7 things to do for free: Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul reigned as Capital of Culture 2010. Here’s how to make your trip to the Turkish hotspot easier on the wallet…

3 mins

1. Drink Turkish tea In the sprawling Grand Bazaar

The carpets aren’t free but there are many sellers eager to offer you a gratis cuppa if you look at their wares.

2. Take in the old Istanbul

Wander round Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district, full of historic buildings and intricate architecture.

3. Winter-walk in the park Yildiz Park

Once part of Yildiz Palace, is today a forest in the city, filled with flowers, lakes and pavillions. If it’s chilly, warm up on the park’s free exercise equipment.

4. Marvel at modern art

Find sculptures, photography, film and more at Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, free to enter on Thursdays.

5. Make a mosque visit

One of the most striking features on Istanbul’s skyline, the Blue Mosque is open daily (admission limited at prayer times). The lesser known but equally magnificent Suleymaniye Mosque is also open daily.

6. View free films

Every November the Istanbul International Short Film Festival puts on free screenings of innovative movies, with English subtitles (8-14 Nov).

7. Admire dancing dervishes

Watch mesmerising sufi mystics whirl for free at the Mevlâna Cultural Center every Thursday, from 7.30pm.

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