Offbeat Things to Do in Istanbul

Istanbul is a glorious city to visit, steeped in history and buzzing with a heady blend of multicultural food, culture and sights. Every year thousands of tourists flock to major attractions like the Blue Mosque and the Spice Market, and these are definitely worth a visit.

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However, if you like to see and do more than the most obvious things when travelling, there are plenty of unusual, quirky, or offbeat things to do in Istanbul. It’s always worth asking local staff in nearby restaurants for suggestions, but in the meantime here are a few ideas to get you started.

Have a Genuine Turkish Bath (Hamman)

Skip the tourist-targeting hotel baths and experience the real deal. Men and women are generally separated, but even alone it’s a fun thing to do, and there will be plenty of regulars who will help you understand what to do.

Visit the Prince Islands

Just a short ferry ride away from the busy city streets, these nine islands are a haven of tranquillity. The four largest are the main stop-off points, and each has good food, attractive architecture and a slice of history to offer visitors. Cars are banned, but there are bikes and pony traps to get around on.

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Explore Istanbul on a Vintage Motorbike

Get a different perspective of the city by roaring around it in the sidecar of a WWII motorbike! Driver, safety equipment and a camera recording the trip are all provided.

Learn More About Jewish History

In the Galata and Balat areas of Istanbul there are some amazing museums which commemorate the lives and culture of the Jewish community, established in Turkey for many thousands of years.

Go Underground – If You Dare!

Underneath the main streets of Istanbul there’s an ancient, now unused, water reservoir – the Basilica Cistern. It’s a must-see for anyone with the nerves to negotiate dim spaces and lots of steps.

This is a country of fascinating contrasts. Visitors can take advantage of all it offers by choosing to stay in luxury villas in Turkey. There are plenty on offer from specialist companies such as, making day trips to the many exciting places the average tourist may well not see.

From hidden caves and bustling streets to peaceful havens and communal bathing, Istanbul has many layers to unpeel.

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