14 days of vacation 😱🤦♀️😱🤦♀️!
Yes. That is how I felt when my kids told me about their spring vacation!
Immediately I started thinking… How to spend quality family time with fun activities and enjoyment without paying a fortune? And there it was! A family visit to Istanbul!
Istanbul LOVES Kids
Did you know that 26.5% of Istanbul’s population are children between the age of 0 and 17 years? Well if that tells us anything, it shouts out loud that this city has plenty of activities for this age group.
Istanbul for a family vacation; Yes or No?
I have always thought of Istanbul as a big No No for a family vacation. I feared to lose my kids in a city that inhabits 16.4 million people. But after our visit in April 2018, I totally changed my mind, and I’m inviting you to do the same.
To make your life easier, I am providing you with a list of 10 activities that you and your kids can enjoy on your next vacation in Istanbul.
Continue reading until the end to find important advice that will help make your journey smoother.
Also, press on highlighted places to find their official websites or their address on google maps.
So here we go..
1. Use Public Transport:
Head to different places using public transport instead of using taxis.
Kids enjoy riding the tramways, metros, buses, ferries, and cable car.
Kids are usually allowed to ride public transport for free.
I usually use an application called TRAFI to know where, when and which public transport to choose. It is available for free on both Android and IOS, and it requires an internet connection.
Visit historical sites such as mosques and castles.
Younger kids enjoy watching these big structures, while older kids could benefit from a brief lesson in history, an explanation of a battle or a story of a hero.
3. Public Parks:
Visit public parks available in every region.
Kids enjoy the green spaces provided with play areas and mini gym-like machines.
These parks are free and open all day long for the public.
4. Galata Bridge:
Cross the Galata Bridge at daytime or at night. Watch the Golden Horn and Istanbul’s famous monuments while passing through a long line of fishermen.
Kids enjoy the sight of fishermen catching fish, and some fishermen might be kind enough to lend your kid their fishing rod to take a photo.
5. Malls and Shopping Centers:
Visit some of the many malls and shopping centers available in Istanbul.
Forum Istanbul is one of the malls that is full of activities for kids.
There is a discount ticket that you can buy for both activities.
Near the entrance of the mall, you will find the 4-D Turkey or Flyride. This is a virtual helicopter ride that will take the kids on a journey in history with a modern twist.
Visit Miniaturk, where the kids enjoy watching dwarf monuments.
Every monument has its name and history available next to it. Older kids will be able to get lots of information during this visit.
My kids enjoyed the mini Bosphorous bridge the most, and I think most kids will do😊.
Near the exit, there is a gift shop where you can buy gifts and souvenirs to take back home.
7. Rahmi M. Koç:
Visit Rahmi M. Koc Museum, that showcases old transportation vehicles. Kids enjoy seeing how people used vehicles different from those we use in our days.
8. Isfanbul Entertainment Center:
Vialand now rebranded to Isfanbul Entertainment Center.
Enjoy different rides appropriate for all ages. You can also visit Jungle Istanbul present on the same premises.
Till date, we haven’t been there, but it’s in our bucket list for the next visit.
Enjoy the dolphin show, interact closely with them, or even swim with the dolphins.
Pool where kids can interact or swim with the dolphins is an indoor pool, and is heated in winter time.
Interacting with the dolphins is allowed for kids ages 4 years and above, where as for swimming with the dolphins kids’ ages should be 6 and above in summer and 10 and above in winter.
Also on our next to do list 😉.
10. Street Food:
Enjoy street food every now and then. Ranging from corn, ice cream, and kestane/chestnuts, to simit and lokma, street food in Istanbul is always a yummy and safe snack option.
Those were the 10 fun activities for kids in Istanbul, and now…
A bunch of advice:
- Istanbul is a huge city, with crowds of people all over the place. It is advisable for young kids to be placed in strollers. For older kids, holding their hands while walking in crowded areas is a must.
- Identification card with the kid’s name, hotel name, and telephone number are to be placed around the kid’s neck and under his clothes. Make sure that the kid is aware of this card’s importance and usage. You can download here a free Child ID Card to use on your next visit.
- Keep all passports at your hotel’s front desk or on you all the time. Bag thieves and pickpockets are tricky and abundant in the city. It is advisable to wear an invisible bag under your clothes, where you hide important stuff like passports and extra money, or at least wear a cross bag.
- If your kids are not used to riding public transport, make sure you teach them the rules of public transport use. Turkish people value the comfort of the elderly, disabled, and pregnant women. Seats should be provided for them first then other people can sit. Also, safety measures in public transport should be well understood and followed. Here are some animation videos you and your kids can watch to learn some rules. It is in Turkish, but you can understand from the photos.
And voila! You are ready to go on a vacation to Istanbul with your kids!
Want more activities to do? Why not check my List of 7 Walks and Strolls in Istanbul!
Do you have any previous experience with traveling with kids to Istanbul or any other city? Share with us your experience in the comment box below.
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