What to do in Istanbul in 3 days?

Welcome to our ultimate guide on the top things to do in Istanbul. Whether you're a history enthusiast, avid shopper, or a lover of stunning views, Istanbul offers a diverse range of experiences that will captivate you. Let's dive into the top 10 must-visit attractions in this vibrant city.

1. Hagia Sophia: A Historical Marvel in Istanbul 

Explore the breathtaking Hagia Sophia, a true architectural masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Discover its fascinating history (rooted in Christianity) and admire the intricate Byzantine mosaics and awe-inspiring dome. Plan your visit to this iconic Istanbul landmark today.

2. Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque): Beauty in Blue 

Step inside the magnificent Blue Mosque, known for its stunning blue tiles and striking minarets. Immerse yourself in the serenity of this sacred place and marvel at the intricate calligraphy and magnificent domes.

3. Grand Bazaar: A Shopper's Paradise 

Indulge in the vibrant atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar, one of the world's largest covered markets. Lose yourself in the maze of shops offering a plethora of goods, from spices and textiles to jewelry and ceramics. Discover the treasures that await you in this bustling marketplace.

4. Bosphorus Cruise: A Scenic Journey 

Embark on a picturesque Bosphorus cruise and soak in the beauty of Istanbul's skyline. Sail along the strait that connects Europe and Asia, and witness the enchanting views of historic palaces and waterfront mansions that line its shores. Pro Tip: Take the public ferry for much less.  Read how we did it here.  Bring your own picnic or buy concessions like a Turkish Tea onboard.

5. Topkapi Palace: Journey into Ottoman Royalty 

Step back in time as you explore the opulent Topkapi Palace, once the residence of Ottoman sultans. Marvel at the grandeur of its rooms, stroll through intricate courtyards, and be amazed by the dazzling collection of jewelry and artifacts housed in its treasury.

6. Basilica Cistern: A Subterranean Wonder 

Descend into the underground world of the Basilica Cistern, an ancient Roman water reservoir. Explore its mysterious atmosphere, illuminated by the eerie Medusa heads. Discover the secrets hidden beneath the surface of Istanbul.

7. Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar): A Feast for the Senses 

Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and enticing aromas of the Spice Bazaar. Let the exotic spices, teas, dried fruits, and Turkish delights tempt your senses. Experience the essence of Istanbul's rich culinary traditions in this bustling market.

8. Galata Tower: Panoramic Views of Istanbul 

Climb the Galata Tower and be rewarded with panoramic views of Istanbul's mesmerizing skyline. Enjoy the breathtaking vistas of the city, the Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn from this historic tower. 

9. Sultanahmet Square: Tranquility Amidst History 

Take a leisurely stroll in Sultanahmet Square, surrounded by iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and the Obelisk of Theodosius. Relax in the park, soak in the historical atmosphere, and capture memorable moments against the stunning backdrop of Istanbul.

10. Suleymaniye Mosque: A Majestic Gem 

Visit the majestic Suleymaniye Mosque, a true architectural gem designed by the renowned Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. Admire the intricate details, peaceful courtyards, and panoramic views of Istanbul from this magnificent mosque. Experience the tranquility and beauty that this sacred place offers.

Istanbul is a city that seamlessly blends its rich history with a vibrant present. While the hilly landscape provides breathtaking views, it will also take your breath away (no matter which direction we took, our our lungs and calves were certain to get a workout from hoofing it!)  From the awe-inspiring architectural wonders to the bustling markets and serene waterfront, there is something for every traveler in Istanbul. Plan your trip, immerse yourself in the culture, and FEED YOUR TRAVEL ADDICTION with memories that will last a lifetime.

Remember to explore the diverse neighborhoods beyond the top attractions, such as Beyoglu, Kadikoy, and Ortakoy, Cihangir and Moda to discover the hidden gems of Istanbul. Experience the local cuisine, immerse yourself in the contemporary art scene, and embrace the true essence of this captivating city.

Prepare to be enchanted by Istanbul's charm and embark on a journey of discovery that will leave you with unforgettable experiences. Start planning your adventure to Istanbul today and make the most of your time in this remarkable city.