History buffs love Istanbul, as do those keen on Islamic architecture. There’s a buzz, too, around a number of new art galleries, most of them in Beyoglu around İstiklal Avenue.

Things to do in Istanbul

Cemberlitas Hamam

Soak off the day's exertions in a Turkish Bath built by the 16th-century Ottoman architect Sinan. Separate sections for men and women, plus gratuity-inclusive prices, ensure a hassle-free visit.

Cemberlitas; Vezirhan Cad. No. 8, 011-90-212-522-7974,
Tags: family | things to do | culture | history | jim's pick

Cruise the Bosphorus

Scoop the best Istanbul views on a cruise up to Anadolu Kavagi, bypassing Dolmabahce Palace, Rumeli Hisari Castle, and both Bosphorus bridges on the way. Keyif Organizasyon arranges private, custom-designed trips for one to 400 people.

Keyif Organizasyon, 011-90-212-277-4363,
Tags: family | smart splurge | things to do | tour

Fenerbahce Football Match

Turks are fanatical soccer fans. For a taste of local sports culture, grab a ticket to see home team Fenerbahce play on the Asian side of town during the winter.

Sukru Saracoglu Stadium,
Tags: family | things to do | spectator sport

Istanbul Modern

Housed in a converted warehouse, Istanbul’s modern art gallery offers an introduction to Turkish artists including 19th-century Orientalist Osman Hamdi Bey and contemporary artist Burhan Dogancay. The café is also worth visiting.

Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi, 011-90-212-334-7300,
Tags: art | things to do | culture

Sultanahmet Mosque

Better known as the Blue Mosque after the mainly blue Iznik tiles that line its walls, this glorious 17th-century building faces the church of Aya Sofya at the heart of Old Istanbul.

Sultanahmet Square, 011-90-212-458-0776,
Tags: family | things to do | culture | architecture | history | jim's pick

Topkapi Palace

Home to Ottoman Sultans for 380 years, the 15th-century palace opened to the public in 1924. The 861,112-square-foot grounds encompass the sultan's living area, concubine dormitories, and the chamber of sacred relics.

Bab-ı Hümayün Caddesi, 011-90-212-512-0480,
Tags: family | things to do | culture | architecture | history | jim's pick

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