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Image of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul - tips for planning a trip to Istanbul Turkey, from Wanderful
Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Wanderful Women’s Travel Guide to Istanbul, Turkey

Start here to plan a trip to Istanbul, Turkey. This comprehensive guide offers resources from a variety of travel experts & influencers!

Istanbul is the only city in the world that embraces two separate continents. Located in the heart of Turkey, the city is filled with current Eurasian influences as well as being rich with cultural influences of the empires that came before. 

Istanbul is popular for its traditional Turkish foods; from Baklava to Pide to Menemen, your taste buds will never be bored!

When you find yourself in this beautiful city, make sure you pay attention to both modern and ancient art. As a cultural crossroads over the centuries, Istanbul itself is a work of art.

To help you plan a trip to Istanbul, we’ve curated links and tips from a variety of women content creators.

Make sure you check out all of our women’s travel guides and bookmark that resource hub for all your future trip planning!  

What to See and Do in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul offers so many ancient relics to explore amongst cobblestone streets filled with abundant markets and more. Every corner of this city has sights to see and activities to do that tie you back to the many influences the area has. 

Wanderful Recommendations for Things to See and Do in Istanbul:

From where to stay to the best boutiques for shopping, Rachel offered plenty of tips for travel to Turkey on her site, Hippie in Heels. In her honor, we continue to share her inspirational work.

Kathi and Romeo from Sommertage cover everything in their Best of Istanbul Guide. Bonus: their photos are gorgeous!

Want to learn more about the culture and traditions in the area? Jenny’s Istanbul guide will be a really helpful start! 

Allison and Eric from The Endless Adventure share their 24-hour itinerary for Istanbul:

Need some ideas of when to visit Istanbul? Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad tells you the best time to visit Turkey. She also shares an in-depth guide for solo women travelers.

Feride has a list of 7 awesome things to see and do while in the city…all for free! And here’s Feride’s list of 15 unmissable attractions to help you plan a trip to Istanbul.

If you’re planning to visit the Blue Mosque or the Grand Bazaar, Kara and Nate have a video for you to see exactly what’s in store before you go:

Things to Do

  • Kiersten has curated a guide for what to do in a day in Instanbul. 
  • Sophie offers a a 3-day itinerary to explore the city.
  • Constance shares a long weekend Istanbul itinerary, including hipster finds.
  • Jenny from A Taste of Travel has a guide for first-time visitors to make sure you get the most out of your vacation. 
  • Jenny also offers tips for you to visit the Aya Sofia Museum. 
  • If you need a list of 10 things you must do while in Istanbul, Sophie has a guide for you.

If you find yourself in the Asian side of Istanbul, Kara and Nate have you covered on where to go and what to check out while you’re there:

Check out this girl’s guide to Istanbul written by Beth as you plan your trip to Istanbul.

Lauren has a great blog with safety tips while traveling solo in Istanbul.

Need some Instagram-worthy shots and aesthetically pleasing locations? Sophie from Third Eye Traveller has the perfect post for you. 

Want to go swimming? Feride from the Culture Trip has a list of places to go from pools to beaches around the city. 

Feride also recommends these quiet places for remote work in Istanbul, which can be super helpful for all you travel creators!

Get inspired by this beautiful story from Nikol after seeing Hagia Sofia with her blind father.

If you visit the Basilica Cistern, Jenny has curated a list of things to do while you’re visiting the sacred space. 

Listen: Music, Arts, & Events in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul has so many beautiful areas to explore with artistic expression acting as a fundamental piece of culture through architecture, ancient creations, and even modern art. This section is filled with things to do and partake in, including sporting events, film festivals, and exploring new expressions of art. 

View across calm water of Istanbul cityscape, with Galata Tower standing above the other buildings in the center of the frame. It's the golden light hour as sun strikes the buildings.

Wanderful Recommendations for Music & Events in Istanbul, Turkey:

The city of Istanbul loves to rally behind the football team. Here are some ideas of where to watch the game.

Have you heard of micro-art? Feride has an article interviewing Hasan Kale, a famous Micro-artist in Istanbul. Feride also recommends these awesome street art spots in Instabul! 

Want to take a dive into Istanbul’s culture? Oylum and Onur have got you covered with their many guides on museums and exhibitions in Istanbul.

Taste of Istanbul: What to Eat and Drink 

Istanbul is well-known for its unique foods and treats. If you plan a trip to Istanbul, don’t hesitate to venture out of your comfort zone and try some local foods. Flavors bring a place to life…so go live it up in Istandbul!

Wanderful Recommendations for Food & Drink in Istanbul Turkey:

To get your tastebuds ready, follow Banu from Spoon in My Pocket for Turkish recipes, ingredients and more:

Tuba provides this helpful guide to gluten-free eating in Istanbul, should you need (or want) those options.

If you consider yourself a foodie, Jenny has a guide filled with tons of different foods to try and places to eat at. 

Allison and Eric from the Endless Adventure explore some Turkish treats in Istanbul that you should try. 

  • Here’s Kiersten’s list of places to go in Istanbul to get the best food. 
  • Feride has a list of coffee shops and cafes you should visit while in the city. 
  • Kiersten also has you covered with a list of delicious foods that are tied to the area.
  • Jenny has a list of hand-selected breakfast foods that you have to try while visiting the city.

Looking for an Istanbul food tour? Kara and Nate help you plan what Turkish delights you’re going to chow down on:

Sophie has picked out the best Baklava in the area for you to try as you plan a trip to Istanbul.

Before you leave the city, you have to check out some of the pickle shops in Istanbul!

Understand: History, Culture, and Going Beyond the Tourist Track in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul’s location straddling two continents has resulted in quite the astounding blend of cultures. European influences and Asian influences converge on this unique city; modern Turkish influences overlap with ancient empires and traditions.

Istanbul is a fascinating melting pot of cultures, offering countless different avenues to explore the city’s history and traditions. Here are a few ideas to help you learn more… 

Istanbul cityscape at dusk

Wanderful Recommendations for Learning About Istanbul, Turkey:

Have you heard about the rainbow stars in Istanbul? Check out Sophie’s blog post for more information. 

How about the Chora museum? Jenny tells all about the fascinating facility. She also offers suggestions for where to explore hidden markets that are off the beaten path.

Genevieve shares why visiting a mosque embarrassed her — but not for the reasons you might think.

If you want to visit a mosque besides the iconic Blue Mosque, Jenny shares why Rustem Pasha is her favorite. 

Allison offers some tips on how to explore Istanbul with safety in mind and Anna shares her thoughts on why Istanbul is safe for women to visit.

Connect: Meet Wanderful Women in Istanbul

The Wanderful Community doesn’t have a local chapter in Istanbul yet, but if you want more tips you can always ask our global members. Our members-only portal is the perfect place to get tips and advice…or maybe even a travel buddy!

Other Resources for Planning a Trip to Istanbul

  • Istanbul Travel Blog
  • The Guide Instanbul


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