With so many cool things to do in Istanbul it is hard to choose how to spend your days in this amazing city. Of course I want you to check out the Old City and see the magnificent Blue Mosque, get lost in the bustling streets, and go shopping in the Grand Bazaar. Or what about Taksim or the Galata Tower and then you have not even been to the Asian side. There are so many Istanbul tourist attractions, but those you will all find in your guidebook. Let me tell you 3 unique things to do in Istanbul.
3 cool things to do in Istanbul
Don’t become a ‘Touristanbul’! Forget about the standard places but instead head out to one of these 3 spots and get off the beaten path of places to visit in Istanbul.
Coloured houses of Fener - Balat
There are not many people pushing you in the direction of Fener Balat and for a very simple reason: it is not a safe place, they say! As stubborn as this adventurous traveler is I have first have to see it with my own eyes before I believe these things, because most of the time people are talking bullshit when it comes down to this topic! Second of all I couldn’t resist the call of the coloured houses of Fener - Balat so I decided to take my chances and head out to this area.
When looking for unique things to do in Istanbul on Instagram I found this place and it got me really excited to visit this neighborhood. I am really happy I did some effort finding the steep cosy streets of this bohemian area. There was not a single moment that I felt unsafe getting lost and trying to find out these amazing photo spots. Read more about one of the best things to do in Istanbul in my article: Off the beaten track | Walking Tour Fener - Balat.
Buyuk Valide Han
This is my favorite spot in the city! A lot of people use Pinterest to get their wanderlust fueled but I have a lot of success on Instagram and it was here where I learned about Buyuk Valide Han. If you Google ‘Buyuk Valide Han’ my picture is the first one to show up! This already makes this place one of the best Istanbul tourist attractions! :P At least it makes me pretty proud and that is why I wanna send you as well in that direction!
Every time I am in the city I try to go up to the roof of this old caravanserai (a place where traders spent their night in the time of Marco Polo). Yep it is on the rooftop of an old building in the Old City. It is a little hidden and therefore not many people know about Buyuk Valide Han, you will only find the adventurous young travelers up here. To me it is the best place to spend the afternoon and see the sunset over the city. Take a look at my article about Buyuk Valide Han including my YouTube video on how to get to one of the most unique things to do in Istanbul.
My third recommendation is not particular one of the Istanbul attractions itself. You will have to either take a bus or rent a car to see the Edirne Mosque. West of the city there is a little town called Edirne, just a couple kilometers from the Greek and the Bulgarian border that has one of the most amazing mosques I have seen so far. The fact that I climbed up to the top of the minaret made it for me an experience to highlight for you.
I traveled from Istanbul to Edirne with Gezimanya, Turkish biggest travel blog.
It was my first time climbing up to the little balcony high above a mosque but I hope there will be many more. Wow what an amazing adventure was that! There is more around here then only the Edirne Mosque. Try to book a wine tasting or even spend the night in one of these wineries and enjoy their delicious food. For more info about one of these day trips from Istanbul check out my article about the Edirne Mosque.
Unique things to do in Istanbul
So if you are looking for unique things to do in Istanbul I think I just gave you a couple options that you did not read anywhere else. These things will definitely not be in your guide book. Tell me your secret places in the city or something I should definitely check out next time I come to Istanbul.L
Staying online in Istanbul was surprisingly expensive and therefore I did a little research for you to find out the best Turkey SIM card for tourist. May be an even better option is Teppy: a portable WiFi device that lets you connect to internet everywhere around the world for just a couple bucks a day!
Looking for cool places to stay in this huge city? Read my article about 4 great luxury hotels in Besiktas! I tried out Besiktas, Old City and the area around the Galata Tower. All three of them are really nice places or take a look at what Tripadvisor thinks are the best hotels in Istanbul. Check Hotels.com for great deals! Prices in Istanbul are very affordable, great value for money.
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