airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
Courtesy of Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı
Courtesy of Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı
Save to wishlist

Top 10 Unusual Things To Do in Istanbul

Picture of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
Updated: 24 January 2017
The line ‘some call it chaos, we call it home,’ has become a motto for Istanbul, a city where the remnants of the past and the ever-evolving culture of the present are constantly intertwining. From rowing on the Bosphorus to exploring street art on the Asian side, we chose some of the most unusual activities that Istanbul has to offer.
Save to wishlist

Visit Trotsky’s Former Home on Büyükada

The former home of Leon Trotsky in Istanbul has been taken over by the forces of nature. Trotsky, who was exiled from Russia, lived in a beautiful house on Büyükada between 1929 and 1933 where he wrote his autobiography and The History of the Russian Revolution.

Hamlacı Sokağı, Büyükada, Istanbul

Büyükada was home to Leon Trotsky between 1929 and 1933 | © Bertilvidet/Wikimedia Commons

Büyükada was home to Leon Trotsky between 1929 and 1933 | © Bertilvidet/Wikimedia Commons

Go Rowing on the Golden Horn

The Golden Horn is an iconic part of Istanbul, but how about going rowing on the famous waterway? Istanbul Tour Studio offers rowing tours early in the morning with a professional instructor.

Save to wishlist

Walk the Former Land Walls

Dating back to the reign of Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II (408-450), the remains of the former walls that protected the Empire still stand today. Start at Yedikule Fortess and follow the land walls to the city’s outer limits.

Yedikule Zindanları, Fatih

Start your exploration of Istanbul's original walls at the Yedikule Fortress | © Bigdaddy1204/Wikimedia

Start your exploration of Istanbul’s original walls at the Yedikule Fortress | © Bigdaddy1204/Wikimedia Commons

Tour Istanbul in a Vintage Motorcycle

If you’re a fan of vintage motorcycles then this fantastic city tour is for you: independent tour providers Locally Istanbul will pick you up with a helmet, body armour and camera in tow and take you around the city in the sidecar of a WWII motorcycle.

.

Save to wishlist

Explore Street Art on the Asian Side

The Mural Istanbul Festival has turned the Yeldeğirmeni neighbourhood of Kadıköy into one large open air art gallery. The area features street art murals by local and international artists on almost every corner. You can drop by the Hush Hostel to get a map of the neighbourhood, which highlights where the art can be found.

Yeldeğirmeni, Kadıköy

Istanbul's Yeldeğirmeni neighbourhood is famous for its street art | Courtesy of Mural Istanbul

Istanbul’s Yeldeğirmeni neighbourhood is famous for its street art | Courtesy of Mural Istanbul

Save to wishlist

Get Inspired at Sancaklar Camii

Sancaklar Camii is a real triumph of modern architecture. Built by the famous firm, Emre Arolat Architects, the mosque is underground with a very modern interpretation of a minaret.

Karaaç Mahallesi,. Sırtköy Mevkii, Büyükçekmece

Save to wishlist

Clean Up at a Hamam

A visit to a hamam is definitely one of the most unusual experiences in Istanbul. Indulge in the experience of having a professional wash you thoroughly and then massage you in a cloud of soap foam. One of the best places to go is Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı.

Kemankeş Mahallesi Hamam Sokak No.1, Tophane +90 212 393 8010

The Kılıç Ali Paşa is one of the best hamams in Istanbul | Courtesy of Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

The Kılıç Ali Paşa is one of the best hamams in Istanbul | Courtesy of Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

Save to wishlist

Get Nostalgic at Safa Meyhanesi

Safa Meyhanesi is one of Istanbul’s oldest meyhanes (taverns). You’ll love the beautiful chandelier hanging from the ceiling, the vintage rakı bottles and the excellent menu featuring classic Turkish meze.

İlyasbey Caddesi No. 121, Zeytinburnu +90 212 585 55 94

Save to wishlist

Hang out at the Beach on Burgazada

Burgazada, one of the lesser-known of the Princes Islands, is a great place to hang out at the beach. Relax with a couple of beers or take a dip in the sea (if it’s warm enough). On the way to the beach, you can seek out the historical churches hiding in the lush greenery. Check the ferry schedule before leaving for the islands.

Burgazada, Istanbul

Burgazada is a hidden gem in the Princes Islands | © Barış Tarim/Wikimedia Commons

Burgazada is a hidden gem in the Princes Islands | © Barış Tarim/Wikimedia Commons

Go Mushroom Hunting in the Belgrade Forest

One of Istanbul’s most popular natural escapes, the Belgrade Forest, is also a great place to go hunting for mushrooms. Mushroom expert Jilber Barutcuyan holds regular tours in the spring, when mushrooms are in season.