Istanbul (Turkish name: İstanbul) is a large city in Turkey; the economic and cultural center of the country, which has a rich history.
Different eras are intertwined in the architecture and culture of the city of Istanbul, which makes Istanbul one of the most interesting and visited cities in the world.
This article provides all the necessary information for those who are going to visit the beautiful Istanbul, both for tourism (recreation) and for business (for example, for business purposes).: how to organize a trip to Istanbul: how to get there, where to stay, exchange currency, where to go, what to see, what to eat, where to go from Istanbul, etc.
The city was founded as Byzantium (Bizantion) in the 7th century BC by Greek settlers from Megara. In 330 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine I the Great made the city his imperial capital, renaming it first to New Rome (Nova Roma / Nova Roma), and then to Constantinople (Constantinopolis / city of Constantine) in honor of himself. During its history, the city has grown in size and influence, which has made it one of the most important cities in the history of mankind.
Today it is the city of Istanbul, in the architecture and culture of which different epochs and faiths are intertwined, which makes Istanbul one of the most interesting and visited cities in the world in terms of the number and variety of attractions, museums and simply wonderful places for walking and relaxing.
In Istanbul, you can get acquainted with the conservative habits of people, as well as see firsthand the free and modern youth; immerse yourself in the history of the city in the historical center and enjoy the tranquility on the non-tourist embankments.
Istanbul has a developed air service with many countries of the world, convenient and extensive urban transport network, huge selection hotels and other accommodation facilities, a large number of attractions, museums, entertainment and excursions for guests of all ages, wonderful parks and places for walking, excellent viewing platforms and delicious oriental sweets.
Although Istanbul was the former capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman (Byzantine), Latin and Ottoman Empires, however, today it is not the capital of the Turkish Republic. The capital of Turkey is Ankara, which is the second city in the country by population after Istanbul, but the first by area.
Geography of Istanbul: Europe and Asia, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, the Black and Marmara Seas
Istanbul is the only city in the world that is located on the territory of two continents at once: Europe and Asia.
The European and Asian parts of Istanbul are divided by the Bosphorus Strait (Istanbul Boğazı), which is the main reservoir of the city, and also connects the Black Sea with the Marmara.
The Bosphorus is one of the main attractions of Istanbul and its "breath", filled with the cry of seagulls, the sound of waves, pleasure boats, and attractive buildings, including historical palaces, fortresses, mosques and yalas (mansions built directly on the shore), are located on both sides of the Bosphorus.
The Bosphorus is crossed by the Bosphorus bridges, and along its waters there are beautiful walking embankments, there are park areas, cafes and restaurants, as well as accommodation facilities (hotels, apartments)
Another important and beautiful body of water in Istanbul is the large Golden Horn Bay (Altın Boynuz or Haliç), which is located in the European part of Istanbul and is a narrow curved bay connecting to the Bosphorus Strait at the point where the Bosphorus meets the Sea of Marmara.
Transport and pedestrian bridges are thrown across the Golden Horn, the most visited and famous of which is the two-level transport and pedestrian Galata Bridge (Galata Köprüsü) with restaurants and observation decks on the lower tier.
On a small natural island in the waters of the Bosphorus Strait, a few meters from the shore of the Usküdar district, the Maiden Tower (Kız Kulesi) is located - a former lighthouse, which is now one of the main pearls and a symbol of Istanbul.
During its history, the tower has been a lighthouse, a prison and a quarantine isolation ward.
The tower suffered from earthquakes, fires and weather conditions, but it was always restored. The last major renovation of the Maiden Tower during the Ottoman Empire was carried out during the reign of Mahmud II. After the restoration in 1832-1833, the tower was given its current appearance. More about the Maiden Tower...
Small ferries and yachts ply the Bosphorus Strait and the Golden Horn Bay.
You can enjoy the views of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, as well as their shores from the water, by taking an excursion walk through the reservoirs of Istanbul, or from ferries that function as public transport in Istanbul (Istanbul transport cards operate) and connect both the shores of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn themselves, and the Bosphorus with the shores of the Golden Horn. Ferry berths are located both on both shores of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn Bay.
On the southern side of the border of Istanbul, the waters wash overThe Sea of Marmara.
Both in the European and Asian parts of Istanbul, there are walking embankments along the Marmara Sea, there are park areas and beaches.
The most famous beach is the sandy beach of Gunes in Florya (Florya Guneș Plajı) with all the necessary infrastructure and cafes, located on the European side of the city.
There are also public beaches on the Asian coast of the Marmara Sea of Istanbul. For example, in Caddebostan.
- Kilios or Kumkoi (Kilyos / Kumköy), which is a coastal resort located on the Black Sea coast of Turkey.
- Shile (Şile) and Agva (Ağva) are two small resort villages located not far from each other, on the Black Sea coast of Turkey. There are beaches, some attractions and museums in Shila, Agva and the surrounding area.
- The Prince's Islands (Kızıl Adalar, "Red Islands"), which administratively make up the Adalar district of Istanbul province and can be an excellent place for a summer visit for walking and recreation.
The Prince Islands are considered a suburb of the city of Istanbul and are a group of islands located near the coast of the city in the Sea of Marmara.
The largest are the four islands of the archipelago: Byukada (Byyukada), Heybeliada (Heybeliada), Burgazada (Burgazada) and Kynalyada (Kınalıada).
There are attractions and beaches on the islands.
The islands can be reached from Istanbul by ferry.
Accommodation facilities (hotels, apartments, etc.) on the Prince Islands can be viewed and booked here
How to get to Istanbul and travel outside the city
You can go to Istanbul on your own, while buying air tickets, booking a hotel and purchasing insurance, or buy a ready-made tour, which will already include all of the above and + transfer from / to the airport to / from the hotel.
There are two airports in Istanbul The new Istanbul Airport (Istanbul Havalimanı) and Sabiha Gokçen Airport (Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Havalimanı). Both airports are international and serve both local and international flights, including budget airlines (low-cost airlines). Flights to Istanbul →
The new airport is located in the European part of Istanbul, in the Arnavutköy district, at a distance of 42 kilometers from the historical center of the city - Sultanahmet Square.
Sabiha Gokcen Airport is located in the Asian part of Istanbul, at a distance of about 40 kilometers from the historical center of the city - Sultanahmet Square.
You can get from both airports to the city center: by taxi, car, shuttle buses or public transport.
Havaist shuttle buses from the New Airport run to many points of Istanbul in the European and Asian parts of the city, including Taksim Square, Beyazit Square (Beyazıt Meydan), Besiktas Square (Beşiktaş Meydan) Kadikey Pier Sabiha Gokcen Airport, etc.
Bus routes, stops, fares, etc., we recommend checking directly before the trip on the official website Havaist: hava.ist.
HAVABUS shuttle buses from Sabiha Gokcen Airport run to Kadıköy Pier on the Asian side of Istanbul and to Taksim Square on the European side of Istanbul.
HAVABUS website: havabus.com.
Public buses from both airports with transfers can be used to get to the center of Istanbul. Transfers, depending on which point of the city you need to get to, include public transport: buses, metro, trams, ferries, Marmaray, funiculars and cable cars.
You can travel outside the city of Istanbul in Turkey and get to Istanbul by plane, taxi, car or bus.
Visa and insurance
Visa issues for entry to Turkey and also Istanbul depend on your country of residence (citizenship) and the time you are going to spend in Turkey (Istanbul). Therefore, we recommend checking this information and all other conditions of entry / exit to the country on the websites of consulates (embassies) of Turkey.
To visit Turkey, we recommend that you have travel insurance
Where to stay in Istanbul
The choice of accommodation facilities in Istanbul is very large and diverse, ranging from villas, apartments (full-fledged apartments with all amenities) and 5-star boutique hotels located in historical restored mansions and ending with budget guest houses and hostels.
All the main sights and museums of Istanbul are located within the former walls of Constantinople, now Fatih district and near Istiklal streets with Taksim square. Having chosen a means of accommodation in these places, all the main historical sites of Istanbul will be within walking distance. However, these areas of the city, which is natural, are the most crowded and noisy.
To enjoy the beautiful views of Beaufort, you can stay in hotels located on the European side of the city near the waters of the Bosphorus. From hotels:
Shangri-La Bosphorus 5-star Hotel, Istanbul with indoor pool, spa, restaurants, lobby lounge, free Wi-Fi and parking.
The hotel has rooms and suites with views of the Bosphorus, the city or the courtyard.
Breakfast may be included in the room rate. Link to the hotel
The 5-star Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus is located in a restored 19th-century Ottoman mansion by the waters of the Bosphorus Strait.
The hotel has its own garden, views of the Bosphorus, panoramic outdoor and indoor pools, bar, spa, free Wi-Fi and private parking. Link to the hotel
5-star Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, located in the restored Ottoman Chiragan Palace.
The hotel is a complex by the waters of the Bosphorus with a territory with a garden and a panoramic pool overlooking the waters of the Bosphorus.
At the hotel: swimming pools, spa and wellness center, fitness center, restaurant, bar, lounge, gazebo, Turkish bath, free private parking and Wi-Fi.
Luxury bed linen is provided in the hotel rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. All rooms have a balcony with views of the garden or the Bosphorus.
The room rate includes: breakfast or breakfast + dinner. Link to the hotel
The Asian side of Istanbul is quieter and more peaceful. Here, beautiful promenades alternate with park areas and colorful small neighborhoods with palaces and mosques.
In the Asian part of Istanbul, it is most convenient to choose a means of accommodation in the Uskyudar area
All accommodation facilities in Istanbul, including in the historical center, in the European and Asian parts of the city, can be viewed and booked here
Book hotels in Turkey (including Istanbul) on Booking.com, already directly being in Turkey - it may not work out. If you are already in Turkey and it is not possible to book a hotel through Booking, then you can do it through the online booking system of accommodation facilities Hotellook link →
The currency of Turkey. Currency exchange in Istanbul
The currency of Turkey, and, accordingly, of Istanbul, is the Turkish Lira (türk lirası / turk lirası), denoted by the symbol ₺ (TL).
In use, both paper lira and coins, which are called kurusham.
You can pay with Turkish lira in all establishments, shops, hotels, etc. Istanbul. Also, many restaurants, cafes, shops and hotels, especially located in the tourist part of the city, accept Dollars and Euros. However, and often, when paying in dollars or euros, you will be called a less favorable rate than exchanging currency in exchangers.
Currency can be exchanged at currency exchangers, bank offices or cash withdrawals at ATMs. We do not recommend exchanging currency with your hands - they can cheat.
Most of the exchangers are located in the tourist part of the city: on and near Taksim Square, Istiklal Street and Sultanahmet Square. The exchange rate varies from exchanger to exchanger, but, as a rule, varies slightly.
Currency can also be exchanged at airports. The exchange rate at airports is usually less favorable than in the city center. Therefore, and if necessary, it is better to exchange small amounts at the airport, which will be enough for travel and the first individual needs in Istanbul.
In many places of the city, you can also pay with bank cards.
Transportation in Istanbul. Payment for travel and transport cards
Istanbul has a well-developed public transport network.
By public transport in Istanbul, you can get to anywhere in the city, including from /to airports: the New Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Flights to Istanbul →
Istanbul's public transport includes a bus network, dolmushi minibuses, trams, including high-speed ones, the Marmaray tunnel running under the Bosphorus, ferries along the Bosphorus Strait and the Golden Horn Bay, funiculars and cable cars. Learn more about Istanbul public transport with sites...
In all public transport in Istanbul, with the exception of minibuses (cash payment) and a number of routes, electronic tickets from 1 to several trips and Istanbul kart transport cards are valid.
Jetonmatik tokens are also in use. You can buy tokens in vending machines that have the inscription "Jetonmatik". Tokens are not a universal payment system and are not suitable for paying for buses and in Marmaray.
You can buy tickets for 1 and several trips, as well as transport cards of Istanbul (the card itself costs money) at vending machines installed near many bus stops in the city, including near stops at airports, near ferry piers, as well as at funicular and metro stations.
When traveling by public transport, it is most profitable to use the Istanbul transport card, which is the most convenient and universal. According to the transport card, the fare is lower than for tickets and tokens (a token is the most expensive way to travel). Also, if you make a transfer (transfers) within 2 hours, then each next train will be lower in cost than the previous one.
Card payments are made at the entrance to buses, at metro stations, funiculars, cable cars, Marmaray, ferry piers and tram stops. Funds are debited from the card automatically. Tokens are thrown into a special nest of turnstiles of trams and subways.
You can also top up transport cards in vending machines.
In the case of Marmaray, at the entrance to the station, the full fare is deducted from the card - to the final station. If you exit earlier than the final stop, then small devices are placed at the exit of the station, to which you should attach a card, and the unspent funds will be returned back to the card. The fare will depend on the number of stops (stations) that you have passed.
For children under 6 years old, public transport in Istanbul is free.
Istanbul transport maps website: istanbulkart.istanbul.
Alternatively, the Istanbul City Card tourist transport card is also valid in public transport in Istanbul, which gives the right to unlimited travel in all types of public transport in Istanbul, except for minibuses, in which the fare is paid in cash to the driver. The cost of the card is fixed (starts from 35 euros) and depends on the number of days for which you purchase it - there are cards for 1, 3, 5, 7 and 15 days. You do not need to replenish the card, it gives an unlimited number of trips for a selected number of days. You cannot transfer the card, that is, one card can be used by one person. The card can be purchased online and delivered to your hotel.
Excursions in Istanbul and outside the city
You can get acquainted with Istanbul, walk around the city, its main attractions, museums, palaces, parks and hidden little-known places, as well as go outside the city, with one of the excursions:
Food and drinks in Istanbul
In Istanbul, especially in the historical and tourist center, there are an abundance of cafes and restaurants, including fish and seafood, Turkish and other cuisines of the world.
There are also kebab shops in the city, with various and delicious kebabs, local cream soups (chorbasy, çorbası) and Turkish pizza, as well as bars, coffee shops, tea and hookah bars.
Among the sweet cafes, one can single out a network of dessert cafes "Hafiz Mustafa 1864" with various and delicious baklava, lukum and other desserts. Learn more about Hafiz Mustafa dessert cafes with photos and website...
Kebabs, tortillas, simit - bagels with and without sesame seeds, corn, roasted chestnuts, ice cream, etc. are also distinguished among street food.
Among the drinks are Turkish coffee and teas; salep is a hot milk drink made on the basis of flour from orchids (in demand in winter), as well as various freshly squeezed juices and other well-known drinks.
Locals often buy ayran for street food - a fermented milk drink that complements kebabs well.
Popular areas of Istanbul
Of all the districts of Istanbul, several stand out, in which almost all the sights and museums of the city are concentrated.
The main squares of Istanbul are the two hearts of the city
Among the variety of squares in Istanbul, there are two major and most important squares - Taksim Square, which is a popular place among visitors to the city, and Sultanahmet Square (or Hippodrome), which is the historical heart of the city with an abundance of attractions, representing a magnificent ensemble.
Also significant is the Chamberlitash Square (Çemberlitaş Meydanı), located on the site of the former Roman Forum of Constantine.
All three squares are located in the European part of Istanbul.
Istanbul's main pedestrian shopping street is Istiklal
Istiklal (Istiklal Caddesi) is the most famous pedestrian shopping street in Istanbul, which attracts many tourists and locals.
Istiklal Street is 1.4 kilometers long. It stretches from Taksim Square, goes towards the Golden Horn Bay, and ends at Tunel Square, where the Beyoglu station of the historic underground funicular "Tunel" is located.
Along the street there are dense rows of buildings, including historical ones (mainly of the 19th - early 20th centuries), which were designed in neoclassical, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance, art-nova and national Turkish styles; there are also buildings in the styles of the first years of the Turkish Republic and a number of later examples of modern architecture.
In the buildings along the street today there are museums, shrines, currency exchangers, nightclubs, many cafes, kebabs, bars and restaurants, shops, including well-known world brands, boutiques and souvenir shops, as well as various accommodation facilities (hotels, apartments)
Istanbul from a height
One of the most popular places in Istanbul are observation decks and observation points, giving panoramic views of the city from a bird's-eye view.
Within Istanbul there are both paid viewing platforms and free viewing platforms and observation points, as well as view cafes with terraces and hotels from which panoramas of the city open.
The best viewing platforms in Istanbul are
Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi), which is also one of the symbols and one of the main attractions of Istanbul.
The tower is accessible to visitors. It houses a museum exhibition, and on the upper levels of the tower there are circular (indoor and outdoor) observation decks, giving beautiful 360-degree panoramic views of Istanbul, including the historical center, the Golden Horn Bay and the Bosphorus Strait.
The viewing room is paid. Learn more about the Galata Tower and the observation...
The Suleymaniye Mosque (Süleymaniye Camii), which is a masterpiece of architecture of the Ottoman Empire and the second most important mosque in the city after the Blue Mosque.
Suleymaniye is a complex in which, in addition to the mosque itself with a monumental courtyard, the turbe (tombs-mausoleums) are notable Suleiman the Magnificent, his beloved wife Hurrem (Roksolana) and their daughter Mihrimah.
Since the mosque is located on a hill, then from its territory (terraces) panoramic views of a part of Istanbul open up.
Entrance to the mosque complex is free. More about the Suleymaniye Mosque...
Pantokrator Monastery or Molla Zeyrek Mosque (Molla Zeyrek Camii), which is the second largest monument of Byzantine architecture, preserved from Constantinople, after the Hagia Sophia Mosque.
One of the features of the monastery is its location on a hill, where near the monastery there is a panoramic cafe with a beautiful observation deck, which offers magnificent panoramic views of Istanbul, including the old historical part of the city and the Golden Horn.
In order to enjoy the views from the observation deck, it is not necessary to order something in a cafe.
The viewing room is free. Learn more about the mosque and the observation deck...
Pierre Loti Hill (Pierre Loti) is a hill with a height of 53 meters, which is one of the best and most famous viewing platforms in Istanbul.
Panoramic views of the Golden Horn and the European part of Istanbul open from the observation deck of the hill.
In addition to the observation deck on the hill there are also: a panoramic cafe of the same name, a couple of souvenir shops, a toilet, a restaurant and the hotel Turkhouse, which overlooks the 7 hills of Istanbul and the Golden Horn Bay. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. Guests can make use of a sauna and a hammam. Link to the hotel
The observation deck on the hill itself is free. More about the hill and the Pierre Loti lookout...
Ulus Parkı is a small quiet park on the hill of the European side of Istanbul, from which you can enjoy views of the Bosphorus and the Asian part of the city.
The park has panoramic cafes, places for walking and relaxing.
Entrance to the park is free (free of charge).
Doatepe Park (Dogatepe Parki), which in itself is not particularly remarkable, but, since the park is located on a hill, there is a platform in the park that offers beautiful views of part of Istanbul, including the Bosphorus Strait, Sultan Fatih Mehmed Bridge.(Fatih Sultan Mehmet Köprüsü) and the Asian side of the city.
Entrance to the park is free (free of charge).
Sapphire is one of the highest and most impressive observation decks in Istanbul, which is located in the Sapphire skyscraper (Istanbul Sapphire AVM), which is also a shopping center.
On the top - 54th floor of the skyscraper, at an altitude of 236 meters, there is the most attractive tourist object - a 360-degree observation deck (Sapphire Observation Terrace 360 °), giving stunning panoramic views of Istanbul.
Entrance to the shopping center is free (free of charge). The ascent to the observation deck is paid, through the shopping center. Learn more about the Sapphire and the viewing ...
Otagtepe Fatih Park (Otagtepe Park), located on the Asian side of the city, near the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Bridge (Fatih Sultan Mehmet Köprüsü).
Although this park is located far from the main tourist routes and attractions of the city, it is a very popular place in Istanbul, mainly due to the fact that it is located on the Otagtepe hill and offers beautiful panoramic views of the Bosphorus Strait and the European side of the city.
In the park: walking paths, lawns, recreation areas, picnic areas and gazebos, observation terraces, a small pond with turtles.
Entrance to the park is free. More about Otagtepe Fatih Park...
The large hill of Chamlıca (Çamlıca Tepesi), which is a high hill (288 meters) on the Asian side of Istanbul in the Usküdar district.
This is the highest natural point of the Asian part of Istanbul, at the top of which is the Chalmidja Mosque of the same name (Çamlıca Mosque).
From the open terrace of the mosque and from the hill there are wonderful panoramic views of Istanbul, including the Asian and European parts of the city and the Bosphorus.
In the public park on the hill with trees, flower beds and fountains there are historical teahouses, cafes and a restaurant.
You can climb the hill and visit the observation terrace for free.
The TV tower of Chamlyja (Çamlıca TV Radyo kulyesi, Çamlıca Kulesi / Camlica Tower), which has modern architecture and a height of 369 meters (and 587 meters above sea level).
The TV tower consists of a total of 49 floors, of which 4 are underground and 45 are above ground.
There is an observation deck in the tower, giving a 360-degree panoramic view of the whole of Istanbul and the surrounding area. There is also a panoramic cafeteria-restaurant in the tower.
The ascent to the observation deck is paid.
TV tower website: camlicakule.istanbul.
In addition to those listed in Istanbul, there are other viewing platforms and observation points. Learn more about the observation decks and observation points of Istanbul...
Historical bazaars of Istanbul
Istanbul, due to its location (in Europe and Asia), has been a place of intersection of trade routes since ancient times, which still makes the city a very popular shopping destination.
Local shopping streets and markets, which are called bazaars in Istanbul, constantly attract numerous tourists, and not only those who want to make purchases, but also all those who want to get acquainted with the culture and history of the city, because the main bazaars of Istanbul are also attractions.
Among all the bazaars of Istanbul, there are several particularly visited and famous ones that are located in the city center on the main tourist routes.
The "main" markets and shopping streets of Istanbul are located in the European part of the city. These are the Grand Bazaar with the Mahmutpasha Bazaar, the Egyptian Bazaar and the Arast Bazaar.
Hammams in Istanbul
Hamam or hammam is a common name for public baths in Turkey and other Eastern countries.
Historically, the hamam was not only a place of purification and relaxation, but also a place of meetings and communication.
Nowadays, hammams in Turkey are an important part of the country's culture, as well as one of its business cards.
There are a large number of hamams in Istanbul (Hamamı Istanbul / Hamami Istanbul), some of which are historical, built during the Ottoman Empire and visited by sultans, including Suleiman I the Magnificent and his beloved wife Roksolana (Hurrem Sultan).
Today, some historical Turkish baths have been restored and anyone can visit them.
Sights and museums of Istanbul
It is simply impossible to list all the sights of Istanbul in one article, so we have separate articles about the places and objects of Istanbul, in which all the sights of the city (palaces, fortresses, mosques, mausoleums, cisterns and dungeons, museums, cathedrals and churches, towers, parks and gardens) are described separately, or collected in thematic articles.
Palaces of Istanbul
Palaces are singled out as a separate and one of the most important categories of Istanbul's attractions, some of which today are museums with recreated interiors, while others are adapted to the needs of the city or are in a ruined state - only parts of the palaces remain.
Mosques, cathedrals and churches of Istanbul
Mosques, churches and cathedrals belong to a separate category of Istanbul attractions, of which there are a large number in Istanbul.
Mausoleums of Istanbul
Mausoleums (Türbesi) are tombs in Istanbul where sultans and their family members, as well as other representatives of the Ottoman Empire, rest.
Mausoleums in Istanbul are located mainly near mosques.
Fortresses, towers and defensive walls of Istanbul (Constantinople)
One of the categories of Istanbul includes towers, fortresses, walls and gates, most of which were former fortifications of the city.
Some of the former defensive structures are now museums and (or) observation decks.
Cisterns and dungeons of Istanbul
Cisterns in Istanbul have been known since the time of Constantinople (now the city of Istanbul).
Since there were very few sources of fresh water in the city (Constantinople), the inhabitants felt the need to collect and store fresh water. For these purposes, the Byzantines built a system of aqueducts (aqueducts) and cisterns (reservoirs). Through aqueducts, water was delivered to cisterns, which were open and closed, and in which fresh water was stored. There were a lot of such cistern reservoirs in the city; they were built under fortresses, palaces, rich houses and churches.
Today, some reservoirs have dried up, others have been destroyed or are in ruins, while others underground reservoirs have been converted into museums that can be visited.
In addition to museums located in former Ottoman palaces, fortresses and dungeons, there are other equally interesting museums in Istanbul.
Istanbul Parks and Gardens
Istanbul has parks and gardens of palaces, green areas, and in the vicinity of the city there is a nature reserve with a botanical garden.
Among all the parks and gardens of Istanbul, there are several particularly noteworthy and located on the main tourist routes around the city.
Some parks offer wonderful panoramic views of the urban development, the Bosphorus Strait and the Golden Horn Bay.
One of the largest public parks in Istanbul, Emirgan Park (Emirgân Korusu), becomes especially popular from the end of March to May (April), when the Tulip Festival takes place in the city, the heart of which is this park, where numerous flowers decorate flowerbeds and form various compositions.
The park is located on the European side of Istanbul, near the waters of the Bosphorus.
Entrance to the park is free.
Another picturesque park of the city isBaltalimany Japanese Garden (Baltalimanı Japon Bahçesi) is a small beautiful botanical garden with sakura trees, roses and various types of shrubs.
The park was created in cooperation with Japan and Turkey, so it has Japanese features.
The garden has a gazebo, a pond, a waterfall, a rock garden and a tea room.
The garden is especially recommended to visit during the cherry blossom season (late April -early May).
Entrance to the garden is free.
If you want to learn only about the most important sights and the main museums of the city, where you should go first, or if there is little time allocated for Istanbul, then you can see the list of top attractions and museums of the city here →
Where to walk in Istanbul and what to do
Since Istanbul is a huge city with a lot of attractions, museums, as well as places for walking and recreation, then, for a better acquaintance with the city, it is important to make thoughtful and suitable routes around the city for you.
Since there can be a lot of options for routes around the city, then on this site routes around Istanbul that will reveal the city from all sides, as well as see and visit both the most famous and little-known sights, museums and places of Istanbul, are described in a separate article. Learn more about routes around Istanbul...
To Istanbul with children
- Toy Museum (Istanbul Oyuncak Müzesi), etc.Read more "To Istanbul with children"...
Museum and tourist maps of Istanbul
Some palaces, museums and sites in Istanbul have museum and tourist maps.
There are different types of maps in Istanbul. Some of which give the right to visit certain museums, while others, in addition to the main museums, include excursions, as well as some shows and entertainment, public transport rides and discounts on airport transfers.
The classic and most common is the museum card "Museum Pass Istanbul" (Museum Pass Istanbul), which gives the right to enter some museums of the city. There are also more extended Istanbul E-Pass and Istanbul Tourist Pass cards, which give the right to visit museums, attractions, guided tours, an aquarium, shows, cruises along the Bosphorus, trips outside the city, etc. Learn more about museum and tourist maps of Istanbul...
Sightseeing tour buses in Istanbul
Hop-On Hop-Off tour buses run around Istanbul, where you can visit some of the main attractions and museums of the city.
There are tickets for 1, 2 or 3 days.
Tickets for the Istanbul sightseeing bus can be purchased here →
Out of town - trips from Istanbul to 1- 2- 3- and more days
When you have already fully enjoyed the grandeur and diversity of the city, Istanbul can be a good starting point for traveling, both in the surrounding area and more remote places from the city, and throughout Turkey.
Istanbul on the map