Sightseeing in Istanbul

Sightseeing in Istanbul

Get inspiration for your trip with sightseeing itineraries recommended by our Concierge. 

Sightseeing in Istanbul

Check out sightseeing selections of the city which was highly recommended by our Concierge Team. 


Bosphorus forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and divides Turkey by separating Anatolia from Thrace. Bosphorus is one of the most popular areas of Istanbul for its inhabitants, especially in summer for its climate. Its shores are lined with fine neighbourhoods, Ottoman palaces, fortresses, old wooden villas, parks and gardens, restaurants, cafeterias and so on. 


Ortaköy (literally "middle village" in Turkish) is a neighbourhood, formerly a small village, within the Besiktas district of Istanbul, located in the middle of the European bank of the Bosphorus. Ortaköy was a thriving cosmopolitan during the Ottoman era and the first decades of the Turkish Republic, with communities of Turks, Greeks, Armenians and Jews. Today, the neighbourhood still hosts many different religious (Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox, and other Christian) structures. It is also a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, with its art galleries, night clubs, cafés, bars, and restaurants. The Neo-Baroque style Ortakoy Mosque is a beautifully ornate structure, right on the jetty of Ortaköy, bordering the waters of the Bosphorus, and thus highly visible from the passing boats. Several reputable schools, such as Kabatas Highschool and Galatasaray University, are located in Ortakoy. The European pylon of the Bosphorus Bridge, one of the two bridges that connect the European and Asian banks of İstanbul, is also situated in this neighbourhood.

Taksim Square, situated in the European part of Istanbul, is a major tourist and leisure district, famous for its restaurants and shops. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Istanbul Metro network. Taksim Square is also the location of the Monument of the Republic, which is called "Cumhuriyet Aniti" in Turkish. It was crafted by the famous Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica and inaugurated in 1928. The monument commemorates the 5th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, following the Turkish War of Independence.


Bebek is a historic Istanbul neighbourhood that falls within the boundaries and administration of the Besiktas district. It is located on the European shores of the Bosphorus and surrounded by similarly affluent neighbourhoods such as Arnavutkoy, Etiler and Rumeli Hisari. The direct translation of the word "Bebek" in Turkish is "baby", which is a reference to the neighborhood's attractive positioning on the Bosphorus with its deep, sheltered bay and sweeping views in both directions along the waterway. Bebek was a popular residential district under the Ottoman rule, and continues to be so today. Its population reflected the diverse society of the time, which is still visible in Bebek's historic architecture and contemporary constituencies. Bebek presents a number of good restaurants and cafés, as well as great walking experience by the Bosphorus. Bebek is also home to Bogazici University, a world-renowned public university established in 1971, one of Turkey's premier institutions of higher education. The university occupies the buildings and grounds of the now-defunct higher education division of Robert College, a historic American academic institution founded in 1863 by wealthy New York merchant Christopher Robert and American missionary and educator Cyrus Hamlin.


Emirgan Park is a historical urban park located in Emirgan neighbourhood at the Bosphorus in Sariyer district of Istanbul. It is one of the largest public parks in the city. The park, owned and administered today by the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul, covers an area of 117 acres (470,000 sq m) on a hillside, and is enclosed by high walls. Inside the park with two decorative ponds are plants of more than 120 species. Many jogging tracks and picnic tables make the Emirgan Park a very popular recreation area for the local people, especially during weekends and holidays. The three historic pavilions, called after their exterior colour as Yellow Pavilion, Pink Pavilion and White Pavilion, were restored between 1979 and 1983. They were opened to the public as cafeteria and restaurant. Emirgan Park is closely associated with the tulip, the traditional flower, which gave its name to an era (1718-1730) of the Ottoman Empire. A special garden was established in Emirgan Park in the 1960s to revive the city's tradition of tulip cultivation. Since 2005, the Annual International Tulip Festival has been organised here every April, making the park very attractive and colourful.


Üsküdar is a large and densely populated district and municipality of Istanbul, on the Anatolian shore of the Bosphorus. It is bordered on the north by Beykoz, on the east by Umraniye, on the southeast by Atasehir, on the south by Kadıkoy, and on the west by the Bosphorus, with the areas of Besiktas, Beyoglu and Eminonu on the opposite shore. Üsküdar is home to about half a million people. Üsküdar is also the usual name for the historic centre of the municipality. It offers lovely venues for walking, while seeing the beauty of the European part of the city from the shores of Bosphorus while you are in Asia. Üsküdar is also the home of Maiden Tower, which is a historic landmark of Istanbul located at the heart of Bosphorus.

The Princes’ Islands: 

The Princes’ Islands are a cluster of nine islands southeast of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara. Mainly car-free, the islands are known for their horse-drawn carriages (phaetons). At the highest point of Büyükada, the largest island, the 6th-century Hagia Yorgi Church offers panoramic views of its surrounding areas. Nearby are the pine forests of Dil Burnu National Park. Guests are welcome to the Museum of the Princes’ Islands to see interesting exhibits and know about the islands’ history.


Balat is a down-to-earth neighbourhood with narrow cobbled streets and colourful houses, where hip cafés and cutting-edge galleries sit next to old-school neighbourhood groceries. Buildings like the Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate Basilica, synagogues and Byzantine churches attest to the area's cosmopolitan past as a centre for Jewish, Greek and Armenian communities. The Chora Museum has golden mosaics and vibrant frescoes.


A great place for luxurious shopping Nişantaşi is found in a quarter of Sisli district, Istanbul, comprising neighbourhoods like Tesvikiye, Osmanbey, Macka and Pangalti. It includes the stores of world-famous brands and has many popular cafés, pubs, restaurants and night clubs. Abdi Ipekci Street, Turkey's most expensive shopping street in terms of lease prices, stretches from the neighbourhoods of Macka and Tesvikiye to the center of Nişantaşi. Nişantaşi is today a fashionable shopping district and an affluent residential area. The quarter forms the background to several novels by Nobel Laureate Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, who is a local resident. Nişantaşi has the largest community of foreign residents in Istanbul after Taksim and Cihangir.