1. Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is a top tourist attraction in Istanbul. It has splendid architectural beauty. Initially founded as a church, it was later turned into a mosque. Now, in the Turkish republic, it is open as a museum and reflects the history of Byzantine and Ottoman empires.
2. Galata Tower
Standing tall at a height of 217 feet is this Galata Tower that gazes upon the entire city of Istanbul. It provides a 360-degree view of the city. Also, on a clear day, you can spot the distant Prince’s Island from the tower. Besides climbing up the Galata tower, you can even meander along the streets in Galata and have a better local experience.
3. Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque is called so because of its beautiful blue tiles that adorn the interior of this historical mosque. To admire the architecture of the mosque, enter from the side of Hippodrome and follow a proper dress code to pay respect to the norms of the mosque.
4. Topkapi Palace
The Topkapi Palace is surely not to be missed while visiting Istanbul. The lush green gardens and pavilions correspond to the beauty of the palace. If you walk up to the end, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn.
5. Grand Bazar
Grand Bazar in Istanbul is among the oldest in the world. Its 60 streets are lined with more than 5000 shops, 60 restaurants, 18 fountains and 12 mosques. Therefore, it becomes a major attraction in Istanbul. Here, you can buy stunning pieces of carpets, leather, jewellery and other souvenirs for your trip.
6. Suleymaniye Mosque
Not much famed, Suleymaniye Mosque is a less visited tourist attraction in Istanbul which makes it all the more important to pay a visit here. Most importantly, visit the tomb of Suleyman behind the graveyard and try the authentic dish of kuru fasulye.
7. Dolmabahce Palace
The Dolmabahce Palace is extremely huge, consisting of around 285 rooms and 47 salons. The use of gold leaf, crystal and marble impart intricacy to the palace. A beautiful chandelier weighing 4.5 tons adores the ceremonial hall. The magnificence of the palace is extremely fascinating.
8. Basilica Cistern
The Basilica Cistern was once used to bring drinking water from Bulgaria to Istanbul. The cistern is located under the ground which imparts a slightly spooky feels to the place. Apart from that, Basilica Cistern is decorated with dim lights. A classical music and background music of the water gives a unique aura to the cistern which cannot be found anywhere else in Istanbul.
9. Chora Church
Chora Church or the kariye museum is one of the most amazing religious places in Istanbul and definitely worth a visit. Also, it lets you see the ancient remains of the city walls and ottoman houses. The ceilings and walls are painted with Byzantine mosaics and frescoes that hold a great significance in Christianity.
Bosphorous is a 32-kilometre long strait that connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea in Istanbul. It acts as a junction between Europe and Asia. The best way to take a tour around Bosphorous is to take a cruise.