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Guide to Istanbul: What to See and What to Do in Turkey’s Largest City

Istanbul is visited by people from all over the world. The popularity of this ancient city is growing by 10% every year. The global crisis and pandemic have had their impact on the tourist industry, yet Istanbul still remains a top traveller destination. 


According to the Astons experts, the ever-increasing interest towards Istanbul is due to Turkey’s successful Government Approved Citizenship by Investment programme that enables foreign investors to obtain second citizenship in exchange for property investment of $250,000 onwards. 


Experts report that in the first half of 2020 there were almost 65,000 sale-purchase transactions on Istanbul property. Most buyers are foreign investors who purchased luxury apartments in the largest Turkish city. 


Whether you’re planning to relocate to Istanbul, spend your holidays or just a long cherished weekend after the lockdown, there are a few must-dos in this vibrant cultural centre. 


See the Hagia Sophia Cathedral



Although Hagia Sophia is featured in all Istanbul guides, don’t be afraid of tourist trivia. This monument of Byzantine architecture is really worth seeing. Under its 55-metre dome, one of the key Istanbul sights preserves the secrets of an Orthodox church, Catholic cathedral and a mosque. Yes, Hagia Sophia has been all three throughout its long history. 


Walk in the Topkapı Palace complex



First of all, you should visit the museum and harem where you can trace the life of Ottoman sultans who had lived in the Topkapı Palace for four hundred years. Gazebos, gardens, palaces and patios, verandas with luxury views – you can easily spend the whole day there. 


Grab a coffee and try oriental sweets in Beyoğlu



Istanbul’s borough of Beyoğlu, often called the “New Town”, attracts expats from all over the world. This part of Istanbul full of posh bars, cafes, designer and antiques shops combines the Eastern flavour with a truly European spirit. Taste local delicacies – pakhlava, Turkish delight or sherbet in one of the local cafes with a view of the Bosphorus and the Old City. 


Visit the Grand Bazaar ( Kapalıçarşı) 



They say that the best way to see a city is to visit its bazaar, especially the one like Grand Bazaar with its own shops, streets, houses, restaurants and mosques. The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world. Aficionados of Turkish markets also frequent the Egyptian Bazaar where they can pick the best spices.  


Take a boat along the Bosphorus coast



Take a ferry – better a regular one that the locals use to go from Eminönü to Sarıyer – and see the Ottoman palaces from the water. In the evening, you will enjoy the view of the illuminated First Bosphorus Bridge – the ninth lengthiest suspension bridge in the world – and the Second Bosphorus Bridge, also known as Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. 


You should not only take a good rest but also get to know Istanbul better before you choose where exactly you’d like to buy a property that fits your tastes and needs. 


Astons experienced lawyers and consultants render all-round services in terms of property purchase and obtaining citizenship of Turkey. The Astons experts guide you through the entire immigration process – from application submission to successful passport retrieval – quickly, confidentially and 100% remotely. 


Astons is a leading global property and immigration advisory firm with offices in London, Beijing, Moscow, Dubai and Limassol (Republic of Cyprus) and offers residency & citizenship investment solutions worldwide including the UK, Turkey, Vanuatu, the EU and the Caribbean. 


For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation, please contact Astons at or call +44 207 292 2977.