Istanbul is one of the world’s greatest cities and embraces a mixture of European and Asian cultures. Istanbul is an old city with many historical places, which is known as the gateway to Asia and Europe. Therefore, get ready for a journey through history, food, love and entertainment!
In this blog post, I will talk about the unmissable activities in Istanbul Europe that can attract all kinds of travelers! Therefore, if you want to find out about the best things to do in Istanbul Europe, stay tuned.
Get To Know Istanbul Better!
Known as the bridge between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a magnificent combination of ancient and modern lifestyles. From its compelling history to its thriving culture and its distinct neighborhoods, Istanbul is completely addictive and memorable–and there is definitely no shortage of fun things to do in Istanbul.
These two worlds collide with the rich history and the endless array of hidden gems waiting around every corner. Have you ever heard of Golden Horn? The historic part of Istanbul is called Golden Horn, which is located on the European side. In this place, you will find famous historical attractions like the Blue Mosque and Mosque Hagia Sophia.
Imagine your dream life! In this life, you are definitely drinking Turkish tea with a slice of baklava and then taking a ferry between two continents. It does not matter if you are 7 or 70; Istanbul enchants everyone with its wonders.
The European Side of Istanbul and Its Attractions
Located on the west of the Bosphorus, the European side of Istanbul is the most popular part, where you will find the historical peninsula and popular museums.
Since most of the attractions are on this site, it is also the most popular place to stay in Istanbul! Here, I will show you the top spots to visit when you travel to Istanbul Europe to experience the city’s different stories and faces.
1. Most Important Tourist Attraction in Istanbul: Bosphorus Strait
The Bosphorus Strait is located on a large land on both Asian and European sides, connecting the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. It is one of Istanbul’s most important tourist attractions, a 30 km-long waterway, with three magnificent bridges over it: the Bosphorus Bridge, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Sultan Salim I Bridge.
The Bosphorus Strait has many tourist attractions, such as Maiden Castle, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahcea Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace and Anadolu Hisari Castle. This strait dates back to thousands of years ago and its waters are considered within international navigation limits (NIL), with at least 55,000 ships passing by each year.
Bosphorus Strait and its tourist attractions are among the must-see places in Istanbul.
2. Admire The Beauty of The Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul Europe
A magnificent place of worship and a classic example of Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia is an undisputed architectural masterpiece in Istanbul. This cathedral was constructed in 537 AD and it was the greatest architectural achievement of the Byzantine Empire. This place is open to the public and you can still go inside and enjoy its mosaics, calligraphy, tiles, and the Sultan’s lodge.
Hagia Sophia was once a church and a mosque but is now one of the most visited and popular museums in the world. This mosque has glittering mosaics of biblical scenes; therefore, it is one of the iconic sites in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia retains the elements of Christian and Islamic religions, which is pretty amazing.
3. Best Things To Do in Istanbul Europe; Visiting Blue Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is Istanbul’s most famous mosque and it was built in 1616. Due to the blue tiles surrounding the walls of its interior, this mosque is known as the Blue Mosque. You can walk across Sultanahmet square to the Blue Mosque.
Located in the old city, it is the perfect way to start your day and watch its magnificent architecture. This magnificent building has drawn millions of visitors from all over the world and it is among the top places to visit in Istanbul Europe.
The Blue Mosque is still a functioning mosque and you can visit this mosque by following certain rules. In addition, be aware that this mosque is still active and is closed to non-worshippers for half an hour during the five daily prayers.
4. Do Not Forget to Buy From the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul!
One of the best things to do in Istanbul Europe is to get lost in the Grand Bazaar and go for a joyful shopping. You will reach the Grand Bazaar with a short walk from the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Don’t forget that Grand Bazaar is one of the top spots to visit when you travel to Istanbul Europe.
There are more than 5,000 shops in the Grand Bazaar, which are covering 60 streets! So yes! It’s a pretty huge and magnificent bazaar in Istanbul. The Grand Bazaar was known as a major trading center in Istanbul in the 15th century and still attracts many tourists today. Be sure to spend a whole day walking the streets of this huge market and shopping in its beautiful shops. This will definitely be your best shopping experience.
5. Explore The Topkapi Palace on European Side of Istanbul
One of the main and famous attractions of Istanbul on the European side is the Topkapi Palace, which attracts many tourists. This palace was once the main residence and administrative seat of the powerful Ottoman sultans. Topkapi Palace was built in the 15th century and it is notable for its awe-inspiring architecture and the collections of Ottoman treasures.
Prominent parts in this palace include the huge Harem, impressive Imperial Council Chamber and picturesque Marble Terrace. you will find surprises in all parts of this palace.
6. Experience The Underground World in Istanbul; Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern was considered as a water filtration system for Istanbul in the early days, which provided drinking water to the people of Istanbul. Capable of holding 80,000 cubic meters of water, this cistern is for sure a unique historic site in Istanbul.
Basilica Cistern is dark and mysterious and you will be amazed to see the magnificent architecture of this place. This basilica is one of Istanbul’s most amazing attractions, which is supported by 336 columns in 12 rows. There are two column bases known as the Medusa stones in the northwest corner with their Medusa head carvings. Basilica Cistern is definitely one of the top spots to visit when you travel to Istanbul Europe.
7. Süleymaniye Mosque in the European Side of Istanbul
Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the most striking places in the city skyline and it stands on the third of the seven hills that overlook the Golden Horn. This mosque was built during the Ottoman empire of the 16th century and it is the largest mosque in Istanbul.
Its soaring 53-meter-high dome dominates the interior of Süleymaniye Mosques, which is notable for its harmonious proportions and unity of design. This elegant mosque not only houses a place of prayer but was also built to hold a seminary, hospital, inn, library, bazaar and tombs.
8. Stroll the Hippodrome on the European Side of Istanbul
The ancient Hippodrome was the center of Byzantine public life and the scene of splendid games and chariot races. Today, there isn’t much of the Hippodrome left, except for a small section of the gallery walls on the southern side. There is a fountain on the northwest side of Hippodrome, which is presented to the Ottoman sultan by the German Emperor William II in 1898.
There are three ancient monuments on the southwest of the place: a 20-meter high Egyptian obelisk, the Serpent Column and a stone obelisk that originally was clad in gold-covered bronze platinum. Hippodrome is the historical heart of the city and it stands at the Sultanahmet Square.
9. Eminonu Port on the Istanbul Europe
Eminonu Port is located on the European side of Istanbul and it is administratively under Fatih Municipality. Eminonu Port is one of the best places in Istanbul Europe and it is close to the Sultanahmet District, near the confluence of the Golden Horn.
In addition, Eminonu Port is an important transport hub and you can go to the Asian side of Istanbul on one of the most joyful and exciting trips from Eminonu Port.
10. Amazing Galata Tower on the European Side of Istanbul
Galata Tower, one of Istanbul’s top attractions, stands across the Galata Bridge crossing the mouth of The Bay of Istanbul. This tower is amazing and you can take tours up it to view the city overlooking the Bosphorus from its observation deck.
Built in the mid-14th century, the tower has had various uses and has been used as a fire tower, dungeon and barracks. The Galata Tower offers the best panoramic views of Istanbul, and you can gaze upon Old Istanbul from this excellent vantage point. While walking in Taksim and Galata neighborhoods, you will encounter many surprises such as the lodges of dervishes in the bazaar and the second oldest metro in the world.
11. Sultan Mehmet Fatih Bridge in Istanbul Europe
The Sultan Mehmet Fatih Bridge, also known as the Bosphorus Bridge, which was built on 3 rd July 1988, is one of Istanbul’s most prominent tourist attractions. With its featured position over the Bosphorus, it adds a terrific touch of beauty to this city.
1,510 meters in length, 39 meters width, and 169 meters height, Sultan Mehmet Fatih Bridge is one of the top spots to visit when you travel to Istanbul Europe. You can find a collection of properties offering the finest and top views nearby Sultan Mehmet Fatih Bridge. Therefore, you can buyapartments for sale in Istanbul Europe. Given Turkey’s bright future in terms of investment, Investing in Turkey and buying a property in Istanbul are the best things to do in Istanbul Europe.
12. Taksim Square – Istiklal Street in Taksim on Istanbul Europe
One of the most famous streets on the European side of Istanbul, also known as Istiklal Street, is Taksim Street. You will be amazed when you walk down this street. This famous and popular street houses many archaeological and modern buildings, shops with the most famous international and local brands, as well as libraries, and cinemas.
Istiklal Street is always packed with tourists and locals who like to walk down this street and enjoy life. Istiklal Street has a wide range of hotels, cafes and shops, which has gained its popularity over time.
13. Rumeli Hisari Castle in European Side of Istanbul
One of Istanbul’s oldest historical castles is Rumeli Hisari Castle, which was built by Sultan Mehmet Fatih within four months to conquer Constantinople. This castle is one of the most beautiful and historical castles in Istanbul, which attracts many tourists every year. The height of this castle is 82 meters and its area is 31250 meters, which has high walls and towers.
You can go up the stone staircases leading to the top of the castle and enjoy the terrific panoramic view of the Bosphorus from there. It’s amazing. The strategic location of this Castle on the European side of Istanbul has made it particularly attractive. Do not forget to visit this castle. Because it’s one of the best things to do in Istanbul.
14. Ortakoy Neighborhood in Istanbul Europe
Have you ever heard of this neighborhood? If you want to see one of the most beautiful and attractive neighborhoods in the European side of Istanbul and walk in its cozy back alleys, then remember the Ortakoy neighborhood. Ortakoy is one of Istanbul’s most tourist-attracting areas. This neighborhood is also unique for investing and buying a villa for sale in Istanbul Europe.
One of the reasons why this neighborhood is attractive and special is because of the coast overlooking the Bosphorus and the Ottoman palaces. The coast in the Ortakoy neighborhood stretches over 1,000 meters long, having seating areas to enjoy the Bosphorus and bridge beauty amidst popular ambiences.
15. Sultanahmet District in the European Side of Istanbul
One of the best things to do in Istanbul Europe is visiting the Sultanahmet District. Sultanahmet District is one of Istanbul’s most beautiful and fascinating neighborhoods, which attracts many tourists every year. This neighborhood is located in the heart of Istanbul and it is unlikely to come to Istanbul without visiting it.
Sultanahmet District administratively belongs to the municipality of Fatih and has an expansive transport network, which allows you to move around easily. This neighborhood is also unique for investing and buying properties for sale in Istanbul Europe. It doesn’t matter Where you are, you can reach Sultanahmet district, either using public buses or a tramway.
16. Visit The Amazing Museums of Istanbul Europe
For those who are into history and art, so many nice museums in Istanbul are definitely worth a visit. If you are a fan of history, I strongly suggest you visit the Archeology Museum Istanbul. This museum has a huge collection of art pieces and remains from the Ottoman Empire, which is amazing. By visiting the Archeology Museum Istanbul, you can dive deep into Ottoman culture.
In addition, for those who are interested in contemporary art, you will be amazed by the creative exhibitions in the Istanbul Art Museum. There are different kinds of paintings from various artists, visual art shows and film events in this museum.
17. Try Some Delicious Turkish Food in Istanbul
While in Istanbul, try some delicious local foods. Have you ever heard of Pide or Kofte? Pide is Turkish Pizza and Kofte are meatballs made with lamb or beef. These are some of the best and most delicious Turkish foods. Therefore, one of the best things to do in Istanbul Europe is eating Turkish foods.
Some other unique Turkish dishes are Dolma, Lokum, Baklava and Sis Kebab. Turkish people enjoy eating and that is why all kinds of delicious food and desserts with unique tastes are served in the restaurants and cafes of this country. There’s no way to sum up Istanbul. From its compelling history to its delicious food and its distinct neighborhoods, Istanbul is completely addictive.
18. Visit Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı) on European Side of Istanbul
If you are searching for lokum (Turkish delight), dried fruit, nuts, herbs, and of course spices in Istanbul, you should definitely visit Spice Bazaar. Istanbul Spice Bazaar is exactly where the smell of spices fascinates you. The Spice Bazaar is one of Istanbul’s most popular and famous tourist attractions, which gets ridiculously crowded at certain times of the day.
If you want to dodge the crowds, try to come before 11am or after 4pm. If you want to cook food that has a different taste from all other foods, be sure to buy delicious spices from the Istanbul Spice Bazaar.
19. Soak Up The Splendor of Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul Europe
The sumptuous Dolmabahçe Palace shows the clear influence of European architecture on the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. Sultan Abdülmecid I built Dolma Dolmabahçe Palace as a replacement for Topkapi Palace as the main residence of the sultans in 1854. The garden of this palace is punctuated with fountains, ornamental basins, and blooming flower beds.
The interiors blend Rococo, Neoclassical and Ottoman elements with mammoth crystal chandeliers, liberal use of gold and French-style furnishings to create a dazzling Turkish Renaissance style of sheer splendor. In addition, Atatürk (the founder of modern Turkey) died here in 1938.
20. Visit Ortakoy Mosque on European Side of Istanbul
One of the top places to visit in Istanbul Europe is Ortakoy Mosque. Ortakoy Mosque in the European side of Istanbul is another beautiful mosque that is worth a visit when you travel to Istanbul. Located directly on the Bosphorus strait, you can easily reach it by ferry.
If you are looking to experience the feeling of local life in Istanbul, it is better to visit this mosque and the small bazaar around it. There are many coffee shops and restaurants around this mosque, where you can sit back and relax after a long day.
21. Revel in Istanbul’s Nightlife When You Travel to Istanbul Europe
Are you looking for a great and unique nightlife experience? Istanbul gives you the opportunity to enjoy the nightlife. For a traditional night out, head to one of the Beyoğlu district’s meyhanes, restaurants serving meze and fish where sing-alongs of classic songs flow, that would be great.
22. Visit The Pera Museum’s Ottoman-Era Art in Istanbul
If you are a fan of art and art objects, then you must visit Istanbul’s most famous and popular art gallery, the Pera Museum. In this museum, you can find one of the finest collections of Ottoman-era art in the world, especially the well-known paintings of Ottoman artist Osman Hamdi Bey.
In addition to Ottoman art, you can find a renowned collection of Ottoman-era tile and ceramic work as well as a vast collection of artifacts from the Ottoman period at the Pera Museum. So do not forget to visit this fascinating and unique museum and enjoy its wonders when you travel to the European side of Istanbul.
23. Discover Hidden Gems of Istanbul in Fener Balat Neighborhoods
The two most popular tourist neighborhoods in the European part of Istanbul are Fener and Balat neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are located next to each other in the Golden Horn and are of great historical importance. These neighborhoods convey the history of the Ottoman era well.
These neighborhoods still contain significant cultural heritage represented by the mosaic structure with its Mosques, and Synagogues in the neighboring streets. You can stroll through the colorful neighborhoods of Fener and Balat and enjoy. Walking in Fener Balat is one of the most fun and best things to do in Istanbul Europe.
24. Check Out paradise at the most amazing Aquarium in Istanbul
Istanbul can be considered a world of spectacular attractions that can satisfy any taste. If you are looking for special and attractive entertainment for the whole family, do not forget to visit the Istanbul Aquarium. If you are interested in exploring the underwater world, this aquarium can definitely create good times for you.
The Istanbul Aquarium opened in 2011 in Floria, southwest of Istanbul, 5 km from Ataturk International Airport. Today, due to the diversity and high volume of aquatic animal species, which is about 1500 different species, it is among the most well-known aquariums in the world. It is definitely one of the top spots to visit when you travel to Istanbul Europe.
25. Spend Some Time in Nature When You Travel to Istanbul
Certainly, we all need to spend time in nature and tranquility. Istanbul is the best place to relax and unwind. There are many parks in Istanbul that display unique nature. Atatürk Arboretum, which is a special botanical park with wood plants and trees, is like an oasis in the desert for those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Yıldız Park is one of the other beautiful parks in Istanbul, which stands in the middle of one of the busiest districts of Istanbul, Beşiktaş. You can watch the squirrels, sit on a bench, and enjoy a peaceful walk in the park.
I wish you the best journey to Istanbul. I hope this blog post on the best things to do in Istanbul Europe helped you to prepare your Istanbul itinerary.
How to make the most of your trip to Istanbul
The best answer to the above question is “let your feet guide you”. Istanbul’s marvelous sights could keep you busy for months, but it is worth taking some time to explore around. You will be amazed by the wonders of this city. Now, you are familiar with the best things to do in Istanbul Europe. If you have any more questions about the things to do in Istanbul, leave a comment below.
If you are planning to travel to Istanbul, there are many great places for accommodation on the European side of Istanbul. In addition, Istanbul’s investment conditions are improving day by day. Now is the best time to find that quality property you’ve always searched for and start a new life to fill with remarkable memories in Istanbul. So, why don’t you join the foreigners who buy their homes in Turkey?
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