrop of mosques and muslim culture. Turkish people are very proud to be part of such a great nation, but they are also very humble and welcoming to guests. I loved my time there.

Why do you recommend Istanbul for food?

Haneen, United Arab Emirates

10 days ago Report

Turkish dishes, sweets and turkish cuisine is really delicious and intresting, traditional turkish dishes are really amazing, Turkish delights has like 100 different flavours, turkish coffee you should definitely try. Turkish baklawa also its really one of a kind and really delicious.

Is there more to shopping in Istanbul than just brand-name stores?

Susan, Turkey

22 days ago Report

Istanbul stands on two continents, Europe and Asia. It has so much to offer; history by the bucket load; shopping; fantastic eateries. It is worth visiting in my opinion and would appeal to all travellers.

Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Istanbul.

Rozina, Netherlands

14 days ago Report

Grand Bazaar! Amazing experience that no one should miss. It's not really about the products there but the atmosphere.

There are 64 streets in the bazaar but I think only 10 types of stores, many of each of them. The sellers will try to reach to you by trying to guess where you are from and as you start communicating with them you'll experience their enthusiasm about their products and their love for the customers. Their goal is to sell you everything and they do it really well, I enjoyed it a lot!

If the Grand Bazaar is too big for you then try the Spice Bazaar at the New Mosque, much smaller but similar atmosphere.

How can you get the most authentic cultural experience in Istanbul?

Austin, United States of America

16 days ago Report

To get the best experience is to walk a lot ,use the public transportation ,such as the metro lines and Ferries .There are also many guided tours.

What makes the people from Istanbul so friendly? Tell us your story.

Anonymous, Unknown location

9 days ago Report

Everyone I met was friendly and very helpful. But they drive scary fast:-) The city is very hilly and the roads can be fairly steep. The taxi drivers drive very fast and take corners really quickly. My heart was in my mouth more times than I can count, but luckily, I made it through safely. I guess the drivers know what they are doing and they have very good tires and brakes because their cars are all undamaged. :-)

Describe the best ancient landmarks to visit in Istanbul.

Jacqueline, Australia

12 days ago Report

Each attraction has its own history and should you take the time to reflect on how these sites have been used you begin to understand the significance of Istanbul as a political and commercial centre both in the past and the future.

What aspect of the culture in Istanbul was so different than back home?

Anonymous, Unknown location

1 day ago Report

The multicultural site of the city. Istanbul is East and West. Its culture is made by many nationalities lived there.. Othoman, Syrians, Greeks, Armenians, etc.. You can find people from Far east and at the same time from Europe...

Where should people go if they don't want to eat in a tourist trap?

Attullah, United Kingdom

11 days ago Report

People can go to any restaurant, but before the order they must confirm the menu price. I found Asia side is not only cheap but you can get good quality restaurants. I advice try to avoid the fish restaurants under the Galata Bridge as they can trap you very easy.
  • Culturally Diverse Food 1192 endorsements
  • 9 answers

What's the secret to sampling all the diverse food Istanbul has to offer?

Edward, United States of America

18 days ago Report

Read the menu, look at what other people are eating, and ask questions about ingredients and how dishes are prepared. For example, some appetizers that are baked in Greece, are fried in Turkey. If you don't want to eat fried, you better ask.

Why are the monuments in Istanbul noteworthy?

Rozina, Netherlands

14 days ago Report

The Blue Mosque is one of the most important monuments and is visited by many people. It is closed 5 times a day for prayer which makes it difficult to visit, it's always full of tourists and the line is extremely long. We couldn't get in in the morning but revisited it at 17:30 when it reopened for the last time that day and THERE WAS NO LINE! Wow! I'm not sure if we were lucky or it happens every day.

The Hagia Sofia, the Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern and the Galata Tower are a must see. If you have more time then spend some time discover the Dolmabahce Palace as well.

Why is the atmosphere in Istanbul something people rave about?

Darrell, United Kingdom

6 days ago Report

The area from Taksim square along istiklal caddesi in particular comes to life at night - the energy and pulse of a vibrant city in the air - it's great!

What makes Istanbul one of those classic city-trip experiences?

Bratu, Romania

21 days ago Report

Traditions, historical sites to visit, food experience, shopping experience as you have to negotiate the final price, cultural experiences. To feel the city is better to visit it in less crowded months.

What is it about the people in Istanbul that makes them so watchable?

Helen, Kyrgyzstan

26 days ago Report

Istanbul is a very bustling city. It is both European and Islamic and Asian, a fascinating blend of people. It is by the sea and on a river and has lots of different types of shops and locations in which to people watch.

How does Istanbul go the extra mile to make your family feel at home?

Emrah, Turkey

3 days ago Report

If you will take a walk in the coast or if you will find a turkish bath , you can enjoy your time pretty well, while you are having fun with your family or you can drink and chill out with people all around you

Why do people say Istanbul can be seen best by foot?

Philip, South Africa

3 days ago Report

You can miss so much getting around - also "getting around" can be a pain in congested traffic - you move faster on foot - don't be too friendly (or rude) to myriads of touts - take time out having drinks to rest your feet.... it's great.

What should you avoid to make the most of the nightlife in Istanbul?

Rozina, Netherlands

14 days ago Report

Why is this question so negative? :) The nightlife is amazing in Istanbul. We stayed at Beyoglu district, close to Taksim square and that area is full of bars, restaurants, clubs and a lot of people.

You can find hookah places, some of them serve alcohol as well, most of them only tea and coffee. Make sure to try the raki and some local wines. Many places have rooftop terrace, in a nice warm weather they're easy to enjoy all night.

This time we didn't have time for clubbing but we definitely want to try some at our next visit to Istanbul.

What's the best way to make the most of Istanbul by foot?

Christopher, United States of America

3 hours ago Report

Highly recommend exploring the different neighborhoods by foot. We walked down to the ferries from our hotel and then hopped on a ferry over to another part of Istanbul (Üsküdar), Then walked around there, had lunch and then took another ferry to a different location (Käbatas). After exploring around there, we took a taxi to Ïstiklal street. We meandered down to Taksïm Square for people watching and then walked all the way to Galata Tower. We finished by walking across the Galata bridge and back through the Sultanahmet area back to our hotel, after stopping at a rooftop restaurant for dinner first.
  • Convenient Public Transportation 293 endorsements
  • 6 answers

Was it cheap, fast, or easy to use? What made it so simple to get around in Istanbul?

Alexandru, Moldova

2 days ago Report

Good public transportation infrastructure. Plenty of maps everywhere. People are helpful. Get an Istanbulkart (card) as soon as you can. You can buy them at kiosks that sell cigarettes and snacks everywhere. It costs 7 Lira, and you can fill it with any amount of money you want. Normally it costs 3 lira to get on public transportation (with a coin/jeton). With the card, it costs 1.95 lira to get on, and 1.5 lira to transfer.
You can also use public transportation (with the same tariffs) to get on a boat across the Bosphorus. Take the tram to Eminonu station (Spice Bazaar), and from there, you can take one of 2 boat routes at 2 terminals. We took the one to Kadikoy in Asia (There is a nice market in Kadikoy, with lots of cafes and everything). From there, you may also find a route to Adalar (Prince's Islands), but we didn't check. Make your own boat tour. Explore. Ask the locals, they are VERY helpful.

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