Istanbul: Bridging Asia and Europe

Istanbul is a unique, beautiful and diverse city which is located on a historical peninsula. It has held the title of capital city of numerous occupying civilisations over the centuries. Today, it is still home to many different cultures and nationalities, all of which contribute to creating a city like no other. This extraordinary city harmoniously bridged people, cultures and traditions and will surely will take your breath away.

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern, is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul, Turkey.

One of the magnificent historical monuments of İstanbul, The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city. The cistern is located near South West of the Hagia Sophia. It was founded in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. The cistern began to be called by the public ‘the Sinking Palace’.


For reach to Basilica Cistern you can use Kabataş-Bağcılar Tram-line.

From the Anatolian side, you can reach the Tram-line using the Kadıköy-Eminönü and Üsküdar-Eminönü ferry.

Sultan Ahmet Mosque – Blue Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque, is the most important historical sights of Istanbul. For the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior, it is called Blue Mosque.

The mosque is considered to be the last example of Ottoman classical architecture. It is a masterwork of Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, apprentice under Mimar Sinan.


For reach to Sultanahmet you can use Kabataş-Bağcılar Tram-line.

From the Anatolian side, you can reach the Tram-line using the Kadıköy-Eminönü and Üsküdar-Eminönü ferry.

Topkapı Palace

The Topkapı Palace constructed by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the Conqueror in 1478, was the official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years,from 1465 to 1856. The palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is containing the most holy relics of the Muslim world such as the prophet Muhammed’s cloak and sword.

Topkapı Palace became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, as “the best example of ensembles of palaces of the Ottoman period.


For reach to Topkapı Palace you can use Kabataş-Bağcılar Tram-line.

From the Anatolian side, you can reach the Tram-line using the Kadıköy-Eminönü and Üsküdar-Eminönü ferry.

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.

The Grand Bazaar has İstanbul’s most attractive sites with more than 58 covered streets and over 1,200 shops. The Grand Bazaar is famous for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. The bazaar is grouped by the type of goods, with special areas for leather coats, copper stills, prayer beads, silver and gold jewelry.


For reach to Grand Bazaar you can use Kabataş-Bağcılar Tram-line.

From the Anatolian side, you can reach the Tram-line using the Kadıköy-Eminönü and Üsküdar-Eminönü ferry.

Hagia Sophia Museum

Hagia Sophia ”Holy Wisdom” is considered as one of the eight wonders of the world and is former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum.

Well known in particular for its gigantic dome, it is considered a symbol of Byzantine architecture and to have “an evolution in the history of architecture.” It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years and beceause its dimensions people believed that supernature powers helped to construction.


The museum is located in Sultanahmet Square. From European part it can be reached by Bağcılar-Kabataş Tram-line.

Eyüp Square

Eyüp Square, is the holiest site in Istanbul as well as one of the most sacred places in the Islamic world, the Eyüp Sultan Mosque was erected by Mehmet the Conqueror over the tomb of Halid bin Zeyd Ebu Eyyûb (known as Eyüp Sultan), the standard-bearer for the Prophet Mohammed as well as the last survivor of his inner circle of trusted companions.

Eyüp is a popular spot animated by the small bazaar nearby, parcs and fountains.


You can reach  by buses number 99 and 99A, which take off from Eminönü.

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is a medieval stone tower in the Galata just to the north of the Golden Horn. Built in 1348 as the “Christea Turris” (Tower of Christ) by Genoese colonists at the highest point of the citadel of Galata – which was then a Genoese colony independent from Constantinople.

According to the Seyahatname of Ottoman historian and traveller Evliya Çelebi, In 1638 Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi glided on artificial wings from the top of the tower to the slopes of Chrysopolis on the Asian side – becoming one of the first men in history to fly.


You can reach by metro line (Şişhane) and walk to tower.

Istiklal Avenue

İstiklal Avenue, is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day.

Located in the historic Beyoğlu district, it is an gallant pedestrian street, approximately three kilometers long, that houses tens of boutiques, music stores, bookstores, coffehouses, cinemas, theaters, art galleries, libraries, pubs, night clubs with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants all are integrated into the elegant 19th century Turkish architecture.


You can reach by metro line (Taksim).

Dolmabahce Palace

The Dolmabahçe Palace built in 19 th century is one of the most glamorous palaces of the world. It is located at the European side of the Bosphorus, served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922.

The Dolmabahçe Palace, a blend of various European architectural styles, was built between 1843-1856 by Karabet Balyan, the court architect of Sultan Abdulmecid, at a cost of five million Ottoman gold pounds, the equivalent of 35 tonnes of gold. Fourteen tonnes of gold in the form of gold leaf.


The palace located in Beşiktaş. From Asian side, you can reach by ferry to Beşiktaş and bus to Dolmabahce. From European part it can be reached by Bağcılar-Kabataş Tram-line.

Ortaköy Seaside 

Located at the seaside, Ortaköy is an attractive spot for tourists with its art galleries, night clubs, cafés, bars, and restaurants. In the history, Ortaköy has an important place in both the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. It is a cosmopolitan quarter populated by different religious societies such as Muslims, Jews, Greeks and Armenians.

From Ortaköy, you can contemplate the Bosphorus Bridge and the waters of the Bosphorus, in the same time.


Ortaköy is located near to Beşiktaş. You can use buses to reach from European side. For Asian side, you can use ferry to arrive Beşiktaş and then bus for Ortaköy.

Pierre Loti Caffee House

At the top of Eyup Sultan Cemetery you can find one of the best places to look at the famous Golden Horn of Istanbul.

Whether you are searching for someplace to get a little sustenance for your own explorations of where the night will lead or you are hoping to regale others with your stories of worldly adventures over a glass of wine and a bite as M. Loti was known to do, Pierre Loti provides the ideal backdrop to do so.


Pierre Loti Hill is located in Eyüp district.It can be reached by Eyüp bus.After arrived with Metrobus to Ayvansaray,can be gone towards to Eyüp.


Miniatürk is a miniature park situated at the north-eastern shore of Golden Horn in Istanbul.

The park contains 105 models done in 1/25th scale. 45 of the structures are from Istanbul, 45 are from Anatolia, and 15 are from the Ottoman territories that today lie outside of Turkey. Also featured are historic structures like the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus (now Bodrum).


All buses and minibuses which depart from Eminönü and go to Sütlüce and Kağıthane stop at the Miniaturk.

Prince Islands (Adalar)

The Prince Islands are an archipelago in the Sea of Marmara, they are a small haven of peace in Istanbul and a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.

They owe their name to the fact that during the Byzantine period the imperial family and disgraced aristocrats were exiled in the monasteries on the islands. They then became the favorite weekend destination of the Ottoman aristocracy, and even today you will find many Victorian style villas.

The four main islands of the archipelago (Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada and Kinaliada) are accessible by ferry from Besiktas on the European coast, and Kadikoy and Bostanci from the Asian side.

Motorized vehicles are forbidden on all the islands, in order to move you can use carriages (fayton), they are the taxis of the islands. There is a fixed price for each course, depending on where you want to go.


There are ferries from Beşiktaş (Europe), Kadıköy (Asia) and Bostancı (Asia) to islands.

Maiden’s Tower 

Maiden’s Tower is a distinctive feature of the Bosphorus skyline. Built on a tiny island located about 200 m from shore of Üsküdar, the tower is the main subject of many legends.

This tower has been in service as a lighthouse, a watchtower, a traffic control center and a prison in its lifetime and after it’s restoration now it is open as a several flats tower for tourist attractions with an observation terrace, gift store, a small Bosphorus Museum, tea/coffee house and restaurant.


There are several shuttle boats going to the tower at certain times from and from Salacak neighborhood on the Asian side.

Fortresses in Istanbul 

Anatolian Fortress (Anadolu Hisarı) 

A 14th century castle from the Ottoman’s first attempt to capture Istanbul, Anatolian Fortress is located on the Asian shore of the city at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus Strait. Sultan Yildirim Bayezit built this fortress in 1395 on the ruins of an old temple dedicated to Zeus.

The fortress was also named “Güzelce Hisar” in some historical documents. Today, Anadolu Hisari is an open air museum but only outer walls can be visited, and the road passes just through it.


It can be reached from Üsküdar by buses.

Rumeli Fortress (Rumeli Hisarı)

Rumeli fortress was built by the sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in four months only and directly opposite to Anadoluhisari in 1452 in preparation for the final attack on Constantinople, which led to the downfall of the Byzantine Empire. The fortress is located at the narrowest section of the Bosphorus Strait

Rumelihisar suffered from big earthquakes but was always restored, final restoration was done in 1953 and opened as a museum. Today, the fortress is open to the public as an open-air museum and hosts many concerts and dramatic performances in its amphitheater usually during the summer months.


It can be reached from Beşiktaş by buses.

Hop-On Hop-Off Buses – Big Bus Tours

Discover Istanbul’s intercontinental charm with Big Bus Tours. Open-top sightseeing tour buses explore the city over two routes, introducing you to its most iconic sights and landmarks. You’re free to hop on and hop off the bus as much as you like, with 15+ stops conveniently located close to must-see sights like Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Basilica Cistern.

Check below link for prices:

Istanbul City Tour – Red Route Timetable

Istanbul City Tour – Blue Route Timetable