Things to do in

Istanbul

East meets West, Byzantine meets Ottoman, bustling meets leafy — Istanbul is full of eclectic surprises.

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended Istanbul Food & Drinks

  • The Whirling Dervishes Show at the HodjaPasha Culture Center

    1. 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.

  • Istanbul: Turkish Entertainment Bosphorus Dinner Cruise

    2. 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.

  • Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise with Dinner and Entertainment

    3. 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.

  • Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht

    4. 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.

  • Istanbul: Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment

    5. 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.

  • Istanbul: Bosphorus Night Dinner Cruise

    6. Istanbul: Bosphorus Night Dinner Cruise

    You will be picked up from your hotel between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM and taken to the cruise ship in the Bosphorus Strait. Once you board the ship you will sail up the Bosphorus, the waterway between Europe and Asia, passing under the suspension bridges and viewing Ottoman summer palaces, waterside mansions and modern villas which line the European and Asian coasts. When you board enjoy a welcome cocktail before dinner as well as ten different cold starters. For dinner, you will be served a fresh seasonal salad before your main. You will have three options for dinner: grilled fish with scallion garden rocket mashed potatoes, and lemon, or grilled chicken steak with rick and mashed potatoes, or grilled meatballs with rice and mashed potatoes. Throughout dinner, you will be able to enjoy unlimited non-alcoholic local (or optional unlimited alcoholic) drinks. After your entree, you will be se...

    It was OK, don't expect too much, wi-fi is 5 euro on board... Anyway, the staff was very nice...

  • Istanbul: Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus

    7. Istanbul: Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus

    After departing from your hotel, you will jump into this unforgettable boat excursion up the Bosphorus, the bridge that separates Europe and Asia. Its shores offer a delightful mixture of past and present, grand splendor and simple beauty. During the journey you'll pass magnificent Dolmabahçe Palace as well as Çırağan Palace, refurbished in 1874 by Sultan Abdulaziz and now restored as a grand hotel. Overshadowing Istanbul’s traditional architecture is one of the world’s largest suspension bridges, the Boğaziçi Bridge, linking Europe and Asia. Tour Program Welcome cocktail on deck D.J. Katibim (traditional Turkish melody musical performance) Asuk Masuk (imitation play of little people from the Taseli district of Silifke, performed by 2 male dancers) Belly dancer Henna ceremony Turna folk team Turkish romany dance Meal Menu Cold Starters: Cold and smok...

    It was really amazing night,, the food was great, and service too.. shows entertained us and was well organized, thanks.

  • Istanbul Bosphorus Sunset Cruise with Wine on a Luxury Yacht

    8. Istanbul Bosphorus Sunset Cruise with Wine on a Luxury Yacht

    See Istanbul landmarks, hear thousand-year-old stories, and awe at the sunset with snacks and a glass of wine. Avoid the crowds on this safe and luxurious yacht with an experienced captain and crew. Numbers are limited to a maximum of 15 guests, so this will be a semi-private experience to remember. Board from the European side of Istanbul and be welcomed by a licensed guide. They will accompany the tour with fascinating facts about Istanbul's history, and the outstanding sites you will see. Relax as you see famous landmarks like the Dolmabahce Palace, Ortakoy Mosque and the vibrant district of Uskudar. Enjoy the sights of the city's Euoprean and Asians sides you sail the famous Bosphorus Strait. Sit back and relax as you are served traditional Turkish snacks. Take in a famous Bospherous sunset while enjoying fruit and a glass of Turkish wine.

    Really nice, recommended for everyone, just bring the jacket because it’s windy, the food is like a aperitif , and it’s really delicious, and you get one glass of wine that is included in the price. If you don’t drink wine you can choose the first drink, the second drink and all of the other, of course you pay. Recommended

  • Turkish Dance Tickets at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre

    9. Turkish Dance Tickets at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre

    Delve into the oriental night as you watch this Turkish dance performance. Be enticed by Turkish folklore dances from different regions of Anatolia performed by professional dancers, blended with modern choreography, stunning costumes, and live music. Enjoy the intimate and authentic atmosphere of this evening show inside the Hodjapasha Cultural Centre, situated within the ancient construction of the Hodjapasha Hamam: a restored 550 year-old Ottoman bath. Admire the original architecture of the building and discover the Dervish exhibition, presented in the foyer area.

    Great show. Dancers were very skilled. The venue is perfect place to grab some good food after the show.

  • 2-Day Cappadocia Tour From Istanbul Optional Balloon Flight

    10. 2-Day Cappadocia Tour From Istanbul Optional Balloon Flight

    Start the first day by visiting Devrent Valley, also known as 'Imagination Valley', this is the most surreal-looking landscape. Your next stop will be Pashabagi also called the Monks Valley. Proceed to Avanos the pottery centre of Cappadocia, this village is set on the banks of the Red River. You will have lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to Goreme Open Air Museum. The world’s most important Byzantine cave churches are found in these once remote valleys where monks and nuns pursued monastic life from the 3rd century on. Here you can see the best preserved Byzantine cave wall paintings and frescos from the Iconoclastic period through to the end of Seljuk rule.  Then admire a spectacular view over Goreme, you can see fairy chimneys, rock formations, and cave houses. You have the option of also booking a pre-sunrise hot-air balloon flight for the next morning. While your guid...

Frequently asked questions about Istanbul

What top attractions are a must-see in Istanbul?

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

  • Language
    Turkish
  • Currency
    Turkish Lira (₺)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+02:00)
  • Country Code
    +90
  • 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

Want to discover all there is to do in Istanbul? Click here for a full list.

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