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Free Things To Do in Istanbul

If you have extra time, Grand Bazaar (Kapaliçarsi) is worthwhile.

#1

#1 in Istanbul

Free
Sultan Ahmed I was determined to build a mosque that rivaled the nearby Hagia Sophia, and most would agree that he accomplished this task – or, at least, came close. Since the early 1600s, the Blue Mosque has been quite the sight to behold, with an array of domes, semidomes and minarets (or narrow towers). It's also one of the biggest tourist draws in Istanbul.
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Churches/Religious Sites Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)
Sultan Ahmed I was determined to build a mosque that rivaled the nearby Hagia Sophia, and most would agree that he accomplished this task – or, at least, came close. Since the early 1600s, the Blue Mosque has been quite the sight to behold, with an array of domes, semidomes and minarets (or narrow towers). It's also one of the biggest tourist draws in Istanbul.
... more

#3

#3 in Istanbul

Free
Nestled within Istanbul's historic Fatih district by the Golden Horn, Istanbul University and the Grand Bazaar, Süleymaniye Mosque is considered one of the city's most impressive Ottoman mosques. Built between 1550 and 1557 after being commissioned by its namesake, Süleyman I, this grand structure features multiple gardens and a large dome, plus high-end finishes like mother-of-pearl window shutters, painted corbels, traditional ceramic tiles and stained-glass windows.
... more
Churches/Religious Sites Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Süleymaniye Mosque (Süleymaniye Camii)
Nestled within Istanbul's historic Fatih district by the Golden Horn, Istanbul University and the Grand Bazaar, Süleymaniye Mosque is considered one of the city's most impressive Ottoman mosques. Built between 1550 and 1557 after being commissioned by its namesake, Süleyman I, this grand structure features multiple gardens and a large dome, plus high-end finishes like mother-of-pearl window shutters, painted corbels, traditional ceramic tiles and stained-glass windows.
... more

#5

#5 in Istanbul

Free
Located within walking distance of must-visit sights like the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern and Süleymaniye Mosque, the Grand Bazaar is one of the biggest and oldest covered shopping markets in the world. It regularly overwhelms visitors with its 60 streets of 5,000-plus shops, each accompanied by an overzealous vendor. Products range from carpets and clothing to art and chessboards, and restaurants, cafes and even two hammams (or Turkish baths) can be found here.
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Grand Bazaar (Kapaliçarsi)
Located within walking distance of must-visit sights like the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern and Süleymaniye Mosque, the Grand Bazaar is one of the biggest and oldest covered shopping markets in the world. It regularly overwhelms visitors with its 60 streets of 5,000-plus shops, each accompanied by an overzealous vendor. Products range from carpets and clothing to art and chessboards, and restaurants, cafes and even two hammams (or Turkish baths) can be found here.
... more
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#6

#6 in Istanbul

Free
Taksim Square is a vibrant, modern area located in Istanbul's Beyoglu district. Scores of shops, restaurants and bars fill the surrounding streets, as well as popular hotels like the InterContinental Istanbul and the Grand Hyatt Istanbul. The square also features notable landmarks like the Taksim Republic Monument (Taksim Cumhuriyet Aniti), which commemorates the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
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Cafes Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Taksim Square
Taksim Square is a vibrant, modern area located in Istanbul's Beyoglu district. Scores of shops, restaurants and bars fill the surrounding streets, as well as popular hotels like the InterContinental Istanbul and the Grand Hyatt Istanbul. The square also features notable landmarks like the Taksim Republic Monument (Taksim Cumhuriyet Aniti), which commemorates the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
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#7
Ortaköy Free

#7 in Istanbul

Free
While the area surrounding Taksim Square draws the vast majority of partygoers, the small neighborhood of Ortaköy happily enjoys its less popular status. You won't simply stumble onto this cool enclave; located north of Beyoglu along the Bosphorus, you'll need to take a ferry or a bus from the Kabatas tram stop to reach it. Hopping a taxi will be a necessity in the nighttime, but the journey will be well worth it.
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Cafes Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Ortaköy
While the area surrounding Taksim Square draws the vast majority of partygoers, the small neighborhood of Ortaköy happily enjoys its less popular status. You won't simply stumble onto this cool enclave; located north of Beyoglu along the Bosphorus, you'll need to take a ferry or a bus from the Kabatas tram stop to reach it. Hopping a taxi will be a necessity in the nighttime, but the journey will be well worth it.
... more
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