If you’re an admirer of old cities, culture and architecture like me, then you will surely love Istanbul. It is the perfect destination for a holiday getaway with friends and family. The best places to visit in Istanbul with family include Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Topkapi Palace Museum, Blue Mosque, the Galata Tower, the Grand Bazaar, the Basilica Cistern, etc.
This thousand-year-old city has gorgeous mosques with colourful tiles and dramatic architecture. You can easily plan a 5-7 days visit with the family to Istanbul as there is a lot to explore here.
It is totally possible to visit Istanbul with a baby. The city is vibrant and lively, and it will keep your baby hooked the whole time. This article will describe some of the best places you can visit during your vacation to Istanbul with your family.
So let’s dig into it.
Best Places To Visit In Istanbul With Family
Istanbul is a magical blend of two continents– Europe and Asia. That’s why tourists from all over the world rush in numbers to visit this great city with much excitement and admiration.
Here’s a list of the best places you can visit in Istanbul with family:
Historical Monuments and Museums
Here are the top tourist attractions of historical monuments and museums in Istanbul–
If you have time to see only one thing when you’re in Istanbul, that will be the Hagia Sofia or Aya Sofya, as they pronounce it. Traditionally, it was the official centre of the world as it was the capital of the Ottoman Caliphate.
It is placed in the Sultanahmet area and was built as a church. Then they converted it into a mosque and a museum, and now quite controversially, a mosque again. The Byzantine mosque is a splendid architectural piece. It is 8th on the list of wonders of the world.
The gorgeous structure is a witness to the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. The mosque echoes the two religions- Islam and Christianity in its minarets and inscriptions written in Arabic and the beautiful mosaics that reminisce Christianity.
Access to Hagia Sophia is free of charge as it is a mosque now.
Ottoman Emperor Sulaiman the Magnificent ordered his Head Architect Mimar Sinan to build a mosque that overshadows the magnificent Hagia Sofia built by the Byzantine emperors. According to an inscription, the mosque was built in 1550.
Mimar Sinan was the greatest architect of the Ottoman Era and he designed the largest mosque in Istanbul. It remained the largest for around 462 years until the construction of the Çamlıca Mosque. Situated on Third Hill, this beautiful mosque is an architectural wonder. The huge dome and the large minarets are majestic.
Sinan was heavily inspired by the Hagia Sofia when designing the Süleymaniye Mosque and it shows in the architecture. Unlike the Blue Mosque, this one has a more controlled use of the Iznik tiles. The interior of the mosque is almost square. The massive mosque complex consists of a madrasa, medical college, hospice, school, hammam, hospital, and public kitchen.
The Topkapi Palace is a magnificent building that served as the residence of the Ottoman emperors for nearly 400 years. Sultan Mehmed built this exquisite architectural beauty. Now it is one of the most significant museums in Istanbul.
This massive complex consists of four courtyards that contain imperial carriages, the palace kitchens and their collections, a little portrait room containing portraits of the Sultan, the Audience Chamber where he used to meet, greet and rule his subjects, and the Enderun School. The fourth courtyard has many pleasure pavilions and also a terrace restaurant.
The Harem is the most integral part of the palace. It has six floors, and it was the residential area of the Sultan. It contains significant chambers, courtyards and numerous rooms. This enormous palace is an ideal way to gain some perspective on the lavish lives of the Ottoman rulers.
You can also visit the beautiful historical Gulhane Park on the grounds of the Topkapi Palace.
The cistern is one of the most famous tourist locations in Istanbul and gives you the opportunity of learning about prominent personalities of the past. It can hold around 100,000 tons of water.
One of the major attractions of the cistern is a column called Hen’s Eye. It has a teardrop motif on it. Another major attraction is the two upside-down sculptures of the Medusa’s Head which acts as supports under two columns. The cistern has well-lit walkways to let the visitors roam around and explore.
It is currently closed as restoration is going on on the premises.
The Hippodrome was the primary hub for the people of the Byzantine era and the setting of numerous horse and chariot racings. Septimius Severus started the construction, and Constantine the Great finished building it.
The stadium could accommodate around 60,000 audiences, and that’s why people gathered here not only for sports affairs but also for imperial ceremonies, military victories, political rallies, and public executions.
The Blue Mosque
He built the mosque between 1609 – 1616. After finishing, it caused quite a stir among the Muslims as it had six minarets (same as the Great Mosque of Mecca). They eventually gifted a seventh minaret to Mecca to prevent the conflict.
The mosque got its name from the thousands of blue Iznik tiles used on the interior. The interior makes the mosque one of the best architectural achievements of the Ottomans.
The mosque contains a tomb of Sultan Ahmet I, a madrasa and a hospice. It still serves as a mosque, so you might have to wait half an hour during the five prayer times. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Istanbul.
To get a great view of the most pleasing architecture of Istanbul, enter from the Hippodrome or the west side of the mosque.
One of the best places to visit in Istanbul with family is The Galata Tower. It is a 14th-century tower that is one of the most noteworthy landmarks of Istanbul. It is 220 feet high and has nine floors. There is a restaurant on top of the tower which offers traditional Turkish folk dance and cuisines.
The tower was Istanbul’s tallest building for centuries. It has been repaired several times due to damage by fire and storm. The top stories of the tower give out the perfect panoramic view of the iconic skyline of central Istanbul.
To avoid a line, arrive at the spot as early as possible.
Istanbul Archaeology Museum
Last on our list of best places to visit in Istanbul with family is the most influential museum in Turkey– the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. It has three sections: the Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Orient Museum and the Tiled Kiosk Museum.
The Archaeological Museum contains statues and tombs, including the renowned sarcophaguses of Sidon. Also, there is the exhibition room “Istanbul through the Ages”, which will help you envision Istanbul’s epic history.
The Ancient Orient Museum displays a collection focused on the Middle East’s pre-Islamic art and heritage. The museum collects and houses artefacts not just in Turkey but also throughout the Middle East.
The museum’s third building is the Tiled Pavilion, built by Mehmet the Conqueror, which houses a wide range of ceramic art.
It is a stone’s through from the Topkapı Palace, so you can easily visit it after visiting the palace.
Shopping, Sightseeing and Fun Activities
The Grand Bazaar
Not just monuments and museums, you can also indulge in some light shopping in Istanbul at places like the Grand Bazaar.
The Grand Bazaar is a giant covered market that takes up an entire quarter. Thick walls surround the bazaar. It is situated in between two mosques.
There are 11 gates to enter the bazaar. Shops and stalls in this bazaar sell Turkish Delight, coffee, carpets, silk, scarfs, souvenirs like Evil Eye, and handicrafts, but at a high price.
The bazaar is excellent for exploring the real Istanbul but not so much for buying. You can get the same products outside the bazaar at a much more reasonable price.
Strait of Bosphorus
A trip to Istanbul is simply not complete without a Bosphorus tour on the ferry. Istanbul’s best views are visible from the water as you are cruising through the city’s waterway.
The Bosphorus tour ferries are perfect for sitting back, resting, and enjoying the incredible scenery.
Passing through the Bosphorus water on the ferry cruise, you can see incredibly stunning fortresses, palaces and mansions from the Ottoman era and the Bosphorus bridges.
The Bosphorus tour takes around 4-7 hours, so you need to set aside a day for it.
Istiklal street is one of the busiest streets in Istanbul– full of crowds, chit chats and laughter. You will cross this road many times when you visit Istanbul. It is a bustling street with many restaurants, cafes and shopping centres.
Here you can shop from both International as well as local brands. The road looks beautiful with trams running up and down the road. You can check out Madame Tussauds and greet your favourite stars on Grand Pera, Istiklal Street.
Many churches and old buildings with attractive facades are visible from Istiklal Street. Taksim Square is the central transportation hub, the shopaholics’ go-to place, and the large Republic Monument sits there as a significant tourist attraction.
Sea Life Istanbul
If you’re going to visit Istanbul with a toddler, checking out the Sea Life Istanbul will be a great idea as little babies are usually fascinated with moving fish in the tank. It is the 5th greatest aquarium worldwide, which houses many sea creatures, especially sharks.
There are turtles, clown fish, jellyfish, seahorses, pipefish and sharks in Sea Life Istanbul– which your baby will surely love! A single ticket to Sea Life will cost you 207 Turkish Lira.
Istanbul Legoland is a great place to visit if you want to take your imagination and creativity to the next level. It is one of the top fun activities to do with kids in Istanbul where you can try building palaces, fortresses, and entire empires using the Legos.
Legoland contains a variety of entertainment options such as Lego 4D cinema, Legoland Factory, and Miniland to keep your kids busy. It has a cafe and a lego shop to add thrill to your fun activity.
A visit to Istanbul is incomplete without bathing at a traditional Turkish Hammam. Relax and get stress free by enjoying a rejuvenating Turkish bath in Istanbul. There are some of the best Turkish hamams in Istanbul. They offer refreshing massages and unforgettable bathing experiences.
It is a great way to explore Istanbul nightlife for families as there are discounts available in the nighttime at the hamams. Also, there are fewer gatherings at night. It means the professionals will concentrate on you better and assist you in getting a pleasant experience.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Istanbul?
Now is an ideal time to visit Istanbul. Istanbul weather in summer is warm and clear. On the other hand, the winters are long, cold, windy, and partly cloudy. The best times to visit Istanbul are from March to June and between September and November. During this time crowd is manageable, room prices are moderate, and the temperature remains between the 60s and 70s during the day.
Now you know the best places to visit in Istanbul with family. So don’t hesitate to book a flight to Turkey and enjoy the perfect family visit to the land of mystique. If you need information about Bangladesh to Turkey air ticket prices or Dhaka to Istanbul flight times, you can contact us.
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