Where to stay in Istanbul [Best Places to Stay for 2024]

During my recent trip to Istanbul, I explored this major city that sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, is known for its rich cultural heritage and historical sites, including the famous Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

With over 15 million people, it’s one of the biggest cities in Europe. Finding the right place to stay in Istanbul in 2024 is a key part of planning your trip. The city offers a wide range of places to stay, from high-end hotels to more affordable options.

If it’s your first time in Istanbul, this article will be really helpful. It will guide you through the best neighborhoods for your visit. Whether you need a detailed guide or just some quick tips, this article has it all.

Where to stay in Istanbul

Here, you’ll find information on all kinds of accommodation in Istanbul, from simple hostels to luxurious hotels. We’ll help you figure out where to stay in Istanbul in 2024, point out the best hotels, and recommend great places to visit. We’ll also discuss hotels close to major attractions in Istanbul and much more.

I’m going to share with you a list of 12 top neighborhoods in Istanbul, based on my own experiences. This will help you pick the most suitable area for your stay.

I’ve also included my personal recommendations for things to do, places to see, and spots to eat in these areas. This guide aims to be a handy resource for planning your stay in Istanbul.

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Please note, while pricing is great to have in articles, due to the seasonal fluctuation, I don’t want to provide inaccurate information.

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Want A Quick Video Overview?

Discover the best areas to stay in Istanbul in this informative video! Whether you’re looking for luxury, budget-friendly options, unique local experiences, or you’re unsure what neighborhood to stay in Istanbul, our guide covers it all.

Dive into and find your perfect home away from home. Watch now for insider tips and make your trip unforgettable!

Sultanahmet – Where to stay in Istanbul for First Timers

When I first visited Istanbul, I stayed in Sultanahmet, located in the heart of the city. This neighborhood is part of the historic Fatih district, known as Istanbul’s Old City.

Here, you can see the ancient walls of Constantinople. If you’re asking, “Is Fatih a good place to stay in Istanbul?” my answer is yes, especially Sultanahmet.

Sultanahmet is Ideal for:

  • Families
  • People interested in Turkish culture and hammams
  • Visitors who prefer quieter nights
  • Those staying in Istanbul for a short time

What’s Good About Sultanahmet:

  • Close to major attractions
  • Easy walking to sites like the Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern
  • Peaceful evenings
  • Good selection of stores and eateries

Why Stay in Sultanahmet:

During my stay, I appreciated how peaceful it was at night, making it great for family trips. Sultanahmet is a hub for hammams, offering a genuine Turkish experience.

The neighborhood’s low-key nightlife and proximity to landmarks like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque were highlights for me. Sultanahmet’s central location makes it ideal for first-time visitors to Istanbul.

Things to Do in Sultanahmet:

  • Visit the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, a historic site that has been both a church and a mosque.
  • Explore the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, an iconic Ottoman-era mosque.
  • Walk around Sultanahmet Square, with its park, gardens, and historical monuments like the Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius.
  • Dine at the Panoramic restaurant in the Adamar Hotel for stunning city views and Ottoman cuisine.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Sultanahmet

Map of Sultanahmet

Hanchi Hostel – Best Hostels In Sultanahmet

Hanchi Hostel

Hanchi Hostel is a budget-friendly accommodation located in the best area to stay in Istanbul as a tourist. The laid-back adults-only hostel offers both shared dorms and private double or family rooms. There are facilities like a cafe and bar with a terrace, a lounge, a communal kitchen and laundry. The staff is friendly and speaks English well, and the free Turkish breakfast is a great way to start the day.

Hotel Turkoman – Best Budget hotel In Sultanahmet

Located in a pink building, Hotel Turkoman is a budget-friendly accommodation offering a comfortable stay with basic amenities. The hotel is conveniently located close to the Blue Mosque, with some of the single, double, triple and family rooms looking out onto this historic structure. With its affordable rates, you’ll also get a generous buffet breakfast and a cosy shared living area with a fireplace. After dinner, the bar serves a range of drinks and refreshments.

Turkoman Hotel

Aprilis Gold Hotel – Best Mid-range hotel In Sultanahmet

Aprilis Gold Hotel - Special Category

Aprilis Gold Hotel is a gorgeous accommodation that provides excellent value for money. The double, triple, quadruple and connecting rooms are all elegantly designed and decorated, with a minibar, complimentary tea and coffee, and really comfortable beds. The spa and wellness centre allows you to relax and unwind after a long day of exploring Istanbul, with a delicious breakfast to look forward to as well.

HHK Hotel Downtown – Best Family hotel In Sultanahmet

Not sure where to stay in Istanbul first time for families? HHK Hotel Downtown offers cosy family rooms that easily fit four people, with extra amenities like a Turkish breakfast buffet, airport transfers, room service, and free WiFi. The staff are so friendly and helpful, creating a welcoming environment for you and your family, and are available 24/7.

HHK Hotel Downtown

Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul – Best Luxury hotel In Sultanahmet

Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton

The best place to stay in Istanbul for tourists is the Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul. Located on a historic tree-lined street right by the Basilica Cistern, this unique luxury hotel offers rooms that combine Ottoman and Baroque charm with contemporary elegance. With 78 rooms spread across 17 mansions, a charming restaurant, a garden cafe that turns into a speakeasy, and 24-hour room service, you’re sure to have a memorable stay.

Istanbul roofs by The Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Bosphorus, Turkey

Grand Bazaar – where to stay in istanbul with family

Known for being budget-friendly, it’s also a fantastic area for families. I would recommend choosing to stay near the Grand Bazaar, in the Beyazit neighborhood.

The Grand Bazaar area blends the thrill of market life with the convenience of being close to major attractions. Its great atmosphere is perfect for families and budget travellers. You’ll find everything from hostels to boutique hotels.

Grand Bazaar is Ideal for:

  • Budget-conscious travellers
  • Families
  • Those interested in shopping and history

What’s Good About Grand Bazaar:

  • Home to the world’s largest and oldest covered market
  • Close to the Spice Bazaar with around 100 shops
  • Walking distance to Sultanahmet
  • Near Istanbul University

Why Stay in Grand Bazaar:

The area’s proximity to both the Grand and Spice Bazaars made our stay exciting and convenient. It’s a place that offers a deep dive into the local culture, perfect for those wondering where to stay in Istanbul, especially for backpacking or family trips. The range of accommodation options also caters well to different budgets.

Things to Do in Grand Bazaar:

  • Explore the vast Grand Bazaar with over 4,000 shops.
  • Visit the nearby Spice Bazaar for unique flavors.
  • See the Bayezid II Mosque, a beautiful example of Ottoman architecture.
  • Check out the Beyazt Tower at Istanbul University’s main campus.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Grand Bazaar 

Map of Grand Bazaar 

Second Home Hostel – Best Hostels In Grand Bazaar 

Stanpoli Hostel

Guests of any age are welcome at the Stanpoli Hostel, an affordable accommodation option near the Grand Bazaar. There are cosy double and twin rooms with a French balcony and a modern bathroom, or you and your family can book out a four or six-bed dorm room. The dorms have a dressing table and a large mirror, and each bunk bed includes a privacy curtain, a reading light, a power outlet and a private locker. Enjoy the convenience of the free buffet breakfast served in the lounge.

Sunlife Hotel Old City – Best Budget hotel In Grand Bazaar 

Located in the best area to stay in Istanbul with family, Sunlife Oldcity is a small, clean, and budget-friendly accommodation. The rooms include parquet floors, private bathrooms, air-conditioning, a minibar, and extras like slippers and toiletries. A daily buffet breakfast is offered, and staff are available 24/7 to assist with car rentals or provide local recommendations.

Sunlife Hotel Old City

Meddusa Hotel – Best Mid-range hotel In Grand Bazaar 

Meddusa Hotel

The mid-range Meddusa Hotel is a simple place to stay with amazing views over Istanbul. Single, twin, double, triple and connecting family rooms are offered, with a rooftop terrace to enjoy breakfast or a cup of tea while looking out at the Bosphorus. The hotel is walking distance from top attractions like the Hagia Sophia and Grand Bazaar, and close to tram stops, making it easy to get around the city.

Great Fortune Hotel & SPA – Best Family hotel In Grand Bazaar 

One of the best places to stay in Istanbul with family is the Great Fortune Hotel & Spa. This luxurious, family-friendly hotel offers a range of facilities including an indoor pool, a spa, a sauna, an onsite restaurant and bar, and a rooftop terrace with views of the Blue Mosque. You can book connecting family rooms, or an elegant and spacious three-bedroom suite with three bathrooms. There are friendly staff at the front desk 24/7 to help you with anything you need.

Great Fortune Hotel & Spa

Orientbank Hotel Istanbul – Best Luxury hotel In Grand Bazaar 

Orientbank Hotel Istanbul, Autograph Collection

Stay in style at the historic Orientbank Hotel, one of the most underrated Istanbul hotels. This upscale accommodation features a concierge service, free bicycle rental, two restaurants and a bar, room service, airport shuttle and more. The elegant rooms include a pillow menu, a coffee machine, an LCD TV, natural toiletries and comfortable beds. The suite also has its own foyer and lovely arched windows with views of the Spice Bazaar.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY- on : Exterior view of the Grand Bazar Gate.Unidentified Tourists visiting and shopping in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

Beyoğlu –  Where to stay Istanbul for Nightlife

When I visited Istanbul, I chose to stay in Beyoğlu for 2 night for its lively atmosphere. Beyoğlu, located across the Golden Horn, is a modern part of the city known for its nightlife and major tourist spots like the Galata Tower and Dolmabahçe Palace.

Beyoğlu is Ideal for:

  • Nightlife enthusiasts
  • Budget travellers
  • Those interested in architecture and history

What’s Good About Beyoğlu:

  • Houses several main attractions, including Galata Tower
  • Hosts Istanbul’s best restaurants and bars
  • Affordable accommodation options
  • Rich in historical architecture

Why Stay in Beyoğlu:

Beyoğlu is the entertainment heart of Istanbul, especially around Taksim Square and the famous Istiklal Street, filled with restaurants, cafes, and bars. It’s perfect for those who enjoy a buzzing night scene.

Staying in Beyoğlu gives you easy access to some of the best nightlife in Istanbul. Its European-like charm in areas like Taksim Square, with its Art Deco buildings and boutique shops, is a highlight.

For those who enjoy a more hipster lifestyle, exploring the Cihangir neighborhood in Beyoğlu is a must. The area’s affordable hotels, cinemas, and antique shops added to its appeal, making it an excellent choice for a stay in Istanbul.

Things to Do in Beyoğlu:

  • Stroll along Istiklal Street, bustling with shops and eateries.
  • Visit Galata Tower for panoramic city views.
  • Explore Taksim Square, often likened to European city squares.
  • Wander around the Cihangir neighborhood for a bohemian vibe and unique shops.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Beyoğlu

Map of Beyoğlu

Sanat Hostel Taksim – Best Hostels In Beyoğlu

Sanat Hostel Taksim

Sanat Hostel Taksim is an affordable accommodation for anyone looking to be in the best area to stay in Istanbul for nightlife. This casual hostel has both mixed and female-only dorms, with the option of getting a private double room if you prefer. All room options have shared bathrooms, with stylish tiles all throughout. The rooftop terrace is the ideal place to enjoy a free Turkish breakfast, and the onsite restaurant and bar is a cool, social place to hang out.

The Loft Istanbul – Best Budget hotel In Beyoğlu

An accommodation that offers great value for money is the Loft Istanbul. The property is located in the picturesque French Street area of Beyoglu, only 300 metres from the famous Istiklal Avenue. The loft has suites and studios with a warm, minimalist design, some of which include private furnished balconies. Enjoy some live music on a Friday and Saturday night, eat breakfast on the peaceful outdoor terrace, and admire the gallery and photo exhibit area.

The Loft Istanbul

Taksim Yazici Residence – Best Mid-range hotel In Beyoğlu

Taksim Yazıcı Residence

Taksim Yazici Residence is a spacious mid-range hotel in Istanbul’s Taksim area. The owner and staff here are so friendly and welcoming, and the interiors are chic and modern. Each room can fit three or four people and comes with a private kitchenette. A traditional Turkish breakfast is provided in a nearby cafe, and there are countless restaurants in the area.

Istanbul Beyoğlu Little Prince Hotel – Best Family hotel In Beyoğlu

The Istanbul Booking Price Hotel is an affordable lodging offering single, double, triple and family rooms. Located 600 metres from Taksim Square, it’s in a prime location for exploring some of the city’s best attractions. The hotel has an onsite restaurant and bar for convenient dining with the kids, a shared lounge, a 24-hour front desk, room service, and a free breakfast.

İstanbul Booking Prince Hotel

Rixos Pera Istanbul – Best Luxury hotel In Beyoğlu

Rixos Pera Istanbul

200 metres from the lively Istiklal Avenue, Rixos Pera Istanbul is found in a historic area of the city, surrounded by endless entertainment and shopping options. The hotel has three restaurants, spa facilities, a fitness centre, and even an onsite barber and hairdresser. There are numerous room options, from classically decorated rooms to elegant one and two-bedroom suites. Overlooking the Golden Horn, Rixos Pera is one of the best hotels in Istanbul with sea views.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY: Colorful street with cafe in Cihangir quarter, Beyoglu district

Galata – Best area in Istanbul to stay on a Budget

During your budget-friendly trip to Istanbul, I would suggest stayed in Galata, a historic neighborhood within Beyoğlu. Known for its medieval roots, Galata is famous for the 14th-century Galata Tower.

Galata is Ideal for:

  • Budget-conscious travellers
  • Foodies
  • Solo travelers or couples

What’s Good About Galata:

  • Home to the iconic Galata Tower
  • A variety of budget accommodations
  • Trendy cafes and clubs
  • Close to major attractions and transport options

Why Stay in Galata:

Galata’s hilly landscape adds to its unique character, although it might be challenging for families with strollers or elderly travellers. The area is perfect for nightlife and offers an array of culinary experiences, from traditional Turkish breakfasts to modern dishes.

Galata’s mix of history, nightlife, and shopping, along with affordable accommodation options, made it the perfect choice for my budget trip. The area’s easy access to both modern and historic Istanbul, including the short journey across the Galata Bridge to Eminonou, adds to its appeal as a place to stay.

Things to Do in Galata:

  • Visit the Galata Tower, now a museum offering panoramic city views.
  • Stroll along Istiklal Avenue, a famous shopping street with a mix of historical buildings and modern shops.
  • Cross the Galata Bridge, connecting Beyoğlu to the city’s historic areas, with its vibrant lower level filled with restaurants and walking spaces.
  • Explore the House of Camondo Steps, an architectural gem combining Neo-Baroque and early Art Nouveau styles, popular among Instagram users.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Galata

map of Galata

Galata West Hostel – Best Hostels In Galata

galata west hostel

Considering the incredible location and affordable price, the Galata West Hostel is an amazing place for backpackers or travellers on a budget. This cosy and laid-back hostel has shared dorms and communal areas like a small kitchen, an outdoor terrace, and a lounge and reading area. A paid laundry service and luggage storage are offered, and you can rent a padlock to secure your belongings if you forgot to bring one.

Galata Life Istanbul – Best Budget hotel In Galata

One of the best hotels in Istanbul on a budget is Galata Life Istanbul. Located only 200 metres from the iconic Galata Tower, the hotel’s restaurant and cafe serves homemade bread and pastries, as well as Turkish and international dishes. The casual single and double rooms are simply decorated, with private bathrooms and amenities like free toiletries and an electric kettle.

Galata Life Istanbul

Art Nouveau Galata – Best Mid-range hotel In Galata

Art Nouveau Galata

For a stylish Istanbul accommodation in a central location, you can’t go past Art Nouveau Galata. The inviting entrance has exposed brick walls and an elegant chandelier, while some of the rooms have up-close views of the Galata Tower. If you’re staying more than one night, opt for the suite with a balcony and a kitchenette. Services like laundry, dry cleaning, ironing and airport shuttle are offered, and staff are available 24/7.

Walton Hotels Galata – Best Family hotel In Galata

One of the most contemporary Istanbul accommodations is Walton Hotels Galata. Housed inside an older building, the interiors are well renovated and spacious, with unique art pieces, moody dim lighting, and blackout curtains in each room. The deluxe room with an extra bed fits three people, or you can book connecting family rooms. With views of the Galata Tower and the Golden Horn, the Zula Galata Rooftop Restaurant and Bar is a scenic place to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, or an evening drink.

Walton Hotels Galata

The Bank Hotel Istanbul – Best Luxury hotel In Galata

The Bank Hotel Istanbul, a Member of Design Hotels

Located inside a 19th-century Neo-Renaissance building, the Bank Hotel is one of the most unique places to stay in Istanbul. Each room in this 5-star hotel is designed with calming, earthy tones and includes an espresso machine, a minibar, a rain shower, and L’Occitane amenities. The executive suite also includes a decorative fireplace, a lounge area, and a French-style balcony with gorgeous views. The restaurant offers an elegant dining experience, and the onsite spa is a convenient place to get a relaxing massage.

Aerial view of Galata tower in Istanbul

Karaköy – Coolest place to stay in Istanbul

I was drawn to Karaköy, situated north of the Golden Horn and along the harbor. It’s one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods, having transformed from an area of workshops and traditional bakeries into a hub of cafes, galleries, and boutiques.

Karaköy is Ideal for:

  • Art and culture lovers
  • Foodies, especially people who love seafood
  • People who enjoy exploring on foot
  • Those interested in a mix of traditional and contemporary experiences

What’s Good About Karaköy:

  • Vibrant art and gallery scene
  • Wide selection of cafes and restaurants
  • Proximity to the harbor for ferry rides
  • Blend of historical and modern architecture

Why Stay in Karaköy:

Karaköy’s evolution into a modern, artistic neighborhood with its Ottoman-era houses and street art is fascinating. The area is famous for its seafood, thanks to the local fish market.

Staying in Karaköy allowed me to experience a blend of Istanbul’s rich history and its modern artistic pulse.

From exploring the art-filled alleyways to enjoying fresh seafood, my time in Karaköy was a highlight of my trip. The easy access to ferry transport made it simple to explore more of Istanbul, adding to the appeal of Karaköy as a cool and culturally rich place to stay.

Things to Do in Karaköy:

  • Take a Karaköy Art Walking Tour to discover the neighborhood’s art galleries and street art.
  • Explore the modern art scene at galleries like SALT Galata.
  • Enjoy people-watching at sidewalk cafes and outdoor terraces during warm weather.
  • Experience a ferry ride from one of the two ports in Karaköy, a unique way to travel between Europe and Asia.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Karaköy

Map of Karaköy

Hostel Le Banc – Best Hostels In Karaköy

Hostel Le Banc

Looking for the coolest hostels in Istanbul? Hostel Le Banc has a welcoming and social vibe, with plenty of group activities and dinner parties organised by the staff. If you’re a solo traveller, you definitely won’t feel lonely here! There are both mixed and female-only dorms, plus cosy double rooms with a private bathroom. The kitchen, dining and lobby areas look stylish and modern, in addition to being kept very clean.

Genoa Port Hotel – Best Budget hotel In Karaköy

The budget-friendly Genoa Port Hotel is a simple yet comfortable place to stay in Istanbul’s Karakoy area. Each room has a smart TV, a wardrobe, tea and coffee facilities, and a private bathroom. The hotel also offers a shared lounge, laundry, 24-hour front desk, room service, and decent WiFi. There are plenty of surrounding cafes and restaurants to get a Turkish breakfast and a cup of coffee. If you need any local tips or recommendations, the friendly staff are always happy to help you out.

Genoa Port Hotel

Nabu Hotel Karaköy – Best Mid-range hotel In Karaköy

Nabu Hotel Karaköy

Nabu Hotel Karaköy is a modern, stylish and spacious place to stay in Istanbul without overspending. Book a cosy double room with a green balcony, or splurge a little on the chic penthouse room. The hotel restaurant is open all day, and the classy bar and lounge is the perfect place to enjoy a drink or two. The Tophane tram stop is close by, so you’ll find it easy to get back to your room after a long day of seeing the sights.

P Galata Hotel – Best Family hotel In Karaköy

Located on a relatively quiet street in such a busy area, P Galata Hotel is ideal for a family-friendly stay. The family rooms include a king-size bed with two singles, as well as a lounge area with a TV and a fully-stocked minibar. The clean and modern bathrooms have a walk-in shower, with a decent amount of counter space for everyone’s toiletries. Families can make the most of the breakfast buffet served downstairs and gain some energy for the day ahead.

P Galata Hotel - Special Category

10 Karakoy Istanbul – Best Luxury hotel In Karaköy

10 Karakoy

For a peaceful and comfortable stay in one of Istanbul’s up-and-coming areas, 10 Karakoy is a wonderful choice. Some of the modern room options include premier balcony rooms, connecting family rooms, and the penthouse and rooftop suites. All rooms include luxurious furniture, while the premium choices are more spacious and have furnished terraces with unforgettable views. The hotel has an onsite restaurant and bar open throughout the day, and offers services like laundry and ironing.

Istanbul, Turkey - Galata Tower, Karakoy district and Golden Horn skyline in Istanbul, Turkey

Kabatas – Where to stay in Istanbul for Couples

During a romantic getaway to Istanbul, I’d highly recommend that you choose Kabataş, a quaint neighborhood in the Beyoğlu district. Its location on the main tram line makes it easy to reach popular tourist spots like the Grand Bazaar and Hagia Sophia.

Kabataş is Ideal for:

  • Couples looking for a romantic stay
  • Lovers of culture and museums
  • Shoppers interested in specialty stores
  • Luxury travellers

What’s Good About Kabataş:

  • Quiet, less touristy area
  • Easy access to major attractions via tram
  • Streets lined with unique shops and eateries
  • Home to some of the best museums in Istanbul

Why Stay in Kabataş:

Kabataş combines the charm of a quieter neighborhood with the convenience of being close to Istanbul’s historic heart. Its streets, filled with specialty shops and cozy coffee shops, create a lovely atmosphere for couples.

Kabataş offers a blend of cultural exploration and intimate moments. The neighborhood’s museum-rich environment and its mix of shops and eateries along streets like Istiklal Caddesi made it an ideal choice for a couple’s retreat in Istanbul.

Things to Do in Kabataş:

  • Visit museums like the Pera Museum, The Museum of Innocence, and the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art.
  • Stroll along Yeni Çarşı Street and Istiklal Caddesi for shopping and dining.
  • Explore the Museum of Illusions for a fun experience.
  • Enjoy the area’s upmarket hotels, perfect for a luxurious stay.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Kabatas

map of Kabatas

Jumba Hostel – Best Hostels In Kabatas

Jumba Hostel

Jumba Hostel is a laid-back, older accommodation with colourful walls and homey shared spaces. Depending on your budget, you can stay in a dorm or a private room with communal bathrooms. You’ll have access to a kitchen with a microwave and a kettle to make tea or coffee, a cosy lounge area and a rooftop terrace. The staff are also great at communicating and welcoming you to the area.

Asmali Pera Hotel – Best Budget hotel In Kabatas

Couples who love to socialise while also travelling on a budget will enjoy staying at Asmali Pera Hotel. With a shared lounge and a bar, it’s easy to strike up a conversation with fellow travellers. While the rooms themselves are quite minimal, the halls and stairways are filled with interesting artworks. Each double and triple room comes with a minibar, tea and coffee facilities, a TV and AC, as well as a private bathroom.

Asmali Pera Hotel

The Story Hotel Pera – Best Mid-range hotel In Kabatas

The Story Hotel Pera

Wondering where to stay in Istanbul for couples without breaking the bank? The Story Hotel Pera offers elegance at a great price. This stunning building near Istiklal Avenue has modern interiors, with high ceilings and wooden furnishings. Stay in a terrace room with sea views and a kitchenette, or a spacious duplex studio with a fireplace. You can easily grab breakfast across the road, and contact the staff at any time to ask for recommendations.

Richmond Istanbul – Best Family hotel In Kabatas

For couples and families, Richmond Istanbul offers a convenient and comfortable stay. Located right on Istiklal Avenue, this hotel is ideal for anyone who wants to do some shopping and be among the action. The connecting family rooms have modern bathrooms and warm decor, and can accommodate up to six people. Deluxe double and triple rooms with views of the Bosphorus are available too. Get a workout in at the gym, and dig into a buffet breakfast served in the dining area.

Richmond Istanbul

 The Westist Hotel & Spa – Best Luxury hotel In Kabatas

The Westist Hotel & Spa

The Westist Hotel & Spa is one of the best places to stay in Istanbul for couples on a romantic holiday. The calming, minimalist rooms are a direct contrast to the quirky and eclectic lobby, offering a peaceful haven away from the busy city. The hotel has great facilities, including a Middle Eastern restaurant and a wellness centre with a sauna, hammam and massage services.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - View on the bank of Bosporus Strait with touristic boat departing from Kabatas ferry terminal in front of Dolmabahce Mosque in Beyoglu district of Istanbul

Sirkeci – Where to stay in Istanbul near the Ferry Terminal

Staying in Sirkeci, a neighborhood within the larger Eminonu district, known for its ferry terminals. Located across the water from Karakoy, Sirkeci offers easy access to many of Istanbul’s top tourist attractions, including the Grand Bazaar.

Sirkeci is Ideal for:

  • Travellers wanting quick ferry access
  • Those interested in exploring both Asian and European sides of Istanbul
  • History and culture enthusiasts

What’s Good About Sirkeci:

  • Multiple busy ferry terminals
  • Close to major attractions like the Grand Bazaar
  • Accommodations for various budgets
  • Rich in historical significance

Why Stay in Sirkeci:

Sirkeci’s location makes it perfect for those planning to travel between Istanbul’s Asian and European sides. Its ferry terminals allow for easy and quick transportation.

Staying in Sirkeci makes your trip convenient, especially for early morning ferry rides and late-night returns.

The neighborhood’s mix of historical sites like the Hodjapasha Cultural Center and modern amenities within a traditional setting provided a unique and enjoyable experience. The variety of hotels across different budgets also made it easy to find a place that suited my needs.

Things to Do in Sirkeci:

  • Watch the Whirling Dervishes Show at Hodjapasha Cultural Center, a historical Ottoman spa.
  • Visit the Sirkeci Station, the historic final stop of the Orient Express.
  • Enjoy the proximity to Gülhane Park and Topkapi Palace.
  • Explore the local area, rich in history and cultural experiences.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Sirkeci

Map of Sirkeci

Istanbul Harmony Hostel – Best Hostels In Sirkeci

Istanbul Harmony Hostel

The Istanbul Harmony Hostel is a budget-friendly accommodation with simple twin, double and triple rooms, as well as shared eight-bed dorms. Conveniently located near a tram stop and the beautiful Gulhane Park, the property has great views from the Ottoman-style rooftop bar, where you can smoke hookah or order a refreshing drink.

Turvan Hotel – Best Budget hotel In Sirkeci

If you need cheap accommodation in Istanbul near the ferry terminal, Turvan Hotel is one of the most convenient and affordable places to stay. Located in an older building close to top historical attractions and delicious restaurants, the hotel offers a free breakfast and can organise affordable transfers for you. Traditional single, double and triple rooms are available, with air-conditioning, heating, a private bathroom and 24-hour room service.

Turvan Hotel

Istanbul Sirkeci Hotel – Best Mid-range hotel In Sirkeci

Istanbul Sirkeci Hotel

A lovely mid-range accommodation between the Spice Bazaar and the Blue Mosque is Istanbul Sirkeci Hotel. With a 24-hour reception, the staff are always available to organise airport transfers, car rentals and more. Free tea and coffee is always ready, and a Turkish breakfast is served every morning. The single, double, triple, quadruple and family rooms all have a decent amount of space, with private bathrooms and amenities like a minibar and an electric kettle.

Viva Deluxe Hotel – Best Family hotel In Sirkeci

One of the best places to stay with family in Sirkeci is the Viva Deluxe Hotel. The quadruple and five-person family rooms are designed in earthy tones with tasteful turquoise or crimson decor. A buffet breakfast is served every morning, and the onsite bar has a family-friendly atmosphere, offering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Viva Deluxe Hotel

Legacy Ottoman Hotel – Best Luxury hotel In Sirkeci

Legacy Ottoman Hotel

For world class views in an elegant, traditional setting, stay at Legacy Ottoman Hotel. Set in a charming Byzantine-style building, this hotel offers great facilities, including an indoor pool, a hot tub, a hammam, a sauna, and a cold plunge pool. Relaxing massage treatments are available too. Enjoy a meal at the onsite Teras Restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus and have a drink at the rooftop bar. Each room and suite is very spacious, with amazing views too.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY: Sirkeci district in historical part of Istanbul and view on Sirkeci railway station and Bosphorus

Laleli – Best area to stay in Istanbul for Students

Staying in Laleli, located in the historic Eminonu district within the larger Fatih area. The neighborhood offers a range of accommodations from hostels to luxury hotels, making it an ideal choice for students.

Laleli is Ideal for:

  • Students travellers
  • Budget-conscious visitors
  • Those interested in history and architecture

What’s Good About Laleli:

  • Variety of accommodation options
  • Convenient tram and bus connections
  • Close to the University of Istanbul and its historic buildings
  • Abundance of shops and local eateries

Why Stay in Laleli:

Laleli’s location near the University of Istanbul, dating back to 1453, adds a unique historical aspect to the stay. Its blend of modern amenities and historical charm makes it a special place to stay in Istanbul.

Staying in Laleli is an enriching experience for students. The neighborhood’s mix of historical sites like the Laleli Mosque, the university’s beautiful campus, and the streets lined with shops and cafes provided a perfect balance between learning and leisure.

The easy access to public transportation also made exploring Istanbul convenient and enjoyable.

Things to Do in Laleli:

  • Explore the University of Istanbul and admire its historic architecture.
  • Visit the Laleli Mosque, a notable 18th-century Ottoman structure with beautiful architecture.
  • Enjoy the local bazaars and clothes stores for shopping.
  • Relax in the mosque’s courtyard and appreciate its stained-glass windows.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Laleli

map of Laleli

İstanbul Terrace Hotel – Best Budget hotel In Laleli

With shared dorms and private double, twin and triple rooms, Istanbul Terrace Hotel offers simple, convenient lodging. A buffet breakfast is served downstairs, and rooms include tea and coffee facilities and a minibar. If you’re visiting during summer, the rooftop area is opened up for you to enjoy.

İstanbul Terrace Hotel

Dosso Dossi Hotels Laleli – Best Mid-range hotel In Laleli

Dosso Dossi Hotels Laleli

Dosso Dossi Hotels Laleli is the best place to stay in Istanbul for students getting to know the area. Cosy double and twin rooms are available, with modern bathrooms, free toiletries, a wardrobe, tea and coffee facilities, and more. Certain rooms come with a peaceful garden terrace, and a simple breakfast is served daily.

Pisa Hotel – Best Family hotel In Laleli

Pisa Hotel is a conveniently located accommodation in the heart of Istanbul’s Laleli district. The hotel offers comfortable double and twin rooms and family suites with renovated bathrooms. The prices are affordable, and the staff are really helpful, with rooms cleaned daily. The breakfast is delicious too, so make sure you don’t wake up too late!

Pisa Hotel

DoubleTree By Hilton Istanbul – Old Town – Best Luxury hotel In Laleli

DoubleTree By Hilton Istanbul - Old Town

The stylish DoubleTree By Hilton Istanbul – Old Town is a luxurious place to stay while getting to know the city. Conveniently located in front of the Laleli tram stop, the hotel has a cosy restaurant, a funky bar, a spa and hammam, an on-site beauty salon, and a 24-hour fitness centre. The standard rooms and king suites are very modern and comfortable, and there are thoughtful extras here everywhere you turn, beginning with the DoubleTree welcome cookies at reception.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - Street view at Laleli in the Fatih district of Istanbul. Laleli-Moschee in background

Nisantasi – Best neighborhood for Luxury Travellers

Nişantaşı, located in the Sisli district just north of Beyoğlu. Known for its upscale hotels, Nişantaşı combines designer shopping, beautiful green spaces, and high-end accommodations.

Nişantaşı is Ideal for:

  • Luxury travellers
  • Shoppers interested in designer brands
  • Foodies seeking modern cuisine

What’s Good About Nişantaşı:

  • Home to local and international designer boutiques
  • Serene city parks like Maçka Demokrasi Parkı
  • Premium hotels like the Hyatt and InterContinental
  • Blend of Turkish and international cuisine in stylish settings

Why Stay in Nişantaşı:

Nişantaşı is a fantastic choice for those who appreciate the finer things in life, offering a mix of luxury shopping and elegant dining experiences.

The neighborhood’s blend of high-end shopping, fine dining, and beautiful architecture, along with its serene parks, provided a truly upscale experience in Istanbul.

The presence of famous fashion boutiques and stylish restaurants in Art Nouveau buildings made Nişantaşı an ideal destination for luxury travelers.

Things to Do in Nişantaşı:

  • Shop at designer boutiques featuring brands like Christian Louboutin, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Armani.
  • Take the Taşkışla station gondola lift for city views.
  • Dine in modern restaurants set in Art Nouveau buildings.
  • Stroll along the large sidewalks of Abdi İpekçi Street, lined with cafes.
  • Explore the peaceful walking paths in Maçka Park.
  • Visit the Ihlamur Palace, a former imperial summer pavilion from the Ottoman Empire.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Nisantasi

Map of Nisantasi

Taksim Hostel Green House Istanbul – Best Hostels In Nisantasi

Taksim Hostel Green House Istanbul

For travellers seeking a comfortable stay on a limited budget, Taksim Hostel Green House Istanbul is a good option to consider. While there are shared dorms with privacy curtains, the double rooms and one-bedroom apartments offer a comfortable and modern space to call your own. All guests are free to use the shared kitchen, or you can pop into the cafe-bar. If you arrive before check-in, the staff can easily store your luggage for you.

Roomers Nisantasi – Best Budget hotel In Nisantasi

Roomers Nisantasi is an affordable yet contemporary accommodation. The nicely renovated double rooms have air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV, tea and coffee facilities, and clean, modern bathrooms. Plus, the WiFi here is excellent, so you won’t have any trouble staying connected. The hotel has a shared lounge, a concierge service, a 24-hour front desk, and daily housekeeping.

Roomers Nisantasi

Gallery Residence & Hotel Nişantaşı – Best Mid-range hotel In Nisantasi

Gallery Residence & Hotel Nişantaşı

Gallery Residence & Hotel Nişantaşı is an affordably-priced gem. Many of the rooms and suites include a private kitchen and living area, with the quadruple room fitting up to six people. If you’re travelling solo or with your partner, there is a bright and airy double room on the top floor, with a lovely private balcony to enjoy your morning coffee on. The bellboy will help you bring your luggage up, and staff are available 24/7. Don’t forget to visit the hotel’s sauna and hot tub to relax and unwind.

Mas Suites Nisantasi – Best Family hotel In Nisantasi

Mas Suites Nisantasi is one of the best hotels to stay in Istanbul for families who like to travel in style and comfort. The two-bedroom suites fit up to four people, while the connecting family rooms can accommodate eight guests. Each option is very roomy, with a private kitchen and a living area, so everyone can have their own space. Breakfast is delivered to your room each morning, and there is an onsite coffee shop. Packed lunches are available too if you want to have a picnic together. 

Mas Suites Nisantasi

The St. Regis Istanbul – Best Luxury hotel In Nisantasi

The St. Regis Istanbul

The St Regis is considered by many to be the best luxury hotel in Istanbul. With a 24-hour butler service and friendly staff, you will feel well taken care of here. The hotel has a rooftop restaurant, a delightful spa, a bar with vintage champagnes and an international wine list, a French brasserie, and an indoor pool. Contemporary paintings and sculptures by Turkish artists are featured throughout the rooms and suites, which include amenities like a Nespresso machine and electronic curtain controls.

Istanbul Turkey - The mosque of Nisantasi Tesvikiye

Ortakoy – Where to stay in Istanbul to Live like a Local

On my journey to experience Istanbul like a local, I chose to stay in Ortakoy, located in the Besiktas district. This neighborhood, north of Nisantasi and near the Bosphorus Strait, offers a blend of lively local culture and scenic waterfront views.

Ortakoy is Ideal for:

  • Travellers seeking a local experience
  • Those looking for affordable long-term stays
  • Foodies interested in street food
  • People interested in mingling with locals

What’s Good About Ortakoy:

  • Waterfront location next to the Bosphorus Strait
  • Lively atmosphere with cafes and eateries
  • Variety of accommodation options, including mid-range hotels
  • Proximity to the Martyrs Bridge

Why Stay in Ortakoy:

Ortakoy’s local vibe, coupled with its beautiful location by the water, makes it a great place to immerse yourself in Istanbul’s daily life.

My stay in Ortakoy allowed me to mingle with locals, enjoy traditional street foods like kumpir, and marvel at the architectural beauty of places like the Ortakoy Mosque and the Çırağan Palace.

The neighborhood’s mix of historic sites, bustling square, and local charm provided an authentic and enjoyable Istanbul experience.

Things to Do in Ortakoy:

  • Visit the Ortakoy Mosque, known for its stunning architecture.
  • Explore the busy Ortakoy Square for handcrafted jewelry and street food.
  • Enjoy the waterfront cafes and spontaneous music in the square.
  • Stay at the historic Çırağan Palace Kempinski, a former Ottoman palace turned luxury hotel.
  • Discover the beauty of the Esma Sultan Mansion, a historical venue for events.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Ortakoy

Map of Ortakoy

Ortaköy Suites Hotel – Best Budget hotel In Ortakoy

Ortaköy Suites Hotel is located in the best area to stay in Istanbul if you want to feel like a local. Each single, double, triple and quadruple room includes a private kitchen with cooking utensils, a wardrobe and a private bathroom. The 24-hour front desk can organise airport transfers at any time, or help you out with any issues. Only 100 metres from the shores of the Bosphorus, this hotel is in a peaceful area, surrounded by local cafes, bars and restaurants.

Ortaköy Suites Hotel

Berfinn Hotel Ortaköy – Best Mid-range hotel In Ortakoy

Berfinn Hotel Ortaköy

Located right by the Ortakoy ferry wharf and the Grand Mecidiye Mosque, Berfinn Hotel Ortaköy is a modern accommodation at a decent price. The hotel offers laundry, daily housekeeping, airport transfers, a shared lounge, and a 24-hour front desk. The double rooms come with modern bathrooms and simple amenities like tea and coffee facilities. The large windows let in plenty of natural light and face a quiet street.

Nevv Bosphorus Hotel & Suites – Best Family hotel In Ortakoy

The Nevv Bosphorus Hotel & Suites is a family-friendly accommodation with clean, contemporary rooms and suites. The deluxe junior suite comes with modern decor, an extra sofa bed, tall windows with views of Ortakoy Mosque and the Bosphorus Bridge, a private kitchenette with a Nespresso machine, and a pillow menu. Enjoy breakfast in the dining hall, and contact the concierge at any time.

Nevv Bosphorus Hotel & Suites

Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul – Best Luxury hotel In Ortakoy

Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul

The Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus is one of the best hotels in Istanbul for a luxurious stay. Located on the waterfront, this one-of-a-kind hotel offers spectacular service, contemporary design, and breathtaking views of the Bosphorus. Enjoy access to private terraces overlooking the water, a fitness centre, two swimming pools, a world class spa, a shared lounge, a central garden, two restaurants and a bar. Stay in a one or two-bedroom suite, a family room, or a spacious king or twin room with a peaceful courtyard.

The Bosphorus bridge, Ortakoy Mosque and turkish tea, Istanbul

Moda –  Where to stay in Istanbul for Foodies

On my culinary adventure in Istanbul, I stayed in Moda, a neighborhood in the large district of Kadikoy on the city’s eastern side. Overlooking the stunning skyline of Istanbul’s Old City, Moda stands out with its laidback atmosphere and seaside charm.

Moda is Ideal for:

  • Foodies
  • Budget travellers
  • Visitors who enjoy parks and museums
  • Nightlife lovers

What’s Good About Moda:

  • Offers a view of Istanbul’s Old City skyline
  • Thriving with parks and produce markets
  • Nightlife along Kadife Street
  • Accessible ferry terminal
  • Affordable accommodation options

Why Stay in Moda:

Moda’s combination of culinary delights, scenic promenade, and cultural venues makes it a haven for food lovers and those who appreciate a great atmosphere.

My stay in Moda was a feast for the senses, especially for a foodie like me. The neighborhood’s mix of traditional markets, cozy cafes, and cultural landmarks, along with its vibrant nightlife and affordable accommodations, made it an ideal base to explore the culinary and cultural delights of Istanbul.

Things to Do in Moda:

  • Explore the diverse cafes and restaurants along the promenade.
  • Visit the Baris Manco Museum, dedicated to the famous musician.
  • Enjoy performances at the luxurious Sureyya Opera House and Moda Boathouse Event Hall.
  • Stroll in the parks and picnic areas along the coast.
  • Discover the architecture and history of the Süreyya Opera House, designed by Kegham Kavafyan.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Moda

Map of Moda

Moda Hostel – Best Hostels In Moda

Moda Hostel

Moda Hostel is a budget-friendly accommodation suiting all types of travellers on a budget. The hostel includes mixed dorms with privacy curtains, individual reading lights and lock boxes, as well as private double and family rooms. If you’re travelling in a big group, you can also book out an entire dorm room. All guests can enjoy the garden, bar, shared kitchen and laundry, and play some games like darts.

Juliet Rooms & Kitchen – Best Budget hotel In Moda

Wondering where to stay in Istanbul for food on a budget? Save some money by staying at Juliet Rooms & Kitchen so you can spend extra eating out at amazing restaurants. Located in a peaceful area of Moda near the seaside, the twin and double rooms are modern and comfortable, and the dorms are well designed, with areas to hang your clothes, curtains for privacy, and reading lights. The property has a beautiful garden and terrace area, where you can enjoy breakfast and a cup of Turkish tea. The restaurant also serves lunch and dinner.

Juliet Rooms & Kitchen

Red Stone Hotel – Best Mid-range hotel In Moda

Red Stone Hotel

The Red Stone Hotel is a low-key accommodation close to the Kadikoy tram and subway stations, as well as the ferry wharf. There are double and family rooms available, plus spacious suites with modern bathrooms, a beautiful furnished balcony and sea views. The onsite cafe on the ground floor has outdoor seating and is a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee, eat some breakfast and people watch.

Hotel Bossuite Kadikoy – Best Family hotel In Moda

The family-friendly Hotel Bossuite Kadikoy offers easy access to the city’s top attractions, restaurants, cafes and bars. The hotel features comfortable double and triple rooms, with cots available for children under three. The rooms include amenities like tea and coffee, a wardrobe, and a fully-stocked minibar, and certain rooms include balconies with city views. With a shared lounge, a garden, a restaurant and a bar, there are plenty of areas to relax here while you’re not out exploring Istanbul.

Hotel Bossuite Kadikoy

DoubleTree By Hilton Istanbul – Moda – Best Luxury hotel In Moda

DoubleTree By Hilton Istanbul - Moda

Close to the Kadikoy ferry port and metro station, the DoubleTree By Hilton Istanbul – Moda is the best hotel location in Istanbul for luxury, shopping, and cafe hopping. This contemporary hotel offers a range of facilities and amenities to ensure a relaxing and enjoyable stay, including a rooftop infinity pool and bar, a Turkish hammam, a spa service offering massages and a sauna, and three different dining options. The spacious rooms and suites fit all types of travellers, from couples to families, and most include views of the sea.

Moda,istanbul,Turkey-General view from Moda pier in istanbul.One of the symbols of Kadıköy, the historical Moda Pier built 100 years ago by architect Vedat Tek.

Uskudar – Where to stay in Istanbul off the Beaten Path

In my quest to explore Istanbul’s less-beaten paths, I fell in love with Uskudar, a large district on the city’s eastern side. This mostly residential area, brimming with restaurants and bars, offering a unique perspective of Istanbul.

Uskudar is Ideal for:

  • Travellers looking for a less touristy experience
  • Visitors looking for residential and suburban settings
  • History and architecture enthusiasts

What’s Good About Uskudar:

  • Diverse neighborhoods with different vibes
  • Beautiful waterfront views
  • Historical sites like the Maiden’s Tower and Beylerbeyi Palace
  • Proximity to the Bosphorus strait

Why Stay in Uskudar:

Uskudar provides a more authentic and quieter experience compared to the busy western side of Istanbul. It’s perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in the local scene.

During my stay, Uskudar’s charm lay in its combination of scenic beauty, historical landmarks, and a quieter, local experience.

Whether strolling along the waterfront or discovering historical gems like the Maiden’s Tower, Uskudar offered a unique and enriching visit, making it a great choice for those looking to stay off the usual tourist trail in Istanbul.

Things to Do in Uskudar:

  • Explore the Selamsız neighborhood for a lively atmosphere and great views.
  • Visit the serene and suburban Kuzguncuk.
  • Check out the Maiden’s Tower, a historical landmark and former lighthouse.
  • Tour the Beylerbeyi Palace, an impressive Ottoman-era structure.

Here’s My List Of Places To Stay In Uskudar

Map of Uskudar

The Bosphorus House – Best Budget hotel In Uskudar

For a self-catering studio or suite on a budget, the Bosphorus House is a great option. Located in Uskudar on the Asian side of the city, this location allows you to have a spacious room for a fraction of the price. All room options include private kitchens and living areas, with charming floral wallpaper. There is security and staff at the front desk 24/7, and an elevator to access the studios.

The Bosphorus House

Mercure Istanbul Altunizade – Best Mid-range hotel In Uskudar

Mercure Istanbul Altunizade

The Mercure Istanbul Altunizade is the perfect mid-range accommodation in Uskudar. The hotel features relaxing facilities like a spa centre with a heated indoor pool, a Turkish hammam, a sauna and a gym. Starting with the daily breakfast buffet, delicious Turkish cuisine is served all day long, with an onsite bar as well. The comfortable rooms offer plenty of space, and the suites include a kitchenette, a living area, a bathtub and a double vanity.

Buem Hotel Koşuyolu – Best Family hotel In Uskudar

For an upscale, family-friendly stay in a local area, the Buem Hotel Koşuyolu is a great choice. This 4-star hotel includes a fitness centre, a restaurant, a concierge service, room service, free private parking, and a shared lounge. The bright and modern deluxe suite is ideal for a family of four, and features a comfortable sofa bed, a kitchenette with a coffee machine, a small dining table, and lots of free toiletries.

Buem Hotel Koşuyolu

Bosphorus Palace Hotel – Best Luxury hotel In Uskudar

Bosphorus Palace Hotel

Not sure where to stay in Istanbul for 3 days? Housed inside a historic Neo-Ottoman building, the luxurious Bosphorus Palace Hotel is one of the most stunning Turkish hotels in Istanbul. Located along the waterfront near the Beylerbeyi ferry wharf, this exclusive accommodation has only 12 rooms, ensuring personalised service throughout your time here. Stay in a classically decorated room or suite with sea views, dine in at the elegant restaurant, and end the evening with a drink at the lobby bar.

Istanbul, Turkey. Sunset over Bosphorus with famous Maiden's Tower (Kiz Kulesi) symbol of Istanbul, Turkey. Scenic travel background.

FAQs About best neighborhoods to stay in istanbul

Choosing between Taksim and Sultanahmet depends on your interests and what you want from your Istanbul visit.

  • Sultanahmet: This is the historical heart of Istanbul, where you’ll find major landmarks like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace. It’s ideal for first-time visitors who want to be immersed in the city’s rich history and culture. The area is relatively quiet at night.
  • Taksim: Known for its vibrant nightlife, Taksim is a modern part of Istanbul that offers a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. It’s a great choice if you enjoy exploring city life and prefer a more contemporary atmosphere.

Both areas have excellent accommodation options and are well-connected by public transport.

The best area to stay in Istanbul for tourists largely depends on your interests:

  • Sultanahmet: For those interested in historical sites and a more traditional experience.
  • Taksim and Beyoğlu: Ideal for nightlife, modern restaurants, shopping, and a more cosmopolitan feel.
  • Galata and Karaköy: Perfect for a blend of history, modern cafes, and art galleries.
  • Ortaköy: Offers a local experience with beautiful waterfront views and charming cafes.

Each of these areas offers easy access to major attractions and a unique experience of Istanbul’s diverse character.

Three days in Istanbul is a decent amount of time to see many of the major attractions but may feel rushed. Here’s a brief breakdown:

  • Day 1: Explore Sultanahmet, visiting the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. Stroll through the Grand Bazaar in the afternoon.
  • Day 2: Visit Taksim Square, enjoy Istiklal Street, and explore the Galata Tower. Spend the evening in Karaköy or along the Bosphorus.
  • Day 3: Take a Bosphorus cruise in the morning. Visit the Dolmabahçe Palace or explore the Asian side of Istanbul in the afternoon.

While this schedule covers many highlights, additional days would allow a more relaxed pace and the opportunity to discover Istanbul’s less-known gems.

Added Extra: Areas to Avoid in Istanbul 

Like every major city in the world, there are unfortunately some parts of Istanbul where crime is more prolific than in other parts.

Of course, as tourists, it’s important that you look after your belongings and use your common sense wherever you go. But there are some areas where you’d be better off not staying.

Tarlabasi and Dolapdere are two of the poorest neighborhoods in Istanbul and they are both near Taksim Square, which is surprisingly one of the richest.

Even local Turkish people will avoid these areas as they are prone to robberies and there are a high number of sex workers in these neighborhoods. As long as you research where they are beforehand, you don’t need to worry about accidentally stumbling into them.

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  • Samantha King

    Sam, a seasoned traveler across four continents and 49 countries, is a leading authority in travel planning. Her website, Travelling King, offers tailored itineraries and expert guides for seamless trips. Sam's expertise in luxury travel, fast travel, and destination guides keeps her at the forefront of the travel community.

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