Where to Stay in Istanbul?
Best Area to Stay in Istanbul for Tourists – Sultanahmet (Old City) or Taksim?
Istanbul is a large city with full of great hotels. Therefore it’s hard to decide where to stay. There are two major areas to stay in Istanbul in terms of being close to the main places of interest.
Those districts are Sultanahmet (Old City) and Taksim (Beyoglu). There is a third choice to be near to Istanbul’s nightlife: Bosphorus. Here is the insider’s tips about Best Area to Stay in Istanbul.
Best Area to Stay in Istanbul 2019
In this article we will check 5 major areas to stay in Istanbul:
- Taksim, Istiklal Street, Cihangir, Galata, Tarlabasi (Beyoglu Hotels)
- Sirkeci, Eminonu, Sultanahmet, Beyazit (Old City Hotels)
- Dolmabahce, Macka, Besiktas, Ortakoy, Bebek (Bosphorus Hotels)
- Yesilkoy, Bakirkoy, Atakoy, Topkapi (Airport Hotels)
- Sisli, Levent, Maslak, Mecidiyekoy Hotels (Business Hotels)
Staying in Taksim, Pera, Cihangir, Galata (Beyoglu)
Beyoğlu (Taksim) area is appealing because of its nightlife and charm. Beyoğlu is 19th century European style area and it was called as Constantinople in the late Ottoman period due to its European architectural features.
Since the embassies were located around Beyoğlu and Taksim Square, the area was very popular in terms of social life, art, culture and fun. Nothing has changed from late Ottoman time to present day, Beyoğlu is still the center of social life and fun. It’s the most convenient area to walk around, drink some coffee or beer and watch the people passing by.
Beyoğlu is considered as the house of modern life in Istanbul. Beyoğlu district has cozy neighborhoods like Galata, Cihangir, Çukurcuma, Tarlabaşı, Pera, Taksim and renowned Istiklal Street.
Each and every of these warm neighborhoods are worth to visit. So if you prefer to be close to the action your choice could be Beyoglu.
Beyoglu Neighborhood to Stay in Istanbul
House of Galata Tower and many small art galleries. This area is known for small charming boutique hotels as opposed to the Taksim Square which is famous for its four and five star large hotels.
Cozy area famous for its cafés. The celebrities of the city as well as the authors and journalists come to this area to have some drink and meet some new people. Boutique hotels can be found around here just like Galata.
Famous for the antique shops. Some of the best antique sellers of the city lined up at the Çukurcuma Street and it’s nice area to hang around. Çukurcuma is also house of the famous nobel prized author of Turkey: Orhan Pamuk. Museum of Innocence also located in the same area.
Renowned Pera Palace hotel and elegant Soho House hotel located on the Mesrutiyet Street which is commonly known as Pera neighborhood. Pera Museum is also a nice place to visit for seeing Turkish arts.
The most popular restaurant of recent years: Mikla Restaurant located at the top of The Marmara Pera Hotel. The Asmalı Mescid Street, cozy alley that connects the Pera with Istiklal Street also here. Asmalı Mescid Street is adorned with art galleries and delicious fish restaurants.
Taksim Square (Heart of Modern Istanbul)
Taksim is the hub of modern Istanbul. Center of the city like Arc De Triomphe of Paris. Taksim Square is the beginning of the 1,5 kilometers long Istiklal Street. The Taksim Square is also a junction that connects the Beyoğlu, Harbiye, Maçka, Nişantaşı, Golden Horn Districts.
Once the house of Greek Orthodox people of the city. Most of them left Turkey and settled to the Greece, USA and UK (After World War I). Tarlabaşı is still reflecting the historic texture of Grand Rue De Pera. Late Ottoman Istanbul with its Greek, Jewish and Levant inhabitants.
Staying in Sultanahmet Old City
Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapı Palace are the major sightseeing places to visit. If you wish to be near to historic attractions of the city, Sultanahmet might be a good choice for you.
However, Sultanahmet has no nightife, the entire area is dead after the midnight. You may stay here for a comfortable sleep, and you can still reach out to Beyoğlu and join its nightlife via short taxi drive.
Best Area to Stay in Istanbul – Sultanahmet Old City
Sirkeci And Eminönü Historical Neighborhoods
Sirkeci is a house to famous Sirkeci Train Station. Famous Orient Express train used to travel from Paris to Istanbul and Sirkeci Train Station was the final destination. Rich aristocrats from Western Europe, travelled accross the Eastern Europe via Orient Express and arrived to the capital Ottoman Empire, Istanbul.
The passengers of Orient Express had usually stayed in the Pera (Beyoglu) area. Since the most popular hotel, Pera Palace, was located in the Beyoglu district.
Eminönü is the transporation hub of Old Istanbul. Spice Bazaar is located in here. It’s very near to Sultanahmet and famous sights like Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque. Besides it’s located right next to the pier.
The ferry stations to get to Asia Side (Kadıköy and Üsküdar) or Bosphorus Cruise Tours located near to Eminönü-Sirkeci Area. It’s very central location to stay. Fair distance from both Sultanahmet and Taksim.
Sultanahmet: The Heart of Istanbul Old City
Sultanahmet is the heart of the old Istanbul. It’s located at the eastern end of Istanbul Historic Peninsula.
Sultanahmet is housing the top tourist attractions like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern. Therefore best area to stay in Istanbul for sightseeing.
Grand Bazaar is also within 15 minutes walking distance from Sultanahmet. Therefore these features makes the Sultanahmet area a perfect place to stay.
Best Area to Stay with family!
In my opinion, Sultanahmet is the best area to stay in Istanbul with family. It’s closed to traffic and has wider sidewalks (than Taksim) which means convenient for baby strollers.
Sultanahmet is quiet, safe and handicapped friendly area, plus it’s nice for jogging in the early morning. Some of the hotels have small gardens that kids can play.
Bosphorus has The Best Hotels to Stay in Istanbul
Staying Near Nearby Bosphorus With View
There is also Bosphorus shores to stay. The view of the Bosphorus naturally very attractive. The hotels around the Bosphorus more expensive than the other options, you should keep it in mind as well.
Bosphorus considered as best area to stay for nightlife since the best clubs of the city located along Bosphorus shores. Best areas to stay in the Bosphorus as follows: Beşiktaş, Ortaköy, Bebek, Sarıyer.
Staying in Istanbul Hotels Near To Airport
If you want to be near the Ataturk Airport. You should stay somewhere around Bakırköy, Yeşilköy, Ataköy, Esenler, Bağcılar. Bakirkoy, Yesilkoy and Atakoy are considered as classy neighborhoods of Istanbul whereas Esenler and Bagcilar can offer you nothing more than shopping centers.
Escpecially Topkapı neighborhood also very central location. Fair distance to both Airport and Sultanahmet. You may reach out to Istanbul Old City (Grand Bazaar & Blue Mosque) from Topkapi via easy tram ride.
Staying in Hotels Near Istanbul Business District
Levent, Şişli, Maslak, Mecidiyeköy districts are considered as the business areas in Istanbul. There are many 5 star hotels around those places.
The largest Shopping Malls of the city is located in these neighborhoods. Such as Metrocity (Levent), Cevahir (Sisli), Ozdilek (Sisli), Kanyon (Sisli), Zorlu Center (Besiktas) Istinye Park (Sariyer).
Most of the big concerts, operas and theatres organized in the Besiktas, Sisli, Maslak centers. After Sultanahmet and Taksim, the Business District (Besiktas, Levent, Sisli) is the third most popular touristic neighborhood.
Best Area To Stay in Istanbul on A Map
Written by Serhat Engul