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Off the beaten path sights to see in Istanbul?


We will be in Istanbul at the beginning of September for 4 full days. Two of the days we are doing guided tours with our small group of the main attractions.

Looking for suggestions on places to visit and explore for the next couple of days that may not be on the usual list. We are staying at “ The Bank” hotel just across the bridge in the Karakoy area ( not the “Orient Bank”).

We chose that area as it appears as it may have a more local feel. Would also appreciate some good “ local” style restaurants in that area.


Posted by
4946 posts

If these aren't on your lists:

I recommend getting out on the Bosphorus, either a cruise (more time sightseeing on the water) or (less expensive) a public ferry. The ferries can also take you to the Asian side of Istanbul where you can wander Kadiköy.

I also enjoyed a visit to the colorful Fener district. Optionally, for another opportunity for views from the water, you could take a public ferry back towards your hotel.

Posted by
59 posts

A beautiful surprise visit I had was to the calligraphy museum. It is exquisite!

I've never done this, but if you can catch a military band presentation it could be, according to my son who lives in Istanbul, a revelation as these bands inform our very own marching bands. I think they perform out of the War Museum (which admittedly sounds horrible).

Posted by
2267 posts

I think 4 full days would barely cover the city's most important sights—I was there a full week and left things unseen.

There is a small museum of rugs in Sultanhamet. I enjoyed it. (And its aggressive air conditioning.)

Posted by
1194 posts

Hi from Wisconsin,
I enjoyed, if that is the correct word to use, visiting St. George's Cathedral. If you consider the Catholic Church as two parts, one overseen by the Pope in Rome and the other, the Orthodox Church, seen over by the Patriarch. In a way, you can visit the Eastern Church's equivalent of the 'vatican' or maybe more correctly St. Paul's, without so much as a reservation. There are some surprising artifacts with St. George's doors.

Due to Islamic laws fewer and fewer Christians are living in Istanbul. A combination of forced emigration and deportation Due to similar laws the Cathedral for the non-Muslim religions must be smaller and humbler than Islamic sites and so it is. Prior to 1453 the seat was the Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofia).

Someone had mentioned the Fener district. This is in that district.

I agree. A few days will be gobbled up by the BIG places to visit. Don't skip the Arkeologic Museum. They have pieces sitting out side in the weather that, if a US Museum had just one of, would feature as a big deal.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
10 posts

Chora Church is striking but appears to be closed. Maybe keep an eye on their website - it's worth the visit if they do reopen.