The 38 Best Things To Do In Istanbul In July 2024

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Istanbul is a city that comes alive in July, with a vibrant atmosphere and a wide range of activities and attractions to explore. From historical landmarks to cultural events and exciting outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone in this dynamic city. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, a food enthusiast, or an adventure seeker, Istanbul has it all. Get ready to discover the top 38 things to do in Istanbul in July and make the most of your visit to this enchanting city.

The Top Istanbul Experiences in July 2023

1. Visit the Hagia Sophia

Explore the awe-inspiring Hagia Sophia, an architectural marvel that has stood the test of time. Marvel at the grandeur of its Byzantine architecture, intricate mosaics, and magnificent dome. Learn about its fascinating history as a church, mosque, and now a museum, and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage.

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2. Discover the Blue Mosque

Step inside the Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and admire its stunning interior adorned with blue tiles and intricate calligraphy. Experience the serenity of this sacred space and witness the beautiful harmony between architecture and spirituality.

3. Explore the Topkapi Palace

Delve into the opulent world of the Ottoman sultans at the Topkapi Palace. Wander through its lavish halls, exquisite gardens, and fascinating museums, including the Treasury and the Harem. Learn about the fascinating history and lifestyle of the Ottoman Empire as you explore this magnificent palace complex.

4. Take a Bosphorus Cruise

Embark on a scenic Bosphorus cruise and witness the beauty of Istanbul from the water. Admire the iconic landmarks that line the shores, including the Dolmabahce Palace, Maiden’s Tower, and the historic waterfront mansions. Take in panoramic views of the city’s skyline and enjoy the gentle breeze as you sail along the strait that separates Europe and Asia.

5. Visit the 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. Wander Through the Spice 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. Enjoy a 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.

8. Marvel at the Basilica Cistern

Descend into the depths of the Basilica Cistern, an underground chamber that once supplied water to the city. Admire the impressive columns, including the famous Medusa heads, and soak in the mysterious atmosphere of this ancient structure. Take a moment to reflect in the dimly lit ambiance and appreciate the ingenuity of Byzantine engineering.

9. Explore the Istanbul Modern Art Museum

Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of contemporary Turkish art at the Istanbul Modern Art Museum. Discover thought-provoking exhibitions featuring works by renowned Turkish artists and international talents. From painting and sculpture to video art and installations, the museum offers a diverse range of contemporary artistic expressions that will captivate art enthusiasts.

10. Explore the 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.

11. Visit the 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 July.

12. Explore the Chora Church

Discover the exquisite beauty of the Chora Church, also known as the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora. Marvel at its well-preserved Byzantine mosaics and frescoes that depict biblical scenes and religious figures. Appreciate the intricate details and the masterful craftsmanship that have made this church a true gem of Byzantine art.

13. Take a Cooking Class

Immerse yourself in the flavors of Turkish cuisine by taking a cooking class. Learn to prepare traditional dishes such as kebabs, mezes, and baklava under the guidance of expert chefs. Discover the secrets of Turkish spices and techniques while enjoying a hands-on culinary experience. Afterwards, savor the fruits of your labor and relish the taste of authentic Turkish cuisine.

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14. Explore the Dolmabahce Palace

Marvel at the grandeur of the Dolmabahce Palace, a magnificent waterfront palace that served as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire. Admire its opulent interiors, featuring crystal chandeliers, intricate woodwork, and lavish decorations. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of this architectural masterpiece.

15. Attend a Whirling Dervishes Ceremony

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.

16. Visit the Istanbul Museum of Illusions

Experience the world of optical illusions at the Istanbul Museum of Illusions. Challenge your perception with mind-bending exhibits, holograms, and interactive installations. Engage in visual puzzles, take gravity-defying photos, and discover the fascinating science behind optical illusions. It’s a fun-filled adventure for all ages.

17. Explore the Suleymaniye Mosque

Marvel at the architectural splendor of the Suleymaniye Mosque, an iconic symbol of Istanbul. Admire its grand domes, elegant minarets, and spacious courtyard. Step inside to witness the intricate tile work, calligraphy, and peaceful atmosphere. Learn about the mosque’s history and the legacy of its architect, Mimar Sinan, who is considered one of the greatest Ottoman architects.

18. Take a Walk Along 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 July.

19. Take a Turkish Tea Break

Experience the Turkish tea culture by enjoying a cup of traditional Turkish tea. Sit at a local tea house or find a cozy spot in a park and savor the rich flavor of Turkish black tea. Engage in conversations, people-watch, or simply relax as you immerse yourself in this beloved Turkish tradition.

Festivals and Cultural Events

20. Attend Istanbul Jazz Festival

Immerse yourself in the vibrant sounds of the Istanbul Jazz Festival, a renowned music festival held annually in July. Enjoy live performances by local and international jazz artists in various venues across the city. From intimate jazz clubs to open-air concerts, the festival offers a diverse program that will captivate music lovers.

  • Swing to the rhythm of jazz at the International Jazz Festival.
  • Attend live performances by renowned jazz musicians from around the world.
  • Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and soulful melodies of this annual event.

21. Visit the Istanbul Toy Museum

Rediscover your inner child at the Istanbul Toy Museum, a delightful attraction that showcases a vast collection of toys from different eras and countries. Marvel at the antique dolls, vintage board games, and intricately crafted miniatures. Take a nostalgic journey through childhood memories and appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of these beloved playthings.

22. Explore the Fener and Balat Neighborhoods

Venture off the beaten path and explore the charming neighborhoods of Fener and Balat. Admire the colorful houses, narrow streets, and historical sites in these historic quarters. Visit the Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Chora Church, and discover hidden gems, such as local cafes, boutique shops, and art studios.

23. Take a Sunset Cruise on the Bosphorus

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 July.

Food & Wine Experiences

Things to Do in Istanbul July 2023

24. Take a Food Tour

Embark on a guided food tour of Istanbul and let a knowledgeable local guide introduce you to the city’s culinary gems. Visit hidden eateries, street food vendors, and local markets to sample a wide variety of dishes. Learn about the history and cultural significance of each delicacy and gain insight into the local food culture.

25. Try Traditional Turkish Delights

Sample the famous Turkish delight, a sweet and chewy confectionery that comes in a variety of flavors. Visit a local confectionery shop and taste different types of lokum, as it is known in Turkish. From classic rose and pistachio flavors to modern variations like pomegranate and mint, there’s a Turkish delight for every palate.

26. Feast on Turkish Mezes

Experience the richness of Turkish mezes, a variety of small dishes that are typically served as appetizers. From savory dips like hummus and baba ganoush to flavorful salads and stuffed grape leaves, mezes offer a delightful array of flavors. Visit a meyhane, a traditional Turkish tavern, and enjoy a meze platter accompanied by raki, the anise-flavored Turkish spirit.

27. Savor a Traditional Turkish Breakfast

Start your day like a local with a traditional Turkish breakfast. Indulge in an array of dishes such as freshly baked bread, olives, cheeses, honey, jams, and a variety of egg dishes. Pair it with a glass of Turkish tea or freshly brewed Turkish coffee for the complete experience.

28. Explore the Spice Markets

Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and aromas of the Spice Markets in Istanbul. Stroll through the stalls filled with an array of spices, dried fruits, nuts, and Turkish coffee. Engage with the friendly vendors, learn about the different spices used in Turkish cuisine, and take home some aromatic treasures to recreate the flavors of Istanbul.

29. Discover Turkish Street Food

Delight in the flavors of Turkish street food as you wander through the bustling streets of Istanbul. Try mouthwatering favorites like doner kebab, simit (sesame-covered bread rings), lahmacun (Turkish pizza), and gözleme (stuffed flatbread). These savory and satisfying treats are perfect for a quick bite on the go.

30. Enjoy a Fish Feast at the Bosphorus

Head to the shores of the Bosphorus and indulge in a seafood feast at one of the waterfront restaurants. Taste freshly caught fish and seafood specialties like grilled octopus, shrimp casserole, or fish stew. Savor the flavors while enjoying the stunning views of the Bosphorus Strait.

31. Experience the Turkish Tea Culture

Immerse yourself in the Turkish tea culture by visiting a traditional tea house, known as a çay bahçesi. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of Turkish tea while observing the lively street scenes. Engage in conversations with locals and soak up the relaxed ambiance of these popular gathering spots.

32. Learn the Art of Turkish Coffee

Discover the art of brewing Turkish coffee, a centuries-old tradition that is steeped in culture. Visit a traditional coffeehouse or participate in a coffee-making workshop to learn the intricacies of preparing this rich and aromatic beverage. Gain insight into the significance of coffee in Turkish society and enjoy the unique experience of sipping authentic Turkish coffee.

33. Indulge in Baklava

Treat yourself to the heavenly taste of baklava, a delicate pastry made of layers of flaky filo dough filled with a mixture of finely chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. Istanbul is renowned for its baklava, and you’ll find numerous pastry shops and sweet boutiques where you can sample this delectable dessert. Enjoy the perfect balance of crunchy and sweet flavors that will leave you craving for more.

34. Take a Culinary Walking Tour

Join a culinary walking tour and explore the diverse neighborhoods of Istanbul through their food. A knowledgeable guide will lead you through local markets, specialty food shops, and hidden eateries, offering you the chance to taste a wide range of Turkish delicacies. Learn about the history and cultural significance of each dish while immersing yourself in the vibrant culinary scene of Istanbul. A tasty attraction in Istanbul in July.

35. Explore the Food Markets

Visit the local food markets in Istanbul and experience the vibrant atmosphere filled with fresh produce, aromatic spices, and regional specialties. Explore markets like the Kadikoy Market on the Asian side or the Spice Market in Eminonu. Engage with vendors, taste local products, and gain insight into the culinary traditions of Istanbul.

36. Dine with a View

Enjoy a memorable dining experience with breathtaking views of Istanbul’s skyline. Numerous rooftop restaurants offer panoramic vistas of the city, including the iconic landmarks like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Bosphorus. Whether it’s a romantic dinner or a leisurely lunch, savor the delicious cuisine while taking in the stunning surroundings.

37. Discover Turkish Wine

Explore the world of Turkish wine by visiting local wineries or attending wine tastings. Turkey has a rich winemaking history, and you’ll have the opportunity to sample a variety of wines, from crisp whites to robust reds. Learn about indigenous grape varieties and the unique characteristics that make Turkish wine a delightful discovery for wine enthusiasts.

38. Attend a Food Festival

Immerse yourself in Istanbul’s culinary culture by attending a food festival. These events showcase the diversity of Turkish cuisine, with a wide range of food stalls, cooking demonstrations, and tastings. From street food festivals to gourmet events, there’s always something for every food lover to discover and enjoy.

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