10 Things Not to Miss on Your First Time in Istanbul

Istanbul is high on the travel bucket list of many jet setters for good reasons. This big city got something exciting in store for everyone. 

Are you ready to get a glimpse of the sounds, sights, flavors, and experiences that await you in this Turkish city? 

Continue reading to know the top 10 things not to miss on your first time in Istanbul:

1. Dance the Night Away in Arnavutköy

Arnavutköy’s upscale neighborhood is popular not only for its fish restaurants but also for its cocktail bars. Check out one of the numerous bars on Arnavutköy Bebek Caddesi if you want to party like the locals. 

2. Delight Your Taste Buds with Turkish Cuisine

There is more to Turkish cuisine than döners and kebabs alone. Don’t forget to make a reservation at some of the finest restaurants in the area to indulge in an exciting plethora of dishes from the different regions of the country. 

3. Book Your Stay in Sultanahmet

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10 Things Not to Miss on Your First Time in Istanbul

For most first-timers in Istanbul, it is a norm to book a room in Sultanahmet in the old city where you are just within reach of all touristic action. Be sure to visit other neighborhoods. Start with crossing the Galata Bridge and explore Galata, Cukurcuma, and Karaköy to experience local life. 

4. Visit a Hamam

10 Things Not to Miss on Your First Time in Istanbul

If you find yourself tired of sightseeing, walking, and exploring, nothing beats the relaxing experience of visiting a Turkish bath. Schedule an appointment with Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam and let a cloud of soap bubbles wash and massage you to unwind and pamper yourself the Turkish way. 

5. Loosen Up in a Meyhane 

Your Istanbul visit will never be complete if you don’t visit a real meyhane tavern where it is a must to eat meze, drink raki, and have long conversations. Some of the best meyhanes in the city are those that have been in business for years with their delicious and unchanging menu. 

6. Browse the Asian Side 

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Many first-time visitors often ignore Istanbul’s Asian side, but this is something you shouldn’t miss. Catch a ferry to Kadıköy, wander around the neighborhood of Moda, and enjoy the local life with no need to worry about crowds of tourists. 

7. Go on a Bosphorus Tour

10 Things Not to Miss on Your First Time in Istanbul

Seeing Istanbul from the water is a great addition to any Istanbul trip. You can choose to book a private tour of the Bosphorus or simply enjoy a long tour offered by the public transportation ferry of the city that takes off every day from the Eminönü station.

8. Explore the Islands

The islands of Istanbul are the most popular weekend getaways. None of the islands allow cars so visitors travel via bike or by foot as they explore the natural landscape with majestic mansions that date back to the Ottoman era. 

9. Discover the Less Popular Sights

Go off the beaten track by visiting some lesser-known sights such as Balat’s Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the St. Stephen Church, the Beylerbeyi Palace, the Yavuz Selim Mosque, and the Pammakaristos Church. 

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10. Check Out the Major Tourist Sights

10 Things Not to Miss on Your First Time in Istanbul

Of course, the major historic sights of Istanbul deserve to be on your list of the top 10 things not to miss on your first time in Istanbul. Some of these are the Archeology Museums, the Grand Bazaar, the Chora Church, the Topkapı Palace, the Basilica Cistern, the Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia which are all in the historic quarter of the city. 

Visit Istanbul today and don’t miss out on these sights and attractions! 


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