Travel·Posted on Jun 12, 202215 Things You Have To Do In Istanbul, TurkeyVisiting the many museums and trying Baklava should absolutely be on your list!by Rachel DubeBuzzFeed ContributorFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink Hi, I'm Rachel and traveling is *just* about my favorite thing in the entire world. I've visited a whole slew of places in the last six months, but most recently, I took a trip to Istanbul, Turkey. View this photo on Instagram Rachel Dube If you're planning a trip to the popular Turkish city, here are the 15 things I recommend adding to your itinerary: 1. Walk and shop on the famous Istiklal Street. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed The street is known to be the busiest in the city and is filled with shops that contain every product imaginable, ranging from souvenirs to Turkish pastries and more. You can visit during the day or at night. 2. Try Baklava and other Turkish pastries, like Künefe and Lokum (Turkish delight). Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed Whether you're looking for something ultra-sweet or savory, there's a Turkish pastry for you. Trying the sweets on your visit to Istanbul is something that shouldn't be missed — and you'll want to bring some home for friends and family, too. 3. Make a stop in the Museum of Innocence. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed If you're a fan of the novel by Orhan Pamuk, the Museum of Innocence should be added to your itinerary. The museum itself is based on the novel and created by the author himself and helps bring the famed novel to life a bit more. 4. Visit the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which is also called the Blue Mosque. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed It's currently under renovation but you can still get a peek of the gorgeous blue tiling throughout. The mosque is still in use today, so be mindful that it will close during prayer times. There is also a dress code for both mosques. 5. And the Hagia Sofia. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed This mosque, known as the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque. It was originally a museum for the former church of the Byzantine empire until 2019 but was turned back into a mosque in 2020, according to my tour guide. The interior was absolutely beautiful. 6. Learn the history of the Hippodrome. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed When you head to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, make sure to spend some time by the remnants of the Hippodrome, a racing arena. It dates back to Constantinople and is super interesting to learn about and see. 7. Explore the Istanbul Museum of Cinema (also known as Atlas Cinema). Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed The museum has four floors but has exhibitions on the second, third, and fourth floors. My personal favorite was the third floor, which showed how they used to make sound effects and other cool movie-making facts. 8. Shop the Grand Bazaar. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed Although the Grand Bazaar is likely on your list of things to see in Istanbul, it's worth mentioning it. It's one of the oldest and largest markets in the world and contains everything from spices to jewelry to souvenirs — and more. There are parts that are covered (like shown above) and other parts that are street-facing and uncovered. 9. Go for drinks with a sunset view. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed Yes, you can do this in every city! However, the sunset in Istanbul is magical and there are so many places to see it with a beautiful view. It was *so* nice to take a step back and just enjoy the beauty of the city. 10. See the Whirling Dervishes at the Galata Mevlevi Museum. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed The ceremony takes place every Sunday at the museum. It's a religious dance performed by the Sufis to seek a close relationship with him. Tickets can only be bought for the show on Saturday at the museum — and it does sell out, so it's worth getting there early. 11. Head to the top of the Galata Tower. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed The Galata Tower is considered one of the oldest in the world, according to my tour. It used to be used as a watch tower. Nowadays, it's a tourist attraction and you can head up to the top to get stunning views of Istanbul. This was one of my favorite activities on the trip. 12. Grab lunch in the area around the Galata Tower in the Beyoğlu district. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed If you're heading to the Galata Tower, make sure you spend some time in the surrounding area. There are tons of cute shops and yummy restaurants with great people watching. 13. Spend time in the Ata Turk Cultural Center. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed It has a whole slew of exhibits, hosts concerts, and has a gorgeous library, among other things. Everything inside the center is relatively inexpensive (the performances are typically about two euros), so it's worth taking a peek at the schedule to see what's being shown. 14. Visit the Painting and Sculpture Museum. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed The museum has a collection of art from across different generations and it's a great repreve from the hot sun by the port. 15. Shop, explore, and hang out in the Galaport. Rachel Dube/BuzzFeed Trying to spend some time by the sea? Head to the Galaport. The new area has a whole slew of stores, restaurants, and charming bakeries. It has gorgeous sea-side views and is a great place to hangout.