40 Best Things To Do In Istanbul In August In 2024

Planning a trip to Istanbul in August? Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this vibrant city that bridges Europe and Asia. With its rich history, cultural diversity, and stunning landscapes, Istanbul offers a plethora of activities to keep you entertained. From exploring ancient landmarks to indulging in delicious cuisine, there’s something for everyone. To help you make the most of your visit, here are the top 40 best things to do in Istanbul in August.

As summer reaches its peak, Istanbul comes alive with a vibrant energy and a wealth of exciting experiences to enjoy. From exploring historic landmarks to indulging in delicious cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this captivating city.

Insider Advice: Kickstart your Istanbul adventure with the Istanbul E-Pass or Istanbul Tourist Pass. These passes provide free access to around 70+ top attractions, tours and essential local services in the city with around 70% savings.

Historic Landmarks and Palaces

1. Hagia Sophia

Step into history by visiting the iconic Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Istanbul’s most significant landmarks. Marvel at the stunning Byzantine architecture, intricate mosaics, and impressive dome that has stood for centuries.

  • Marvel at the breathtaking architecture of this iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Explore the grand interior adorned with stunning mosaics and intricate designs.
  • Learn about the history and significance of this ancient Byzantine church-turned-mosque.

2. Topkapi Palace

Immerse yourself in the opulence of the Topkapi Palace, once the residence of Ottoman sultans. Explore the palace’s stunning architecture, lush gardens, and remarkable collection of artifacts, including the famous Topkapi Dagger and the Spoonmaker’s Diamond.

  • Step into the opulent world of Ottoman sultans in this magnificent palace complex.
  • Visit the Harem section and admire the stunning tilework and ornate interiors.
  • Explore the palace grounds and enjoy panoramic views of the Bosphorus.

3. Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque)

Take a visit to the Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and admire its magnificent architecture and intricate blue tiles. Take off your shoes and step inside to experience the serene ambiance of this historic mosque.

  • Admire the striking blue tiles that give this mosque its popular name.
  • Experience the peaceful ambiance and marvel at the impressive domes and minarets.
  • Take off your shoes and explore the elegant interior adorned with beautiful calligraphy.

4. Basilica Cistern

Discover the hidden underground world of the Basilica Cistern, an ancient water reservoir that dates back to the Byzantine era. Admire the stunning columns and listen to the soothing sound of water echoing through the cavernous space.

  • Descend into the underground world of this ancient water reservoir.
  • Wander among the illuminated columns and listen to the soothing sound of water.
  • Don’t miss the Medusa heads at the base of two columns, shrouded in mystery.

Cultural and Historical Sites

5. Grand Bazaar

Get lost in the vibrant colors and bustling atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. Explore its labyrinthine streets filled with shops selling carpets, textiles, jewelry, spices, and more. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of this historical market and indulge in some souvenir shopping.

  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets.
  • Explore the maze of shops offering everything from spices and textiles to jewelry and souvenirs.
  • Engage in the art of bargaining and enjoy a cup of Turkish tea while taking in the bustling ambiance.

6. Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar)

Awaken your senses at the Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar. Let the aroma of exotic spices, dried fruits, and Turkish delights envelop you as you stroll through the colorful stalls. Sample the local flavors, stock up on spices, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling market.

  • Discover an array of exotic spices, dried fruits, nuts, and Turkish delights.
  • Indulge your senses with the enticing aromas and vibrant colors of the market.
  • Pick up authentic Turkish spices to bring home and add a touch of Istanbul to your cooking.

7. Istanbul Archaeological Museums

Step back in time at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, home to a remarkable collection of artifacts from various civilizations. Explore the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, and the Tiled Kiosk Museum. Admire ancient treasures, including sarcophagi, mosaics, and sculptures, and gain insights into the rich history of Istanbul and its surrounding regions. An enchanting place to visit in Istanbul in August.

  • Delve into Istanbul’s rich history through its extensive collection of artifacts.
  • Visit the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the Archaeology Museum, and the Tiled Kiosk.
  • Marvel at ancient treasures, including Egyptian mummies, Greek statues, and Roman sarcophagi.

8. Chora Church (Kariye Museum)

  • Admire the stunning Byzantine mosaics and frescoes that depict biblical scenes.
  • Explore the beautiful interior adorned with intricate details and vibrant colors.
  • Learn about the history and significance of this hidden gem of Istanbul.

Breathtaking Views and Cruises

9. Bosphorus Cruise

Embark on a scenic Bosphorus cruise and enjoy breathtaking views of Istanbul’s skyline and landmarks from the water. Cruise along the strait while learning about the city’s fascinating history and witnessing the seamless blend of Europe and Asia. One of the best things to do in Istanbul in August.

  • Take a leisurely boat ride along the Bosphorus Strait, dividing Europe and Asia.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of Istanbul’s iconic landmarks, including palaces and mansions.
  • Witness the beauty of the city’s skyline at sunset for a truly magical experience.

10. Galata Tower

  • Ascend to the top of this medieval tower and enjoy panoramic views of Istanbul.
  • Capture stunning photos of the city’s skyline, including the Bosphorus and Golden Horn.
  • Visit the observation deck and savor a cup of Turkish tea or coffee as you take in the view.

11. Camlica Hill

  • Head to the highest point in Istanbul for breathtaking views of the city
  • Enjoy a picnic or a leisurely stroll in the expansive park area.
  • Capture Instagram-worthy photos of the Istanbul skyline and the Bosphorus.

12. Maiden’s Tower

  • Take a boat trip to this iconic tower located on a small islet in the Bosphorus.
  • Learn about the legends and stories associated with the Maiden’s Tower.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of the city while sipping Turkish tea or enjoying a meal.

Culinary Delights and Food Experiences

13. Turkish Street Food Tour

  • Embark on a culinary adventure through the vibrant streets of Istanbul.
  • Sample a variety of mouthwatering street food, including kebabs, simit, and baklava.
  • Discover local gems and hidden food stalls that offer authentic flavors.

14. Food Markets and Local Restaurants

  • Explore Istanbul’s food markets, such as Kadikoy Market and Beyoglu Market.
  • Indulge in the freshest produce, spices, and Turkish delicacies.
  • Dine at local restaurants to savor traditional dishes like manti, lahmacun, and Turkish breakfast.

15. Turkish Coffee Experience

  • Engage in the time-honored ritual of brewing and enjoying Turkish coffee.
  • Learn about the significance of coffee in Turkish culture and its preparation.
  • Visit a traditional coffeehouse to experience the art of fortune-telling through coffee grounds.

16. Turkish Cooking Class

  • Join a hands-on cooking class and learn to prepare classic Turkish dishes.
  • Discover the secrets of Turkish cuisine from expert chefs.
  • Enjoy the fruits of your labor as you indulge in a delicious meal at the end of the class.

Local Experiences and Hidden Gems

17. Istiklal Avenue

Experience the vibrant energy of Istanbul by strolling along Istiklal Avenue. This bustling pedestrian street is lined with shops, cafes, restaurants, and historic buildings. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, browse the boutiques, and sample local delicacies. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Galata Tower, located nearby, for panoramic views of the city. A fun attraction in Istanbul in August.

  • Stroll along Istanbul’s most famous pedestrian street.
  • Explore boutiques, art galleries, and historical landmarks.
  • Experience the vibrant atmosphere and enjoy street performances.

18. Street Art in Karakoy

  • Wander through the streets of Karakoy and admire the vibrant street art.
  • Discover unique murals, graffiti, and installations by local artists.
  • Capture Instagram-worthy photos of the colorful urban art scene.

19. Rooftop Bars and Restaurants

  • Experience Istanbul’s vibrant nightlife at trendy rooftop bars and restaurants.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of the city while sipping cocktails or indulging in delicious meals.
  • Dance the night away or relax in a cozy atmosphere, taking in the stunning views.

20. Princes’ Islands

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and hop on a ferry to the Princes’ Islands. Explore the car-free islands, such as Büyükada and Heybeliada, by foot or bicycle. Enjoy the tranquility of the island atmosphere, picturesque landscapes, and charming Ottoman-era houses. Treat yourself to a leisurely lunch at a waterfront restaurant and savor the serene ambiance. One of the summer sights in Istanbul in August.

  • Escape the bustling city and take a ferry to the Princes’ Islands.
  • Explore the car-free islands by bicycle or horse-drawn carriage.
  • Enjoy the tranquility, beautiful beaches, and charming island atmosphere.

Outdoor Activities and Nature

21. Prince Islands Cycling Tour

  • Rent a bicycle and explore the scenic paths and roads of the Princes’ Islands.
  • Enjoy the fresh sea breeze and the lush green landscapes.
  • Stop by quaint cafes and restaurants to take a break and enjoy the island charm.

22. Belgrade Forest

  • Escape the city and immerse yourself in nature at Belgrade Forest.
  • Take a leisurely hike or bike ride along the forest trails.
  • Enjoy a picnic surrounded by the serene beauty of the woodland.

23. Bosphorus Swim

  • Take part in a Bosphorus swim event and experience the thrill of swimming across continents.
  • Join a guided swim tour to ensure safety and guidance.
  • Enjoy the unique perspective of Istanbul’s skyline from the water.

24. Balat Neighborhood

  • Explore the colorful and eclectic Balat neighborhood.
  • Wander through the narrow streets lined with historic houses and charming cafes.
  • Discover the vibrant street art and vintage shops that give Balat its unique character.

Shopping and Souvenirs

25. Istiklal Avenue Shopping

Experience the vibrant energy of Istanbul by strolling along Istiklal Avenue. This bustling pedestrian street is lined with shops, cafes, restaurants, and historic buildings. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, browse the boutiques, and sample local delicacies. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Galata Tower, located nearby, for panoramic views of the city. A fun attraction in Istanbul in August.

  • Indulge in a shopping spree on Istanbul’s most famous shopping street.
  • Browse through international brands, local boutiques, and designer stores.
  • Enjoy street performances and stop by historic patisseries for a sweet treat.

26. Turkish Carpets and Kilims

  • Visit a carpet shop and learn about the art of Turkish carpet weaving.
  • Admire the intricate designs and vibrant colors of handmade carpets and kilims.
  • Purchase a unique piece to bring home as a special souvenir.

27. Grand Bazaar Turkish Delights

  • Delight your taste buds with a wide array of Turkish delights at the Grand Bazaar.
  • Sample different flavors, from traditional rose and pistachio to modern variations.
  • Purchase a beautifully packaged box to share or savor as a sweet memory of Istanbul.

28. Antique and Vintage Shops

  • Explore the antique shops and vintage markets in Istanbul.
  • Hunt for unique treasures, including jewelry, ceramics, and decorative items.
  • Discover one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect Istanbul’s rich history and culture.

Relaxation and Wellness

29. Turkish Bath Experience

Indulge in a traditional Turkish bath, known as a hammam, for a truly rejuvenating experience. Relax in the warm marble surroundings, have a cleansing scrub, and unwind with a soothing massage. Let the centuries-old bathing tradition wash away your cares and leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated.


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  • Treat yourself to a traditional Turkish bath, known as a hammam.
  • Indulge in a steam bath, followed by a full-body scrub and foam massage.
  • Relax in the tranquil ambiance and emerge feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

30. Princes’ Islands Retreat

  • Escape the city and spend a day or weekend on one of the Princes’ Islands.
  • Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, fresh air, and beautiful beaches.
  • Unwind with a spa treatment or yoga session at one of the island retreats.

31. Sunset Cruise

Experience the enchanting beauty of Istanbul at sunset on a Bosphorus cruise. Admire the city’s skyline bathed in golden light as you sail along the Bosphorus Strait. Witness the silhouette of iconic landmarks such as the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace against the backdrop of a breathtaking sunset. Capture memorable photos and create lasting memories of this magical moment. One of the best things to do in Istanbul in August.

  • Embark on a romantic sunset cruise along the Bosphorus.
  • Savor breathtaking views of the city as the sun sets over the water.
  • Enjoy a glass of Turkish wine or champagne while cruising the shimmering strait.

Day Trips and Excursions

32. Bursa Day Trip

  • Take a day trip to Bursa, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Visit the historic Grand Mosque and explore the bustling bazaars.
  • Ride the cable car to Uludağ Mountain for panoramic views and outdoor activities.

33. Ephesus Excursion

  • Discover the ancient city of Ephesus on a guided excursion from Istanbul.
  • Explore the well-preserved ruins, including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theater.
  • Immerse yourself in the history and marvel at the architectural wonders of this UNESCO site.

34. Gallipoli Battlefield Tour

  • Pay tribute to the fallen soldiers of World War I with a visit to the Gallipoli Battlefield.
  • Take a guided tour and learn about the historical significance of this site.
  • Visit the memorials and cemeteries that honor the soldiers who fought in the Gallipoli campaign.

35. Pammukale and Hierapolis Tour

  • Embark on a day trip to Pammukale and Hierapolis.
  • Explore the terraces of white mineral-rich pools cascading down the hillside.
  • Visit the ancient Roman ruins of Hierapolis, including the theater and the Necropolis.

36. Troy Excursion

  • Journey to the ancient city of Troy, famous for the Trojan War.
  • Explore the archaeological site and see the reconstructed wooden horse.
  • Learn about the legends and stories associated with this legendary city.

Nightlife and Entertainment

37. Live Music at Babylon

  • Experience the vibrant music scene at Babylon, a renowned Istanbul music venue.
  • Enjoy live performances by local and international artists from various genres.
  • Dance the night away or simply relax and soak in the lively atmosphere.

38. Turkish Night Show

  • Immerse yourself in Turkish culture through a traditional Turkish night show.
  • Enjoy live music, belly dancing, and folkloric performances.
  • Indulge in a delicious Turkish dinner while being entertained.

39. Jazz Bars in Beyoğlu

  • Explore the lively jazz scene in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district.
  • Visit jazz bars and clubs featuring live performances by talented musicians.
  • Sip on cocktails and groove to the soulful sounds of jazz music.

40. Whirling Dervishes Performance

Witness the mesmerizing Whirling Dervishes Ceremony, a spiritual and artistic ritual that dates back centuries. Experience the graceful movements of the dervishes as they whirl in a trance-like state, expressing devotion and seeking spiritual enlightenment. The ceremony offers a unique glimpse into the mystical traditions of Sufism.

  • Witness the mesmerizing performance of the Whirling Dervishes.
  • Experience the spiritual ceremony of the Mevlevi Order.
  • Appreciate the graceful and meditative whirling dance.

Conclusion

With this extensive list of activities, you’re bound to have an incredible time exploring Istanbul in August. Whether you’re captivated by the city’s history, its vibrant culture, or its culinary delights, Istanbul promises an unforgettable experience. Plan your itinerary, embrace the local lifestyle, and let the magic of Istanbul unfold before your eyes.

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