Istanbul is the meeting point of the world. Istanbul offers so many things to do regardless of the season. However, the weather in Istanbul in November is a bit chilly, and it is sometimes rainy. Therefore, the best thing to do in Istanbul in November might be indoor activities. In this article, we’ll recommend things to do in Istanbul in November and places to visit in Istanbul in November. You’ll find activities to do, such as having boza or visiting malls. You’ll also find places to visit, such as the Second-hand book Bazaar or Pelit Chocolate Museum. At the end of the article, you’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions, such as the weather in Istanbul in November.
Here are some suggestions for what to do in Istanbul in November 2023.
What to do in Istanbul in November?
1. Enjoy a cup of hot drink
On a chilly day in Istanbul in November, warm yourself with a cup of hot drink on the terrace of one of the cafes in Istanbul. You can have a cup of Turkish tea, herbal tea, coffee, hot chocolate – whatever takes you fancy! The smell of freshly ground coffee beans, the clinking of spoons and sipping tea cups are all you need to relax when visiting Istanbul in November. Treat Yourself to a Hammam – It can get quite chilly during November in Istanbul. Being out in the cold all day, traversing the city, and seeing the sights, round off the day with a relaxing Turkish hammam, also known as a Turkish bath. They’re a massive part of Turkish culture and have been used to clean the mind, and rid the body of the toxins picked up throughout your days. Don’t forget to indulge in some Turkish delight while you’re there, adding a touch of sweetness to your experience.
There are also Turkish coffee stores which are spread all over the city. The sound of a bell attached to the grinding machine calls you for the coffee even from far away. You can hear the grinding sound and purchase a pack of freshly grinder coffee for yourself! You can find such coffee stores almost anywhere, but they are mostly located around Grand Bazaar or at the centre of the districts. One such store is Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi – a renowned coffee brand with many branches. Note that most of these Turkish coffee stores don’t offer cafe service inside.
Open Hours: 08:00 – 19:00
2. Have “Boza”
November means winter is coming. For Turks, winter is associated with boza. So, having boza is one of the things to do in Istanbul in November. Boza is a traditional Turkish drink. It’s a fermented beverage made from wheat, water and yeast. It’s one of the oldest Turkish drinks. It’s thick and often served with cinnamon sprinkled on.
Boza is most commonly consumed as a winter drink. But it can also be served in the summer, where it is mixed with ice cream and topped with ground pistachios. Vefa Bozacısı is the most renowned boza store in Türkiye. The store has an amazing historic interior and exterior design. You can also purchase a bottle of boza to spare for later. Vefa Bozacısı has branches all over Türkiye. So if you want to spend your November 2023 in Türkiye or other cities, you can still have this renowned drink.
Open Hours: 08:00 – 00:00
3. Go to malls
As the Istanbul weather in November gets chilly and even rainy, indoor activities appeal to us in Istanbul in November. Shopping is one of the highlights. Istanbul is known for its great shopping and many malls in the city, including Forum Mall Istanbul, Emaar Square, Zorlu Centre, Kanyon, and the annual Istanbul marathon. If you’re going to be visiting Istanbul in November, here are some malls we recommend visiting. You can enjoy your time shopping and maybe having dinner at the restaurants there. If you’d like to get more detailed information about the malls, please see this post. Forum Istanbul is the largest Shopping and Residential Center in Europe, offering a wide range of domestic and international brands, entertainment options, and attractions such as Sea Life Istanbul Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center in Turkey. If you’d like to get more detailed information about the malls, please see this post.
4. Visit mosques
Another thing to do in Istanbul in November is exploring the city with a well-planned Istanbul itinerary. The beauty of Istanbul lies in its many mosques, and a visit to these architectural wonders is a must during your time in the city. Take your time to enjoy their history, architectural beauty, and spiritual entity. The most famous mosques to visit in Istanbul are Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, and Dolmabahçe Palace. You can see this article for the 5 most famous mosques in Istanbul. Also, one of our plans includes visiting Süleymaniye Mosque as a part of the trip plan. You can access this plan from here. For savings, we recommend you to buy an Istanbul Tourist Pass so it will be one price to cover all 100+ attractions. In addition, November is a great time to visit Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace Museum, and Dolmabahçe Palace Museum since there will be no long lines as in summer.. You can see this article for the 5 most famous mosques in Istanbul. Also, one of our plans includes visiting Süleymaniye Mosque as a part of the trip plan. You can access this plan from here.
5. Visit museums
Here is another good idea to do in Istanbul in November. It’s quite normal to be affected by weather irregularities in November, including cooler days. So, you may want to do some relaxing activities. Visiting a museum or exploring the Ottoman Relics in the Old City can be one of the most relaxing ways to spend your day in Istanbul during autumn. You can simply walk around, admire the art, and get inspiration. Some of the museums in Istanbul are Grand Pera Museum, Arter, Panorama 1453, Istanbul Archeology Museum, and SALT Galata. Please find more detailed information about the museums in Istanbul here.
Places to see in Istanbul in November
6. Sahaflar Çarşısı (Second-hand book Bazaar)
Istanbul in November is the best time to visit. The busy summer heat has gone, and the crowds are down, but you can still find rich culture in the details. The dusty book stalls of Sahaflar bazaar, known as the best time to explore this hidden gem in Istanbul, are jam-packed and full of treasures that range from old maps to antique copies of your favorite book.
It’s a great opportunity for book lovers to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the bazaar. You can find them at Fatih and Beyoğlu. The cheapest time to visit Istanbul is during the winter months, from December to February, when hotel rates are at their lowest. However, if you want to avoid the peak months of June, July, and August when hotel rates are at their highest, November is a good alternative.
Open Hours: 07:30 – 19:00 (opens at 9:30)
7. Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is one of the most beautiful and historical buildings in Istanbul, Turkiye. Hagia Sophia is worth a visit to Istanbul in November for its architecture, history and atmosphere. A fascinating place to see at any time of year, but even more so when it’s not too busy. Feel the warmth of the grand mosque, especially on a chilly day in November. If you want to get more information about the history, facts and open hours of Hagia Sophia, please visit this article.
Open Hours: 24/7
8. The Museum of Innocence
For an escape from the chill and maybe rainy weather, visit the Museum of Innocence, the Topkapi Palace Museum, and the Galata Tower in Istanbul in November. It is home to a collection of objects from the book of Nobel-awarded Turkish author Orhan Pamuk. You can read the book, called by the same name, to catch the details. But you can still enjoy the museums without reading the book because they tell the stories with the objects. These museums are warm and inviting, offering a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Istanbul. Additionally, some rooms in the Sirkeci area provide stunning views of the Golden Horn. You are required to pay the entrance fee.
9. Pelit Chocolate Museum
Another place to visit in Istanbul in November is Pelit Chocolate Museum. Everything on display is made out of Pelit chocolates. The museum has various halls with different artefacts made of chocolate. The halls are Main Hall, Istanbul Hall, Civilizations Hall, Turkish Historical Figures Hall, and Artists Hall.
10. Weather in Istanbul in November
The temperature is around 4°C -8°C. Rainfall is about 74 mm. Istanbul’s weather in November is chilly.
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