The 37 Best Things To Do In Istanbul In September In 2024

Are you planning a visit to Istanbul in September? Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant energy and rich cultural heritage of this incredible city. With pleasant weather and a plethora of events and activities, Istanbul offers endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, an art aficionado, or simply seeking unique experiences, Istanbul has something for everyone. Here are the top 37 best things to do in Istanbul in September:

Historical Sites and Landmarks

1. 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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  • Explore the iconic Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Marvel at its stunning Byzantine architecture and grandeur.
  • Admire the intricate mosaics and the awe-inspiring dome.

2. 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.

  • Step into the opulent world of the Ottoman sultans at Topkapi Palace.
  • Visit the exquisite rooms, gardens, and the Harem section.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of the city from the palace grounds.

3. 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.

  • Discover the beauty of the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque).
  • Admire its intricate blue tilework and impressive architecture.
  • Experience the peaceful atmosphere inside the mosque.

4. 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.

  • Descend into the mysterious underground world of the Basilica Cistern.
  • Marvel at the ancient columns and the meditative atmosphere.
  • Don’t miss the famous Medusa heads at the base of two columns.

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.

  • Get lost in the bustling aisles of the Grand Bazaar.
  • Shop for traditional Turkish carpets, spices, jewelry, and more.
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this historic marketplace.

6. Spice Bazaar

Indulge your senses at the Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and aromatic scents of various spices, teas, and Turkish delights. Take the opportunity to purchase some local flavors to take home as souvenirs.

  • Indulge your senses at the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar).
  • Explore the stalls filled with aromatic spices, teas, and sweets.
  • Purchase unique souvenirs and traditional Turkish delights.

Cultural Experiences

7. Turkish Bath (Hamam)

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.

  • Treat yourself to a traditional Turkish bath experience.
  • Relax in a steamy room and enjoy a rejuvenating massage.
  • Immerse yourself in the centuries-old bathing ritual.

8. 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.

  • Witness the mesmerizing Whirling Dervishes Ceremony.
  • Attend a spiritual performance of the Mevlevi Sufi order.
  • Experience the mystical and meditative whirling dance.

9. Suleymaniye Mosque

Marvel at the architectural splendor of the Suleymaniye Mosque, an impressive Ottoman structure that dominates Istanbul’s skyline. Admire the intricate tilework, towering minarets, and serene courtyard.

  • Visit the magnificent Suleymaniye Mosque, an architectural masterpiece.
  • Explore the peaceful courtyard and the stunning interior.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of Istanbul from the mosque’s terrace.

10. Turkish Tea and Coffee

  • Sample traditional Turkish tea and coffee.
  • Visit a local tea house or coffee shop and savor the flavors.
  • Learn about the cultural significance of these beverages.

11. Turkish Cuisine

  • Indulge in the rich and flavorful Turkish cuisine.
  • Try traditional dishes like kebabs, mezes, and baklava.
  • Explore local markets and food stalls to taste the authentic flavors of Istanbul.

12. Turkish Night Show

  • Experience the vibrant Turkish culture through a traditional night show.
  • Enjoy live music, dance performances, and traditional costumes.
  • Feast on delicious Turkish cuisine during the show.

Museums and Galleries

13. Istanbul Archaeology 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 September.

  • Explore the Istanbul Archaeology Museums complex.
  • Discover ancient artifacts, sculptures, and archaeological treasures.
  • Visit the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Tiled Kiosk.

14. Istanbul Modern Art Museum

  • Immerse yourself in contemporary Turkish art at Istanbul Modern.
  • Admire the diverse range of artworks including paintings, sculptures, and installations.
  • Attend temporary exhibitions showcasing the works of renowned Turkish and international artists.
  • Take part in workshops, talks, and film screenings to deepen your understanding of modern art.

15. Pera Museum

  • Visit the Pera Museum, a cultural hub in Istanbul.
  • Explore its impressive collection of Turkish and international art.
  • Don’t miss the famous Orientalist paintings and the works of Osman Hamdi Bey.

16. Istanbul Naval Museum

  • Dive into Turkey’s maritime history at the Istanbul Naval Museum.
  • Learn about the country’s naval heritage through its extensive collection.
  • Admire the model ships, weapons, and artifacts on display.

17. Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

  • Discover the rich cultural heritage of Turkey at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.
  • Admire the beautiful collection of carpets, calligraphy, ceramics, and manuscripts.
  • Gain insights into the Islamic art and architecture of the region.

Outdoor Activities

18. 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.

  • Embark on a scenic Bosphorus cruise.
  • Sail between two continents and admire the city’s skyline.
  • Take in the stunning views of historical landmarks along the way.

19. Bosphorus Walk

  • Take a leisurely stroll along the Bosphorus promenade.
  • Enjoy the scenic views of the water, bridges, and historical landmarks.
  • Stop by waterfront cafes or parks for a refreshing break.

20. Princes’ Islands

Escape the bustling 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.

  • Escape the city and visit the Princes’ Islands.
  • Take a ferry ride to Büyükada, the largest of the islands.
  • Explore the charming streets, enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride, or relax on the beach.

21. Balat Neighborhood

  • Wander through the colorful streets of the Balat neighborhood.
  • Admire the beautiful Ottoman-era houses and photogenic alleys.
  • Discover charming cafes, vintage shops, and local eateries.

22. Emirgan Park

  • Enjoy a peaceful retreat at Emirgan Park.
  • Stroll through its lush gardens and admire the vibrant tulip displays.
  • Find a cozy spot for a picnic or relax by the waterfront.

23. Camlica Hill

  • Climb up Camlica Hill for panoramic views of Istanbul.
  • Capture breathtaking photos of the city skyline and the Bosphorus.
  • Visit one of the cafes or restaurants for a meal with a view.

Festivals and Events

25. Attend the Istanbul Biennial

Experience the Istanbul Biennial, an internationally renowned art event that showcases contemporary art from around the world. The biennial takes place in various venues across the city, including museums, galleries, and public spaces, offering a unique perspective on global artistic trends. bienal.iksv.org


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  • Explore the contemporary art scene at the Istanbul Biennial.
  • Visit various exhibition venues across the city to see thought-provoking artworks.
  • Engage in discussions and events related to contemporary art and culture.

26. Istanbul Shopping Festival

  • Take part in the Istanbul Shopping Festival, a celebration of retail therapy.
  • Enjoy discounts, promotions, and special events at shopping malls and markets.
  • Find unique souvenirs, fashion items, and local products.

Day Trips from Istanbul

27. Princes’ Islands

  • Escape the bustling city and take a day trip to the Princes’ Islands.
  • Explore Büyükada, Heybeliada, or Kınalıada by ferry.
  • Rent a bicycle or take a horse-drawn carriage to explore the islands.
  • Enjoy the tranquility, beautiful beaches, and charming streets of the islands.

28. Bursa

  • Venture out to the historic city of Bursa, located near Istanbul.
  • Visit the Grand Mosque, the Great Bazaar, and the historic Bursa Citadel.
  • Explore the picturesque neighborhoods and enjoy traditional Turkish cuisine.

29. Sapanca

  • Take a day trip to the scenic town of Sapanca.
  • Enjoy the breathtaking views of Lake Sapanca and the surrounding mountains.
  • Take a leisurely walk along the lake or indulge in outdoor activities like hiking or biking.

30. 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.

31. Gallipoli Peninsula

  • Discover the historical significance of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
  • Visit the memorials, cemeteries, and battlefields of World War I.
  • Learn about the Gallipoli Campaign and pay homage to the fallen soldiers.

Sports and Outdoor Adventures

32. Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

  • Take a hot air balloon ride over the enchanting landscapes of Cappadocia.
  • Witness the surreal rock formations and fairy chimneys from above.
  • Experience a truly magical and unforgettable adventure.

33. Horseback Riding in the Princes’ Islands

  • Explore the Princes’ Islands on horseback.
  • Enjoy a scenic ride along the beaches and through the pine forests.
  • Experience the beauty of the islands from a different perspective.

34. Cycling Tour along the Bosphorus

  • Rent a bike and embark on a cycling tour along the Bosphorus.
  • Enjoy the scenic route, passing by historical landmarks and waterfront neighborhoods.
  • Take breaks at charming cafes or parks along the way.

Nightlife and Entertainment

35. Night Bosphorus Cruise

  • Experience the enchanting beauty of Istanbul at night on a Bosphorus cruise.
  • Enjoy the illuminated skyline, historical landmarks, and live music on board.
  • Indulge in a delicious dinner while sailing along the sparkling waters.

36. Istiklal Avenue

  • Explore the vibrant nightlife scene along Istiklal Avenue.
  • Visit trendy bars, clubs, and live music venues.
  • Enjoy a night of dancing, live performances, and socializing.

37. Traditional Turkish Music Concert

  • Attend a traditional Turkish music concert to immerse yourself in the local culture.
  • Listen to classical Ottoman music or traditional folk performances.
  • Experience the rich musical heritage of Turkey.

Plan Your Unforgettable Trip to Istanbul

With a myriad of attractions, cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, and vibrant events, Istanbul in September offers endless possibilities for an unforgettable trip. From historical sites to culinary delights, from art to sports and entertainment, Istanbul has something to offer for every traveler. Make the most of your visit by planning your itinerary in advance and immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of this vibrant city.

Remember to check the opening hours and availability of attractions and events, as some may have specific schedules or require advance bookings. It’s also recommended to consider the weather and dress accordingly, as September in Istanbul can still be warm and sunny.

Whether you’re fascinated by history, captivated by art, eager to explore nature, or simply looking to savor the flavors of Turkish cuisine, Istanbul in September will leave you with incredible memories and a deep appreciation for this dynamic city.

So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on a journey of discovery in Istanbul. The city awaits you with its rich history, breathtaking architecture, warm hospitality, and endless wonders. Explore, indulge, and create memories that will last a lifetime in this extraordinary city that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity.

Experience the magic of Istanbul in September and let its vibrant energy and cultural heritage captivate your heart. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this fascinating city will never cease to amaze and inspire you.

So, get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in Istanbul, where ancient history meets modern allure, and where every corner reveals a new story waiting to be discovered. Start planning your trip, pack your bags, and get ready to experience the vibrant soul of Istanbul in all its glory. Bon voyage!

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