Istanbul – Top 5 Things to Do!

Turkey is one of the most unique tourist destinations in the world. Let us tell you why – it’s because the country extends across two continents – Asia and Europe! You get to literally experience a happy balance of western comforts alongside exciting eastern culture and history!

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Istanbul is one of the most vibrant cities in Turkey. We’ve compiled a list of must-see and must-do attractions / activities during your visit. These have been reported by a myriad of trusted travel enthusiasts who have had first-hand experience.

If you’re a first time tourist to this very colourful and charming city, then you NEED to get Instagram-worthy photos of the following attractions:

1. The Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia & Basilica Cistern

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Take a step back in time and just feel the wonder of these striking historical buildings! They’re all on the same block so you can visit em’ all before lunch!

The beautiful tile work of the Blue Mosque will leave you speechless! It is located across Sultanahmet Square facing the Aya Sofia. It has been affectionately named the ‘blue mosque’ because of the blue Iznik tiles on its walls. Be sure to dress in Islamic attire before entering the mosque.

The Aya Sophia was built in 537 as a Church, became a mosque in 1453 and finally in 1935 became a museum. Feast your eyes on stunning mosaics dating back to the 12th century! It’s open every day except Mondays!

Mosaïques de l'entrée sud-ouest de Sainte-Sophie (Istanbul, Turquie)

Mosaïques de l’entrée sud-ouest de Sainte-Sophie (Istanbul, Turquie)

The Basilica Cistern is a beautiful aide-mémoire of Turkey’s rich past. It was originally utilized to store water for the palace and other buildings in the area. As you walk through, you’ll be struck with feelings of amazement and awe! It’s definitely an attraction you don’t wanna miss!

2. The Grand Bazaar or Kapali Carsi

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Want to find amazing keepsakes for your friends and family back home or looking for something ‘Turkish’ to remember your trip by? The Grand Bazaar is the place to go! You’ll find carpet sellers, goldsmiths, leather items, crafts and so much more! It’s a shopping experience like no other and definitely something that you gotta experience!

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3. The Topkapi Palace

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Home of the Ottoman sultans back in the 15th to 19th centuries, this palace boasts four courtyards with breathtaking gardens! You gotta check out the stunning 86 carat pear-shaped Spoonmaker diamond, the armory, the Hall of the Privy Chamber and the Throne Room where the Sultan received his guests. There’s so much more to see and experience! You don’t want to miss it!

4. The Spice Market

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Right near the New Mosque lies the Spice Market! Take in the aroma of freshly ground spices, dried fruit and many choices of Turkish delight!

5. The Bosphorus Cruise

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Bosphorus is Istanbul’s waterway that divides the European and Asian sides. You’ll experience this divide as you cruise all the way to the Black sea! Don’t forget to Snapchat the experience!

We can’t send you off on your Turkish adventure without imparting valuable travel tips & advice. Here we go!

1. Visa Wisdom – Canadian passport holders need an e-visa which is obtainable online for $60 USD per person

2. Avoid drinking tap water – our western tummies don’t mesh well with the tap water in eastern countries. Be sure to always choose mineral water to avoid a tummy upset!

3. Pack comfy shoes – you’ll be walking A LOT and will encounter hilly terrain. You wanna make sure your feet are happy so you can enjoy the sights and attractions.

4. Shopping Spree – Other than the old city bazaar stalls, ‘LC Wikiki’ – Turkey’s version of H&M is a fabulous place to buy great modern clothing at decent prices.

5. You’ll catch the best weather and price between March and September.

6. Staff Picks: Fatema Zehra recommends trying the roadside roasted chestnuts & the black tea shot with a sugar cube is a must-do!

Finally…here are some of our amazing hotel recommendations to really enhance your holiday:

4* Titanic Business Kartal Hotel – From CAD $42 per person per night*
4* Romance – From CAD $65 per person per night*
4* Hotel Amira Istanbul – From CAD $68 per person per night*
5* White House Hotel Istanbul – From CAD $95 per person per night*

*Based on two people sharing double occupancy mid/low season. Subject to availability.

Let us help you plan your adventure and take it to the next level. Our team of expert travel consultants can be reached on: 1-866-458-4252.

We would love to talk to you and understand what you’re truly interested in doing and your budget. We can then tailor-make a unique holiday just for you! Let’s make memories! Call us today for a consultation.

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