You may be confused when you check the map to find the best area to stay in Istanbul. Because there are various accommodation options all over Istanbul. While luxury hotels and convention centers attract attention in some parts of Istanbul, there are budget-friendly boutique hotels in other places.
When considering where to stay in Istanbul, the first places that come to mind are; Beyoglu, Besiktas, Sultanahmet (Old City) and Kadikoy. In this article, we will cover these districts that host Istanbul’s tourist attractions.
Best Area to Stay in Istanbul 2022
Our article about best area to stay in Istanbul consists of 4 popular districts. However, I have reserved 12 titles to introduce the four big districts because some spots need to be focused on specifically.
For example, Karakoy, Galata, Cihangir and Taksim Square are the districts of Beyoglu and each of them should be focused on. Likewise, we will go into details for the districts of Fatih (Old City) such as Beyazit, Sultanahmet and Sirkeci.
Hotels to stay in Istanbul are divided into several categories. We will be listing the luxury hotels with Bosphorus view under the title of Besiktas. For boutique hotels close to historical monuments, you can look under the title of Old City. We will list 4 and 5 star centrally located hotels under the title of Beyoglu.
As a tour guide in Istanbul for 15 years, I have picked up my clients from most hotels I listed. In this way, I had the chance to get to know the hotels. I tried to use this experience to explain the best area to stay in Istanbul.
Beyoglu is a district located at the crossroads of the city. It is possible to reach business and shopping areas such as Sisli, Mecidiyekoy and Levent from Taksim Square, the heart of Beyoglu. On the other hand, the most popular walking street of the city, Istiklal Street, is also located in Beyoglu.
There are historical artifacts in Beyoglu, such as the Galata Tower, dating back to the Byzantine period. Beyoglu district extends to the seaside through Karakoy and connects to the Historical Peninsula via Galata Bridge.
Located in the middle of the city’s most important touristic centers, Beyoglu is a place preferred by local and foreign tourists for accommodation. There are many 4 and 5 star hotels in and around Taksim Square.
The Marmara Hotel
The Marmara Hotel located in Taksim Square is among the places to stay in Beyoglu. The Marmara, one of the most popular 5-star hotels in the city, has become the symbol of Taksim. However, this is not the only hotel belonging to The Marmara Group in Beyoglu. There is also “The Marmara Pera” on Mesrutiyet Street.
Speaking of The Marmara Pera Hotel, we should not miss Mikla, one of the best restaurants in Istanbul. Because Mikla, together with 360 Istanbul and Leb-i Derya, is one of the popular restaurants of Beyoglu. In this sense, we can say that Beyoglu district appeals to those who are fond of their taste buds.
Neighborhoods of Beyoglu
In the following few headings of the article, we will continue to review Beyoglu, one of the largest districts of Istanbul. The titles of Taksim Square, Cihangir, Pera, Galata and Karakoy actually cover the neighborhoods of Beyoglu district.
However, since each has its own atmosphere and accommodation style, it would be appropriate to examine these neighborhoods under separate headings. So let’s start digging deeper with Taksim Square.
2. Taksim Square
Taksim Square is one of the most central places to stay in Istanbul. The priority of the tourists visiting Istanbul is to easily reach the shopping areas and historical monuments. In this sense, we can say that the hotels around Taksim Square are perfect.
Best Places to Stay in Taksim
There are dozens of 4 and 5 star hotels in areas such as Lamartin Street, Siraselviler Street and Istiklal Street surrounding Taksim Square. The Marmara Hotel, Divan Hotel and Point Hotel are among the best places to stay in Taksim.
If you like high, scenic and luxurious hotels; Taksim Square is the best neighborhood to stay in Istanbul. However, if you prefer small boutique hotels, we will talk about them in Cihangir title below.
Taksim Square is the best area to stay in Istanbul for shopping in 2022. You can easily reach Istanbul’s shopping centers and streets from Taksim Square.
Cihangir became famous as a district where writers, directors and musicians lived for many years. Although the Moda neighborhood of Kadikoy has recently come to the fore in this regard, Cihangir is still popular.
There are many boutique hotels that emerged from the restoration of old apartments in Cihangir. Each of these hotels, adorned with a very stylish concept, has its own unique atmosphere. If you are someone who does not like 5-star hotels and is looking for a friendly atmosphere, you can take a look at the hotels of this district.
One of the places I can recommend for those who want to stay in Cihangir is Witt Hotel. This hotel, which has a very original decoration, is within walking distance of both Taksim Square and Karakoy.
Cihangir is also a district identified with the name of Nobel laureate writer Orhan Pamuk. The Museum of Innocence, an award-winning museum inspired by the author’s novel, is also located here.
If you stay in Cihangir, you will be close to many places for dinner and nightlife. With these features, Cihangir is the best area to stay in Istanbul for couples.
Pera was Istanbul’s fastest growing district in the last century of the Ottoman Empire. Today, the buildings on Mesrutiyet Street still carry the name “Pera”.
Beyoglu was more commonly known as Pera during the Ottoman period. The consulate buildings and hotels such as Pera Palace, which were opened here in the 1800s, changed the face of the district.
Passengers of the Orient Express departing from Paris and arriving at Sirkeci Train Station in Istanbul would also stay in Pera. At that time, Beyoglu’s heart was beating not in Taksim Square, but in Mesrutiyet Street and its surrounding.
If you start walking on Mesrutiyet Street from the British Consulate, you can still trace that nostalgic period. On the way, you will see luxury hotels such as Rixos Pera, Pera Palace and Soho House. In addition, Pera Museum is also located on this street.
Bearing the traces of the past, Pera stands out among the best places to stay in Istanbul. Because it is very easy to reach Istiklal Street, which is parallel to Mesrutiyet Street. In addition, Asmali Mescit Alley, which connects the two streets, has great eating and drinking options and local taverns.
Galata is one of Beyoglu’s coolest neighborhoods. It is possible to rent beautiful flats with AirBNB in Galata, which has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Galata district, which consists of streets surrounding the Galata Tower, offers good opportunities to tourists. For example, Nardis Jazz Club, one of the best nightclubs in Istanbul, is located here. In addition, Sensus Wine Boutique, one of the best wine houses in the city, also serves here.
Serdar-i Ekrem Street and Galip Dede Street around Galata Tower stand out among the best shopping streets in Istanbul. Because in these streets, various gift shops, art galleries and boutique hotels have opened in recent years.
Best Places to Stay in Galata
Galata Anemon, Bankerhan Hotel and Manesol Galata are among the best places to stay in Galata. If you stay in one of these hotels, you will be staying just walking distance to Galata Tower.
Karakoy has become the fastest growing district in Istanbul in recent years. Because Karakoy serves as a bridge between the Historical Peninsula and Beyoglu. Moreover, Karakoy also hosts Istanbul Cruise Port (Galataport).
It is possible to reach many touristic spots of Istanbul from Karakoy in a very short time. For example, you can walk to the Istanbul Modern Art Museum. In addition, Dolmabahce Palace is very close too.
From Karakoy, you can go to Galata Tower and Istiklal Street, or to the Historical Peninsula in the opposite direction. As you cross the Galata Bridge, you find yourself in Old City and right next to the Spice Bazaar. Of course, from this point on, it is very easy to go to the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet.
It is also possible to have fun and shop without leaving Karakoy. You can shop for clothing at the outlet stores in Karakoy. It is possible to find brands such as North Face, Columbia and Jack Wolfskin at discounted prices.
Restaurants with Bosphorus View
It is also possible to have a dinner overlooking the Golden Horn and Bosphorus in Karakoy. Because restaurants with Bosphorus view such as Murver and Mukellef are located here. The restaurants in Galataport also offer delicious food and an equally beautiful view.
Best Places to Stay in Karakoy
10 Karakoy Istanbul, The House Hotel Karakoy and Novotel are the best places to stay in Karakoy. All three of these hotels are very close to the historical monuments, restaurants and shopping areas I have mentioned above.
With all these features, Karakoy stands out as the best area to stay in Istanbul for tourists. With Galataport coming into service at full capacity, it seems that the food and accommodation options in the district will increase.
7. Istanbul Old City (Fatih)
Istanbul Old City (aka Fatih) carries traces of Istanbul’s Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. For this reason, the most visited historical artifacts and museums of Istanbul are located here.
The Historical Peninsula, known as “Fatih” in the local language, offers rich options for local food and cheap shopping. Because there are traditional shopping places such as the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, as well as shopping malls such as Historia and Olivium.
Turkish Street Food
The Historical Peninsula stands out especially as it represents the Turkish street food in Istanbul. Street food tours, which have become very popular with tourists in recent years, focus on local restaurants in Eminonu (near Spice Bazaar).
Neighborhoods of Old City
We will continue to talk about accommodation options in Istanbul Old City, also known as Historical Peninsula or Fatih, in the following three titles: Sirkeci, Sultanahmet and Beyazit.
Sirkeci (and Eminonu) has a very special place in Istanbul’s history. In the 19th century, Orient Express, which traveled between Paris and Istanbul, used to come to Sirkeci Railway Station. Wealthy tourists from Europe contributed to the development of the neighborhood.
Sirkeci, a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists, has Istanbul’s best dessert shops and centuries-old local restaurants. You can also find the best kokorec and doner shops in Istanbul in the back streets of Eminonu.
Sirkeci is in a position that connects the seaside of the Old City (Eminonu) and the Sultanahmet districts. Therefore, it is crowded during the day. In addition, most of the people coming from the Asian Side with Marmaray get off in Sirkeci.
With all these features, Eminonu on the seafront surrounding Spice Bazaar and Sirkeci, a large square in the district, are the best area to stay in Istanbul Old City. These districts are in a better position than Sultanahmet with their proximity to restaurants and public transportation vehicles.
Best Places to Stay in Sirkeci
Sirkeci Konak, Neorion and Yasmak Sultan stand out among the best places to stay in Sirkeci. The best option for luxury accommodation is the Legacy Ottoman Hotel in Eminonu. This historical building is my favorite as an insider.
Sultanahmet, along with Taksim Square, is the most popular area to stay in Istanbul. Of course, the biggest reason for this is that Istanbul’s most important historical monuments are located here.
In the Sultanahmet district, it is possible to see the legacy of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires that ruled in Istanbul. City’s most important tourist attractions such as Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace are located here.
Ottoman Palace Cuisine
There are also restaurants in Sultanahmet that represent traditional Turkish cuisine very well. Of course, the most famous of these for locals is Sultanahmet Koftecisi. However, in addition to this, there are two famous places such as Deraliye Restaurant and Matbah Restaurant. In these two restaurants, you can experience the flavors of the Ottoman palace cuisine.
Best Places to Stay in Sultanahmet
Small and stylish boutique hotels are among the best places to stay in Sultanahmet. Amira Hotel, Sura Hotel, Empress Zoe Hotel and Levni Hotel stand out among the most popular hotels of recent years. Those who want luxury accommodation can choose the Four Seasons Hotel.
Sultanahmet is the best area to stay in Istanbul for sightseeing in 2022. In addition, its being closed to traffic and being a safe neighborhood makes it the most suitable place for first time visitors.
Beyazit (and Laleli) attract attention with their hotels with large family suites. There are generally small boutique hotels in districts of the Historic Peninsula such as Sirkeci and Sultanahmet. However, if you want to stay close to Sultanahmet and still have large rooms like in Beyoglu and Besiktas, you can choose hotels in Beyazit and Laleli neighborhoods.
Located in Beyazit, the Grand Bazaar is the district’s most important tourist attraction. Covering 67 streets and more than 3000 shops, the Grand Bazaar is a paradise for those who love shopping. You can also shop like locals on Mahmutpasa Street next to the Grand Bazaar.
There are also small surprises for those who are fond of their taste buds in the district. As an example, we can count Donerci Sahin Usta, one of the best doner kebab restaurants in Istanbul.
Best Places to Stay in Beyazit
DoubleTree by Hilton Istanbul Old Town, Crowne Plaza Istanbul Old City and Holiday Inn Istanbul Old City are the best places to stay in Beyazit. These hotels have large rooms and are the best places to stay in Istanbul with family.
Besiktas is the place where the most beautiful hotels on the Bosphorus are located. If you want to watch the unique view of the Bosphorus from your room, you can choose the hotels in Besiktas and Ortakoy.
The beauty of Besiktas did not go unnoticed by the Ottoman sultans. As a result, they built magnificent buildings such as Dolmabahce Palace, Yildiz Palace and Ciragan Palace in this district. Ciragan Palace serves today as a hotel under the Kempinski group.
Besiktas district has everything a tourist visiting Istanbul could look for. Because the city’s best nightclubs are located in Ortakoy. Besiktas is also a place that offers very rich options for eating and drinking. Because Vogue, Nusr-et and Sunset Grill & Bar are located within the borders of this district.
Of course, you don’t have to go to these luxurious restaurants to have a meal in Besiktas. Because there is also a famous doner kebab restaurant like Karadeniz Doner (Asim Usta) in the Besiktas Fish Market. In addition, there are many fish restaurants and taverns.
Best Places to Stay in Besiktas
Shangri-la Bosphorus Istanbul, Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus, Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus and Ciragan Palace Kempinski are the best places to stay in Besiktas. These hotels I mentioned are also among the most luxurious hotels in Istanbul.
Besiktas is the best area to stay in Istanbul for nightlife in 2022. Because the areas with the best nightclubs in Istanbul such as Sisli, Taksim and Ortakoy are within a few minutes of taxi drive to Besiktas.
Kadikoy stands out as the best area to stay on the Asian Side of Istanbul. Kadikoy, which is spread over a very wide area, is the kind of place that can meet every need of tourists like the previous Besiktas.
For example, Kadikoy Fish Market is one of the indispensable stops of food tours. Because Ciya Restaurant, one of the best Turkish restaurants in Istanbul, is located here. In addition, there are also wonderful places where you can taste traditional delicacies such as kokorec, doner and lahmacun.
Boutique Coffee Shops
Kadikoy also has Istanbul’s best boutique coffee shops (especially in Moda). There is also Asuman, one of the most popular patisseries of recent years. Also, if you want to have a great Turkish breakfast in Istanbul, you can choose Moda Teras in this neighborhood.
Nightlife in Istanbul
Kadikoy has also become the center of nightlife in Istanbul in recent years. Especially around Kadife Sokak, there are bars that represent a wide variety of music genres. There are many options for those who like Rock, Jazz, Blues and House music.
Best Places to Stay in Kadikoy
DoubleTree by Hilton Istanbul Moda and Wyndham Grand Istanbul Kalamis are among the best places to stay in Kadikoy. If you want to have cheap accommodation, you can choose Khalkedon Hotel right next to fish market area.
Kadikoy is one of the most convenient and peaceful districts to live in Istanbul. It is quite safe compared to other places, but despite this, it is a place with a lively nightlife. For this reason, Kadikoy is the best area to stay in Istanbul for solo travelers.
Written by Serhat Engul