5 Things to do in Istanbul 

 November 26, 2021

By  Wilson

Istanbul was a quiet and very pleasant surprise. I had heard great things about Istanbul prior to my trip. I’m sure we’ve heard all about Turkey having a few political instabilities over the last few years, such as the failed coup in 2016. Turkey is also a country that is viewed by western media as overly-conservative.

I wrote in a separate blog post as to why Istanbul has Matched Rio de Janeiro as my favorite cities in the world.

Istanbul is really unique in that the city is located in two continents – there is a European side and an Asian side.

How I got there

As usual whenever I travel, I either take a United flight or search for the cheapest flight on kayak.com. I wrote an article about how I stick to flying on United as much as possible to cash out big with my miles.

For this trip, I did book the flight on Kayak.

Here were my favorite things to do in Istanbul.

1. Hagia Sophia

This is the obvious one. Hagia Sophia used to be a church and museum before turning into the most famous mosque in Turkey in the 1400’s. The building itself is stunning and the entire palace has an incredible history.

Hagia Sophia

2. Grand Bazaar

This is *the* market in Istanbul where negotiating for the price is a must. Purchasing Turkish Delight and having your carpets shipped internationally to your front door is an expectation.

Grand Bazaar

3. Exploring the Istanbul Nightlife

Nightlife is a huge culture in Istanbul.

One in particular that I really enjoyed (and my friends who were with me in Istanbul will laugh when they read this) is Ritim in the Taksim district.


I will say that a disadvantage is the girl to guy ratio is generally low in Istanbul, so if you are a man attempting to enter a club without having a girl with you, you might have trouble entering.

4. Kadikoy Fish Markets

I think most of the “fun” and “must-see” things are located on the European side of Istanbul. However, there are plenty of great things to check out on the Asian (aka Anatolian side) of Istanbul. One in particular is The Kadikoy Fish Market. It’s incredibly famous and the ferry from the European side to the Asian side is very cheap.

Kadikoy Fish Markets

5. The Endless Rooftop Restaurant and Bars…

There isn’t a particular “go-to” rooftop bar or rooftop restaurant simply because the city is completely full of them. I can recommend a few: Seven Hills Hotel, Rika Cihangir, Nova Santiye Cafe.

Honorable Mentions

Galeta Tower – a tourist favorite

Istanbul Bosphorous Dinner Cruise – an inexpensive tour that goes along the river that separates Europe from Asia in Istanbul

The Blue Mosque – This mosque is right next to Hagia Sophia and a trip to the Blue Mosque can easily be “combined” with a trip to Hagia Sophia.

Oh, and lastly. Make sure you eat Mideye.

If I Had More Time, I Would Have…

Gone to other cities. Istanbul is fantastic but unfortunately I did not budget enough time for places like Cappadoccia and Izmir. I’ve also heard great things about Antalya.

Closing Remarks

I’ll save this for the parts in my other blog post, Why Istanbul has Matched Rio de Janeiro as my Favorite Cities in the World. But I will say this:

I plan on going back to Istanbul.

Final Grade: A+


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Hi, my name is Wilson, founder of WFH Nomad. I was born and raised in the US, and I boast engineering and business degrees from top programs in the US. I work a normal, WFH job for a great company in America. I am extremely passionate about traveling and my job in the Tech industry, and the best part of the WFH Nomad concept is that I can do both at the same time.

I have traveled to over 47 different countries in my lifetime and I look forward to continue this lifestyle for the foreseeable future. Thanks for visiting the website!

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