İstanbul is an enchanting city and there are lots of things to discover. If you want to enjoy a day of discoveries without paying for them, just have a look at our list here.
Visiting Hagios Giorgios Church
Hagios Giorgios Church and Monastery is located in Büyükada and was built in 1751. This historical spot has to be seen if you are in İstanbul. The church is on the highest point of the island and it can be reached on foot. Enjoying a lovely panorama of İstanbul after visiting the church will be your bonus.
Observe the Skies from Kandilli Observatory
The observatory was founded in 1868 and it is considered as one of the milestones in the history of science in Turkey. Kandilli Observatory receives visitor groups by appointment between 9:30 and 14:00 every Wednesday. The observatory is an institute of Boğaziçi University and you can make an appointment on its website. You will be able to see the astronomy laboratory, attend solar observations and be informed about general astronomy in the lab.
Watch the Bosphorus Scene from Ulus Park
Ulus Park is in the central Ulus neighborhood of Beşiktaş and it is one of the best spots to enjoy the Bosphorus view. The park is always well-kept and the panorama here reaches to the Bosphorus Bridge, Topkapı Palace and Üsküdar.
Visit Grand Bazaar
No one will believe you visited İstanbul if you haven’t visited the Bazaar. The construction of Grand Bazaar started in 1461 and it still houses hundreds of colorful shops. The bazaar is vibrant at any time of the day and its specialties are hand-made carpets and the specimens of Turkish art of jewelry.
Run the Eurasia Marathon
The only marathon race run between continents, İstanbul Intercontinental Eurasia Marathon is organized by the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality every year. The Bosphorus Bridge will be closed for motor traffic on that day and you will have a unique experience running on it.
Starting with Blue Mosque Complex and Süleymaniye Complex, experiencing the special atmosphere of İstanbul is never complete without seeing these artistic and architectural wonders, rather than just places of worship.
Attend Feshane Festival in Ramadan
The festival is organized by İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality and includes Turkish folk and art music concerts, whirling dervishes, Ottoman Army Band concerts, traditional performance art shows and kids’ activities beside others.
Visit Beyazıt State Library
The first state library founded in Turkey, Beyazıt State Library has a rich and unequalled collection. The library has over 40 thousand rare books, 11.120 of which are manuscripts; 26 thousand periodicals, all newspaper issues printed in Turkey, more than 500 thousand books in Latin alphabet, countless maps, posters, banknotes, sheet music, postcards, stamps, records, cassettes, CDs and movie discs.
Picnic in Belgrad Forest
Belgrad Forest is the meeting point of İstanbul citizens with nature all through the year and it is home to many species of animals. There are many streams and brooks in the forest and you can enjoy both a long walk in the woods and a picnic under the trees.
Discover the Plants in Lokman Hekim Medical Herbs Garden
Lokman Hekim Medical Herbs Garden is in Zeytinburnu and it is the first of its kind. The purpose of the garden is to make the public familiar with herbs and more than 290 species can be seen here.
Cycle in Polonezköy Nature Park
Polonezköy Natural Park is home to all natural plants of İstanbul and it is one of the best destinations for hiking and cycling. Species of pines, chestnuts, hornbeams, oaks, beech, lindens on the canopy and laurels, arbutus and prunus laurocerasus on the understory has a relaxing atmosphere and also a good spot for picnicking.
Visit İstanbul Modern on a Free Day
İstanbul Modern is in Karaköy Port and it is the first modern art museum of Turkey. The vision of the museum is to make art a part of the cultural life for people from all walks of life. Visits are free of charge on Thursdays.
Visit Akbank Art Gallery
The gallery is located on İstiklal Avenue, on the entrance level of Akbank Sanat building. The gallery focuses on contemporary arts and the works of national and international artists can be seen in the exhibitions here.
Swim at Kilyos Public Beach
The public beach is in Kilyos, one of the most popular summer destinations of the residents of İstanbul. The beach has a very long sand line and is vibrant especially at weekends in summer. Kilyos Public Beach is promising for having fun on a very hot summer day.