Attractions for children in Istanbul

Highlights, insider tips and recommendations for a trip to Istanbul with children.

Discover Istanbul with children:

A city trip with children to a mega metropolis like Istanbul can be a challenge or a really exciting travel destination.

A boat trip between the continents or a ride over the Bosphorus Bridge provides opportunities for explanations and stimulates the imagination.

A walk through the Sultanahmet district with its mosques, the ancient Hagia Sophia and the Sultan's Palace, take children into a completely different world. The historic atmosphere makes you feel like you stepped into another time and exciting stories come alive.

What to do with children in Istanbul?

Keep up with the most interesting topics

Without enjoying a boat tour on the Bosphorus,

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The Maiden's Tower, also known as Leander’s Tower,

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The Yerebatan Cistern, also known as the "Sunken

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During Ottoman rule, the 13-hectare Gülhane Park was

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Opened in 1994, the Rahmi Koç Museum is

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Individual ideas for children

Visiting the Yerebatan Cistern, which lies beneath the Old Town, will be an exciting adventure if you let your kids look for the Medusa Head and the Tear Column. Do not forget to mention that even James Bond has rowed through the Sunken Palace.

The Maiden's Tower with its myths and legends is also worth a visit. Both, young and old tourists, are fascinated by the myths and legends, and sometimes you can even discover a pod of dolphins on your ride on the Bosphorus. Which kid would not be thrilled?

When you visit the Grand Bazaar, you will immerse yourself in the fantastic world of the Orient and shopping becomes an exciting journey of discovery. Everyone will find their favorite piece here. Guaranteed.

If you look at the metropolis once with children's eyes, you realize that Istanbul is basically a big adventure playground.

Travel tips for families with children

  • Hotels: In Turkey, children are held in high regard. The tolerance and understanding displayed by the locals towards children is particularly high. You can find central family hotels in Istanbul with short distances to sights and activities around Taksim Square and in Sultanahmet.
  • Food and restaurants: The locals are generally very fond of children, which should not be underestimated. It is therefore no problem to take a break with your children in a restaurant or café. Children are always welcome. When choosing dishes, you can always find something tasty. Most children like lahmacun (Turkish pizza) and doner kebab or pide. Even if something is not on the menu, you are welcome to ask, for example for an omelette or pasta with sauce. It is also possible to simply order one plate and let the children eat with the adults. No problem.
  • Entrance fee: Most museums offer free admission to children under 6-7. By the way: Children under the age of 10 are not allowed in the Rahmi Koç Museum.

 Is Istanbul a kid-friendly destination?

Be prepared! The limitless child-friendliness can sometimes cause discomfort in parents. The enthusiasm of the locals for children sometimes leads to situations where many parents do not know what to think about it. 

Patting the child on the head and pinching the cheeks of a child is common here. Shop-owners often give children a Nazar Boncuk, a blue glass eye that is supposed to avert harm from the child.  Sometimes salespeople also call the kids into the store because there are baby cats in the back.

This all happens out of sheer friendliness. You do not have to feel obliged to go to the store and buy something, nor do you have to worry about someone having malicious ulterior motives. Mostly it's just a gesture of friendship and many locals are unaware that they might provoke the displeasure of the parents.

It's just a situation where different cultures collide. Understandably, many parents don't feel comfortable in these situations. But don’t let that ruin your stay. Of course, it is always better to pay close attention and to be careful. Stay friendly and make clear if you do not want your child to be touched. But don’t be upset, because what you may find inappropriate is usually completely normal and harmless in Turkish culture.

A guest post by Katja Tongucer von istanbul:er:leben

Child discount:

Most museums offer free admission for children up to 6 years of age. There are also special children's discounts of up to 50%.

Istanbul Welcome Card: Istanbul Welcome Card is free for children up to 6 years.

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