Suppose you plan to visit Istanbul in July. In that case, whether this is to buy property in Turkey or simply for a holiday, you get to experience the great outdoors of this beautiful city. During this time, some locals head out of Istanbul to enjoy their summer holidays in places of natural beauty. But tourism continues, and since the weather reaches an average of 30 to 35 degrees, this makes for perfect days for exploring. Of course, there are plenty of museums to visit and indoor attractions, but despite being globally famous, Istanbul is also full of hidden outdoors delights to experience. The weather is perfect for it! So, this article looks at the first places to go for first-time and repeat visitors to Istanbul and then other sites to enjoy Mother Nature at its best.
How to Enjoy Istanbul in July
1: The Historical Sultanahmet District
First-time visitors should head here to see the main UNESCO World Heritage sites that brings in tourists from all over the world. As the former ruling capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires, the stunning architecture they left behind includes the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, from where the Ottomans ruled their land. Next, admire the ancient hippodrome and see the Turkish Museum of Islamic Arts, which is dedicated to Turk's nomadic roots. Lastly, the underground Basilica cistern features the upside heads of Medusa, and the Istanbul Archaeology Museum is one of Turkey's best.
2: Istiklal Avenue for Shopping and Nightlife
Istanbul is home to many Byzantine and Ottoman Empire landmarks, yet the busy city includes Istiklal Caddesi running through the Beyoglu district. Stretching for more than 1 mile to the Taksim square independence monument, the street offers abundant shopping and entertainment but also features old buildings that are a delight to tour. Such is the hype, 3 million people walk Istiklal Avenue every day, officially earning the title of Turkey's busiest street. Recognised in international and domestic travel magazines by the distinctive red tram, exploring the shops, landmarks, and various neighbourhoods should be on your agenda—more about Istiklal Avenue.
3: Istanbul Street Art
Some people like street art and others don't. Some say urban artists create great pieces on the open canvases of buildings, while others call it graffiti and criminal damage. Regardless of your opinion, some great street art pieces in Istanbul put the city on the map and attract people from worldwide who specifically explore the streets to find the pieces. Such is the popularity; some tour agents even offer walking tours so that you don't have to find them yourself. Should you want to be independent, this article talks about where to spot street art in Istanbul.
4: Uskudar in Asian Istanbul
Tourists who want to get away from touristic Istanbul would do well to look at things to do in Uskudar. Sitting between next to trendy Kadikoy, underrated Uskudar deserves more admiration. First human settlement was in the 7th century BC, and by the time the Greek and Persian wars came about, Uskudar was a significant shipbuilder. Neglected during Byzantine rule, the village thrived as an outskirt district when the Ottomans captured the city. These days, locals enjoy living in a residential area with a strong cultural heritage that captivates newcomers. The ferry port make travel from European Istanbul easy, and anyone with time to spare will enjoy exploring the cafes, shops, and tasting delicious food in local restaurants. In addition, locals enjoy tapping into waterside vibes and incredible views while sitting on the Bosphorus shoreline. Find out where to go and what to do in Uskudar.
5: Delightful Arnavutkoy Village
Arnavutkoy in Istanbul was off the grid, but over the last decade, its popularity has grown as more tourists explore Istanbul away from the main touristic attractions. Arnavutkoy, between Ortakoy and Bebek neighbourhoods, belongs to the upmarket Besiktas district. The first settlers were Greek, but its name, means Albanian village, reflecting when men came to Istanbul from Albania during the 15th century. Visiting Arnavutkoy isn't about spending time in museums, mosques, or indoor attractions. Instead, wander back streets to spot old ottoman architecture and enjoy culinary delights in various seaside restaurants. Find out more in Arnavutkoy.
6: Explore the Bosphorus Shoreline
As the boundary between Europe and Asia, the Bosporus strait separating Istanbul commands respect and admiration from near and far. Throughout history, great empires have waged war to control the channel, and many men have fallen to defend it. These days, the 31-kilometre stretch of water symbolises unity and offers many chances to see different villages, towns, old mosques, and places of interest alongside the Golden Horn. Let's not forget about the opulent Ottoman palaces, of which some are hotels, private residences, museums or open to the public. The best way to see the Bosphorus within a morning is a short ferry ride from the Eminonu ferry port—more about what to see on the Bosphorus.
7: Sandy Beaches in Istanbul
Since Ottoman days, Istanbul locals have favoured Florya and Yesilkoy beaches, offering pristine water. Golden Beach in Rumelihisari also provides overnight accommodation to stay overnight. There are also places nearby to enjoy cycling and trekking routes. Beykoz Kucuksu Beach is free but can only accommodate 300 people so it might be crammed in July. Poyrazokoy women-only beach sits at the Bosphorus exit and, although not significant, features enough umbrellas, sunbeds and select restaurants. Next, head across to Princes Island and, specifically, Buyukada, visit Nakibey and Yorukali beaches that can be reached on foot or via one pier water taxi. Otherwise, on Heybeliada island, visit Ada beach club, green beach, or Cam Habour. Otherwise, there are many other beaches and beach clubs to enjoy days out in July while in Istanbul.
8: Green Parks in Istanbul
Many people don't associate Istanbul with green parks, yet many green spaces exist to relax and enjoy summer days. Green parks have been around Istanbul since Ottoman rule when the sultans and their entourage used them for hunting or weekend getaways. These days Istanbul locals enjoy them for picnics and family days out. For fitness enthusiasts, some also feature jogging parks, while others have small cafes to drink tea and admire the stunning flower displays. Istanbul's famous green parks include Gulhane, Yildiz, Emirgan, Belgrad Forest, Fethi Pasa Grove, and Ulus Park. Find out more about those green parks here.
9: The Famous Princes Islands
For Istanbul locals, another favourite getaway is Princes Islands. Any disgraced royal family members were exiled here during the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. Ferry routes regularly run from the Asian and European sides, and the best place to head to is Buyukada, the biggest. Buyukada is a non-motorised island, so walk around on foot or hire bikes. But do take time to spot the old Ottoman mansions on either side of tree-lined streets. Some houses fetch a million dollars or more thanks to their timeless Ottoman architecture. Read more about Buyukada and the other Princes Island.
10: Other Things to Do in Istanbul
So, we hope we have given lots of valuable ideas about what to do in Istanbul in July. But, of course, there is much more to the city. We've taken our team's collective knowledge about places to go, what to do, food and more to form our blog about Istanbul. Enjoy!
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