Top Attractions In Istanbul For Free

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!

Free Things To Do in Istanbul

1. Blue (Sultanahmet) Mosque (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

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 windows.

The Blue Mosque is an absolute delight to behold and it’ll certainly make for an intriguing and educational stop on your way around Istanbul.

Remember to always dress accordingly and respectfully when visiting any mosque or religious entity in Istanbul.

Address: Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydani Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey

2. Yildiz Park (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

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 place for an afternoon picnic date, or for families who are looking to spend some quality outdoors time together.

There are numerous duck ponds, hills and Ottoman houses located throughout the park so it’s a great place to enjoy a few hours of exploring without having to pay any entrance fees.

Address: Yildiz, 34349 Besiktas/Istanbul, Turkey

3. Grand Bazaar (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

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 anything to make the experience feel worthwhile!

Be wary of your belongings when wandering through the markets and keep a close eye on young children if you’re travelling as a family as it can get overwhelmingly busy at peak hours of the day.

Address: Beyazit, Kalpakçilar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey

4. Bomonti Flea Market (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

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 even if you don’t intend on spending a penny, we’d still highly recommend visiting the market to get a true taste of Turkish culture.

Don’t forget to bring your camera along when visiting the flea market as you’re sure to want to take some pictures of all the weird and wonderful things to commemorate your time in Istanbul.

Address: Cumhuriyet, Semt Pazari No:8, 34380 Sisli/Istanbul, Turkey

5. Zülfaris Synagogue Jewish Museum of Turkey (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

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 Istanbul so great is that it’s free to enter and is also nicely tucked away from the eyes of wandering tourists so it’s usually relatively quiet.

If you have some spare time and want to learn more about Istanbul’s vast and varied cultures, make a visit to the Zülfaris Synagogue a priority!

Address: Bereketzade, Büyük Hendek Cd. No:39, 34421 Beyoglu/Istanbul, Turkey

6. Misir Çarsisi (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

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 colours and strong scents is more than enough to tantalise all your senses!

Misir Çarsisi is often compared to the Grand Bazaar but on a much smaller scale, so if you want to experience a traditional Turkish market but you’d like to avoid the crowds, then this market is a great option for you.

Address: Rüstem Pasa, Erzak Ambari Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey

7. Zeyrek Camii (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

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 churches that have been converted into mosques, as well as an abandoned chapel.

Younger kids probably won’t enjoy this activity as much as there’s quite a bit of history and culture involved, but if you’re interested in learning more about the religious faiths in Istanbul, it’s a great place to see.

Address: Zeyrek, Ibadethane Sk. No:2, 34083 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey

8. Balat and Fener Neighbourhoods (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

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 crowds or religious temples.

Ensure that you see the exteriors of the Yavuz Selim Mosque and the Greek Orthodox College; they’re some of the most stunning buildings in the Balat and Fener Neighbourhoods.

If you did want to spend a little bit of holiday money while in the area, make sure you try some traditional Turkish coffee from a nearby café.

Address: Balat Neighbour, Fener Neighbourhood, Istanbul, Turkey

9. Ortaköy Square (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

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 souvenirs.

Located right on the waterfront, Ortaköy Square provides stunning views and a lovely, vibrant atmosphere that seems to last all day long.

If you’re in the area in the early evening, make sure you head to Ortaköy Square to watch the sunset against the flowing Bosphorus River.

Address: Mecidiye, Iskele Sk., 34347 Besiktas/Istanbul, Turkey

10. Dogançay Museum (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

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 something that would be necessarily entertaining for children.

Inside the museum, you can also see some of Burhan Dogançay’s photographs and canvases; the man behind the namesake of this beloved Istanbul museum and gallery.

It’s a little tricky to find the entrance to the museum, so keep your eyes peeled so you don’t miss out on an adventure of cultural exploration!

Address: Hüseyinaga, Balo Sk. No:42, 34435 Beyoglu/Istanbul, Turkey


More Free Things to Do

Things to Do at Night

Fun Things to Do