Istanbul is a thoroughly modern place, but it traces its roots back to 660 B.C. It’s the former seat of the opulent Byzantine and Ottoman empires and is divided into European and Asian sides by the Bosporus Strait, offering a wealth of history and stunning scenery.
Entry to imperial palaces, museums and most other monuments and sites is not free, and “Istanbul prices” are notoriously higher than the rest of Turkey. Still, residents say that the most pleasurable pastimes in Istanbul — such as walking along the Bosporus or through the Grand Bazaar — cost next to nothing. Here are five things to do in Istanbul that are free.Time travel walk:
Istiklal, once home to Christian traders and European diplomats, is still lined with consulates and churches. The bustling area is alive well into the night with street performers, peddlers and music coming from shops and cafes. Walk past Tunel, the subway line dating back to 1875, to the Galata Tower, a stone medieval observation tower, and Galata Bridge spanning Istanbul’s Golden Horn waterway.Spice market and grand bazaar:
A 20-minute walk leads to Beyazit Square, home to the 15th century Grand Bazaar. Listed among the United Nations’ World Heritage sites, the Bazaar consists of a maze of covered streets and alleyways with some 4,500 boutiques selling traditional crafts, carpets, leather goods and jewelry.Mosques and churches: Walk along the Bosporus: Princes’ Islands: