It's no wonder that big, cosmopolitan cities like Istanbul are a big attraction, and more and more tourists visit them each year. You can try anything there, from the local food the country offers to even an extreme helicopter tour over the city. Here is the list of my top things to do in Istanbul.
Take a boat trip on Bosporus - a must do activity whenever in Istanbul. The con here is that in winter it can be cold and the experience might not be that good, but in the summer, late spring and early fall it's just amazing and cannot be described. That way you'll have the opportunity to see a big part of Istanbul, see the neighborhood of the rich and famous, the houses on the first line on the Bosphorus are very expensive and not everybody can afford them. Also, an even better suggestion is to have a dinner on a cruise ship on the Bosphorus. Now, don't imagine some huge ship like the ones MSC have, but having dinner on a boat while sailing on the Bosphorus is an amazing experince and you won't be disappointed.
Visit Emirgan korusu - the tulip park! A park so big that you can easily get lost in it. The best time to visit this attraction of the cosmopolitan city is in April, I would say. That's the time when all the tulips are blooming and the park is full of them. Everywhere you look tulips with different colors and shaped in different forms. I enjoyed so much this lovely place and I happened to visit it in the peak, mid April. You can read more about my experience in the post Emirgan Korusu, Istanbul's forest city park.
Take a helicopter tour - now that's the best way to enjoy Istanbul, there is only problem here, it can get pretty expensive, but if you have money to spare I highly recommend it. Its price can vary from 75 euro to 250 euro or even more, depending on the helicopter and the seat that I want to book. The best one and most expensive of course, is always the one next to the pilot. That way you get to enjoy the full view and full size window after that are the second rows and they usually have 3 sits in a row and the middle one is most inexpensive but you don't really get to see anything good.
Visit Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque - two of the most significant landmarks in Istanbul. Located on a very close distance from one another are Hangoa Sophia and Blue Mosque. They are so big that you can easily spot them from a boat trip on the Bosphorus or the helicopter tour. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque or more popularly known as Blue Mosque, consists of hand-painted blue tiles adorn the mosque’s interior walls, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue as lights frame the mosque’s five main domes, six minarets and eight secondary domes. And Hagia Sophia is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, built in 537 AD, it was the world's largest building and an engineering marvel of its time and is said to have "changed the history of architecture.
Visit Grand Bazaar - if you ever read something about Turkey and more specifically about Istanbul you must know about the Grand Bazaar! It's one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the whole world. And it's so famous that in 2014 was listed one of the most visited tourist attractions, with over 91 MILLION annual visits, that's a lot, huh? You can find all sorts of items there, and don't forget don't buy anything before you make some comments on the price.
Try the local food - One of my favorite cuisines in the whole world. The fact that it doesn't include pork meat hasn't even bothered me, when you taste the way they cook lamb you'll see why is that. There are many traditional dishes that you need to try, the ones that I find most satisfying you can read about in Top foods of Turkey, and not mention the desserts, which are absolutely in my top 5 list of traditional desserts.
Drink Turkish coffee/tea and smoke some hookah (shisha) - ah, Turkish coffee and tea, trust me on this one, you haven't had real coffee until you try the one in Turkey. With the incredible aroma and taste the coffee is boiled in embers and the taste is so rich, don't you don't have to put any sugar in it, in fact if you do, you'll just ruin it's flavours.