Istanbul: What to do and see when visiting this magnificent city

Istanbul is a truly magnificent cosmopolitan city.  It is a city that has a European ambiance and a culturally rich Asian side. It is filled with rich cultural heritage and magnificent architecture. There are centuries of historic sites that you can see which were established by the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and will leave you in awe and amazement. 

In this post we are sharing a list of some of the places we visited with our three kids in Istanbul. We hope this list can help you to plan a trip to Istanbul with or without kids. We travelled to Istanbul from the 27th September to the 6th of October. The weather was brilliant with temperatures ranging from 27-28 degrees throughout our stay with the exception of our last day when the weather dropped to 20 degrees with some rain.

Beykoz Park

We came across this park during our first day in Istanbul. Its called the Beykoz Children’s Entertainment Centre. To begin with, we started our walk from the entrance where we saw a masjid. Adjacent to the masjid is a kids playground and as we walked further in we came across a few flea market stalls. Here we found the cheapest shoes and socks that we had seen throughout our trip.

Beykoz Park

Further down the park there were carnival rides. Next to the rides we saw a full on market that we headed to. This market is called the Beykoz Street Market (Beykoz Semt Pazari). This is where the locals generally frequent. There was no sight of a single tourist and the prices of the items at this market were incredibly cheap.


If you would like to visit this area when you are in Istanbul, please note that we went here on a Saturday, hence we are not sure if this market was reserved for a Saturday only or if it was an event for that specific weekend. 

Beykoz Pazari

Blue Mosque

It is difficult to put into words the feeling of praying here. The best time to visit this mosque is during the Salaah times.

Topkapi Museum

Seeing the amazing Islamic history in this museum was a really special feeling.

Gulhane Park

This park can easily be missed if you don’t know where to look out for it. It’s next to the Tokapi Museum. Additionally, at the Gulhane Park there is a restaurant and the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology. The park was an oasis of peace and tranquility away from the tourist hub. You can easily spend half a day at Gulhane Park just walking around and admiring the beautiful gardens.

Gulhane Park

Hazrat Ayub Al Ansari mosque and Pierre Loti

The Pierre Loti closes at 11pm so we ventured out to Hazrat Ayub Al Ansari Mosque towards the afternoon and made Maghrib and Esha there. Thereafter, we took a short walk to the cable car. Additionally, you can use your Istanbul Kart to go up the cable car. We had no long queues to wait in which was great. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking. No picture would do justice to that view of Istanbul with all the Masjids lit up in the skyline.

Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar

We just briefly visited these bazaars for the experience but we did our shopping at the local markets in Beykoz and Carsamba Pazari instead as there were better bargains there.

Spice Bazaar

Princes’ Island – Buyukada

This was another epic adventure. We took the ferry from the Eminonu ferry station and went to the 4th island which is the biggest and most popular. The ride was about 1h 40min. Once we got there we had the option of either renting a bicycle or going on a horse-drawn carriage. We chose the latter option and it was a really wonderful experience.

Eminonu Ferry

Carsamba Pazari market

We blocked out our Wednesday to spend at this market and it was a good decision as we found it to be a lot cheaper to shop here.

Lego Land and the Sea Life Aquarium

This was the highlight for our kids. Click here to read more about this.

Istiklal street

The hype and buzz here is exceptionally electrifying and a must see when in Istanbul. It is one of the busiest streets in the world. There is a Madame Tussauds on this street too. Additionally, it has an underground bowling alley, arcade games and dodgem cars. It was a remarkable experience going underground to see these things. 

Istiklal Street

Istiklal Street Arcade


Dolmabahce Palace

Being in this palace was a really special feeling and the architecture was out of this world. Read more about this palace here.

Galata Tower

After a straight walk along Istiklal street you will see this magnificent tower. It was a remarkable sight and made for an epic photo background.

Galata Tower

If you have been to Istanbul, what stood out for you as an epic place or experience?


Furthermore, to read more posts on our trip to Istanbul, see below:

5 Reasons to visit Istanbul with Kids

What not to do in Istanbul

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