10 Things to Do on European Side
European Side with Historical Peninsula, museums, cultural arts centers and popular districts hosts most of Istanbul's wealth. The vast majority of the population is concentrated on this side. Tourists Show a lot of interest to this side due to its history and districts. So what should you do on European side, which places should you visit and which ones to see? You can find the answer to this questions in this guide.
Explore Sultanahmet Square and Its Surroundings
Sultanahmet Square is one of the most interesting for tourists places in Istanbul. Together with Istiklal Street and Ortaköy, this is one of the most active places in Istanbul. The most important monuments of Istanbul are located in Sultanahmet Square and around it. You can visit Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum and Basilica Cistern here. Apart from these, in the square you can see German Fountain, present of German Emperor Wilhelm II. The fountain, which resembles neither European fountains nor Ottoman square fountains, was built in Neo-Byzantine style. Another esssential works of Sultanahmet Square are obelisks. They are Serpent Column, Knitted Obelisk and Obelisk. Obelisk is also known as Theodosius Obelisk. It was built by Egyptian Pharaoh Tutmosis III. in the 15th century BC. In 390 A.D. it was brought from Egypt by Roman Emperor Theodosius I and put in its current location. The 32-meter Knitted Obelisk was built by Konstantinos VII. Serpent Column is a bronze ancient Greek monument depicting three snakes entangled together. It is one of the oldest monuments left from the Classical period of Istanbul. Unfortunately, two serpent heads belonging to the Serpent Column are missing. You can see the third head in Istanbul Archeology Museum. You can sit and relax while visiting museums in Sultanahmet Square, and eat meatball at famous historical restaurants in the surrounding area.
Walk In Gülhane Park
For those who want to relax while touring the Historic Peninsula, Gülhane Park is a peaceful natural area in the middle of metropolis. The park, formerly used as the garden of Topkapı Palace, nowadays is open to everyone free of charge. You can visit this park to rest while visiting the Historical Peninsula, Sultanahmet Square and museums. You can also come across various sculptures while walking in the park. There is also another way that we especially recommend you to use while touring the Historic Peninsula. Although there is a tram for those who want to get to Eminönü from Sultanahmet Square. We also recommend to explore the road inside of the city, outside of the park to see the souvenir shops and architectures on the way.
Visit Eminönü and Sirkeci
Eminönü and Sirkeci, located in the Historical Peninsula, constitute one of the most vibrant places of this area. You can find many stores in these districts, which are important centers of trade due to their central location. You can visit Spice Bazaar in this area where you can find all kinds of spices. Apart from these, Historical Sirkeci Train Station and New Mosque are also places to visit in this region. Sirkeci Station is one of the structures that draw attention with its Byzantine style walls and windows suitable for Islamic architecture. You can also find many restaurants in the area. But if you want to have an unforgettable experience, we recommend you to eat in the restaurants under Galata Bridge. Do not complete your tour in Historic Peninsula and European Side without seeing these districts, which are one of the most important stops of tourists.
Visit Pierre Loti Hill
Pierre Loti Hill is a place for anyone who wants to watch the panorama of Golden Horn. The hill takes its name from the famous French writer Pierre Loti. The author, who lived in Istanbul for a long time, was literally Istanbul lover. It is said that the author, whose real name is “Julien Viaud”, wrote novels next to the Golden Horn. There is also a tea garden on Pierre Loti Hill, which is a frequent destination for all foreigners coming to Istanbul throughout the history. You can watch the panoramic view of Istanbul while drinking tea here.
Beyoglu, as well as Historical Peninsula and Ortaköy is one of the busiest locations in Istanbul. There are many historical districts you can visit here. If you are interested in cultural and artistic activities, you can find many activity centers and museums here. Some of the places you need to visit in Beyoğlu are: Galata, Cihangir, Karaköy, Taksim and Istiklal Avenue. You can explore this neighborhood, which has a lot of options both in terms of history and entertainment, in more detailed way in our Beyoğlu Guide.
Nişantaşı, one of the most popular districts of Istanbul, is full of action with its chirping streets and their attractions. Nişantaşı, with its world-known stores and cafes where you can spend quality time, is a good option for those who want to relax and mingle with the city's crowd, except visiting the historical places of the city. Among the cafes you can choose in Nişantaşı, there are such places as Cosmonaut, MOC and Voi Teşvikiye. If you are looking for a place to rest, you can get rid of the tiredness of the city under the trees and on the grass in famous Maçka Park. You can also take the cable car from here and go to Taksim and watch the city from above.
Rest in Emirgan Grove
Emirgan Grove is located in Sarıyer district. This grove on the shores of Bosphorus was a gift of Murad IV. to Iranian Emir Güne Han. The name of the grove comes from here. There are three mansions in the grove, which changed the owners several times after that. They are Yellow Mansion, Pink Mansion and White Mansion. The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Emirgan Grove is the Tulip Festival. The tulip, which is the symbol of Istanbul, becomes an important part of the city every April. The Tulip Festival held in Emirgan gathers all Istanbul here in April. Do not forget pavilions, with their Bosphorus view and tulip gardens in famous Emirgan Grove.
Visit Belgrad Forest
Belgrad Forest is also known as the "Lungs of Istanbul". Belgrade Forest, one of the most important green areas of Istanbul, is the first choice for those who want to escape from the city to nature. You can walk in Belgrad Forest, ride a bike, make barbecue and take lots of photos. In the forest, which has many beautiful spots in terms of photography, we recommend you to see the triangle house made of wood. This house is a place where those who want to take pictures can capture quite pleasant frames. We recommend everyone to visit the Belgrad Forest, which is beautiful in all the seasons.
Walk from Kuruçeşme to Rumeli Fortress
When you come to Istanbul, one of the best things to do is to walk on the beach. On this route, you will not only see the unique view of Bosphorus, but also see some of the most beautiful places of the city. Arnavutköy will be the first stop of your journey that starts in Kuruçeşme. Here you can take pictures of famous Arnavutköy houses and eat next to the sea. Then, when you arrive at Bebek, you can sit in decent cafes here. Your last stop here will be Rumeli Fortress. Watching Bosphorus from this fortress, which has witnessed the conquest of Istanbul, will add a special pleasure to your journey.
Spend One Day in Beşiktaş
There are many activities and places to see in Beşiktaş, one of the most important districts of the European Side. You can start the day in Beşiktaş by visiting the Naval Museum. In the museum, which was first opened in 1897, you can see a lot of maritime-related things such as warships, maps, and the sultans' reign boats. When you cross the road to the opposite side of the museum, you will find yourself in Beşiktaş Bazaar. There are many cafes, restaurants and bars here. Another place that we recommend you see when you come to Beşiktaş is Yıldız Park and Palace. These two places, one of the most famous parks and palaces of Istanbul, are places to be seen in Beşiktaş. Ihlamur Pavilion, located between Beşiktaş and Nişantaşı, reminds the mansions in Europe with its striking and ornate appearance and it is one of the architectural works that attract a lot of attention of tourists. You can witness one of the most important works of the last period of the Ottoman Empire by visiting Dolmabahçe Palace while going to Kabataş, which is located ahead of the Naval Museum. Some of the places you can choose in Beşiktaş are: Beer Hall, Joker No: 19 and Thales Bistro. In addition if you are interested in live concert performances, IF Performance Hall is one of the places you should check out the program. We recommend everyone to see Beşiktaş while visiting the European Side. Beşiktaş, one of the most popular districts of Istanbul, will not disappoint you.