Istanbul is a city that proudly straddles two continents, Europe and Asia, and has a rich history spanning over 2,000 years. As the former capital of both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. This bustling metropolis offers a treasure trove of tourist attractions, from iconic landmarks and ancient monuments to lively bazaars and vibrant nightlife. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top tourist highlights of Istanbul. We will ensure that you make the most of your visit to this incredible city with Istanbul Tour.


1. Hagia Sophia of Istanbul Tour

The Hagia Sophia, also known as Aya Sofya, is one of Istanbul’s most iconic and awe-inspiring attractions. This architectural marvel was originally built as a church by the Roman Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century and later served as a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. Today, it stands as a mosque, showcasing a unique blend of Byzantine and Islamic art and architecture. It’s the number 1 site for all the Istanbul Tour programs.

1.1. The Interior

The interior of the Hagia Sophia is truly breathtaking, with its massive central dome (31 meters in diameter) that once enclosed the largest indoor space in the world. The walls are adorned with intricate mosaics, marble, and gold leaf, creating a dazzling atmosphere that is a testament to the city’s rich heritage.

1.2. The Courtyard and Surroundings

The Hagia Sophia is surrounded by a peaceful courtyard, which offers a serene space to admire the building’s exterior and take in the stunning views of the adjacent Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. The Fountain of Purification, with its Greek palindrome inscription, can be found in the courtyard as well.

2. Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque, or Sultan Ahmet Mosque, is another must-see attraction in Istanbul. Built in the early 17th century by Sultan Ahmet I, the mosque is famous for its six minarets and stunning blue Iznik tiles that adorn the interior. As an active house of worship, visitors must dress modestly and observe the daily prayer times when planning their visit.

2.1. The Interior

The interior of the Blue Mosque is a visual feast, with over 20,000 ceramic tiles in various tulip designs and 200 stained glass windows. The mosque’s central dome, flanked by four smaller domes and supported by four massive pillars, creates a sense of grandeur and harmony within the space.

2.2. The Surrounding Gardens

Between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia lies a beautiful garden area, perfect for a leisurely stroll and taking in the contrasting architectural styles of the two structures. The gardens are particularly enchanting at dusk, as the call to prayer echoes through the air and the buildings are illuminated by lights.

3. Topkapi Palace Tour

Topkapi Palace is a sprawling complex that once served as the official residence of the Ottoman sultans for over 400 years. Today, it stands as a museum, showcasing the opulence and extravagance of the Ottoman Empire through its extensive collection of art, porcelain, jewelry, and other treasures.

3.1. The Harem

The Harem is perhaps the most famous part of Topkapi Palace, as it housed the sultan’s many wives, concubines, and children. This labyrinthine complex features intricately decorated rooms, courtyards, and gardens, providing a fascinating glimpse into the private lives of the Ottoman elite.

3.2. The Treasury and Sacred Relics

The Imperial Treasury houses an impressive collection of precious items, including the Topkapi Dagger and the 86-carat Spoonmaker’s Diamond. The palace is also home to revered Islamic relics, such as the Prophet Mohammed’s sword and cloak.

3.3. The Courtyards and Gardens

Topkapi Palace is surrounded by a series of courtyards and gardens, each with their own distinct character and purpose. The lush, green spaces offer a tranquil escape from the bustling city and provide stunning views over the Bosphorus.

4. Grand Bazaar

No visit to Istanbul would be complete without a trip to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With over 5,000 shops selling everything from jewelry and carpets to spices and antiques, the bazaar is a shopper’s paradise and a sensory feast for visitors.

4.1. Shopping and Souvenirs

The Grand Bazaar offers a wide range of high-quality souvenirs and handicrafts, such as hand-painted ceramics, intricate textiles, and handcrafted jewelry. Be prepared to haggle and bargain with the friendly shopkeepers, as it is an essential part of the shopping experience in Istanbul.

4.2. Food and Drink * Tastes of Istanbul Tour

The Grand Bazaar is also home to a diverse array of food stalls and cafes, offering an opportunity to sample some of Turkey’s delicious cuisine. From freshly brewed Turkish tea and coffee to succulent kebabs and aromatic baklava, there is something to suit every palate.

5. Basilica Cistern of Istanbul Tour

The Basilica Cistern is an ancient underground reservoir that once supplied water to the Roman and Byzantine empires. Built by Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, this architectural marvel features 336 columns and can hold up to 2.8 million cubic feet of water.

5.1. The Atmosphere and Columns

The cistern is characterized by its eerie, dimly lit atmosphere and the soft, steady trickle of water that echoes throughout the space. The columns are beautifully lit, showcasing the various decorative carvings, such as the famous Medusa head column bases.

5.2. The History and Significance

The Basilica Cistern is a testament to the advanced engineering and architectural prowess of the ancient Romans, who were able to construct such an impressive structure to store and distribute water throughout the city. The cistern has been featured in numerous films, including the James Bond thriller “From Russia with Love.”

6. Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is a medieval stone tower that offers panoramic views of Istanbul’s cityscape, the Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn. Built in 1348 by the Genoese, the tower stands at 67 meters high and was once the tallest building in Istanbul. During your Istanbul Tour, you will be able to see that from every corner of the city.

6.1. The Observation Deck and Restaurant

Visitors can take an elevator to the top of the tower, where an observation deck and restaurant offer stunning views over the city. The tower is particularly popular at sunset, as the golden light casts a magical glow over Istanbul’s iconic landmarks.

6.2. The Surrounding Neighborhood

The Galata Tower is located in the trendy Beyoglu district, which is home to a variety of art galleries, boutiques, and cafes. The narrow, cobbled streets surrounding the tower are perfect for exploring on foot and discovering hidden gems throughout the neighborhood.

7. Suleymaniye Mosque

The Suleymaniye Mosque is a magnificent example of Ottoman architecture, commissioned by Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in the 16th century. Designed by the renowned architect Sinan, the mosque features a harmonious blend of Islamic and Byzantine elements and is considered one of the most beautiful mosques in Istanbul.

7.1. The Interior and Courtyard

The interior of the Suleymaniye Mosque is an elegant space, with a soaring 53-meter-high dome and intricate Iznik tilework. The mosque’s courtyard offers a peaceful retreat, with lush gardens and fountains providing a serene atmosphere for reflection and contemplation.

7.2. The Tombs of Sultan Suleyman and Hurrem Sultan

The mosque is also home to the tombs of Sultan Suleyman and his wife Hurrem Sultan, which are located within the garden area. These ornate burial sites are an important part of Istanbul’s history and a popular pilgrimage site for visitors.

8. Spice Bazaar

The Spice Bazaar, or Mısır Çarşısı, is a lively and colorful market that offers a wide variety of spices, sweets, and other culinary delights. Located in the Fatih district, the Spice Bazaar is a must-visit for food lovers and those looking to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, and smells of Istanbul.

8.1. Shopping for Spices and Souvenirs

In addition to its wide array of spices, the Spice Bazaar also offers a range of other items, such as dried fruits, nuts, teas, and candies. The market is a great place to pick up souvenirs and gifts, as well as to sample some of Turkey’s most beloved treats, such as Turkish delight and baklava.

8.2. Exploring the Surrounding Neighborhood

The Spice Bazaar is located within walking distance of several other notable attractions. Such as the Yeni Cami (New Mosque) and the bustling Eminonu waterfront. This area is a great place to explore on foot and take in the vibrant atmosphere of Istanbul’s historic core.

9. Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace is a lavish 19th-century residence that showcases the extravagant lifestyle of the Ottoman sultans. Built along the Bosphorus coastline, the palace features a blend of Ottoman and European architectural styles, with opulent interiors and stunning views of the surrounding waters.

9.1. The Interior and Collections

The interior of Dolmabahçe Palace is a feast for the senses, with luxurious furnishings, crystal chandeliers, and sumptuous decorations. Highlights of the palace include the world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria, and an extensive collection of art and artifacts from the Ottoman Empire.

9.2. The Gardens and Bosphorus Views

The palace is surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens, featuring fountains, ornamental basins, and flower beds, which provide a tranquil setting for a leisurely stroll. The palace’s location along the Bosphorus also offers stunning views of the water and the city’s iconic skyline.

10. Bosphorus Cruise of Istanbul Tour

A Bosphorus cruise is a must-do activity for any visitor in Istanbul Tour, as it offers an unparalleled perspective of the city’s historic and modern landmarks. The cruise takes you along the Bosphorus Strait, which separates Europe and Asia, and provides stunning views of the city’s iconic attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace.

10.1. Sightseeing and Scenic Views of Istanbul Tour

During the cruise, you’ll have the opportunity to see many of Istanbul’s most famous landmarks from the water, including the Galata Tower, Dolmabahçe Palace, and the Bosphorus Bridge. The cruise also provides a unique vantage point to admire the city’s skyline and take in the stunning scenery of the Bosphorus in your Istanbul Tour.

10.2. Cruise Options and Timings

There are several cruise options available to suit your schedule and preferences, ranging from short, two-hour tours to full-day excursions. Some cruises also offer additional activities, such as guided tours of historic sites, traditional Turkish meals, and live entertainment.

In conclusion, Istanbul is a city that offers something for every type of traveler. Its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning scenery make it a destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-prepared to explore the best that Istanbul. It has to offer and create lasting memories in this captivating city. Please feel free to reach us for your Istanbul Tour organization and best tour options in Istanbul.