Located in the middle of two continents, the vibrant and historic city of Istanbul is a must-see for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the rich fabric of culture, history, and beauty. It can be overwhelming to decide where to start exploring this amazing city that offers countless tourist attractions and experiences. To explore the treasures of Istanbul like a pro, it is highly recommended to hire a professional tour guide who can take you to ten points of interest . These professional guides have in-depth knowledge of Istanbul's history, architecture, and hidden gems, making for a truly immersive and memorable experience .
1. Hagia Sophia: A masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, Hagia Sophia is a landmark of Istanbul. The building, which was originally built as a church, was later converted into a mosque and now serves as a museum. Step inside and you will be amazed by the intricate mosaic work, the high domes and the impressive interiors that tell the saga of changing empires.
2. Topkapi Palace: This huge palace complex was once the residence of the Ottoman sultans. Visiting this place will take you back in time as you explore its opulent rooms, beautiful courtyards, and stunning harem section. Don't miss the breathtaking view of the Bosphorus from the castle park.
3. Blue Mosque: The Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is an architectural marvel. Admire the tiered domes, six minarets, and the stunning blue Iznik tiles that adorn the interior. Get ready to be enchanted by the tranquility and splendor of this sacred place.
4. Grand Bazaar: The heart and soul of Istanbul's shopping scene, the Grand Bazaar is a maze of stalls and shops selling everything from carpets and ceramics to spices and jewelry. Lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of this historic market, but also avoid getting lost in the rich texture of sights, sounds, and flavors.
5. Spice Souk: Also known as the Spice Souk, this aromatic market is a haven for exotic spices, Turkish delicacies, and traditional herbal medicine. Let yourself be seduced by the scents of freshly ground spices as you explore this treasure trove of flavors.
6. Bosphorus: A Bosphorus cruise is a must in Istanbul. Sail between two continents and be enchanted by the breathtaking views of the palaces, mansions, and historic sites that line the shores. Experience the magical sunset that bathes the sky in shades of gold and pink.
7. Dolmabahce Palace: This palace on the coast was the residence of the last Ottoman sultans and later served as the presidential residence of Ataturk. Walking in the footsteps of Istanbul's earlier leaders, you'll be amazed by the opulent, European-inspired interiors, including the world's largest bohemian crystal chandelier.
8. Galata Tower: The Galata Tower towers over the city and offers panoramic views of Istanbul's skyline. Ride the elevator to the top and be rewarded with stunning views of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the Old City. Don't forget to get the perfect Instagram-worthy shot of this iconic landmark.
9. Sultanahmet District: Explore the historic Sultanahmet district, home to the iconic Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Basilica Cistern. Stroll through the charming streets and soak up the atmosphere of Istanbul's rich history. Don't forget to enjoy traditional Turkish tea or coffee at a local café.
10. Princes' Islands: Get away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul by visiting the Princes' Islands. These tranquil islands in close proximity to the coast offer a tranquil retreat with horse-drawn carriages, charming wooden villas and beautiful beaches. Explore Büyükada, the largest of the islands, and enjoy a pleasant walk or bike ride. Although it is possible to explore Istanbul on your own, having a professional guide by your side will enrich your experience. They provide you with valuable information and historical anecdotes, and take you off the beaten path to discover hidden gems that tourists often overlook. So, hire a professional tour guide and get ready to embark on a journey that will leave you in awe of the fascinating city of Istanbul.