This Turkish city is characterized by a unique fusion of cultures and a rich history spanning centuries. At the intersection of Europe and Asia, this captivating metropolis, formerly known as Constantinople, has witnessed the rise and fall of several empires and still preserves in its streets and monuments the imprint of all those past eras. If you want to know what to see in Istanbul and nearby areas, don't miss this brief guide!
Must-see places to visit in Istanbul
Turkey is a country with good transport connections, with subways, trains and streetcars that will be of great help, especially when you visit cities like Istanbul, enormous in size and with an infinite number of tourist attractions.
However, if you want to make the most of your trip and do not want to depend on public transport schedules, the best thing to do is rent a car and enjoy the freedom you need for an incredible vacation. At OK Mobility we have branches in this vibrant city and, if you dare to cross borders into Europe, you can go to other branches in countries such as Greece.
But which are the most outstanding places to see in Istanbul and nearby areas?
The Blue Mosque
At the heart of the city stands the iconic Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Its impressive domes and minarets define the skyline and its interior takes the breath away from anyone who enters to explore its beauty.
With more than 20,000 blue ceramic tiles adorning its walls, this mosque is a testament to the artistic skill of the Ottoman era. Within walking distance is the imposing Hagia Sophia, a former Christian basilica that later became an Orthodox church, mosque, museum and, since 2020, a mosque again.
Another of the most important places to see in Istanbul is the Topkapi Palace, a historical monument that was the residence of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years. Its exquisite courtyards, pavilions and treasury will transport you back to the times when the Ottoman Empire was at its peak. In addition to the beauty of this site, the panoramic views of the Bosphorus are also not to be missed.
If anything characterizes this city it is the bazaars or markets with typical products of the country, such as spices or handicrafts. Shopping and culture lovers will find their paradise in the Grand Bazaar, which with thousands of stores, is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.
Aisles filled with colorful products, from rugs and jewelry to spices and lamps, the bazaar offers a unique sensory experience. However, keep in mind that bargaining is practiced here which, although it may make you uncomfortable, is almost an art for the locals.
Bursa, the Green City
About a two-hour drive from Istanbul is Bursa, a city surrounded by mountains and known for its lush vegetation. It was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and has a rich history that is reflected in its monuments and historical sites. One of the most impressive sites is the Green Mosque, famous for its intricate green tiles that adorn its walls. In addition, the Silk Bazaar is an ideal place to buy local products such as silk itself and delicious Turkish sweets.
Another city to see in Istanbul and perfect along a route through Turkey is Edirne. Here you can explore the Selimiye Mosque, a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture that boasts a breathtaking dome and unparalleled beauty. In fact, it is considered the masterpiece of the Ottoman architect Kavak Meydani or Sarıbayır and one of the most relevant constructions worldwide. When you see it you will understand! Other highlights include the Edirne Palace and the Fishermen's Bridge, which crosses the Meriç River.
Şile and Ağva
If you want to take a break from mosques and see a different side, head to the coast. There, Şile and Ağva await you, less than a two-hour drive away. In both cities there are beautiful beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. Şile is known for its iconic lighthouse and black sand beach, while Ağva is famous for its river and the wooden huts that line its banks. Two perfect places for kayaking or boating and to enjoy the gastronomy.
If you want to discover all these cities and many more, rent your car in Istanbul with OK Mobility now and travel without limits on your next vacation!