"Explore the beauty of Istanbul: places to visit in the city"

"Explore the beauty of Istanbul: places to visit in the city"

Great tourist places in Istanbul

Istanbul, which has been one of the most important cities in the world for 16 centuries, has been under the rule of several different civilizations. Today, the city bears the traces of all these civilizations that lived in it. With so many monuments around it, Istanbul has become a huge museum that must be visited. You can find many beautiful places in every neighborhood of Istanbul, including palaces, mosques, museums, gardens, and parks, as well as other natural and historical places.

If you want to see everything in Istanbul, you are in the right place. To make your city tour easier, we've compiled a list of the most popular places, and even added map links for each tourist site to make searching for them easier. Are you ready to get started?

1- Ayasofya Camii 1- Hagia Sophia Mosque

Ayasofya: A historical masterpiece that must be visited in Istanbul

Hagia Sophia or "Hagia Sophia" is one of the most important tourist attractions in Istanbul, and it definitely deserves the first place on your list of places to visit in the city. Built in 360 AD by the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine, this church is one of the oldest churches in the world. After being renovated by order of Emperor Justinian, it was reopened in AD 537, and it has continued as a church for more than 900 years.

In 1453, after the Ottoman Turks conquered it, the church was turned into a mosque and minarets were added to it by order of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. In 1935, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum, but in 2020, its original status as a mosque was restored again.

Hagia Sophia is well worth a visit to discover its history and see its impressive artistic details, including the church's dome, which is said to be one of the largest in the world. Walk around the corridors of the church and admire the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic art, and enjoy a wonderful view of Istanbul from the outside.

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“As the team of ON LANGUAGE courses, we have added the Hagia Sophia Mosque, one of the landmarks of Istanbul, to the top row. You can wait a bit at the entrance, as the mosque is overflowing with visitors from all over the world. If you are going to carry your shoes when entering the mosque, it is useful to take a bag with you. If you carry your shoes, we would like to point out that visitors are not allowed in the front section. The front section is not open during prayer times. As of 2022, this section has been closed to visitors for some time, as restoration work continues on the upper floor of the building. Given Because this building is now a place of worship, officials can warn them if they enter in shorts. Coverings are also sold at the entrance for visitors who don't have a head covering."


2- Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi 


Explore the most important landmarks of Istanbul: Topkapi Palace The Topkapi Palace is located on the historical peninsula, which is the most important tourist area in Istanbul, and is one of the most important historical monuments in Turkey. It should be in the list of places to visit in Istanbul. The palace is located in the Sarafendoğu district of the Fatih district. It was built after the conquest of Istanbul and continued to serve the Ottoman Empire for 400 years as a center of administration.

The palace witnessed several periods of greatness and crises in the history of the Ottoman Empire. On April 3, 1924, the palace was transformed into a museum and became the first museum in the Republic of Turkey. Topkapi Palace is considered one of the largest palace museums in the world, covering an area of more than 300,000 square meters and housing about 300,000 archival documents.

When you visit the museum, you will be able to see many wonderful places, such as the sanctuary, the Istanbul Library, the private chambers of the Sultan, and the wonderful garden. You can visit the palace from Monday to Friday between 10:00 am and 5:30 pm, and you can visit it on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm, except for Tuesday when the museum is closed.

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Some areas in and around the building are not allowed to be entered with a stroller. Although the museum card is valid at the entrance to the palace, a separate ticket must be purchased to visit the harem section. If you are going to visit the harem section, we advise you to go to the palace in the early hours. A museum visit is subject to Hagia Irene in the palace garden is also for an extra ticket. When you visit the palace, you should definitely see the Spoonmaker apple. After visiting the palace, you should definitely visit Gülhane Park, which was once the palace garden, and enjoy nature."


3- Yerebatan Sarnıcı

Topkapi Palace, located in the Historical Peninsula, which is the most touristic region of Istanbul, should of course be at the top of the list of places to visit in Istanbul. Located in Sarayburnu in the Fatih district, Topkapı Palace was built after the conquest of Istanbul and served as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years.

There were also intrigues and sad times in the palace, which witnessed the glorious history of the Ottoman Period. Topkapi Palace, which was turned into a museum on April 3, 1924, is also the first museum of the Republic of Turkey. It is one of the largest palace museums in the world, as it covers an area of 300,000 square meters and hosts approximately 300,000 archival documents.

When you go to visit the museum, you can see the Harem section, the Cardigan-i Saadet Office, the Privy Room, Babü's Saade and the Garden of the Mansions. You should also visit the Istanbul Library, which houses the portraits, clothes and weapons of the sultans. You can visit the palace between 10:00 and 17:30 on weekdays, and between 10:30 and 17:30 on weekends, except Tuesdays.

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It is not allowed to enter some areas in and around the building with a baby carriage. Although the Museum Card is valid at the entrance to the palace, a separate ticket must be purchased to visit the Harem section. If you are going to visit the Harem section, we recommend that you go to the palace in the early hours. Visiting the Hagia Irene Museum in the garden of the palace is also subject to an extra ticket. When you visit the palace, you should definitely see the Spoonmaker's Apple. After visiting the palace, you should definitely visit Gülhane Park, which was once the garden of the palace, and enjoy nature.


4- Sultan Ahmet Camii 

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, the most famous mosque in Istanbul, is very famous not only among domestic tourists but also among foreign tourists. Foreign tourists know the mosque as the Blue Mosque, which means Blue Mosque. The most important reason for this is that the interior of the mosque is furnished with 21 thousand 43 Iznik tiles and has a deep blue appearance.

The mosque, which was built by Sedefkar Mehmet Ağa, one of Mimar Sinan's students in the 17th century, on the orders of Sultan Ahmet I, is located right across from Hagia Sophia. Sultan Ahmet Mosque has 16 balconies and these 16 balconies symbolize Sultan Ahmet I being the 16th ruler of the Ottoman Empire. The diameter of its dome, which is 43 meters high, is 23.5 meters. When all these and the complex of the mosque come together, the Blue Mosque is among the largest structures in Istanbul. Since the mosque is open for worship, it can be very crowded on Fridays and religious holidays. For this reason, when you go for a tour to see the mosque from an architectural point of view, you can prefer days that can be quieter.

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  "Since it is very crowded on weekends, you can visit the building more comfortably by going on weekdays. At the same time, you should definitely visit this structure, which is very close to the Hagia Sophia Mosque and Basilica Cistern, when you come to Sultanahmet. Although renovations continue inside the mosque, important places are still open to visitors. It is useful to have a bag with you so that you do not carry your shoes when you enter the mosque. If you want to relax after your visit to the mosque, you can find benches in Sultanahmet Square where you can sit."


5- Sultanahmet Square

Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul is the starting point for tours, and it is surrounded by many Sultanahmet hotels. The arena, which was previously used as a racetrack during the rule of the Roman Empire, was a hippodrome during the Byzantine Empire, hence its name "Horse Field". The obelisks that divide the square into two parts were among the most important elements that distinguish the photographs taken in Sultanahmet Square.

The square got its current name after the construction of the Blue Mosque, and it is one of the first mosques that comes to mind when talking about places to visit in Istanbul, and it was built in 1616. After visiting the square, it is recommended to visit the Blue Mosque and then other places that must be visited, such as Hagia Sophia Topkapi Palace, Ibrahim Pasha Palace, German Fountain, and Hagia Irene Church. In addition, the famous meatballs must be tried in Sultanahmet Square, which are an integral part of the experience of visiting Istanbul.

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When you arrive at the world-famous Sultanahmet Square, you will be surprised by the many artifacts dating back to its ancient history. You can spend a full day visiting the beautiful, nostalgic historic homes, exploring works of art that reflect the Roman and Ottoman periods such as mosques, palaces, aqueducts, a Basilica and resting in the areas around the square. And if you want to explore Istanbul in detail, you can take the double-decker tourist buses that run from Sultanahmet Square. There is no doubt that this amazing place will give you an unforgettable experience.


6- Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace has a great emotional significance in the hearts of many people, as it is the place of death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the main pioneer in the founding of the Republic of Turkey. In this sense, this palace is considered one of the essential tourist places to visit in Istanbul.

Dolmabahçe Palace was built in 1856 on the order of Sultan Abdul Majeed, and the Sultan wanted to create a palace with a high European character and superior aesthetics. The construction of this palace, which includes 285 rooms, 26 halls, 6 bathrooms and 68 toilets, was very expensive, and the Sultan was able to sit in the third largest palace in Istanbul, which was built with such care, for only 5 years. The palace, which was used in various ways by the sultans who came after Abdülmecid, was considered the modern face of the new state when the Republic of Turkey was established.

On November 10, 1938, in Room No. 71, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the main pioneer in the founding of the Republic of Turkey, passed away. Today, when you visit Dolmabahçe Palace, you can see this room and the personal belongings of Atatürk. The palace, which is closed on Mondays, receives visitors between 10:00-17:30 on weekdays and 10:30-17:30 on weekends.

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Dolmabahçe Palace is one of the most famous tourist places in Istanbul, attracting visitors from different parts of the world with its elegance and exquisite beauty. This palace must be among the first stops visited by tourists, as they can enjoy seeing the clock tower and the lavish palace that impresses everyone.

It is important to note that the palace is under special protection, so photographing it is prohibited. However, visitors can get detailed information about the building and its history by purchasing an entrance ticket that includes an audio guide. Entrance to the palace is available with a museum card, but if you want to visit the Selamlik Harem part, you will need to purchase a separate ticket.

And if you want to explore the Dolmabahçe Palace in detail and detail, we recommend that you allocate at least 2-3 hours to visit it. It should also be noted that Atatürk's room is closed to visitors except for national holidays, but you can enjoy viewing the personal belongings of the Turkish leader in Room No. 71, which was the place of his death on the 10th.


7- Galata Tower

Galata Tower, one of the structures witnessing the reservations of Istanbul, welcomes its visitors warmly, as the tower witnesses long lines of tourist visitors, who flock to it from all over the world. The Galata Tower, which is among the oldest towers in the world, was constructed in the 15th century, at the request of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. The tower got its current shape in the forties of the fourteenth century, after many fatal events that destroyed it.

The tower, which was exposed to fire and earthquakes in 1967, has been renovated. Visitors can climb to the top to enjoy a wonderful view of Istanbul, during the summer period from 10 am to 10 pm, and during the winter period from 10 am to 7 pm. The entrance fee to Galata Tower is 120 Turkish liras, and museum card holders can enter for free. Visitors can also get detailed information about this historical masterpiece by obtaining an audio guide while purchasing the entrance ticket. In addition, those interested in finding out more information can read "The Story of Galata Tower" and learn more about things to know about this famous historical tower.

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Galata Tower is one of the prominent tourist attractions in Istanbul where visitors can enjoy amazing panoramic views of the city. Because this tower is so popular, there is often a long line at its entrance. Therefore, the ENUYGUN team recommends arriving early to avoid long queues. Visitors can also get an audio guide for an additional fee without having to enter the tower itself.

Upon entering the tower, visitors can use the elevator to reach the sixth floor, and from there it is possible to climb to the other upper floors and enjoy the magnificent views of the city from the viewing balcony. For a fun and exciting visiting experience, visitors can visit the newly renovated floors, buy souvenirs and visit the simulation room.

In addition, visitors can get detailed information about the history and importance of Galata Tower by viewing the content of "The Story of Galata Tower and Things to Know About It". There are specific time slots to visit the tower from 10 am to 10 pm in the summer and from 10 am to 7 pm in the winter. The entrance fee to Galata Tower is 120 TL, but museum card holders can enter for free.

8- Bosphorus of Istanbul

When talking about the city of Istanbul, one cannot help but think of the Bosphorus straight away. This strait is considered one of the most prominent natural attractions in the city, as it is located in a place where the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea meet, and its area is approximately 32 kilometers.

If you want to explore the Bosphorus, you can join the Bosphorus tours offered by City Lines, which run between Anadolu Hisary and Rumeli Hisary. Two types of cruises are available, namely the long and short tours. In addition, one-way cruises through the strait are organized, and excursions to see the beauty of the strait at night are also available.

If you want to enjoy watching the Bosphorus from afar, you can go to the islands of Buyukada, Heybeliada, and Kinaliada, where you can enjoy a magical cruise. After that, you can relax in one of the restaurants overlooking the strait and have a delicious meal while enjoying the beauty of the view.

9- Kız Kulesi Virgo Kız Kulesi

Maiden's Tower is another structure that creates a beautiful silhouette of Istanbul, as it is one of its most romantic addresses. The tower is located in Salacak district, off the coast of Uskudar district. Although there is no clear source about the date of its construction, some sources state that the construction process began in the year 341 BC.

Virgo, based on many different myths, was formerly known as Damalis and Lindros. It is noteworthy that the first name is derived from the wife of the king of Athens, as it was given this name in relation to the burial of Damalis on the shores of this region at her death. During the Byzantine period, it was also called "Arkla", which means "small castle". After the conquest of Istanbul, the original tower on the island was demolished, and a wooden tower was built in its place, but it could not withstand the fire because of its wooden structure. The tower was rebuilt in 1725.

Over time, Virgo has been used for many purposes, including tax collection from ships, defense, a quarantine hospital, and a radio station. It is also a popular destination for romantic dinners and wedding celebrations. Currently, the tower is visited as a museum and restaurant. Visitors can easily reach it by taking boats that depart from Salacak every 15 minutes.

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10- Hagia Irene Museum -

The Church of Hagia Irene is one of the most important places worth visiting in Istanbul, as it is considered the first church built by the Byzantines in this city. Although this church is located within the framework of a number of Byzantine archaeological sites remaining in the city, it occupies a distinguished place among them.

After the conquest of Istanbul, the church was not converted into a mosque, and the decision was taken to convert it into a museum in the nineteenth century. Thanks to this decision, the church, now known as Museum-i Hümayun or the Imperial Museum, became the first museum established in the Ottoman Empire.

Since 1973, the church, which was later used as a military museum, has been part of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. For this reason, many different cultural and artistic events organized by İKSV are held in this place. And if you visit during one of these events, you will surely be able to enjoy a nice time and a unique experience.

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The Hagia Irene Church is one of the most important archaeological sites in the city of Istanbul, as it dates back more than 200 years, which makes it older than the Hagia Sophia Church, and it was an example for the design of many churches in the Byzantine period. This place bears the title of "the first church in Istanbul", and it is also considered "the first museum in the Ottoman era", as it was converted into a museum in the nineteenth century, and has been included in the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts since 1973.

We strongly advise you to visit this wonderful site when you visit the Topkapi Palace, but it is worth remembering that the Museum Card is not valid to enter the place. Entrance to the museum requires purchasing a ticket worth 30 Turkish liras, which will ensure that you will have a great time exploring this wonderful historical site.


11- Ortaköy Camii

It's time to talk about a major figure in the famous Ortaköy region. Since it is very close to the base of the bridge on the banks of the Bosphorus, everyone who visits Ortakoy will definitely take a landscape photo that includes this mosque. I am sure you have seen a picture of this kind, but did you know that the real name of the mosque is the Great Mosque of Suleiman I? Although it is commonly known as Ortakoy Mosque among the locals.

Sultan Abdul Majeed ordered the construction of this mosque in 1853. Architects Nigogos Balyan and Garabit Amira worked on its design. The mosque features a stunning neo-baroque design from the outside and the inside. Thanks to its large windows, the mosque enjoys good natural light, and after the completion of the restoration work, it has been reopened for worship.

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- Yıldız Sarayı

The Yıldız Sarayı Palace of Stars, which was used as the center of Ottoman rule during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, is one of the most famous palaces in Turkey. The palace was built by order of Mihri Shah Sultan, the mother of Sultan Selim III. Sultan Abdul Hamid II was distinguished by the special interest in expanding and decorating this palace in which he lived.

Some sections were added to the palace under the direction of Sultan Abdulhamid II, such as the small royal hut Küçük Mabeyn Köşkü, the Çit Kasrı enclosure palace, the Güvercinlik Binası baths building, and areas suitable for cultural activities were also added. The palace became a cultural center containing printers, photo studios, a theater and music studios.

The Star Palace can be visited on weekdays, as it is possible to tour inside this huge palace between 10 am and 5 pm.

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13-Belgrad Ormanı

The Belgrade Forest in Istanbul is one of the most popular places for local residents, as it gives its visitors a completely different atmosphere from the Turkish capital, as the visitor feels as if he is in another place. For this reason, many people head to the Belgrade Forest early in the morning for a walk or run. Hence, the forest is crowded with visitors, especially on weekends.

In order to enjoy a calm atmosphere and free from crowds, it is recommended to visit the Belgrade Forest in the early morning between 7 and 9 am, when the area is very quiet. You can bring your own breakfast items, such as tea and food, and head straight to the forest. One of the best ways to enjoy Istanbul is to have breakfast at the picnic tables in the Belgrade Forest amidst the sounds of birds. After breakfast, you can enjoy walking and visit the dams and springs dating back to the times of the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire.

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14- Küçüksu Kasrı

In 1752, Sultan Mahmud I built a wooden palace on the banks of the Goksu River. This palace was the Sultan's residence and parks for many years. However, due to the many years and the wood used in the construction, the palace has deteriorated. Therefore, Sultan Abdülmecid restored the palace and built the Kucuksu Palace.

Gokuksu Palace, also known as Goksu Palace, was built according to the understanding of Western architecture. It is located in Beykoz district. Kucuksu Palace can be reached by buses that run from Uskudar. There are also cafes and restaurants in the palace where you can eat food, tea and coffee.

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15- Beylerbeyi Sarayı

Sultan Abdul Aziz, asked to build a summer palace for the sultans in front of the sea, and asked Sarkis Balyan to build the Beylerbay Palace. After the palace was built, it hosted many important personalities such as the German Emperor and the Queen of France.

The exterior of the building is designed in a traditional Baroque design, while the primary influence of Sultan Abdulaziz's passion for the navy is evident in the interior design. The inside of the Royal Building and Palace suites can be visited from Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, and on weekends from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. You can also see the palace in a panoramic view during your cruises in the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul.

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Of all the neighborhoods in Istanbul, Nisantasi is the most popular, not only because of its fame, but also because of the shopping opportunities it offers. Tourists who come to Istanbul for shopping come to Nisantasi for the first time.

Abdi Ipekci Street includes stores of world famous brands such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Alexander McQueen. For this reason, it really resembles the famous shopping streets in Europe. Other luxury brands can also be found on Atiya Street, and there are also cafes and restaurants where you can eat and drink. You can also visit the famous Çeşvikye Mosque while you are in Nişantaşı.

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17- Süleymaniye Camii

The Suleymaniye Mosque, the work of a student of the Ottoman era architect Mimar Sinan, is one of the most admired tourist places in Istanbul. The mosque is located in the Beyazit district, and it can be said that it was built by order of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, also known as Suleiman the Magnificent.

The mosque was completed between 1551 and 1557, and every detail of the mosque was calculated with care and precision. Mimar Sinan experimented with acoustics for weeks using empty containers to get the best sound. He developed an idea to use oil smoke to make ink. Al-Amara also used ostrich eggs to prevent mites and scorpions in the mosque.

The Sulaymaniyah complex, which includes the mosque, is located in a wide area. The complex consisted of 15 departments, including religious schools, a cemetery, a hospital, a library, a bathhouse, a children's school, and more. The complex also includes tombs of Mimar Sinan and Suleiman the Magnificent and is subject to the praise of tourists visiting Istanbul.

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If you want to visit the Suleymaniye Mosque, it is recommended to visit it on weekdays when there are the least number of visitors despite the crowding at the weekend. The mosque can be reached on foot from Eminonu. You can enjoy a stunning view of the Bosphorus and Karakoy, and you can also sit in the surrounding cafes and have tea. You can also visit the market located near the mosque. As the team of Inojon, we recommend you to visit the traditional white bean shops in the Sulaymaniyah area.


18- Gülhane Parkı

From the moment you enter Gülhane Park, which we know from Nazım Hikmet's poem Walnut Tree, you will start humming the song that Cem Karaca composed from the poem. The park, which was used as the backyard of Topkapi Palace in the past, is an area that hosted the sultans, you see.

Extra attention is paid to its cleanliness and park arrangements to ensure that Gülhane Park, one of the cleanest parks in Turkey, remains as it is. The tea gardens in the park are a frequent destination for those who want to cool off under a tree after visiting the Historic Peninsula.

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19- Eyüp Sultan Camii

The Ayoub Sultan Mosque in Istanbul is distinguished by its historical and spiritual importance, as it embraces the tomb of the companion Abi Ayoub Al-Ansari, known as "Ayoub Sultan" to the Turks. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari is considered one of the most important symbols in the history of Islam, as he was the first host of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, in Medina. In the context of the discovery of Istanbul after its conquest and by order of Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih, the tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari was found, and on its side a stone was written on it "This is the tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari", which made the place a shrine with a dome and eight corners. The shrine is decorated with white and blue decorations from the inside. Eyup Al-Sultan Mosque is one of the most visited mosques for tourists in Istanbul, as it is located on the Halic shore, and it is believed that the place where the mosque is located is the site where Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari was martyred during the siege that Istanbul was subjected to in the seventh century. The Ottoman Sultan Fatih II ordered the construction of the mosque in memory of the wonderful Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. The place is now used as a site for sword-wearing ceremonies. The mosque and the mausoleum of Eyup al-Sultan are very important. Thousands of local tourists and visitors come to pray, especially during the month of Ramadan and religious holidays. People also come to make vows and enjoy the beauty of the courtyard and the fountains of the mosque. In addition to that The Ayoub Sultan Mosque is distinguished by its beautiful and unique architectural design, as the central dome of the mosque includes eight large columns of white marble, and the interior walls of the mosque are decorated with stunning mosaics and gilded Islamic decorations.

The Ayoub Sultan Mosque forms part of a group of famous tourist attractions in Istanbul, and it attracts many visitors and tourists, whether Muslims or others, who flock to the mosque to enjoy its beauty and its historical and spiritual importance.

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The Bebek district in Istanbul is among the most famous and most attractive neighborhoods for tourists and visitors, as it is distinguished by its beautiful beach that attracts both foreign and local tourists, as it is located between the Arnavutkoy and Rumeli Hisari districts. Bebek also includes many luxurious cafes and restaurants that cater to all tastes.

You can go to Bebek at the end of the week and enjoy a delicious breakfast in one of the wonderful cafes, then go out for a walk by the sea and enjoy the fresh air and stunning views. After that, you can sit in Bebek Park to relax, watch the wonderful view, and enjoy a comfortable atmosphere.

There is no doubt that the Bebek region is the ideal destination for those who want to enjoy an enjoyable time in Istanbul, as it includes a wonderful group of places that suit all tastes, and adds a special luster to the tourism experience in the city.

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