Unique Things To Do In Istanbul

Istanbul holds a key position in world history and is a bustling metropolis that continues to grow and evolve rapidly. We’ll introduce you to some of the most unique things to do in Istanbul, reflecting the city’s diverse and vibrant character. Whether you’re interested in unique travel spots or searching for the finest antique stores, Istanbul has it all. The city is a treasure trove of delicious food, rich history, enchanting experiences, and endless entertainment.

1. Go on a treasure hunt at the Feriköy flea market

 Feriköy Flea Market In Istanbul

Feriköy flea market, held in the huge covered market in Bomonti on Sundays, stands out as the most comprehensive place in the city when it comes to antique hunting. It is possible to find everything from trinkets to records, old books, magazines, and original movie posters in the antique shops that set up their stalls in the early hours of the morning.

Cumhuriyet, Semt Pazarı No:8, 34380 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkiye

2. Take a stroll through St. Anthony Church

St. Anthony Church In Istanbul

Istanbul’s most prominent and largest Catholic church is located on Istiklal Street; The church, designed in Venetian neo-gothic style, was built between 1906 and 1912. Masses at St. Anthony Church are held in English, Turkish, and Italian throughout the week. It is one of the spots to get away from the crowds of Beyoğlu and take a breather.

3. Watch a performance at Galata Mevlevi Lodge

Performance At Galata Mevlevi Museum

The whirling dance dervish ceremony, held every Sunday at 17:00 in the Galata Mevlevi Lodge, is an event that attracts an influx of visitors. In addition, works such as musical instruments, calligraphy, Mevlevi clothes, and accessories are also exhibited in the museum here.

4. Attend a jazz concert at Nardis

Jazz Concert At Nardis Istanbul
@nardisjazz

Nardis, one of the most well-known jazz bars in Istanbul, is located right next to the Galata Tower. Nights full of music take place at Nardis almost every evening with concerts by both local and international artists.

Location: Bereketzade, Galata Kulesi Sk. No:8, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul

5. Try 1741 cuisine

Lokanta 1741 Istanbul
@lokanta1741

Lokanta 1741, which is included in the Michelin 2023 selection, offers original touches to traditional dishes such as lime fava, zucchini kalye, purslane mancası, single-sided sardine, saffron kebab with instruments such as Ottoman sherbet, hibiscus, hibiscus and pomegranate flower, with both its historical atmosphere and good food. One of the crown jewels of gastronomy lovers.

Location: Alemdar, Prof. Kazım İsmail Gürkan Cd. No:34, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul

6. Visit Kılıç Ali Pasha Hammam- Traditional Turkish Bath

 Kılıç Ali Pasha Hammam

Hammam rituals have always been the number one activity for Istanbul visitors. This 500-year-old architectural wonder is one of the places where you can have the most intense Turkish bath experience. But remember, the bathhouse is open for women during the day and for men in the evening.

Location: Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Hamam Sk. No:1, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul

7. Watch an independent film at Kadıköy Cinema

Kadıköy Cinema
 @kadikoysinemasi

Kadıköy Cinema, opened in 1967, is one of the oldest cinemas in the city. Kadıköy Cinema, one of the best cinemas on the Anatolian side, is located in a passage right on Bahariye Street and welcomes its visitors with a selection of both local and international independent films.

Location: Osmanağa, Bahariye Cd. Kadıköy Pasajı No:25, 34714 Kadıköy/İstanbul

8. Visit Bomontiada

Bomontiada
@yapikredibomontiada

Bomontiada complex, one of the busiest spots on the European side, hosts the iconic live music venue Babylon, interdisciplinary art venue Alt, Leica Gallery, Ara Güler Museum, and 5 different restaurants. The Bomonti brewery, which had been abandoned and idle for years, brought life to the sleepy neighborhoods of Bomonti and Kurtuluş with the opening of Bomontiada.

Location: Merkez, Silahşör Cad., Birahane Sok. Tarihi Bomonti Bira Fabrikası No:1, 34384 Şişli/İstanbul

9. Climb Galata Tower

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is a stone tower located north of the Golden Horn and can offer a formidable view over the city’s historic quarter as well as over the Golden Horn. The tower dates from the Middle Ages and was in its time the tallest building in Istanbul.

With a total of nine floors rising 67 meters above the ground, you get an impressive overview of the city. The tower was built in 1348 and was used as a lookout tower for fires in the city. The tower is open to the public and here you get a large portion of history with you.

 Location: Bereketzade, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul

10. Have a Personalized Istanbul Layover Tour with a Local

Unusual Things To Do In Istanbul

If you have a short or long stop in Istanbul, you can have a private tour that fits what you like. Whether you’re into old buildings like mosques and palaces, or you prefer modern art and small shops, you can pick what to see, eat, and drink. You’ll pay for these things yourself as you go along. Your local guide will give you special tips and take care of taxi rides to and from the city center. This way, you can enjoy Istanbul your way, with a guide making it easier for you.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS TOUR

11. Discover The Dark Side Of Istanbul

Yedikule Fortress

Yedikule Fortress – The Dungeon represents the darker side of Istanbul. This is the most terrifying dungeon in the history of Istanbul. During the times of the Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire, many people were imprisoned here. Moreover, it has served as a treasure and archive throughout history. During your visit Walking along the city walls, you will step back in time to understand the origins of this place. For the avid tourist who wants to discover the secrets of Istanbul, Yedikule is one of the most interesting places of all.

Location: Yedikule, Yedikule Meydanı Sk. No:9, 34107 Fatih/İstanbul

12. Spend a relaxing time in the Four Seasons spa

Bop 1247 Original

A visit to a traditional spa is one of the most unique experiences in Istanbul. If you’re looking for a spa experience with a traditional touch, the Four Seasons Istanbul on the Bosphorus will allow you to spend luxurious hours like Ottoman royalty. The traditional Turkish bath is an ancient way to feel clean and refreshed. It helps relax your muscles and makes you feel good inside and out. You also get a deep scrub and a great foam massage, making it a special and relaxing experience.

Location: No:28, Çırağan Cd., 34349 Beşiktaş, Istanbul

13. Admire Istanbul from above

Sapphire Observation Deck
@istanbulepass

For adventurous guests, the Sapphire Observation Deck must be on the list of unusual things to do in Istanbul . Sapphire Istanbul is located in the Levent district, which is considered an exclusive area with skyscrapers and shopping malls. Once on the observation deck, you won’t believe how big Istanbul is from above. The view of Istanbul from a different perspective is quite extraordinary. So be sure to take some photos while enjoying the 360-degree view of the city. You can enjoy coffee or dessert at Café View on the panoramic terrace. To increase the adventure, you can try  SkyRide 4D Helicopter Simulation. You can visit some of the most famous places in Istanbul virtually.

 Location: Emniyetevleri, Eski Büyükdere Cd. No:1, 34415 Kâğıthane/İstanbul

14. Take A Foodie Tour In Kadıköy

Moda Sahil Park

Kadıköy is a neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul, mixing old charm with modern living. A really special thing to do in Istanbul is to have tea by the sea at Moda Park, try local foods at Kadıköy Market, and enjoy fresh seafood at the Kadıköy Fish Market. You can also try some of the best pickle juice in Istanbul, with options ranging from spicy to mild, plain, or filled with chunks of pickles, at Özcan Turşu in Kadıköy. It’s one of the best spots to taste this unique and popular local drink.

15. Enjoying Unique Coffee in Karaköy

Unusual Things To Do In Istanbul

Karaköy is a place where old meets new. Recently, it has become known for its many coffee shops, making it a dream spot for coffee enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for Turkish coffee, a latte, or filter coffee, you’ll find a place in Karaköy that has just what you like. A must-visit is Coffee Sapiens, where skilled baristas make coffee from freshly roasted beans. They use special, hard-to-find beans that are in limited supply, making their coffee a unique experience you shouldn’t miss.

16. Spending a Day in Kilyos

Kilyos Beach

Located on the Black Sea coast of Istanbul, Kilyos (also called Kumköy) is a great option for those who want to get away from the noise of the city and enjoy the sea and the sun, especially in the summer months. There are many different beaches in Kilyos, where you can swim, sunbathe and eat a delicious seafood meal.

17. Exploring Büyükada

Büyükada

Büyükada, Istanbul’s largest and most popular island, is famous for its historical mansions, large picnic areas, and bicycle paths. The fact that motor vehicles are prohibited on the island ensures that the place has a peaceful and nature-friendly atmosphere. You can rent a bicycle, take a horse-drawn carriage, or take a walk towards the Hagia Yorgi Church located at the top of the island.

18. Enjoying the View at Çamlıca Hill

 Çamlıca Hill

Çamlıca Hill, one of the highest points in Istanbul, allows you to have a panoramic view of the city. Here you can sit in a tea garden and enjoy the magnificent view of Istanbul before you. This view, which reveals a wonderful mixture of the Bosphorus, the historical peninsula, and the modern districts of Istanbul, will make you say “What an amazing city is Istanbul !”