IstanbulThings to Do

Events in Istanbul

With a population of over 15 million people and a high volume of tourism, you can bet that Istanbul has many events no matter which month you visit. The artsy Istanbul Biennial only happens every second year, but 2021 has the next one.

While seemingly innocuous, The Istanbul Book Fair has been around since 1982 and is both a local and tourist favorite with over 750,000 annual visitors. The Istanbul Marathon in October has been running since 1979 and is also one that draws a big crowd,


September 14 — November 14th, 2021

Istanbul is a city of artists. Every monument, mosque, square, and building have wonderful interiors and exteriors characterized by highly aesthetic architectural elements, paintings, and antiques. Art is alive in Istanbul. That’s why its IKSV holds the Istanbul Biennial – an event that started in 1987 – every year.

The Istanbul Biennial is an event that aims to showcase the works of contemporary artists all over the globe. It provides grouped exhibitions and solo exhibitions. All of the artists are notable because they can’t submit their works without the approval of the curator in charge.

Exhibits aren’t held in a single place. The Istanbul Biennial makes use of the top-rated landmarks within the city. That’s why prepare your IstanbulKart if you’re thinking about trying this event.

This year’s Istanbul Biennial will start on September 11 and on November 14. The curatorial team consists of Ute Meta Bauer, David Teh, and Amar Kanwar – three figures with notable achievements in the field of art.

Istanbul Book Fair

October / November (No official dates yet)

The Istanbul Book Fair is one of the grandest and most spectacular book events in Turkey. It officially started in 1982 in Istanbul. The TUYAP overlooks the successful planning of this event each year. Joining it are 750,000 visitors and 800 exhibitors.

During this event, you can join writing symposiums, get autographs from famous guest authors like Magriet Ruurs, Carlos Granes, and Glen Meade. Don’t miss this event because a lot of books are sold with limited edition covers. There is also a first-time release of novels that readers highly anticipate. The poetry competition is a must-see too.


Istanbul Marathon

November 7th, 2021

The Istanbul Marathon is an annual running event held in November, which started in 1979. It provides a calorie-burning way of exploring Istanbul’s Asian side and European side.

The route for Istanbul 2021 Marathon has been set with participants starting from Anatolia’s First Bosporus Bridge and following the designated streets of Istanbul’s European side that leads to the finish line. Historic sites that serve as landmarks for the marathon are the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. The finish line awaits at the Inonu Stadium.

Istanbul Marathon 2021 spans 42 kilometers. The cost to enter is 45 TL with registration closing on October 1st, 2021, more than a month prior to the official race day.