Make the most of your stay in Istanbul with a curated list of the best things to do in this bustling city. Gateway to both Europe and Asia, Turkey is a curious amalgam of east and west, of things traditional and modern. Don’t be taken by surprise when you see pierced and tattooed hipsters rubbing shoulders with Muslim ladies who don the traditional hijab. Or upscale restaurants lining the same street as traditional tea houses and spice markets.
Despite being home to nearly 20 million people, the city does not come close to being claustrophobic, and town squares and parks dot the cityscape. If you find yourself in this thriving metropolis, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the time to complete all that’s on your list!
Istanbul’s Archaeology Museums
The Archaeology Museums of Istanbul are often overshadowed by other more well-advertised attractions, but these are no less valuable. There are three significant museums huddled in the Eminönü district of Istanbul – the Museum of Islamic Art, Archaeology Museum and Museum of the Ancient Orient. Collectively displaying one of world’s largest collections of classical antiques, these are perfect places to glean more insight into the heritage and history of the region.
Cruise along the Bosphorus
For the uninitiated, Istanbul is divided by the Bosphorus, a narrow waterway that straddles two continents of Europe and Asia. Cruising along the Bosphorus is the only time you’ll be able to see Asia on one side, and Europe with the other. You’ll want to purchase a cruise with a reputable and reliable company like Private Bosphorus cruises which provide the best value for your money.
Paragliding over Ölüdeniz
Turkey is increasing in its popularity as a go-to place for paragliding, thanks to its excellent weather conditions and and breathtaking aerial views. There are many spots where you can take off for the adrenaline rush of wafting through the air, and Sile is one of them. This pretty location is located on the black sea and sits on other side of the Bosphorus. A lush meadow that sweeps up into a bushy needle, the towering elevation of a 35m cliff set over the ocean offers up a grand view for the acro pilot. If you’re a novice, some little insider knowledge may be needed to pick up the best winds and landing zones. Book a paragliding tour with Get Your Guide which includes an experienced instructor, transportation and extreme sports insurance, and you’ll be in good hands.
It is no wonder that Istanbul holds a trove of historical significance, as it spans two continents. This architectural landmark has undergone many shifting identities, from its early days as Eastern Orthodox cathedral, it was then transformed into a Roman Cathedral, then back to Eastern Orthodox cathedral, a mosque, and since 1935 it stands as a landmark museum which sees throngs of tourists, locals and devotees each year, arriving to marvel at the blanket of beautiful mosaics, calligraphy, tiles and Sultan’s lodge.
Learn how to cook like a local
Nothing separates the integral culture of a country and its iconic cuisine. Here in Turkey, the complexities of a dish are steeped in traditional ways of making, yet many dishes are easily recreated in your own home. Taking a cooking class is a great way to gain insight into locals’ daily life, its rich culture, and a fantastic way to make new friends. Istanbul has many classes to choose from, including tihe professional team at Cookistan which provides exceptional culinary experience for a new learner, and you’ll leave Turkey with a souvenir that keeps on giving – a traditional recipe and the newly acquired skills to recreate it for loved ones at home!