Istanbul is a giant enchanting city, where millions of people live, work and play in the many varied neighborhoods. For first-timers, Istanbul can be a confusing place since it’s the only city in the world to sit on two continents. With one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Istanbul is a rapidly moving metropolitan city with a beautiful blend of culture, people, and traditions. In this blog, we’ll discuss the most popular areas of the city where visitors can have a great time.
How to choose where to stay?
Istanbul is a dynamic city with a fusion of traditional and contemporary cultures. There’s a neighborhood in Istanbul to suit every taste. Old neighborhoods are home to ancient churches and temples that are blossoming with new spaces to explore. Before you decide where to stay on your trip to Turkey, go through our guide to the amazing areas of the city.
Sultanahmet: Best for first timers
Sultanahmet is the most popular tourist attraction in the city with iconic sights like Hagia Sophia Church and Blue Mosque. This neighborhood is the cultural and historical heart of the city. For anyone visiting Istanbul for the first time, this is the best place to stay within the twisted streets and charming lanes. You can dine on incredible Turkish and Greek cuisine in the 120-year-old Pandeli followed by walking through the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum and exploring the Basilica Cistern. There also is the Imperial Ottoman Topaki Palace and Istanbul Archaeological Museums with fantastic collections of Greek, Imperial Roman, and Byzantine artifacts. However, budget accommodations are not much available. You have to choose from only mid-range options.
Eminonu/Sirkeci: Best for families
Eminonu area is a chaotic and lively neighborhood with thousands of shops and vendors, religious sites, and working mosques with the biggest attraction being the Grand Bazaar. the 4000 shops of Grand Bazaar are the biggest covered market in Turkey. There are endless Turkish delights, sweets, and treats on offer and of course, the spice bazaar has around 80 shops. Families have always reviewed this as a great choice since the tourist attractions are within a walking distance. Eminonu Square is a wonderful location to experience the busy street life and inexpensive, tasty, and fast Turkish food at family-friendly places. From the Eminonu Pier, you can take a ferry boat to cruise the Bosphorus. You can find many budget-friendly choices for your stay here.
Beyazit: Best for affordable accommodation near main tourist attractions
Beyazit and Laleli lie on the European sides of Istanbul. Beyazıt Square is in the Fatih district offering affordable accommodations close to the main tourist attractions like the Beyazıt II Mosque that lines one-quarter of the area and is a glorious entrance to the Istanbul University and two impressive architectural monuments in a neighborhood that date back 1,700 years.
Suggested video: Tourist attractions in Beyazit
Karakoy: The coolest neighborhood
Lying on the waterside Karakoy is a nightlife spot. The historical fronts are bought and renovated into chic cafes, boutiques and restaurants. Both tourists and locals come on weekends to check out the popularity of this area. There are many unique shops, trendy restaurants, stylish hotels, and a wide range of vendors. You can also explore Kilic Ali Pasha Hamam for a rejuvenating bath. Enjoy Viennese coffee in Karabatak cafe, and walk across the Galata Bridge to Sultanahmet to enjoy breathtaking views of Istanbul. However, this area doesn't offer any budget-friendly accommodation.
Beyoglu: For restaurants, bars, and nightlife
This lively district has some very interesting attractions, one of which is the beloved pedestrianized street Istiklal Caddesi. The immediate attraction is the Galata Tower which offers a fantastic and breathtaking panorama of the city and surrounding areas. There is the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art with an enormous collection of Turkish contemporary paintings. The historic red trams are not to be missed. The Cukurcuma area is for antique lovers. Just be in the area and sure you'll find many hidden gems. Beyoglu is best for budget-conscious travelers because it has everything from a hostel to expensive boutique hotels.
Taksim Square: Best for shopping
Taksim Square is significant leisure and tourism district famous for its hotels, shops, and restaurants and it also hosts the Istanbul Metro network’s central station. You will find an abundance of hotel choices but they are not for budget-friendly visitors still it's the most famous area among travelers.
Sisli: For the upper class, and business stays
Sisli lies on the European side of the city and can be reached by exiting the Bosphorus Bridge and is among the most elite neighborhoods of Istanbul. The majority are upper-class locals, non-muslims, and foreign inhabitants. You'll find numerous old churches, mosques, and Jewish synagogues. Sisli is also a center of finance and business with the largest shopping mall in Europe, Cevahir Mall. The area also boasts many other key venues, buildings, and sites and only hotels for travelers.
Kadikoy: Area of wealthy locals
Kadikoy lies on the Asian side of the city. In ancient times, this neighborhood was its own town called Chalcedon and the area even played host to several important Ecumenical Church Councils during the 400s. This rapidly expanding district boasts a downtown of upscale shopping complete with high-end shops, entertainment spots, fine-dine places, yacht clubs, and marinas. This appealing area will not offer any affordable places to stay.
Moda: Great for staying on budget
Moda is just a ferry ride trip away to the local feel, authenticity, and no pretense. There is Bagdat Avenue, one of the trendiest and most desirable dining and shopping parts of Istanbul. Moda is very famous for its cafeterias and restaurants which are generally crowded. You'll also find yacht clubs, an enormous soccer stadium, and Kadife Street for the nightlife. This is good if you wish to stay in Istanbul on a budget and away from tourist crowds.
Best Area in Istanbul
Looking for the most suitable area to stay on your trips is one big deal, especially on your first visit. The most frequently searched question is "what is the best area in Istanbul?". It's a huge metro city where you can make the most of your trip with a perfect stay. You’ll be able to find a wide range of Here are accommodation opportunities ranging in all budgets.
It is said that the most beautiful part of Istanbul has to be the Sultanahmet neighborhood where the historical landmarks of the city are located. The area has a quaint charm, colorful buildings, and cobblestone streets. Thought the first time visitors are suggested to stay in the city center near the top attractions and within easy reach to public transport. This makes Sultanahmet, Karakoy, and Taksim the best choice.
Try to stay away from the cheap hotels that are far away from the city because most of them will have poor service, you won’t feel comfortable there and you’ll have trouble reaching the city center due to traffic.
The most luxurious areas of Istanbul
Nisantasi is shopping heaven on the European side of the city! It is a residential area that entices Istanbul’s fashionable crowd with its boutiques (selling famous international and local brands) and luxury clothing stores with glorious window displays. Nisantasi is great for outdoor shopping followed by cafés and fancy restaurants. Don’t be surprised if you spot many celebrities here!
Levent is İstanbul’s most modern face with gigantic plazas and shopping centers offering world-renowned, high-end brands and stores. The elites of the city choose to live and shop here. Also, there are many luxury hotels, fine-dining restaurants, and distinguished entertainment venues in the area.
The coastal district on the European shore of the Bosphorus is known to charm visitors with its premium atmosphere. It is perfect for walking along the waterfront along the Bosphorus. The beautiful Bebek park is best for enjoying the sea air and nature. The side streets have quaint coffee shops, boutiques, and restaurants for an unforgettable overlook of the Bosphorus!
Arnavutkoy is famous for its historical wooden mansions overlooking the water. There are plenty of fish restaurants on the coast so if you're someone who loves fish, this is the place for you!
Sarıyer is located in the northernmost region of the Bosphorus. It's the favorite destination of the locals for traditional Turkish breakfasts and weekend getaways! There's Ataturk Arboretum with numerous tree species great for walking, running, and photography. Sarıyer also hosts some of the city's most famous fish restaurants.
Beykoz is another beautiful area by the Bosphorus! This luxurious district is peaceful and quiet. The famous Küçüksu Pavilion and Hidiv Pavilion in Beykoz will captivate you with their intricate architecture and surrounding greenery. You can have a great time at the nearby restaurants with outdoor seating.
Beylerbeyi overlooks beautiful seaside mansions and the people fishing along the Bosporus shore. One must visit Beylerbeyi Palace, a glorious monument of the 19th century with a white marble exterior and fascinating interior tiles. Sit back and sip your tea enjoying the gorgeous view of the Bosphorus or head to the seafood restaurants in the area for a delicious meal.
Istanbul is a true beauty with several interesting areas to explore. Where to go and what to miss is always the hardest choice for visitors. With so many districts on both sides of the Bosphorus, decisions become very hard, especially for someone visiting for the first time. However, if you are interested in investing in real estate in Istanbul, Prime Property Turkey can help you with a carefully selected and huge portfolio. Contact us today and give us a charge to serve you!
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