Istanbul is a pearl embedded in between Asia and Europe, a bridge between western and eastern culture. It's not a coincidence that many of the biggest civilisations of the past centuries, from Romans to Ottomans, fought for its control, transforming it into an ever-changing melting pot. The Silk Road as well as the hippie trail passed through it and till today, it is considered to be the gateway to Asia and a preferred destination for travellers. While many archaeological sites and museums have an entrance fee there are a plenty of attractions, markets and neighbourhoods in Istanbul where you don't have to spend a dime. There is enough entertainment to make an enjoyable stay. Following are some of the top free attractions in Istanbul:
A favourite escape of Istanbullus from chaos and crowd, Princes’ Islands are an archipelago located around 20 km south east of the city. It comprises nine islands, four of which are easily accessible by a public ferry.
Silivrikapi Mevlana Cultural Center
The Whirling Dervishes are a part of an Islamic religious order, the Sufis, originally born in Konya in Anatolia, where Mevlana spent most of his life.
Kadikoy and Uskudar
Most of the visitors don't venture on the Asian side, focusing all their touristic efforts on the European side, but it's in the less-visited Asian side that you can discover the real local life of Istanbul.
If you have ever seen a postcard with a picturesque mosque standing in front of the Bosphorus Bridge, then you know what Ortakoy looks like. Ortakoy is a small neighbourhood on the European side of Istanbul.
Taksim Square is the most well-known transportation hub and meeting point for Istanbullus. Occupying a huge area at one end of Istiklal Street.
Istiklal Street, the main arterial road of Istanbul, is a 1.3-km-long avenue in the heart of the European side of the city, the Beyoglu (Pera) district. It connects Taksim Square all the way down to Tunel.