Where to Stay in Istanbul – What You Need to Know

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, as well as the most populous in the country, and throughout Europe.

This city, which in the past was known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is located in the Bosphorus Strait that separates Europe and Asia, which makes it a transcontinental city that mixes many cultures.
 

Where to Stay in Istanbul - Best Areas and Hotels

Where to Stay in Istanbul – Best Areas and Hotels

Istanbul is the tourist and economic epicentre of Turkey, despite not being the capital of the country.

Among the main attractions to see in Istanbul is Hagia Sophia, a basilica converted into a mosque and, later, a museum that is the symbol of the city par excellence.

Other points of interest worth visiting in Istanbul are the Galata Tower, one of the oldest in the world, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and Topkapi Palace.

This huge city has two airports, of which the most important and closest to the city is the Istanbul International Airport, the main hub of Turkish Airlines.

Its secondary airport is Sabiha Gökçen, located in the Asian part of the city, from where smaller airlines such as Pegasus operate.

It is also possible to reach Istanbul via a cruise through the Greek Islands or Turkey.

When choosing when to travel to Istanbul, you have to take into account that the city has a continental temperate climate, with winters where rains are abundant and there may be snowfall. Therefore, the best time to visit Istanbul is summer, with mostly clear skies that allow you to explore its attractions easily.

Also, the Istanbul transport system includes metro, trams and historic trams, ferry, commuter trains, Fast Transit buses and funiculars.

Among the best areas to stay in Istanbul, Sultanahmet stands out for hosting most of the city’s historical attractions (See accommodation in Sultanahmet). On the other hand, Besiktas is a good option to stay in Istanbul if you want to know the most sophisticated facet of the city and go shopping (See hotels in Besiktas)

Here’s a guide with the best areas to stay in Istanbul.

Accommodation options in Istanbul

Hotels in Istanbul

The best hotels to stay in Istanbul.

Hostels in Istanbul

Hostels and cheap stays in Istanbul.


Apartments

Looking for independence? Book an apartment in Istanbul.

Pensions and B&B

Pensions, B&B and guest houses in Istanbul.

Best areas to stay in Istanbul

1. Best area: Sultanahmet

Sultanahmet is the Historic Centre and heart of Istanbul par excellence.

It is the best area to stay in Istanbul for sightseeing, as it is a short distance from iconic attractions such as Hagia Sophia, a building full of history that is open as a museum nowadays, after being both a Christian church and a mosque in the past.

Other attractions of this district are the Blue Mosque, located just in front of Hagia Sophia, the majestic Topkapi Palace and the Yerebatán Cistern, to name just a few.

The Historic Centre of Sultanahmet has a wide variety of hotels for all tastes. However, it should be taken into account that, as it is one of the favourite areas of visitors, accommodation here is usually more expensive than in other places in Istanbul.

This is also the area with the best connections in Istanbul, as it has several bus stops, tram and other means of public transport that make going to other corners of the city, not a complicated task.

Staying in the Historic Centre of Istanbul is the best idea for a first visit because of its proximity to the attractions, as well as for the beautiful sunsets that you can see from this area.

Best areas to stay in Istanbul - Near Hagia Sophia

Best areas to stay in Istanbul – Near Hagia Sophia

Istanbul - Sultanahmet - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Sultanahmet – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Heart of the city
  • Best area for sightseeing
  • Good area for shopping
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Good restaurants
  • Great transport connections
  • Pedestrian-friendly

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Amiral Palace Hotel is located in the centre of the historic Sultanahmet peninsula, a 5-minute walk from Hagia Sophia. It offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and a Turkish restaurant. – from €69.

  • Budget Option

    Dedem Hotel offers air-conditioned rooms and a rooftop restaurant, overlooking the Marmara. It is located in the Sultanahmet district and 350 metres from Hagia Sophia. – from €29.

  • Midrange Option

    Kupeli Hotel is a modern hotel located in the historic area of Sultanahmet, 400 metres from the lively Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. This non-smoking property features a rooftop terrace and free Wi-Fi. – from €49.

  • Luxury Option

    DoubleTree By Hilton Istanbul – Old Town offers modern air-conditioned rooms and is located in the centre of the Sultanahmet district, a 5-minute walk from the Grand Bazaar. There is a Turkish bath, 24-hour room service and a place to eat outdoors. – from €119 .

 

 

 

2. Karakoy & Gálata

Karakoy and Galata are two hipsters neighbourhoods of Istanbul and are located north of Sultanahmet, across the Golden Horn and the Galata Bridge.

This area mixes modernity with history, being one of the first districts of the city. Here, you can choose from a significant percentage of cafes, restaurants, fashion stores and art galleries.

Among the attractions found in both Karakoy and Galata, the Galata Tower, one of the oldest towers in the world, deserves a special mention. From the top of the tower, you get the best views of Istanbul, ideal for photography lovers.

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, the Jewish Museum and the Church of San Antonio de Padua, the largest Roman Catholic church in the city, are other points of interest that can be visited in Galata.

Karakoy and Galata are among the best areas to stay in Istanbul for young travellers, thanks to its charming boutique hotels, shops of all kinds and excellent public transport connections.
 

Where to stay in Istanbul - Near Galata Tower[

Where to stay in Istanbul – Near Galata Tower

Istanbul - Karakoy - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Karakoy – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Hipster area
  • Charming hotels
  • Best area for shopping
  • Galata Tower
  • Connected by metro and tram
  • Cafes and restaurants

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Meroddi La Porta Hotel is located in Istanbul, 300 metres from Galata Tower and 1.7 km from Spice Bazaar. It offers a terrace and rooms with free Wi-Fi. – from €54.

  • Budget Option

    Dedem Hotel is located in the heart of Galata and offers modern and elegant accommodation. The property is within walking distance of the historic Galata Tower, located in an area with many cafés, restaurants and entertainment venues. – from €29.

 

 

 

3. Near Taksim Square

Taksim Square is one of the most important in Istanbul, as it is where the new year celebration, public concerts and parades are held. Also, the surrounding area is one of the busiest in the city.

It is in this square where the Independence Monument is located.

Near the Taksim Square, you’ll find a large part of the most important hotels and restaurants in Istanbul, which is why many refer to this area as one of the best areas to stay in Istanbul for sightseeing.

Because it is such an important area at a tourist, economic and commercial level, the surroundings of Taksim Square have excellent public transport connections, including the charming historic tram that passes through Istiklal Street, an almost pedestrian avenue.

Other attractions in this area are the Atatürk Cultural Centre, also known as AKM, where concerts, art exhibitions and opera performances happen constantly.

The surroundings of Taksim Square are among the best areas to stay in Istanbul because of its proximity to many tourist attractions and good transport connections. However, it should be taken into account that accommodation in the area is usually expensive.

Best areas to stay in Istanbul - Near Taksim Square

Best areas to stay in Istanbul – Near Taksim Square

Istanbul - Taksim Square - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Taksim Square – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Tourist attractions
  • Atatürk Cultural Centre
  • Great public transport connections
  • Wide variety of hotels

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Taksim Metropark Hotel is located in Istanbul, 100 metres from Taksim Square. It offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and a restaurant with international cuisine. – from €54.

  • Budget Option

    Utarit Taksim is located in Istanbul, 200 metres from Istiklal Street. It offers free Wi-Fi and a ticket service. – from €29.

  • Midrange Option

    Taxim Hill Hotel is located in Taksim Square. It offers rooms with modern décor and free Wi-Fi. – from €59.

  • Luxury Option

    Marmara Taksim is located in a very tall building on Istanbul’s lively Taksim Square. It offers luxurious rooms with cable TV, free Wi-Fi and magnificent views of the Bosphorus and the city. – from €129 .

 

 

 

4. Beyoglu/Pera

Beyoglu is a district located on the European side of Istanbul, separated from the Historic Centre by the Golden Horn.

In the past, Beyoglu was known as Pera, one of the most charming neighbourhoods in Istanbul since it mixes history and modern places, with buildings where art nouveau style predominates.

The atmosphere of this neighbourhood is ideal for young travellers, foodies, hipsters and bohemians, with many cafes, bars and restaurants that make this one of the best areas to stay in Istanbul for nightlife.

Also, this area stands out for attractions such as the Pera Museum and the antique stores, second-hand clothes and vintage items found on Curkurcuma Street, as well as for housing embassies and art galleries.

The accommodation throughout the Beyoglu district is very varied in style and cost, with boutique hotels, luxury hotels, aparthotels, among others.

Beyoglu is a good alternative when looking for a place to stay in Istanbul because it is close to the most important attractions of the city, but without so many tourist crowds. Besides, it connects with the rest of Istanbul by public transport, including metro.
 

Best neighbourhoods to stay in Istanbul - Beyoglu

Best neighbourhoods to stay in Istanbul – Beyoglu

Istanbul - Beyoglu - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Beyoglu – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Charming area
  • Good restaurants
  • Great area for nightlife
  • Connected by public transport

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Westist Hotel & Spa is located in Istanbul, 800 metres from the Galata Tower. It offers accommodation with a restaurant, private parking, bar and garden. – from €54.

  • Budget Option

    Jurnal Hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with flat-screen satellite TV in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. – from €34.

  • Luxury Option

    Palazzo Donizetti Hotel – Special Class has a 1-century-old elevator and sumptuous classic-style décor. It also has a restaurant and a bar. – from €84 .

 

 

 

5. Beyazit

Beyazit is located south of the European side of Istanbul, and it is close to tourist attractions as iconic as the Suleiman Mosque, the largest in the city.

To the east of this district is the Grand Bazaar, a huge old market or souk where you can buy all kinds of items, from clothes to some souvenirs, jewellery, carpets and much more.

Beyazit also stands out for hosting the University of Istanbul and, therefore, being home to many bars and restaurants aimed at students and the general public.

The heart of this area is the Beyazit Square, surrounded by streets where traditional tea shops, cafes and artisan workshops abound.

Other outstanding monuments in this area are the Beyazit Tower, originally built to monitor possible fires, the Calligraphy Museum and the Beyazit Mosque.

Beyazit is among the best areas to stay in Istanbul for hosting a small but significant group of attractions, for its good transport connections and for having accommodation of different categories.

Where to stay in Istanbul - Near University of Istanbul

Where to stay in Istanbul – Near University of Istanbul

Istanbul - Beyazit - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Beyazit – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Beyazit Square
  • University of Istanbul
  • Near Suleiman Mosque

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Novel Hotel is located in Istanbul and offers accommodation with a private balcony. The hotel has a restaurant, 24-hour reception, room service and free Wi-Fi throughout. – from €59.

  • Budget Option

    Sahi?nler Hotel offers free WiFi throughout. The rooms are simply decorated and feature a TV and a private bathroom with slippers and a hairdryer. – from €29.

  • Luxury Option

    Beethoven Premium Hotel has a spa and wellness centre with terrace, hot tub, sauna and hammam. – from €79 .

 

 

 

6. Cihangir

Cihangir is located about 500 metres southwest of Taksim Square and is one of the most interesting neighbourhoods in the Turkish city, as it offers the opportunity to get to know a more authentic and less touristic aspect of the city.

This hipster-friendly neighbourhood has a good number of antique stores, cafes, restaurants and shops specializing in wine and gourmet food.

While it is true that Cihangir does not have the largest number of hotels, it is a good option to stay in Istanbul for having affordable accommodation and within walking distance of the main attractions of the city.

From Cihangir, you can get great views of the Bosphorus, all while walking through its streets full of bohemian boutiques and cafes.

Among the sites of interest that deserve a visit in this area, there’s the Cihangir Mosque, built in honour of the son of Soliman.
 

Reccommended area to stay in Istanbul - Cihangir

Reccommended area to stay in Istanbul – Cihangir

Istanbul - Cihangir - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Cihangir – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Cheap hotels to stay in Istanbul
  • Cihangir Mosque
  • Near other attractions

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Cihangir Style HOTEL is located in Istanbul, 600 metres from Taksim Square. It offers a terrace, hypoallergenic rooms and free Wi-Fi throughout. – from €54.

  • Budget Option

    Cihangir Hotel has a terrace overlooking the Bosphorus. The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi, as well as a restaurant serving Turkish specialties, such as mezze and raki. – from €34.

 

 

 

7. Sisli

Sisli is one of the most exclusive and luxurious areas of Istanbul, with 5-star hotels and shopping centres that are ideal for the most demanding travellers seeking to know the most sophisticated side of the city.

However, Sisli also has much to offer culturally, with sites such as the Atatürk Museum, Ihlamur Palace, the Istanbul Military Museum and the Tesvikiye Mosque available to visitors.

Also, one of the biggest advantages of staying in Sisli is that it houses the Istanbul Cevahir Shopping and Entertainment Centre, a modern shopping centre that is one of the largest in the world. Therefore, this is one of the best areas to stay in Istanbul for shopping.

Furthermore, this area has many bus stops that connect it with the rest of the city, and it is close to the Istanbul congress centre.
 

Best neighbourhoods to stay in Istanbul - Sisli

Best neighbourhoods to stay in Istanbul – Sisli

Istanbul - Sisli - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Sisli – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Luxury hotels
  • Great area for shopping
  • Atatürk Museum

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Adelmar Hotel Istanbul Sisli offers a shared lounge and bar. It is 1.5 km from Cevahir Mall and a 6-minute walk from Nisantasi District. – from €54.

  • Luxury Option

    White Orient Hotel is located in Istanbul, less than 1 km from the Istanbul Congress Centre, and offers views of the city. It also has a 24-hour reception, restaurant and family rooms. – from €34.

 

 

 

8. Besiktas

Besiktas, which means “stone cradle” in Turkish, is one of the oldest areas of Istanbul, located on the European side of the city.

This historic neighbourhood stands out for its wide cultural and artistic offer, with attractions such as Dolmabahce Palace, an impressive neoclassical building that is the largest of its kind in Turkey. Also, the Turkish Naval Museum and the Museum of Painting and Sculpture are points of interest in this area.

Besiktas is a good place to stay in Istanbul if you want to know less popular corners of the city, as well as to get away from the hustle and bustle of tourist areas.

If you are looking for a cheap area to stay in Istanbul, Besiktas is a good option for you.

Best areas to stay in Istanbul - Besiktas

Best areas to stay in Istanbul – Besiktas

Istanbul - Besiktas - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Besiktas – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Cheap hotels
  • Cultural attractions
  • Peaceful area

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Bellezza Hotel Ortakoy offers modern and soundproofed rooms with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi throughout. It also has a concierge service. – from €39.

  • Budget Option

    Ixir Hotel has free Wi-Fi connection in all facilities. All accommodations have air conditioning. – from €29.

 

 

 

9. Asian Side

One of the best parts of travelling to Istanbul is that it is enough to cross a bridge to switch from a continent to another one.

Although the Asian Side is not the most popular area where to stay in Istanbul, being such a huge city, many attractions are worth a visit to this area.

The main attraction of this area is the Khedive Palace, a spectacular building built by order of the governor of Egypt, Abbas Hilmi Pasha, in 1907. The palace is the centre of a square surrounded by restaurants, cafes and many green areas.

Excellent views of the European side of the city and its skyline are also obtained from the Asian Side of Istanbul.

This is one of the best areas to stay in Istanbul if you want to know a different, quieter and greener facet of the city. Also, the Asian Side has good public transport connections and hotels of different categories.

Vista del skyline de Estambul desde la Orilla Asiática, una de las mejores zonas donde dormir en Estambul

Vista del skyline de Estambul desde la Orilla Asiática, una de las mejores zonas donde dormir en Estambul

Istanbul - Asian Side - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Asian Side – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Khedive Palace
  • All kinds of hotels
  • Great restaurants

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Istanbul Marriott Hotel Asia is a 5 star hotel located in the centre of the Atasehir district, next to the Marmara Sea. The garden has an outdoor pool, children’s pool and children’s playground. The hotel also has a terrace pool and indoor pool. – from €99.

 

 

 

10. Near Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport is located northwest of the City Centre, on its European side.

It is the main air terminal of the city and hub of Turkish Airlines, with connections to international destinations as different as Barcelona, Mexico City, Bari, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Madrid, London and Paris.

This is the best area to stay in Istanbul for travellers in transit who stop in the city or have an early flight, so staying near the airport is mandatory.

Also, it is relatively close to many city attractions and has public transport connections.

This is also a good area for business travellers, with business hotels, restaurants and shops.

Best areas to stay in Istanbul - Near Istanbul

Best areas to stay in Istanbul – Near Istanbul Airport

Istanbul - Neart Istanbul Airport - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Neart Istanbul Airport – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Best area for a stopover
  • Relatively central
  • Business-type hotels

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    mahsun house airport is located in Arnavutköy, 45 km from Sultanahmet. It offers a garden and free Wi-Fi. – from €39.

 

 

 

11. Near Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Sabiha Gokcen Airport is the second most important airfield in Istanbul, and is 32 kilometres southeast of the City Centre, on the Asian Side.

Although it does not have as many connections as Istanbul Airport, it has flights to and from destinations that include Dubai, Athens, Budapest, Lyon, Venice, Manchester and many other cities in the world.

The surroundings of the Sabiha Gokcen Airport are a good area to stay in Istanbul for those who plan to visit the city using the Pegasus airline or have a first-minute flight departing from this air terminal.

The hotels in this area are known for being simple but comfortable and at affordable costs compared to the most touristy corners of Istanbul.

Best areas to stay in Istanbul - Near Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Best areas to stay in Istanbul – Near Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Istanbul - Near Sabiha Gokcen Airport - Click to see all hotels on a map

Istanbul – Near Sabiha Gokcen Airport – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Good area for travellers who fly with Pegasus
  • Cheap accommodation
  • Good area for business travellers

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    ISG Sabiha Gökçen Airport Hotel is located in Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport and offers modern rooms. In addition, it has luggage transfer service and online flight check-in service at the reception. – from €79.

 

 

 

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