Things to Do in Istanbul During the Coronavirus Pandemic

It only goes without saying that you can go a little stir crazy staying inside day-in, day-out in a concrete jungle. In a city of 15 million people, there are still options to keep your mind at peace during this crisis while maintaining a safe social distance.

Below we offer a list of things to do, that you can also simply dream of doing while staying indoors.

Activity Criteria

In general, we want to be sure to avoid a few key things in order minimize the chances of social contact. These are:

  • Crowds and places where people tend to gather in groups
  • Spending any amount of time in closed or confined spaces

This generally will rule out all squares, malls and most tourist attractions other than those which are outdoors.

A Word of Warning

When it comes to the coronavirus, there is no real safe space other than your home which you can almost guarantee you won’t catch it. At any point, you come in contact with other people or where other people have been there is a chance of containmination. This, however, can also apply to your home if you invite guests over or come home from working in an office, doing grocery shopping, etc.

We all can’t live in a bubble, but you must use caution and follow all recommend safety and health guidelines where possible. Since these rules are changing hour-by-hour once it was declared a pandemic be sure to keep yourself up-to-date for most recent recommend guidelines.

Use your common-sense and exercise caution with due diligence when venturing outdoors. There is no excuse to not practice safe social distance as your health is much more important than being entertained.

If there comes a time when it’s best you only do these things virtually, then do them vicariously online from the safety of your home.

Parks and Open Spaces

While it may not seem like it at times, there are plenty of open spaces Istanbul from parks to forests and waterfront bike trails.

Forests and Nature

If you’re looking to get away from it all, the hiking trails in and around Belgrade Forest offers a wide range of nature activities along with gorgeous scenery.

If you find yourself on the Asian-side, then the Aydos Forest is worth a look, even if only virtually. Not only is there a mountain summit, but also a historical castle ruins and a forest lake.

Parklands

Istanbul is full of park areas which are normally packed during tourist season, but at times they can now be found quite empty. It’s probably best to do a drive-by to see who is out there and for sure, take the scenic route whenever you can.

While the telerefik in Eyup is a no-go due to its confined spacing. the walk up (or down) Pierre Loti Hill and through the Eyup Cemetery is worth a look. This brisk walk offers gorgeous Bosphorus views along with a historical tombstones of many famous Istanbulites, including sultans.

Camlica Hill in Uksudar has wide pathways along with greenery and flowers, along with wonderous views of the Bosphorus.

Outdoor Activities

Here we again, look for open-spaces in Istanbul with a focus on doing something active while being outdoors. If you like, try taking a walk or a bike ride along the coast or go fishing.

Walk Along the Bosphorus

If it’s too busy in the city, head over to Kadikoy and the Moda Coast which can be a wonderful place to walk along the path. Here you can feel the calmness of green, open spaces while breathing in the fresh sea air.

Bike the Bosphorus

While you can start in Moda, you’ll have to pass through the Fenerbache Park and Marina which can be quite crowded. If you start by the Caddebostan coast you’ll pass some beaches (which might be empty) along your way to Maltepe Coast, all while enjoy the open-air greenery.

Go Shoreline Fishing

While many people do fish off the bridges of Istanbul, the whole point is that we want to avoid people in general. If you’re biking the Moda trail, you’ll find numerous secluded places along the way where you can unpack you fishing rod and have a relaxing time.