Galata Tower: On a clear day, the view is spectacular and it is possible to see the main monuments of Istanbul and even the Prince’s Islands. Built in 1348 by the Genoese as part of their fortifications, this distinctive 62 m tower with conical roof is visible from most of Istanbul. It was converted to cater for tourism and has a lift, a nightclub and restaurant on the top floors.
Topkapı Palace: Topkapı Palace was not only the residence of the Ottoman sultans, but also the administrative and educational centre of the state. Initially constructed between 1460 and 1478 by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, and expanded upon and altered many times throughout its long history, the palace served as the home of the Ottoman sultans and their court until the middle of the 19th century. Museum is open everyday except Tuesdays. Museum is also closed at first days of the religious festive days until afternoon.
Basilica Cistern: it is the largest of several hundred ancient underground cisterns, featuring two giants upside-down. Rumor has it the heads are upside-down to negate the power of the Medusa’s gaze! The cistern was one of the locations for the 1963 James Bond film “From Russia with Love”.
Süleymaniye Mosque: Built by the most venerable Imperial Architect of the Ottoman Court, Mimar Sinan, this superb monument is Istanbul’s second largest mosque complex. The monument was built between 1550-1557, commissioned by Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent at the peak of the Ottoman Empire’s reign. On the long list of Sinan’s most admired buildings, the Süleymaniye Mosque ranks right at the top. The mosque crowns one of the Istanbul’s seven hills.
Bosphorus: One of the best ways to discover Istanbul is to experience the Bosphorus by boarding a boat cruise that enters from the Black Sea and stops at various fishing villages.
Modern Art Museum: The building itself is worth seeing it- a converted warehouse that now features a sleek industrial design with state-of-the-art technology, including a library, cinema and flat-screen TVs featuring video art. The Istanbul Modern Café is also a big hit with excellent food and a great view.
Sakıp Sabancı Museum: Owned by one of Turkey’s wealthiest businessmen, this museum is housed in a fabulous villa right on the shores of the Bosphorus. The steeply sloping lawns are scattered with stone treasures on loan from the Archaeology Museum.
Beylerbeyi Palace: Meaning “Lord of Lords” is a former summer residence of the sultans located in the Asian side. The palace looks its most attractive from the Bosphorus, from where its two bathing pavilions, one for the harem (women’s only) and the other for the selamlik (men’s only), can best be seen.
Çukurcuma and Galata districts: located in the back streets of Beyoglu and also known as Istanbul’s SoHo, hosts over 100 designer & antique shops.
Grand Bazaar: in Turkish, Kapalı Çarşı, meaning ‘Covered Market’ is truly a whole new world. Made up of a maze of interconnecting vaulted passages, the Bazaar has its own banks, baths, mosques, cafes and restaurants, a police station and post office, not to mention the thousands of shops, all glittery and fairy-lit in the absence of natural light. Since the rise of the mall it is no longer the biggest shopping centre in the world, but it can still claim to be the oldest. We recommend spending your time browsing the gorgeous and varied kilims, as an authentic Turkish carpet is a great way to take a piece of Istanbul home with you.
Nişantaşı: Istanbul’s most European neighborhood, streets packed with internationally recognized brands and boutiques, stylish cafés and restaurants and stunning Art Nouveau apartment buildings. For shopping and style enthusiasts, missing Nişantaşı would be a real shame.
Istinye Park shopping mall: In addition to the international brands, the shopping center has fabulous restaurants. The outdoor shopping section features high-end lines and resembles a mini-Rodeo Drive. With 291 shops in total, you are bound to find something you like.
Sunset in Ulus: Overlooking the Bosphorus, Sunset has one of the greatest views of Istanbul. Being a member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, the food is excellent- a mixture of Mediterranean and Turkish dishes and Japanese new cuisine. The service is impeccable.
Lucca: By night, sleek society girls pick at plates of sashimi and check each other out from the pavement seating or through the floor-to-ceiling windows. At weekends, the party people like to kick off the night with exotic cocktails, and big-name DJs hit the decks.