When visiting Istanbul for the first time, one will quickly realize that it’s a busy and crowded place. Locals minding their one business, tourists taking countless pictures on every corner and some cats in between the chaos. Sometimes it can be nice to escape the crowds and explore some places off the beaten track. If you feel overwhelmed by Istanbul, then I’ve got you covered! Here are five non touristy things to do:
Have an incredible view of Istanbul from Büyük Valide Han
I have to admit that this place is a little tricky to find, but the effort is totally worth it. You will be rewarded with the most (Instagram-worthy and) incredible view over Istanbul. As it is still a little hidden gem, it won’t likely be visited by a lot of tourists.
Read here where to have the best view of Istanbul!
Walk along the Bosphorus in Arnavutköy
How beautiful are these wooden houses? They are located along the Bosphorus in the district of Arnavutköy. It is the ideal area to escape the crowds, walk along the Bosphorus and have dinner in one of the many fish restaurants that this posh area is known for.
Explore the neighborhoods Balat and Fener
Being on the UNESCO World Heritage list should be reason enough to visit the historic Jewish and Greek quarters of Istanbul. Get lost among the locals and find hidden gems like these colorful houses, historic buildings, vintage shops and cute cafés.
Visit the Sülemaniye Mosque
Most tourists visit the Hagia Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque, which are unarguably beautiful mosques and a must-visit in Istanbul. Although the Sülemaniye Mosque is less popular, it is actually the biggest one of Istanbul and equally as breathtaking as the former ones.
Browse through Antique Stores in Cihangir
The bohemian district Cihangir boosts with galleries, charming antique stores, chic boutiques and cool cafés, bars and restaurants. The antiques stores are full with old books, ceramics, jewelry, carpets and everything in between. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of Cihangir and look around for an unique souvenir.