Turkey has long since been an exciting destination to visit. Just a mere four to five hours from the UK and you can reach the beautiful coastlines which border four different seas – the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Marmara. Not only are there over 400 Blue Flag beaches which make for a perfect sun holiday, but Turkey’s rich and tumultuous historical past has created a country which has merged intensely different cultures. Asian and European influences sit side by side and the one Turkish destination where visitors can truly immerse themselves in this melting pot is Istanbul.
Did you know you need a visa for Turkey?
Before you decide that Istanbul and Turkey is the destination for you and your family, did you know that you need a visa to enter the country from the UK? And the same applies to children – they will need their own Turkey visa, too. To get a visa is a simple process – there’s no need to take time off work and visit the embassy, and the visa will cost only £44.95 per person as long as you hold a valid passport. And with the delivery time on average around 72 hours, it makes sense to do it online. There are a few other requirements for the Turkey visa, but as long as you’re only planning a holiday it’s a simple process.
Instanbul with kids – what to see and do
Exploring the meeting place where East meets West means there is much to seen and do in Istanbul with kids. While the main attractions of the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia are must-sees while exploring this vibrant city, break up the sight-seeing with some family-friendly activities so everyone is happy. Here is a round-up of some of the best things in Istanbul with kids…
Go Lego mad at Legoland Discovery Centre
What kid big or small doesn’t love lego? The Legoland Discovery centre offers up a ton of family fun and the opportunity to fire up the imagination and build anything in the Master Builder and Duplo workshops. There are three rides including Kingdom’s Quest, and even a tour of a Lego factory.
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Forum Istanbul, No:3 Kocatepe Mah. Paşa Cad.34045, Bayrampaşa, Istanbul
Go back in time at the Istanbul Toy Museum
Located in the Göztepe neighbourhood the Istanbul Toy Museum is a treasure trove for families. It’s a wonderland full of antique toys dating as far back as the 17th century – and with over 4,000 pieces from Turkey and the rest of the world.
Istanbul Toy Museum Ömerpaşa Caddesi, Dr. Zeki Zeren Sokağı No:17, Göztepe
Marvel at marine life at the Istanbul Aquarium
The Istanbul Aquarium is the biggest thematic aquarium in the world, with 17 themes centred around different bodies of water and one rain forest stretching from the Black Sea to the Pacific. Feel the humidity of the tropics as you wander through the Amazon and beyond… It also houses Europe’s largest shark collection, as well as a touch pool and interactive displays. Prepared to be wowed!
Istanbul Aquarium Şenlikköy, Florya Caddesi, Yeşilköy Halkalı Cd. No:93, 34153 Bakırköy
Feel like a giant at Miniatürk
Miniatürk is an awesome place to take kids – they’ll love it! Why? It’s one of the world’s largest miniature parks in the world with over 120 models of historical and famous structures around Turkey from Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Maussollos. Children will love feeling like giants amongst these fascinating landmarks.
Miniatürk Ornektepe Mahallesi, Imrahor Caddesi, No.7 Sutluce 34445 Beyoglu
Sail the Bosphorus
If your children are anything like mine, then you’ll know that a boat trip stirs up a lot of excitement. Seeing Istanbul from the Bosphorus Strait – a busy waterway links the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara – offers up a whole new perspective of the city, and visitors young and old will be blown away by the panoramic views of shimmering rooftops and hidden coves. Hop-on and hop-off cruise tours let you explore Istanbul’s neighbourhoods, palaces and mosques.
Be thrilled at Isfanbul Theme Park
Formerly Vialand, the Isfanbul Theme Park is your usual mix of rides including the Breath Taker or the Nefes Kesen, which is a thrilling rollercoaster. There are plenty of rides for kids of all ages, as well as entertainment and a shopping centre.
Isfanbul Theme Park Yeşilpınar, Şht. Metin Kaya Sk. No: 11/1, 34065 Eyüp
Wander Emirgan Park
This urban space in the Sarıyer district is a beautiful, serene park that is wonderful for families of all ages. Stroll amongst some 120 different species of plants, and be wowed by the rainbow of colours from the vast flower beds. Explore the different pavilions and fountains, and watch the swans swimming across the pond. A great place to take a step back and let the kids blow off some steam.
Emirgan Park, Reşitpaşa, Emirgan Sk., 34467 Sarıyer
Scale new heights on the Istanbul Cable Car
If you want some amazing views across Istanbul, then take the Istanbul Cable car from Maçka / Tesvikiye districts across the valley to Taksim Square and Beyoglu. Meanwhile, the famous Eyüp-Pierre Loti route will give you a fantastic vantage point to enjoy the cobalt blue of the Golden Horn Estuary from up high. Not only will it be an adventure for kids, but it will also save their little legs from walking!
*This post was written in collaboration with e-visa