Turkey is a beautiful country at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. There is so much history and culture to learn about there, and what better place to start than the capital city of Istanbul? Straddling two continents (Europe and Asia), Istanbul is an interesting destination for foodies, romantics, and history buffs alike. Hopping on a guided tour is a great way to learn more during a short visit to Istanbul and find the best local spots to eat and explore.

10 Sunset Yacht Cruise On The Bosphorus

The Bosphorus is the river running through Istanbul that separates the city into two continents, Asia and Europe. Embark on a 2.5-hour sunset cruise on the waterway between European and Asian Turkey to see landmarks like Dolmabahçe Palace, the Ortaköy Mosque, and the Rumeli Fortress lit up as night begins to fall. Travelers enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks onboard while learning about the interesting history of the city from a tour guide.

Cruise The Bosphorus At Sunset

9 Guided Tour Of The Old City

Istanbul’s Old City is full of interesting history, eclectic bazaars, and breathtaking architecture. With a private tour taking the place of 1-3 days, travelers can learn about important structures like Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Basilica Cistern from a knowledgeable guide. Part of exploring the Old City includes shopping at the Grand Bazaar for local goods.

Take A Small Group Tour Of The Old City

Related: This Is How Much A Vacation To Turkey Will Cost You (With Breakdowns)

8 Taste Of Two Continents Food Tour

Travelers to Istanbul can embark on a 6-7 hour food tour that merges the flavors and dishes of European and Asian Turkey into one informative adventure. Travelers will experience a traditional Turkish breakfast that contains multiple small dishes and, of course, will have a chance to try Turkish coffee. In addition to sampling local dishes, travelers will also visit spice markets to learn about the flavors influencing Turkish cuisine.

Book The Taste Of Two Continents Food Tour

Related: Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque: Tips For Visiting Both In One Turkey Trip

7 Essential Istanbul Small Group Tour

A small group tour is the perfect setting for learning about the vast city of Istanbul while having the opportunity to ask a local tour guide questions along the way. The 8-hour tour takes travelers through the Old City and to UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout Istanbul. They have a chance to visit and learn about Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and the Hippodrome, plus visit the Grand Bazaar.

Take The Essential Istanbul Small Group Tour

6 Day Tour Of Gallipoli

A tour of Gallipoli takes travelers on a day trip from Istanbul to the historical battlefields of World War 1. Travelers have a chance to see ANZAC cover, which is the site where troops first landed, and can also walk on Brighton Beach. This is also a chance to gain a perspective of World War 1 from both the Allied and Turkish sides through visits to trenches at Johnston’s Jolly. The full-day excursion takes 17 hours, so lunch is provided in Gallipoli.

Book A Day Trip From Istanbul To Gallipoli

5 Day Trip To Pamukkale

A day trip to Pamukkale from Istanbul takes approximately 16 hours but is well worth the trek. This stunning area of Turkey features milky blue thermal springs that are perfect for relaxation with a beautiful view. Travelers will visit the historical city of Hierapolis and the Ancient Pool of Cleopatra.

Take A Day Trip From Istanbul To Pamukkale

4 VIP Turkish Bath Experience

A two-hour Turkish bath experience at a Hamman in Istanbul is a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list adventure. The Hamman is 600 years old and was designed by the same architect who built the iconic Topkapi Palace. Included in a tour package is a traditional steam and scrub, but it’s possible to upgrade the experience to include a massage. Enjoy tea and coffee as part of the relaxation treatment.

Book A VIP Turkish Bath Experience At Hamman

3 Topkapi Palace Skip The Line Guided Tour

Topkapi Palace is a top attraction in Istanbul, so there’s always a lineup for entry. The best way to skip the line is by booking a guided tour with the privilege of jumping the line and start exploring this architectural marvel right away. Touring Topkapi Palace provides insight into how Ottoman Sultans lived there for six centuries. It also offers a chance to view religious relics and jewels that are not on display to general admission holders.

Join A Topkapi Palace Tour (Skip The Line)

2 Whirling Dervishes At HodjaPasha

Attending a Mevlevi Sema Ceremony held at Istanbul’s HodjaPasha Culture Center offers travelers the chance to experience a tradition that is 800 years old. The special rituals are performed by the Whirling Dervishes over the course of 1 hour, accompanied by video projections and a live Turkish orchestra. This is a fantastic way for travelers to immerse themselves in Turkish culture.

Book The Whirling Dervishes Tour

1 Istanbul Food Tour By Night

Foodies will love a chance to explore the city’s food scene at night when street stalls come out, and the streets come alive differently. During the course of 4 hours, participants walk through the Beyoglu Neighborhood and try mezes, baklava, kebabs, and raki, the local liqueur that tastes like anise. Walking through the backstreets of Istanbul with a small group and exploring markets, restaurants, and stalls after nightfall are the perfect way to taste, smell, and see another side of the city.

Explore The Istanbul Food Scene By Night Tour