Best Places to Stay in Istanbul
If you’re traveling to Istanbul, it can be overwhelming to know where to stay. You could choose from any of the cities or suburbs in Istanbul, and you could also make your decision based on what you like to do while traveling – the best areas for sightseeing, the best areas for shopping, the best areas for clubs and nightlife, etc.
There are dozens of amazing places to stay when you visit Istanbul. We have listed some below; some great for families, others for backpackers, and more for those that want something special. To make things easier, we have broken them down into different areas. Read on to find out which place is best for you! In general, there are two main parts of Istanbul (and two smaller sides). The biggest part is known as the European side because it’s geographically connected to Europe. On its western side is where all of its most famous landmarks can be found (like Hagia Sophia or Topkapi Palace) while its eastern side opens up directly onto Asia Minor itself. It’s here where one will find various neighborhoods (each with its own unique culture), shopping centers, beaches, and hotels–and it’s also what we’ll focus on in my post today.
What are the best places to stay in Istanbul? Many travelers assume that staying on the European side of the city, with its well-known tourist attractions, will be the best choice. The Asian side may be more exotic, but it’s also less developed, so lodging options tend to be limited there. So where should you stay in Istanbul? This article will cover some of the best areas to stay in Istanbul based on different criteria. These are not listed in any particular order, but they are all worth considering if you want to stay near a particular place while visiting this incredible city.
BEST PLACES TO STAY WHEN YOU VISIT ISTANBUL
According to a recent poll, Turkey’s largest city is not only one of its most popular tourist destinations but also one of its most sought-after neighborhoods. Over 23 percent of visitors polled said they preferred staying in Istanbul versus any other location across Turkey. However, with so many options available—particularly when it comes to accommodations—it can be hard for even seasoned travelers to narrow down where exactly they want to stay during their visit. To ensure that you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed by choice and more interested in catching your flight home than exploring a new city, here are some tips on what to consider before settling on which hotel or guesthouse to stay at while visiting Istanbul.
As is the custom in most Turkish cities (though still recommended), tourists generally arrange to stay somewhere near Taksim Square, particularly near Istiklal Street or Şişhane. The area offers plenty of good shopping, cafes, and bars as well as easy access to nightlife spots like Beyoğlu’s İstiklal Avenue, Nişantaşı neighborhood (especially along Nisantasi Caddesi), and Harbiye (the main clubbing quarter), all of which tend to get packed quite quickly on Friday nights until early Sunday morning. If you don’t mind staying close to business hubs but also want plenty of entertainment options, areas around Taksim Square could be your best bet. Not only are these neighborhoods loaded with hotels/guesthouses at reasonable prices but they’re also within walking distance to most popular sights like Galata Tower; Istiklal Avenue where you can find vibrant nightlife spots along pedestrian walkways lined with trees like Pertevniyal Caddesi and summertime waterside cafés on Şeyh̆ urfendi Sokak.
Regardless of whether you spend your entire vacation there or just overnighting as part of a longer trip, Kurucesme Peninsula is one of those areas worth considering because it offers good local restaurants, has plenty of beaches for swimming and sunbathing, plus it has ferry connections to both Kadikoy and Kabataş from nearby Yenibosna pier.
Another good place to consider staying if you’re traveling solo or in small groups is around Karakoy. This neighborhood hosts a lot of museums including Republic City Museum and Karakoy Archaeology Museum; Hagia Sophia—one of Istanbul’s top attractions—is also located here. There are numerous hostels and hotels where you can stay affordably especially if your budget isn’t too high. Also, dolmus services run frequently throughout the day in case you prefer spending less time sitting and commuting within the traffic.
Sultanahmet or Fatih (Old City)
Considered as one of the world’s best historical districts, Old City—commonly referred to as Sultanahmet or Fatih due to past Ottoman rulers who resided here—has always been a go-to spot for families, honeymooners, and history buffs alike since it often houses impressive landmarks such as St. Anthony Church; Aya Sofya Mosque; Topkapi Palace Museum (with its famous Harem Section); Grand Bazaar; Blue Mosque, etc., making it an ideal spot for sightseeing whether alone or with friends/family members.
Another great option is Besiktas which is situated north of Old City. The area hosts trendy local eateries serving everything from traditional Turkish cuisine to international cuisines, cafes and bars for nightlife, beaches for swimming/sunbathing, and even boasts easy ferry access across Golden Horn into Eminonu which offers more shopping options.
Cihangir; Etiler and Câ m̆ aatpasâ ĭ
If fine dining is what attracts you to Istanbul, you should stay in the upscale Beyoglu region that includes neighborhoods like Cihangir; Etiler, and Câ ̆maatpasâ ̆i that have countless numbers of upscale restaurants, cafes, designer stores, and boutiques boasting some of Turkey’s best street artwork—not to mention cool rooftop terraces offering panoramic views of the city skyline.
Lastly, if you seek modern comforts without sacrificing proximity to the city center, consider staying near European Side’s Çukurova; Kucukcekmece, and Güzelyalı regions. Many luxurious condominium projects are aimed towards young urban professionals currently residing there. If a range of services and amenities, coupled with 24/7 security sounds appealing to you, then consider buying condos or renting apartments instead. Turkey’s largest airport, Ataturk International Airport lies close to the European side, which makes getting in and out of Istanbul pretty convenient.
Still, keep in mind that Istanbul is a huge city with all types of public transportation options that include metro; tram; funicular railways; buses; ferries, and sea-bus boats. Therefore, it depends on personal preference to select either staying in the city center or close to major transit terminals/airports. Just keep in mind that taxi cabs and Uber may not be cheap options in Istanbul as compared to other western cities. Besides, not all neighborhoods offer similar amenities so you must carefully select one depending on your needs and interests.
PLACES TO STAY ON THE EUROPEAN SIDE
- Beşiktaş is a central district of Istanbul on the European side of Turkey’s largest city, facing an island on which one can find several historic mosques, mansions, and palaces. Known as the cradle of Turkish football, Beşiktaş is also home to many shops, restaurants, and cafes. In recent years, it has become well known for its nightlife. The main squares that meet at Beşiktaş are Olimpiyat Parkı (Olympic Park) and Goktepe Parkı (Goktepe Park). This makes Beşiktaş a great place to stay during Istamon’s annual international film festival. With more than three million people visiting each year, it’s easily one of Europe’s best festivals! It boasts famous stars like Quentin Tarantino and Robert De Niro—quite impressive if you ask us! However, if you don’t have time to attend the festival or you’re simply looking for something less crowded, there are plenty of places along the Beşiktaş’ coast with stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline.
- Another cool part about staying on Turkey’s European side is all of its proximity to attractions! You can easily head over to Europe’s third-largest commercial and cultural center: Marmara Adasi (Marmara Island).
- In addition, many other popular destinations like Taksim Square and Grand Bazaar are also just a short ride away.
- For those who love hitting up parties and going out at night, we’d recommend staying near Bostanci Bahçesi (Bostanci Park) or Kadıköy Limanı (Kadıköy Port). Both offer fun nightclubs for when you want to turn up!When it comes down to it, picking your place to stay depends heavily on what you’re seeking—only that matters. Some guests will prefer being close enough to party while others will be interested in finding a place that has prime shopping opportunities or gorgeous beaches!PLACES TO STAY ON THE ASIAN SIDE
- If you’re looking for more laid-back activities like snorkeling or kayaking, we’d suggest planning an escape to Asia. This way, you’ll be able to hit up gems like Blue Lagoon Island while still having easy access to great shopping districts such as Ayazağacı Caddesi (Ayazağacı Street) and Kanyon AVM (Kanyon Mall).
- Beyoglu, Cihangir, Cankurtaran, Karakoy, and Taksim are some of the most sought- after areas to stay on the Asian side. These areas have everything a tourist could want: historic sites, museums, and bazaars. They are also near Taksim Square. Most importantly for travelers, these places offer easy access to major transportation arteries including subway stops.
If you’re going to be staying on the Asian side for an extended period, consider taking a private studio apartment that can double your home base and save money by cooking your meals. This is especially practical if you’re traveling with friends or family as it allows you flexibility around when to eat together and what activities you would like to do during each day.
TOURIST ATTRACTION IN ISTANBUL
Here are a few tourist attractions you can check out while visiting Istanbul:
The Blue Mosque (Aya Sofya Camii)
The Blue Mosque (Aya Sofya Camii) is one of the best-known landmarks. Built by Ottoman sultan Ahmet I, it’s also known as Sultanahmet Camii. It’s considered to be one of Turkey’s most important historical sites. The place has some religious importance for Muslims as well because it serves as a shrine dedicated to Muhammad, who spent several years at nearby Medina. Even if you’re not religious, consider visiting—it’s one of the world’s greatest architectural wonders and worth checking out.
Hagia Sophia is another must-see attraction in Istanbul; it was once a church built in A.D. 537 but was later converted into an imperial mosque under Ottoman rule. Today, visitors get to see its unique fusion of eastern and western styles. Also worth checking out is its library, which contains over 4,000 manuscripts written between 16th century Europe and 19th century Cairo. If you love ancient architecture or just appreciate beautiful design, these places will leave you speechless with their beauty and charm.
The final thing that shouldn’t be missed is Ataturk’s mausoleum on top of Cumhuriyet Hill. It’s modeled after the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of World built in the year 350 B.C. You’ll also find here Ataturk Museum right next to his tomb where you can learn more about his life and legacy; he is often referred to as Father of the Turkish Republic.
And finally, don’t forget to catch a ferry across Bosporus to visit the Black Seaside!
To help you make a final decision on where exactly you want to stay during your visit, however, here are some tips to consider when narrowing down your list of places:
Is transportation readily available; consider what’s nearby because accessibility plays an important role not only in everyday life but also when finding places you want to visit throughout your vacation.
Living and traveling in Istanbul can be fun—but finding accommodations with a great location at a reasonable price can be hard. In addition, many hotels and guesthouses aren’t
particularly traveler-friendly; lacking decent public transit access or having only basic amenities, like free wi-fi, for example. Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable and well-located places to stay in Istanbul—and you won’t need to sacrifice amenities.
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