We’ve compiled the best of the best in Istanbul - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • Aya Sofya

    1. Aya Sofya

    Sultanahmet | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    This soaring edifice is perhaps the greatest work of Byzantine architecture and for almost a thousand years, starting from its completion in...Read More

    Aya Sofya
  • Blue Mosque

    2. Blue Mosque

    Sultanahmet | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Only after you enter the Blue Mosque do you understand the name. The inside is covered with 20,000 shimmering blue-green İznik tiles interspersed...Read More

    Blue Mosque
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  • Dolmabahçe Palace

    3. Dolmabahçe Palace

    Besiktas | Castle/Palace/Chateau

    The name Dolmabahçe means "filled-in garden," from the fact that Sultan Ahmet I (ruled 1603–17) had an imperial garden planted here on land...Read More

    Dolmabahçe Palace
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  • Grand Bazaar

    4. Grand Bazaar

    The Bazaar Quarter and Environs | Market/Bazaar

    Take a deep breath and plunge into this maze of 65 winding, covered streets crammed with 4,000 tiny shops, cafés, restaurants, mosques, and...Read More

    Grand Bazaar
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  • Istanbul Archaeology Museums

    5. Istanbul Archaeology Museums

    Sultanahmet | Museum/Gallery

    Step into this vast repository of spectacular finds, housed in a three-building complex in a forecourt of Topkapı Palace, to get a head-spinning...Read More

    Istanbul Archaeology Museums
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  • Istanbul Modern

    6. Istanbul Modern

    Karaköy | Museum/Gallery

    Housed in a converted warehouse on the shores of the Bosphorus, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art showcases modern and contemporary painting...Read More

    Istanbul Modern
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  • 7. Kariye Müzesi

    Western Districts | Museum/Gallery

    The dazzling mosaics and frescoes in the former Church of the Holy Savior in Chora are considered to be among the finest Byzantine artworks...Read More

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  • 8. Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

    Sultanahmet | Castle/Palace/Chateau

    Süleyman the Magnificent commissioned Sinan to build this grandiose stone palace overlooking the Hippodrome in about 1520 for his brother-in...Read More

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  • Süleymaniye Camii

    9. Süleymaniye Camii

    The Bazaar Quarter and Environs | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Perched on a hilltop opposite Istanbul University, Süleymaniye Camii is perhaps the most magnificent mosque in Istanbul and is considered one...Read More

    Süleymaniye Camii
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  • Topkapı Palace

    10. Topkapı Palace

    Sultanahmet | Castle/Palace/Chateau

    This vast palace on Sarayburnu ("Seraglio Point"), above the confluence of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, was the residence of sultans and...Read More

    Topkapı Palace
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  • Yerebatan Sarnıcı

    11. Yerebatan Sarnıcı

    Sultanahmet | Archaeological Site/Ruins

    The major problem with the site of Byzantium was the lack of fresh water, and so for the city to grow, a great system of aqueducts and cisterns...Read More

    Yerebatan Sarnıcı
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  • 12. Ahrida Synagogue

    Western Districts | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Located in Balat, the city's historically Jewish district, Istanbul's oldest synagogue is believed to date back to the 1430s, when it was founded...Read More

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  • 13. Anadolu Kavağı

    Bosphorus | Castle/Palace/Chateau

    At the upper end of the Asian shore, Anadolu Kavağı is the final destination on the full Bosphorus cruises. A pretty little fishing village...Read More

  • 14. Arnavutköy

    Bosphorus | Neighborhood/Street

    This picturesque European-side neighborhood just below Bebek is a pleasant place for a stroll. The waterfront is taken up by a row of beautiful...Read More

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  • 15. Bebek

    Bosphorus | Neighborhood/Street

    One of Istanbul's most fashionable suburbs, Bebek is especially popular with the affluent boating set, thanks to the area's pretty, natural...Read More

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  • 16. Beyazıt Camii

    The Bazaar Quarter and Environs | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Inspired by Aya Sofya and completed in 1506, this domed mosque holds the distinction of being the oldest of the Ottoman imperial mosques still...Read More

  • 17. Beylerbeyi Palace

    Bosphorus | Castle/Palace/Chateau

    Built as a summer residence for Sultan Abdülaziz in 1865, Beylerbeyi is a bit like a mini-Dolmabahçe that incorporates a similarly eclectic...Read More

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  • 18. Borusan Contemporary

    Bosphorus | Museum/Gallery

    Filled with office workers during the week, this distinctive building under the second Bosphorus Bridge on the European side turns into a gallery...Read More

  • 19. Büyük Valide Han

    The Bazaar Quarter and Environs | Building/Architectural Site

    The mass of winding streets between the Grand Bazaar and the Golden Horn contains many old Ottoman commercial buildings, or hans . Historically...Read More

  • 20. Church of St. Mary of the Mongols

    Western Districts | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    This rose-red-color church is significant for being the only standing Byzantine-era church still in Greek hands, other churches having been...Read More

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