Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, is an exotic destination on the cusp of Europe and Asia. The melting pot of Eastern and Western influence makes Istanbul an amazing vacation destination, with attractions like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
Istanbul is a city of over 15 million people, and one of the largest cities in Europe, so finding the best part of Istanbul to stay is a key piece of planning your visit. There are many hotels in Istanbul to choose from, for every budget from luxury to budget. If this is your first time in Istanbul, keep reading for the best neighborhood to stay in Istanbul.
We will cover off all types of Istanbul accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Istanbul hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Istanbul, the best Istanbul hotels, best places in Istanbul to visit, the best places to stay in Istanbul, hotels near Istanbul attractions and many more.
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Table of Contents
Sultanahmet – Where to stay in Istanbul for first timers
The most central neighborhood of Istanbul is Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s Old City. Staying in Sultanahmet puts you in walking distance of Istanbul’s major attractions, including the Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern.
Sultanahmet is also where you’ll find the largest concentration of hamams in Istanbul, so if you are looking for this unique Turkish experience, Sultanahmet is a great place to stay. There isn’t much nightlife in Sultanahmet, and it gets very quiet at night, making it the best place to stay in Istanbul with family. If you want to know where to stay in Istanbul for nightlife, read on.
Best places to stay in Sultanahmet
Beyoğlu – Where to stay in Istanbul for nightlife
Across the Golden Horn is the more modern area of Istanbul, including the neighborhood of Beyoğlu. This area is also home to several Istanbul attractions, including the Galata Tower, Dolmabahçe and some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. Taksim Square is the main square of Beyoğlu, with the famous Istiklal Street leading from the square to Galata Tower.
The cobblestone pedestrianized street sees more than three million people each day, who visit the restaurants, cafes, bars and movie theaters. With Taksim Square, Beyoğlu is the entertainment hub of Istanbul, so if you are looking for nightlife, this is a good option for you. It’s the “Ties Square” of Istanbul, and home of many parades and festivals. There are many Istanbul hotels in Beyoğlu, and lots of good choices for budget travelers.
Best places to stay in Beyoğlu
Galata – Where to stay in Istanbul for tourists
A smaller neighborhood within the district of Beyoğlu, Galata is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Istanbul. Originally a medieval citadel, Galata is anchored by the 14th century Galata Tower. This is the place for Istanbul nightlife, with some of the hottest clubs and trendiest cafes.
Galata is a very hilly neighborhood, so it may not be the best choice for where to stay in Istanbul with family, if you have strollers, or elderly parents joining you. (There is a funicular you can take, which is something fun to do. Galata has hostels and hotels to choose from, so you can find a place that is right for your budget.
Best places to stay in Galata
Grand Bazaar – Where to stay in Istanbul with family
Another great place to stay in Istanbul for budget travelers is the Grand Bazaar area. It’s also great for families. The center of this district is the Grand Bazaar, the largest covered market in Turkey. The famous Spice Bazaar is also nearby, with nearly 100 shops to browse. The Grand Bazaar district is within walking distance of Sultanahmet, so you’ll still have easy access to the best things to do in Istanbul.
It’s a great place to stay in Istanbul for foodies, who can spend hours wandering the markets, or even join a guided tour of the food stalls. Some of the best hostels in Istanbul can be found in the Grand Bazaar, as well as some excellent boutique hotels.
Best places to stay in Grand Bazaar
Karaköy – Where to stay in Istanbul on a budget
One of Istanbul’s trendiest neighborhoods, north of the Golden Horn, is Karaköy. Situated along the harbor, the neighborhood has quickly gentrified from workshops and traditional bakeries to cafes, galleries and boutiques. During warm weather, enjoy people watching at any one of a dozen sidewalk cafes and outdoor terraces.
You can choose a hotel near the port, and enjoy a ferry ride from the two ports in Karaköy. Ferries run as late as midnight, offering a fun way to travel between Europe and Asia, and back again, all in just an hour or so.
Best places to stay in Karaköy
Want to learn how to travel on a Budget? Check out our dedicated “Budget Conscious Travel Guide”
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