Winter Istanbul Activities

Istanbul is a city that’s enjoyable all year round, with each season offering its charm. As the weather cools down, having a list of places to visit in winter becomes particularly useful. During the winter months, every corner of winter Istanbul reveals unique beauties. Here’s a list of places we’ve put together for you to visit in Istanbul when the weather is cold.

Best Winter Istanbul Activities

Admire the winter view on Pierre Loti Hill | Eyüp

Winter Istanbul

When you’re thinking about where to go in Istanbul during the winter, you really should consider Pierre Loti Hill. It’s this amazing place where you can get the best view of the Golden Horn. Imagine sitting in a cozy tea garden or café, sipping on a warm cup of tea or coffee, all while soaking in that breathtaking view. Don’t forget to snap a picture – it’s like something out of a fairytale!

Visit Gulhane Park

Visiting Gülhane Park next to Topkapı Palace is a must-do in winter. After experiencing the magic of the palace, take a moment to enjoy the serene winter atmosphere of the park. Make sure to stop by the magnificent 300-year-old “stony plane tree” – it’s like a living piece of Istanbul’s history, and touching it can feel like connecting with the past. Then, treat yourself to a relaxing tea break in the park. Sipping hot tea from a samovar while taking in the winter views of Istanbul is a wonderful way to warm up and feel the city’s spirit.

Visit Rumeli Fortress

Winter Istanbul

Rumeli Fortress, a symbol of the Bosphorus, becomes even more enchanting in the cold weather! Imagine enjoying the sight of cargo ships gliding through the calm sea on a crisp morning, all while sipping a warm cup of tea. And keep your eyes peeled for cameras! When the snow blankets the fortress, it transforms into a picturesque scene, making it a popular spot for film and TV series crews.

Visit Yoros Castle | Anatolian Poplar

Winter Istanbul

Yoros Castle, perched on the ridge of Anadolu Kavağı, is one of Istanbul’s lesser-known historical treasures. Its roots stretch back to the era of Eastern Rome, making it a place rich in history. Notably, Yoros Castle covers a larger area than any other castle in Istanbul. When you’re in Anadolu Kavağı, make sure to also visit the local fishermen along the beach – it’s a charming addition to your trip.

Stroll on Merdivenli Sokak | Balat

Winter Istanbul

Merdiven Street in Balat, a recently popular spot in Istanbul known for its historical charm, is a fantastic place for unforgettable photos. As you wander among Balat’s colorful, authentic wooden houses, you’ll find moments that truly highlight the uniqueness of Istanbul. Just a heads-up: be cautious of ice in cold weather, as the street is quite steep!

Explore Basilica Cistern

Winter Istanbul Basilica Cistern

Exploring the Basilica Cistern on chilly days in Istanbul is a truly special experience! This historic underground marvel, located right next to Hagia Sophia, is like a time capsule, taking visitors back to the Byzantine era. Originally built to supply water to the city and the palace, the cistern is an architectural wonder. Inside, the towering marble columns and, most notably, the two Medusa heads in the northwest corner are sights you shouldn’t miss. Prepare yourself for a journey into the depths of history in this mystical and captivating setting!

Visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

When you’re in Taksim, make sure to drop by Madame Tussauds on Istiklal Street. It’s a fun getaway, especially on cold days. At Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, you’ll find lifelike statues of many famous figures, ranging from Arda Turan to Hidayet Türkoğlu, Einstein to Leonardo da Vinci, Zeki Müren to Madonna, and from Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga. You’ll also see figures of MFÖ, Rihanna, Adile Naşit, Barış Manço, Shrek, and various Hollywood stars. Taking photos next to these wax figures feels like you’re standing right beside real celebrities! As you walk among these stars, you can briefly immerse yourself in their world and enjoy this unique experience.

Admire Emirgan Grove | Sariyer

Winter Istanbul Emirgan Grove

Another must-visit spot in Istanbul during winter is Emirgan Grove. While it’s mostly popular in summer and spring for its garden bursting with colorful flowers, Emirgan Grove takes on an even more stunning appearance in the cold weather. The sight of the pond and stream set against the snowy whiteness creates a perfect backdrop for a winter excursion!

Explore Dolmabahçe Palace | Besiktas

Winter Istanbul Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace, a top choice among indoor places to visit in Istanbul, is situated between Beşiktaş and Kabataş. Built during the Ottoman era, the palace was used by Atatürk as his residence during his visits to Istanbul, and it’s also where he passed away on November 10, 1938. Dolmabahçe Palace is a must-visit in Istanbul, as it not only showcases the splendor of the Ottoman Empire but also holds significance as the site of Atatürk’s last days. Visiting Dolmabahçe Palace is a chance to connect with history and immerse yourself in its unique atmosphere.

Wander through Grand Bazaar | Conqueror

Winter Istanbul

The Historical Grand Bazaar, located in the heart of Istanbul, is a magnet for visitors from around the world and stands as one of the city’s most captivating and authentic attractions. A must-visit in both summer and winter, the Grand Bazaar is a historical structure that has maintained its vibrant atmosphere for centuries. Especially during certain hours, it can get incredibly crowded as both local and international tourists flock to explore its wonders. A center of commerce since the Ottoman era, the Grand Bazaar has been restored to its former glory. Wander through its colorful shops and soak in the unique atmosphere of this historic marketplace!

Take a walk through Moda | Kadikoy

Winter Istanbul

When thinking about where to visit in Istanbul during winter, Moda definitely comes to mind. It’s one of those places that’s enjoyable to spend time in, no matter the season and is easily accessible even in cold weather. You can grab a coffee and dessert, then take a peaceful walk towards Moda Cape, enjoying the unique sea view along the way. It’s a lovely way to appreciate the winter season.

Explore Bagdat Street

Winter Istanbul

Bağdat Street is another great destination to visit in Istanbul during the winter. If you’re up for a long, tranquil walk on a chilly day in Istanbul, start your journey at Suadiye. You can stroll to Kadıköy, picking up snacks and drinks from the shops along the street. Alternatively, you could enjoy a cozy winter picnic at Caddebostan Beach, Fenerbahçe, or Kalamış. For those who feel the cold more intensely, the delightful cafes in Erenköy are worth a visit. And don’t forget to check out the nearby Toy Museum – it’s a must-see!

Wander through Kuzguncuk | Uskudar

Places To Visit In Winter Istanbul

Kuzguncuk holds a special charm on cold days in Istanbul. This adorable neighborhood in Üsküdar transforms into a fairy tale land during the winter months. As you wander through its streets, famous for colorful houses, you’ll find yourself captivated and snapping unforgettable photos at every turn. Plus, you can soak in the unique atmosphere of Kuzguncuk with a hot tea or coffee at Çınaraltı Cafe, a place once frequented by the famous poet Can Yücel.

Visit Bostanci | Kadikoy

Places To Visit In Istanbul In Short Term

If you take a walk from Suadiye towards Kartal, you’ll quickly find yourself in Bostancı. For those who love street food, Bostancı might just be paradise! You can enjoy some delicious kokoreç at a beachside stall, or visit the famous meatball restaurant that’s been a staple in the area for many years.

Relax on Süreyya Beach | Maltepe

Süreyya Beach

As you continue from Bostancı beach towards Kartal, you’ll pass through Küçükyalı and eventually reach Süreyya Beach. Maltepe, with its extensive coastline, offers a variety of activities even in winter. You can go biking, skateboarding, or roller skating. If you’re into water sports, you can take rowing lessons, or you might enjoy playing tennis. After your activities, you can unwind on the beach with a nice cup of coffee. And if you’re interested in visiting The Islands, you can easily get there with a short 15-20 minute journey from the Islands Pier on the beach.

Visit Aya Yorgi Hill | Big Island

Büyükada in cold weather, is known to be even more beautiful compared to its popular spring and summer seasons. Aya Yorgi Hill, with its stunning views of the island and the Bosphorus, is an ideal spot for a pleasant evening. While there, you can also visit the Aya Yorgi Monastery on the hill. After exploring, enjoy a nice dinner at one of the restaurants in the area – it’s a wonderful way to experience the quieter, yet equally charming side of Büyükada in the colder months.

Explore Sait Faik Abasıyanık Museum | Burgazada

Sait Faik Abasıyanık Museum

Visiting museums is a popular activity in winter, and while it may not be as well-known as Büyükada, Burgazada is arguably the most peaceful and beautiful of the islands. This is because Burgazada has its own unique story. It was home to Sait Faik Abasıyanık, a master storyteller in our literature, and his presence is felt throughout the island. To truly understand and get closer to Sait Faik, known for his deep love for people and stories filled with warm human dialogues and compassion, consider taking a ferry to Burgazada, even on a cold winter day. You can walk or bike around this beautiful island, accompanied by the loud cries of seagulls, or warm up with hot coffee and a Sait Faik story in one of the small, cozy cafes.