What are the best things to do with kids in Istanbul?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Mickey Ashmore

Istanbul is a city with something for everyone, including kids. If you’re visiting with youngsters in tow, be sure to include our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the best things to do with kids in Istanbul on your itinerary:
1. Ride the nostalgic Istiklal Caddesi Tram. Running from Taksim Square along the pedestrianized Istiklal Avenue to Tünel Square, the Nostalgic Tram is as much about transportation as it is about celebrating the past. The conductor leads the tram car through the sea of people on Istiklal, giving you and the kids an adventurous break from exploring the city by foot.
2. Boats and islands. Kids will love seeing Istanbul from a boat on the Bosphorus strait, and there is no better destination than Büyükada, the largest and most popular of the nine Princes’ Islands. At Büyükada you’ll find everything from horse-drawn carriage rides to bicycle rentals and tours of the island’s perimeter.
3. Basilica Cisterns. Albeit a bit dark and spooky, a visit to Basilica Cisterns in the Old City will be a memorable one, especially for kids. Built in the 6th century during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, the Cisterns are one of Istanbul’s most well-preserved ancient sites. Don’t miss the head of Medusa, which is tucked away in the back.
4. Brunch in Rumeli and a visit to Bebek Park. Even the pickiest eaters will enjoy a classic Turkish brunch, which includes everything from eggs and cheese to spicy sausage and savory crepes. Enjoy a brunch in Rumeli, where the kids will love looking at the large tanker ships, public boats and maybe even a submarine passing through the Bosphorus. After brunch, join the locals and stroll along the Bosphorus back down to Bebek.
5. Istanbul Aquarium. Kids and parents alike will enjoy following the aquarium’s geographically planned route that leads you through 16 different themes and one rainforest. It’s the largest thematic aquarium in the world, so there’s no chance you’ll be disappointed with its number and diverse variety of sea creatures.

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