Best things to do in Istanbul
Essential city info, articles & travel tips from our local hosts
In a prime position straddling two continents, Turkey’s capital, the final stop on the ancient Silk Road, has seen its fair share of visitors – Greeks, Romans, Venetians, and Ottomans – over the centuries. Relics of these civilizations lay peppered through the city, and merchants who decided to make Istanbul their new home built a colorful culture that still exists today. On an Istanbul tour, diversity is visible in each of the city’s attractions, from the Grand Bazaar (the covered market dating back to 1461) to the historic center’s architecture (glittering gold mosaic-adorned mosques, frescoed churches, cascading domes) to the food (Istanbul’s cuisine, some of the most famous in the world, is as varied as the city’s heritage). In contemporary neighborhoods, the aroma of freshly brewed Turkish coffee wafts through streets lined with galleries, theaters, and cinemas, while the outskirts house ancient ruins and magnificent centuries-old structures illustrating legendary tales of Istanbul’s past.