Turkey: FREE things to do in Istanbul

Today I’ve got a guest post by Vivian from Miss Happy Feet! She’s got some great tips for those looking to visit Istanbul on a budget, or better yet – free! Check her out online:

Twitter: @Vivianleewx

1. Watch the Dondurma trick.

Although it is considered impolite to laugh out loud at helpless tourists trying to get their Turkish Ice Cream, do spend some time watching these people get pranked. The Turkish dondurma ice cream contains orchid root extract, making it extremely chewy and stringy. That explains why sellers are able to pull off all those tricks and stunts on their innocent customers! 

2. Admire Turkish sweets through a glass window, or better yet, eat some.

IG: @littlemisshappyfeet

My recommendation:  Hafiz Mustafa 1864.
Address: Hobyar Mahallesi Hamidiye Cad. No:84 Bahçekapı Eminönü, 34080, Turkey
Phone:+90 212 513 3610
When I was taking this photo, this handsome waiter came into the frame without realizing that he just made my photos way more attractive.

Related : 15 MUST EATS in Istanbul

3. Drop by the Obelisk of III. Tutmosis

It is actually the Ancient Egyptian obelisk of Pharaoh Thutmose III with circa-1400 B.C. hieroglyphics, re-erected in Istanbul by the Emperor Theodosius. Pretty cool fact to add to your knowledge, isn’t it?

4. Grand Bazaar: it’s time to Haggle shamelessly

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It is easy to get lost in here. Basically it is just a huge market place lined with store after store which sells the same thing. However, you simply have to come here to soak up all the Turkish-positive vibes. People like to ask “Where are you from” to start a conversation with you, go on, play the guessing game with them. I’ve been to Istanbul 2 times. The first time I was there, It was my first stop so I was still fair. “Japanese” and “Korean” are the most guesses I got. However, when I got there the 2nd time, I was badly sun-burnt. I started getting “Thailand” and “Philippines ” instead.

5. Instagram worthy spices at Spice Bazaar

I’ll call this place a Budget-friendly-foodie-wonderland. This is one of the best place to get introduced to Turkish culture via the sense of smell and taste.

6. Golden Hour photography at the Galata bridge

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The bridge connects “old” Eminonu to “new” Beyoglu. You’ll never go hungry on the bridge as it provides a huge selection of eateries serving mainly fish dish.

7. The history walk at the Walls of Constantinople

Take a boat ride from Eminonu to Ayvansaray to visit the walls was used to guard the city during Roman times. It is absolutely free to explore, good news to all History-buffs!

8. Free fountain show near Hagia Sophia

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Just in front of Hagia Sophia, there is a fountain in the park that changes it colors from time to time after dark!

9. Free museums and gallery walking

Istanbul Modern (free every Thursday)
Museum of Energy
Doğançay Museum
Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Painting and Sculpture (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

10. The legendary Mosques 

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Visit either the Blue Mosque or the Suleymaniye Mosque OR do both! The Blue Mosque is an impressive mosque with thousands of cobalt blue Iznik tiles adorning the interior, while the Suleymaniye mosque is the largest mosque in Istanbul, great to photograph if you are looking for a postcard view.

Visiting Istanbul soon? Read my quick guide to Istanbul: Everything you should know in Istanbul

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