Searching for things to do in Istanbul? The city offers an endless variety of entertainment. From activities perfect for relaxing to exciting events and informative exhibits, there’s something for every taste.
Fans of art, history, and culture have no shortage of things to do in Istanbul.
Many new museums open this year as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations, joining the well-known:
- Hagia Sophia
- Topkapi Palace
- Archaeology Museum
- Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum
- Naval Museum
- Dolmabahce Palace
- Modern Art Museum
- Koc Industrial Museum
- Sabanci Museum
- and Miniaturk
Many mosques and churches qualify as museums in their own right, and special exhibits are often held in other historical venues.
Few other things to do in Istanbul can compete with the pleasure of viewing Istanbul from the Bosphorus Straits.
Whether you just hop a ferry to cross from the European to the Asian side of Istanbul, or opt to spend a few hours cruising the waters, you’ll be far from the bustle of the streets.
Head toward the Black Sea to take in sights of Ottoman mansions and fishing towns, or toward the Sea of Marmara to spend quiet time on one of the Princes Islands (Adalar).
The food in Istanbul is not to be missed. With the city’s location on the Bosphorus, excellent fish restaurants are plentiful, but regional kebabs and meze (appetizers), traditional Ottoman dishes like rich lamb stews and roasted eggplant puree, and rich pastries are equally prevalent.
Dining options run the gamut from street vendor stalls to elegant restaurants.
In addition to a vibrant nightlife spanning the metropolis, the city of Istanbul sponsors many events, with outdoor concerts popular in the summer. Concertgoers can be treated to performances by visiting Western artists, or can sample the various styles of popular Turkish musicians.
Tickets to concerts, other performances, and soccer matches are readily purchased in advance from Biletix outlets, offering lots of options of things to do. I personally recommend going to Turkuazoo(Europe’s largest marine aquarium) or one of the Disney Live Showsif you want o have a great family time with lots of entertainment.
In Istanbul, special historical and artistic events are planned throughout 2010. The city has been designated as one of three European Capitals of Culture in 2010, which is also the Year of Japan in Turkey.
Among the events planned are many music festivals, exhibitions, dance performances, and art shows, including A Story of the City (Constantinople Istanbul) highlighting the history of Istanbul. (18 June 2010)
The Turkish baths, or hamams, come from a deep Ottoman tradition with roots in Roman times. At a hamam, you can enjoy the experience of a leisurely bath in a historic building, complete with towel and slippers.
The leisurely process moves bathers between a steam room and rooms at cooler temperatures, with the option of a scrub or massage. Alternatively, some five-star hotels offer a luxurious complete spa experience. Traditionally, men and women bathe separately.