While most people assume that Istanbul is the capital city of Turkey, it is in fact just a major city and is not actually the capital.
However, that doesn’t make it any less of a reason to visit and Istanbul is absolutely teeming with unique hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered.
We’ve compiled a list of the best free attractions in Istanbul, as well as the top paid activities in Istanbul to help you plan your trip!
The Blue Mosque is without a doubt one of the best things to see and do in Istanbul and best of all; it’s completely free!
The impressive mosque is not only a religious place of worship, but it also serves as a tourist attraction to help educate people on the Muslim faith within Istanbul.
Pay attention to the 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles that punctuate the décor of the Blue Mosque, as well as the 200+ stained glass...
For a peaceful and tranquil haven away from the busy city streets, but somewhere that’s still very well centrally located, head to Yildiz Park.
Yildiz is situated right in the heart of Istanbul, but it’s still far enough removed to not be overtly busy. You can enjoy plenty of beautiful wildlife and scenery inside Yildiz Park.
It’s a top free attraction in Istanbul that’s ideal for couples who want a nice...
Construction began on the Grand Bazaar all the way back in 1455 and ever since it’s been a central hub in Istanbul for all things culture and cuisine.
The market is home to more than 40,000 stalls and over 66 streets so you can easily spend hours, if not days exploring everything that it has to offer!
Just being within the Grand Bazaar’s atmosphere is an absolute delight in itself; you don’t even need to buy...
While the Bomonti Flea Market is only open on Sundays, it’s even more of a reason to prioritise a visit here if you’ll be in Istanbul over the weekend.
It’s not quite as big as the Grand Bazaar, but you’ll still find over 200 stalls selling everything from clothing, jewellery and watches, to vintage cameras and electronics.
Bomonti Flea Market is an absolute treasure trove of hidden trinkets and gems and...
The Zülfaris Synagogue, or the Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews as it’s also often known as, is a museum dedicated to the Sephardi Jews where you can learn all about their lives in Turkey.
The original Synagogue dates all the way back to 1671 but it was closed down in 1985 due to the lack of community support and is now a reputable museum.
One thing that makes this particular free attraction in...
Another incredible free attraction in Istanbul that’s sure to delight your senses is the Misir Çarsisi spice market.
Here you’ll find an array of different worldly spices, sweets, nuts and fruits, all with overwhelmingly strong scents that are sure to clear your sinuses!
A trip to Misir Çarsisi doesn’t have to result in a purchase; just walking through the many stalls and admiring all the bright...
The Zeyrek Camii Mosque is situated in the Faith district of Istanbul and overlooks the beatific Golden Horn.
It’s the second largest Byzantine structure in Istanbul and is one of the most important religious structures in the city.
You can take a free guided tour of inside the 12th century mosque and you’ll be able to see the three different buildings inside.
Zeyrek Camii now consists of two...
For a place in Istanbul that’s home to the most beautifully colourful and highly decorated streets in the city, you need to head to the Balat and Fener neighbourhoods.
Here you’ll find a plethora of old-style houses and beautiful churches that are all completely free to wander around.
These free attractions in Istanbul are a great activity to enjoy as a whole family as you don’t have to worry about excessive...
For a lovely place in the city to watch the sunset and spend an hour or two people-watching, you need to head to Ortaköy Square.
Home to the spectacularly stunning Ortaköy Mosque, the Square is teeming with both locals and tourists going about their daily business.
You can also see the 15 July Martyrs Bridge, as well as dozens of street vendors selling a wealth of local produce and trinkets and...
The Dogançay Museum was the first modern art museum in the whole of Turkey, so it serves great importance within the cultural scene of Istanbul.
It’s situated within a 150-year old building that is now teeming with incredible works of art from some of the most famous artists in Turkey.
Anyone can visit the Dogançay Museum, but it’s particularly enjoyable if you’re a huge fan of art; it’s not...
Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and
Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Tour
Taste of Two Continents Food Tour
Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht
VIP Istanbul Combo Ticket: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Baslica Cistern
Big Bus Istanbul Hop-On Hop-Off
Bosphorus Dinner and Show Cruise with Transport
Bosphorus Strait and Black Sea Half-Day Cruise from Istanbul
Istanbul Culinary Tour: Local Tavern and Gourmet Street Foods
Turkish Coffee Tour and Coffee-Making Class
Istanbul Food Walking Tour of Kadikoy with Breakfast
Istanbul Food Walking Tour of Beyoglu by Night
Istanbul Local Foods & Drinks Tasting Tour
There are many things you can do for free in Istanbul like booking free entry into some Istanbul museums, joining locals to do some free activities and others. This allows you to have fun and relax on a budget or save for further experiences on your trip.