With countless landmarks and activities ranging from the traditional—such as smoking a hookah—to the more modern, like visiting high-end clubs, you’ll find you never have an empty itinerary in Istanbul. But don’t let the many things to do get in the way of some gorgeous sights unique to Istanbul. We’ve rounded up the best things to get a glimpse of while on vacation in Istanbul, Turkey.

Check out the Hagia Sophia

Renowned the world over, the Hagia Sophia is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the entire world. It should definitely top your list.

In its past, it has been a church and a mosque but now it has been converted to one of the world’s most-visited museums. The history of this building stretches back just short of a full millennium. A museum since 1935, inside you’ll find not only an educational experience, but all the wonderful sights of Turkish art—calligraphy, mosaics, tiles, and the Sultan’s lodge.

This is a feast for the eyes, inside and out, and absolutely should not be missed while in Istanbul.

Visit the Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is not only in itself beautiful, but it also offers some of the most gorgeous views of the city of Istanbul itself. Located just a bit north of Golden Horn in Galata Quarter, make a point to visit.

It is a full nine stories high and boasts both a restaurant and a nightclub, so you can plan to see this wonderful sight as part of your meal or entertainment, as well. There’s also a tour which will take you up to see the view of the city, should your itinerary already be full for food and entertainment.

Either way, you should catch the glimpse of the city at night, when it is aglow with lights reflecting off the ancient architecture below. It is a sight to behold. You should also enjoy a cup of Turkish Coffee or Turkish Delight at the square directly below. If you’ve never had Turkish Delight, this is a great opportunity to enjoy the view with the ancient, soft, rose-flavored candy.

Behold the Blue Mosque

When it comes to places to visit, the Blue Mosque, which is properly known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is the most popular. It has earned its nickname from blue tiles which surround the interior walls.

While the mosque is still functioning as a religious center, it is welcoming of visitors and tourists who follow their rules. This does mean that you should wear long pants, and women must have heads and shoulders covered.

Once you’ve relished the view of this astonishing creation, you can visit nearby sites, as well as take in the panoramic view of the bay of Istanbul.

Check out the Basilica Cistern

Truly a unique experience, the Basilica Cistern is last on our list but by no means should be skipped. An underground cistern built in 532, it is constructed from 336 columns which were salvaged out of ruined temples. The art here can be fascinating, such as one column which features the head of Medusa.