Top sights in Istanbul
Our most recommended things to do in Istanbul
1. Private Transfer: Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Central Istanbul
Enjoy a hassle-free arrival into Istanbul with a private airport transfer. Avoid all the stress that comes with trying to get from A to B, with a private driver waiting to meet you at Sabiha Gokcen Airport and take you directly to your Istanbul hotel. The transfers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Istanbul hotels. Guests should look for the “Neon Tours” sign at the airport after custom control. The duration of transfers are approximate, the exact duration will depend on the time of day and traffic conditions. Each traveler is allowed a maximum of 1 suitcase and 1 carry-on bag. Oversized or excessive luggage (e.g. surfboards, golf clubs or bikes) may have certain restrictions, please inquire with the operator prior to travel to confirm if your excess luggage is acceptable. Adult pricing applies to all travellers.
2. Istanbul: Spice Bazaar Tour and Bosphorus Morning Cruise
This alternative Bosphorus Cruise is suitable for travelers with limited time in Istanbul. Meet your guide at the lobby of your hotel and depart for a Golden Horn Sightseeing tour. Visit the Spice Bazaar to learn about the myriad of herbs from your guide, and taste delicious Turkish delights. Then, join a 90-minutes Bosphorus cruise and enjoy fantastic views of Dolmabahçe Palace, Leanders Tower, two suspension bridges, Rumeli Hisarı Fortress, and beautiful mansions. Finally, disembark at Eminönü Pier to continue your exploration of the city.
3. The Whirling Dervishes Show at the HodjaPasha Culture Center
Watch a magnificent 1-hour show of the Mevlevi Sema ceremony at the HodjaPasha Culture Center in central Istanbul and witness the miracle of the whirling dances and dervishes. Dating back 800 years, the show represents in thrilling fashion the idea that everything in the universe, from atoms, to the solar system, to the blood that circulates in the body, revolves. Sema is a spiritual journey that the soul makes to God as it becomes mature and attains unity. After the journey, it returns to its life and to serve humankind again. This thrilling program begins with a classical Turkish music concert, followed by the Sema ceremony, comprised of 7 parts. Watch in wonder as the whirling dervishes and sheikh take their place and praise the Prophet Mohammed. Following the chant, a drum voice is heard and all 7 parts unfold, - the ceremony climaxes when the extraordinary whirling dervishes revo...
Very entertaining and interesting performance with very good educational exhibit and accompanying projections.
4. Istanbul: Turkish Entertainment Bosphorus Dinner Cruise
Climb aboard a pleasure boat for a luxury cruise along the Bosphorus Strait. Get a welcome cocktail on arrival and then set sail for the Black Sea passing some of Istanbul's most famous monuments along the way. Cruise between Europe and Asia and pass under the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge. See the summer palaces of the Ottoman sultans, including Dolmabahçe Palace and Beylerbeyi Palace. Admire the fortifications of Rumeli Castle and Anatolian Castle, and marvel at the mansions that line both coastlines. Watch live folk dances from the regions of Turkey, be seduced by a belly dancer and relax to international music played by the on-board DJ.
Everything was well organized, the driver is coming to pickup you on time, and dropping you to the boat directly. Entertaining was enjoyable, only food was not what i expected but it was ok.
5. Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise with Dinner and Entertainment
Your 5-hour program begins with a free pick-up at your Istanbul hotel between 19:00 and 20:00. When you board the cruise ship you’ll enjoy a complimentary welcome drink that you can enjoy along with the live music. Relax and get ready to enjoy an evening cruising along the Bosphorus Strait. Your cruise follows a route that passes historical sites, including Ottoman palaces, and stunning bridges illuminated by night. For dinner, you can choose from a fish or meat main course on a menu that features 3 courses. While you enjoy your meal you’ll be entertained by traditional belly dancing, a henna ceremony, a Romany dance, folk dancing, a live DJ, and an asuk-masuk show. You’ll be picked up and transferred back to your hotel, arriving by midnight.
We did enjoy our tour very much !! It was amazing to se Istanbul at night . Food was tasty ,,you can choose between alcohol and soft drinks . They offer you fruit and coffee after . We got all we asked for . Dancing group was really fun ,,and overall really good atmosphere :)) Would recommend . And tour was much cheaper to book here then from hotel or tourist attraction place.
6. Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht
A sunset on the water is an amazing way to end your cruise experience and an equally amazing way to start your evening. Whether it is to impress that special someone with a picture-perfect moment or just to appreciate a great time with great friends, a sunset cruise is something everyone will remember. Few places in the world are as mesmerizing as Istanbul in the setting sun. Aboard an elegant yacht, drinking traditional Turkish drinks, and nibbling on canapés and fruit from tastefully arranged platters, glide by palaces and minarets as you sail along the Bosphorus. When dusk sets in, a soothing breeze arrives from the Sea of Marmara and the sky over the city puts on a colorful show, tinted with shades of orange and rose. The muezzin calls from a towering minaret. Majestic palaces and villas standstill along the strait’s banks, as if nothing has changed over a millennium. Breathe in t...
Amazing experience and the snacks provided were absolutely delicious. Best tour of the Bosphorus that is available.
7. Istanbul: Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment
Climb aboard a pleasure boat for a luxurious cruise along the Bosphorus Strait, while dining from a 3-course menu of Turkish meze and local drinks. Sail past some of Istanbul's greatest monuments, while watching traditional entertainment along the way. Following a pick-up from your hotel, transfer to the yacht for the start of your journey. Get a welcome cocktail on deck as you begin to sail as far as the Black Sea. Cruise between Europe and Asia, passing under the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge. See the summer palaces of the Ottoman sultans, such as Dolmabahçe Palace, Çırağan Palace, and Beylerbeyi Palace. Admire the grand Ottoman fortifications of Rumeli Castle and Anatolian Castle.
Soak up some of Istanbul’s legendary nightlife as you pass famous nightclubs, such as Reina and Sortie. Marvel at the waterside mansions and villas that line the Europea...
Great experience. Very nice, polite and helpful staff. We enjoyed the performance except the belly dancer. We didn't like her at all. Two years ago I went on the same cruise and the bellydancer was fantastic. Very beautiful and with a smile on her face. The food was ok. The cruise to Bosporus something worthseeing. Transportation from our hotel ok... but felt exposed because noone was wearing a face mask for COVID 19 and the driver didn't say anything.
8. Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise with Audio App
Take part in one of the best Bosphorus Cruise in Istanbul and admire the cosmopolitan city from a completely different perspective while enjoying the beautiful views of the Orient and the Occident at the same time. The Bosphorus is 32km long, separates Europe from Asia and connects the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea. Cruise along the Bosphorus between Asia and Europe and discover Istanbul tourist attractions, magnificent palaces, ancient castles, and other historical sites, as well as fine seaside residences and the Bosphorus bridge. Historical places you will see from the distance include Galata Tower, Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, and Blue Mosque. Furthermore, you will have a glance at the spectacular pieces of authentic civic architecture on the European and Asian coast.
Really enjoyed the trip. The recording played over speakers guiding the trip was not very clear.
9. Istanbul: Unlimited 4G Internet Pocket WiFi in Turkey
With portable and pocket WiFi, you won’t have to change your sim card throughout your vacation or buy a high-cost data package in advance. You will be able to avoid expensive data roaming charges, or connecting to unsecured public internet points. Most importantly, you won't need to look for free WiFi every time you need an internet connection. This is an unlimited package at truly 4G/LTE speed which is secure and works everywhere in Turkey. There are no speed limitations at any level of data usage, allowing you to watch movies, play games, make online calls, stream your playlists, share your memories, use live navigation, and more.
We used this for 10 days. It worked ever where we went. It was waiting for us at our hotel when we checked in , and we left it at the desk when we left. It doesn't get easier than that! We were mostly in Istanbul area, but we did roadtrip almost 6 hours away to Troia (Troy) and it worked the entire journey. I went with the pocket wifi over a sim card after travels to South Africa a few years ago and having experienced nothing but issues and poor service. Other ladies we met went with the sim card option and they were always disconnecting or trying to find service. Pocket wifi is the way to go. Worth it!!!
10. Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace Admission and Guided Tour
Explore Dolmabahçe Palace - the biggest royal residence of the sultans and the imperial family of the Ottoman Empire. Meet your licensed English-speaking guide outside the monument and enter with your skip-the-line admission ticket. Begin a guided tour of the stunning interiors. Learn about how the palace was built by the orders of Sultan Abdülmecid I and opened in 1856. Admire the greatest collection of Baccarat and Bohemian chandeliers on the planet, including the biggest Bohemian chandelier ever. Marvel at the vast collection gold inside, specifically on the ornate ceilings. As you continue the tour, learn about the distinct differences between the Dolmabahçe Palace and the Topkapı Palace - for example, the architectural style and the way that the furniture was used. Find out about how the Dolmabahçe Palace was the last headquarter of the empire and was served until 1922.
Great tour, the tour guide was very interesting. Beautiful palace, must see, we would recommend to bring water since it is very hot inside.
Frequently asked questions about Istanbul
What top attractions are a must-see in Istanbul?
The must-see attractions in Istanbul are:See all must-see sights in Istanbul
What are the top things to do in Istanbul this week?
The top things to do in Istanbul are:Explore the best things to do in Istanbul on GetYourGuide
Which tours in Istanbul are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?
These experiences in Istanbul are taking additional COVID-19 precautions:See all Istanbul tours on GetYourGuide
Planning Your Visit
How many days?
Istanbul is a cartographical labyrinth with sights and experiences awaiting you round every corner. How long to stay depends on how immersed you want to get, but a week should be enough to cover the most famous attractions.
How to get from the airport to the city?
Havataş Shuttle Buses are available from outside the terminal and leave every half an hour for Taksim between 4:00AM and 1:00AM. Taking a taxi is, however, the most convenient way, and shouldn't be more expensive than the shuttle service between a group of four. Be sure to ignore the hustlers inside the airport and take an official vehicle from the taxi rank at the terminal exit.
Where to stay?
The key touristic areas are Fatih and Taksim, and which to stay in depends on the nature of your stay. Fatih is the old town and home to many of Istanbul's historic landmarks. Taksim, on the other hand, is modern and appeals more to those visiting the city to shop, dine, and party. Traveling between the two is simple, so don't worry if you fancy hitting the dancefloors after the Hagia Sophia!
Good to know
- Turkish Lira (₺)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+02:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- The weather is good at all times of the year, but it may be a good idea to avoid the summer if you do not like extreme heat.
Other Sightseeing Options in Istanbul
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What people are saying about Istanbul
Funds had everything arranged perfectly. The guide was great and very knowledgeable. I learned a lot from him. It was fun to have someone there to have Troy-educated discussions with. As always, GetYourGuide did a great job of making a lifelong desire to see Troy better than I imagined! Thank you to all!
Wonderfully organized walk with amazing views !!! I recommend this particular variant of a trip to the Bosphorus to everyone!
It was really amazing night,, the food was great, and service too.. shows entertained us and was well organized, thanks.
The greatest trip that you can buy! Our guide Haluk was a very nice and funny guy! I recommend this to everyone!
Excelente experiencia!!!! Muy divrrtida. La cena riquisima! La recomiendo