Why visit Istanbul?? Visited by nearly 3 million people daily, Istiklal Avenue is the beating heart of the city of Istanbul. This 1.4 km long pedestrian walkway houses everything from cinemas to nightclubs and boutiques to cafes. It’s also here that we tried our first Turkish Delight treats and bought some much-needed medication from the pharmacies. If you don’t feel like walking, you can take the historic tram all the way to Taksim Square to view the monument of the republic.
As described above, Sultanahmet is home to the city’s most important attractions like Ayasofya, Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern, and the Blue Mosque. No first-time visit to Istanbul can be complete without visiting all these places. Travelers pressed for time can click on the link below to learn how you can visit these attractions in one day. But if you have more time, then it would be best to spread them out over two days. You can check my post on the top attractions at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul for more pictures and information, but here’s a quick rundown of what you a can find there.
The medieval Galata Tower was built in the late 1340s by the Genoese. Constructed in a Romanesque style, the tower stands almost 67 metres (220 feet) tall. Visible from far and wide, the nine-storey building is a prominent feature on the Istanbul skyline. The round tower is topped with a conical roof. Once used as a lookout point to detect fires, today it is open to visitors who wish to see panoramic views of Istanbul. Ascend the tower in the elevator (don’t worry—no climbing is required!) and soak up the sweeping views from the observation area. Views take in the peninsula, Old Town, and the Bosporus, and you’ll easily be able to spot many of Istanbul’s significant buildings from your high position. Sit down for a romantic meal in the restaurant for a delicious meal with great views. There’s also a café if you just want a quick bite to eat. You can also return later on at night for fun and frolics in the tower’s nightclub, where you can also watch a captivating traditional Turkish show. Read extra info on Free walking tour of Istanbul.
Blue Mosque is another great spot for sightseeing in Istanbul. The official name of the mosque is Sultan Ahmed Mosque. It is famously known as the Blue Mosque because the ceiling of the mosque is lined with blue tiles. Another prominent feature of this mosque is the six minarets. The Blue Mosque began to be built in 1609. The construction took seven years to finish. Sultan Ahmed, I ordered the making of this mosque; Thus, the mosque gained its official name. This Istanbul tourism highlight is still an active mosque. People go to pray in the Blue Mosque. Visitors are allowed to enter the mosque every day from 9 AM to 6 PM except during prayer times. There are five prayer times every day, and each prayer time usually takes 30 minutes to conduct.
We believe all travelers, regardless of their budget is, should have an opportunity to feel and embrace what Istanbul offers and we also believe that the fee a trip should relate with your budget and how much you loved it. For this reason, all our free Istanbul Walking Tours are operated with a “Pay-What-You-Feel” base, hence everybody can book it and still prefer to contribute what they believed it was worth at the end of the walking tour if they wish to. Our guided walking tours of Istanbul feature something for everyone’s needs. Find extra details on freeistanbultours.com.