First time in Istanbul, what are your best options in Istanbul?
For first timers, Istanbul may be hard for many first timers, but it is always worth the visit, since Istanbul is huge, people may find it difficult to know where to start, fear no more, we will talk about the best things to do as a first timer.
Discover the Old City
Wherever you go, going on a tour to discover the ruins may sound cliché, but for Istanbul it is something different, the city lived the reigns of many strong empires that conquered the world, back in the Byzantines where the city lived one of its best periods until the Ottoman Empire.
Many relics had been left by these empires, shaped its history, and gave it its magical architecture.
The Hagia Sophia or Sultan Ahmet District is one of those areas that every tourist must visit it. The Hagia Sophia is a cathedral located in the area where it served as the Eastern Orthodox Church during the Byzantines, and it is one of Istanbul’s monuments. The church after the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror had been converted into a mosque. And now it is an open museum. The church with its wonderful architecture is truly a magnificent site to visit, inside you will be guided and will be learning more about the history of the cathedral. In the same area, right close to Hagia Sophia, there is the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, which was built by Ahmet I to confirm the reign of the powerful Ottoman Empires in the area, the mosque caught the anger of the Muslim Jurists, because it was built right close to the Hagia Sophia cathedral and on top of the Byzantine Emperors’ palaces. The mosque served as the Imperial mosque and caught the skylines of the city with its magnificent design.
Speaking of discover old relics, the castles are another story, castles like Rumeli Hisari and Anadolu Hisari caught the attention for many tourists due to its strong standing walls and having a beautiful view over the Bosphorus.
Walk around the Beyoglu District
The Beyoglu district is another wonderful area full of activities, you can start with the Taksim square which is a meeting point for many tourists, from there walk down the street of Istiklal where you can shop for many things, it has international and local brands, and antiques shops. The street is mainly crowded by tourists but locals don’t hesitate to visit the street many times. It has a special atmosphere, with street artists adding to that atmosphere. Walking down the street you will reach a long tower, this is the famous Genoese Galata Tower, and the tower was used mainly to detect fires in the city, nowadays you can climb the tower by using the elevators and on top you will enjoy the magnificent 360 panoramic view of the golden horn, in addition, on top of it there is a nightclub and a restaurant if you ever wanted to stay for a bit longer on top.
Take a break and go shopping
Earlier in this century, Istanbul has made its mark in the fashion world, with its magnificent designs and the latest fashion with the best prices. The outlets in Istanbul are numberless. You have the Venezia mega outlet, Mall of Istanbul, Zorlu Center, and many more. The Venezia mega outlet has one of the best prices and brands, with a design related to the Venetian city of Italy. Mall of Istanbul on the other hand has an urban design consisted of multiple towers making an outstanding complex for residents and shoppers. Zorlu Center is one of the most prestigious malls on the city, with its fascinating urban design and wonderful outdoor park.
Take your time enjoying the outlets in Istanbul you will definitely have a good time shopping.
The options of activities to do are amazing, for first timers you don’t have to panic since whatever you do in this city is exciting, enjoy every single thing you do. You can also go to a restaurant or café near the Bosphorus since each one of them have wonderful views over the Bosphorus, with the best variations of menus.