8 wonderful things to do in Istanbul costing less than 8 dollars

1. Bosphorus Tour

Credit: William Neuheisel

Bosphorus locates just in the heart of Istanbul as much as in the life of an Istanbulian. The most expensive houses positioned along the Bosphorus where one can see spectacle sea view and bridges connecting the two continents. You’ll just understand why Istanbul has been the heart of empires while traveling between two continents: Asia and Europe.

2. Chora Museum

Credit: Panegyrics of Granovetter

Not as popular as Hagia Sophia, but Chora church is in the Edirnekapı, Fatih region and is one of the most interesting churches in Istanbul. The walls of the church are covered with really beautiful and well-preserved mosaics. This medieval Orthodox church is built in the 4th century and attracted many believers in the Byzantium era until Mehmed the conqueror converted it into a mosque; today, Chora church is a museum.

3. Aya Sofya, Blue mosque

Credit: Jorge Lascar

This Impressive church is considered as the peak of Byzantium architecture and said to ‘changed the history of architecture’ due to the huge dome and its unique structure. Hagia Sophia was constructed in the 6th century in the era of Roman Empire and served as a church until the fall of Constantinople. It converted into a mosque, later a museum with the establishment of the republic.

Blue mosque is located in front of Hagia Sophia in the Fatih region. The huge mosque was constructed in seven years (between 1609-1616), in front of Hagia Sophia, as an epitome of Ottoman architecture. The mosque walls are covered with blue handmade tiles, that’s why the colloquial name is ‘blue mosque’.

4. Grand Bazaar

Credit: George Ruiz

The oldest shopping mall and most visited tourist attraction (recorded in 2014). The heart of Constantinople commerce, Grand Bazaar, still serves the same purpose. You will surprise how many languages you could hear! If you want to buy something, you HAVE TO use your bargaining skills to convince for less price. Because No. 1 rule is you have to bargain in Grand Bazaar!

5. Eat yogurt in Kanlıca

Yogurt occupies a big portion in the daily diets of the Turkish. The word, yogurt, has been borrowed by many languages keeping its original form; however, how it is eaten has changed a little bit. Turks prefer to eat the yogurt plain. As a desert, kanlıca yogurt is eaten with grape syrup (tr. pekmez), honey (tr. bal) or cherry/berry jams. You have to taste this delicious yogurt at the motherland of yogurt!

6. Drink beer in Kadıköy Moda

Credit: Vladimir Lyashchenko

If you want to stay away from the crowd and have a drink, you must visit Kadıköy and especially Moda coast. Numerous bookstores, fish restaurants, ice cream shops, bars, cafes and many waits for you. At the seaside, there is long meadow where you can watch the sea and blend in the local people and local life.

7. Prince Islands

Credit: Harold Litwiler

Prince Islands consist of 9 different islands: Big Island, Saddlebag Island, Fortress Island, Henna Island, Mother-of-Pearl Island, Flat Island, Sharp Island, Spoon Island, Rabbit Island. Beautiful ferries take you there costing less than 3 dollars. In summer, it is a frequent destination for tourists but spring and autumn, the islands are just so much beautiful. For those who want to have a romantic night or a calm day in which you read your book and drink your cold beer, islands are just a perfect destination for you!

8. Eat chesnut in Istiklal Street and Galata Tower

Credit: William Neuheisel

Istiklal street and Beyoğlu region is (I think) the most popular and busiest site for tourists. Many Catholic and Orthodox churches still serve for non-muslim citizens and are open for tourists. Coffee shops, bookstores, bars, and authentic shops have been running there since Constantinople times. Beyoğlu and Galata have a highly diversified population even today. As you walk to the Karaköy region, Galata tower will impress you with its uniqueness and architectural style. The best part is you can climb there and watch a breathtaking view of Istanbul.