It’s one of the busiest airports in the world so sooner or later you are most likely to have a layover in Istanbul Turkey. And whether you are in Istanbul for a layover or staying to enjoy all the city’s history and food there’s always a need for accommodation.
Which side of Istanbul is nicer?
The European side is the best place for Istanbul’s signature tourist attractions like the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, and Hagia Sophia. If you prefer to get away from the tourist area then head to the Asian side, which is calmer and, is arguably a more authentic side of the city.
What is the best area of Istanbul to stay in?
The best places to stay in Istanbul:
- Sultanahmet Square. Best place in Istanbul for unmissable sights, like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia.
- Beyoğlu. Best place in Istanbul for contemporary art and culture, and the famous Galata Tower.
- Fener and Balat. The most colorful part of Istanbul, is perfect for Instagram photos.
- Kadıköy. Best area in Istanbul for cafes and nightlife.
- Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye. Best place to stay in Istanbul for
- Kurtuluş and Bomonti. Best Istanbul neighbourhood for
- Beşiktaş and Ortaköy. Best Istanbul location for
Where is the main area in Istanbul?
The heart and soul of Istanbul is Sultanahmet. My favourite part of Istanbul, is centrally located near Istanbul airport, all roads, and the sea.
However Taksim Square is also considered the tourist heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Istanbul Metro network.
Taksim Square is located in Beyoğlu on the European side of Istanbul, Turkey. It is famous for its shopping, restaurants, and hotels.
Is it better to stay in old town or new town Istanbul?
Old Istanbul, Sultanahmet and New Town, Taksim Square are two of the most popular areas to stay in Istanbul.
Sultanahmet is the best overall area for first timers and those interested in historical sites.
Taksim Square is the best base for travelers seeking a modern area with vibrant nightlife and shopping.
Where to stay in Istanbul for the first time?
As mentioned above it really depends on what you are looking for in Istanbul. For shopping and modern restaurants stay in Taksim and Istiklal Street.
For history and Ottoman grandeur head to Sultanahmet for the best place to stay in Istanbul.
Best Places to Stay in Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is a sprawling and vibrant city with a variety of neighbourhoods to choose from. When deciding where to stay the best area for you depends on your interests, budget, and the type of experience you’re seeking.
Having visited the city many times and stayed in multiple locations, here are my best places to stay in Istanbul.
Sultanahmet is the historic heart of Istanbul, home to many of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar. Staying here means you’ll be within walking distance of these iconic sites, making it an excellent choice for first-time visitors.
You’ll find all the greatest hotels here in old Istanbul from Raffles Istanbul to Seasons Hotel Istanbul. Plus Soho House Istanbul and the world-famous Grand Bazaar.
Best Accommodation in Sultanahmet
Best Luxury Accommodation in Sultanahmet
Eresin Crown Hotel – Check the price of this hotel here
The Eresin Crown Hotel is a luxury hotel steeped in history and great for families in the Istanbul old city. You can read more about luxury hotels in Istanbul here.
Best Boutique Accommodation in Sultanahmet
Sokullu Pasa Hotel – Check the price of this hotel
Sokullu Pasa Hotel is hard to get to by car but by far the best location for feet. Only 800 meters away from the ancient Sultanahmet Square in Old City Sultanahmet district. All 24 rooms also overlook the sea. The boutique hotel was built in 1700 and the rooms are decorated in an Ottoman Empire style. We enjoyed our stay just and not just for the location. The breakfast is delicious too.
Best Budget Accommodation in Sultanahmet
Paris Garden Hotel – Check the price of this hotel
The Paris Garden Hotel is a budget hotel set in a great location. We got two basic rooms.
Best Accommodation with Views in Sultanahmet
Deluxe Golden Horn – Check the price of this hotel
Another Istanbul landmark would be a stay at the Deluxe Golden Horn, seconds from Sultanahmet and styled in an old Ottoman style. We used this for our Girls Trip in 2023 and it is the best hotel with impeccable views of the mosques.
2. Taksim Square and Beyoglu
Taksim Square is the cultural and entertainment hub of Istanbul. It’s known for its vibrant nightlife, trendy bars, restaurants, and shops.
Beyoglu, just downhill from Istanbul Taksim, offers a mix of historic architecture and modern boutiques. It’s a great choice for those looking for a lively atmosphere and easy access to Istiklal Street, a famous shopping and dining street.
It’s here you’ll find Galata Tower, Pera Place, and Galata Bridge.
Best Accommodation in Taksim
Best Luxury Accommodation in Taksim
Pera Sultan Suit– Check the price of this hotel here
The hotel is located at the Kocatepe Mahallesi and Feridiye Avenue intersection, steps from the heart of Taksim Square. Only 500 meters from the famous Istiklal Caddesi, one of Turkey’s more romantic avenues with plenty of restaurants, bars, and shopping opportunities.
Best Boutique Accommodation in Taksim
Bankerhan Hotel – Check the price of this hotel
You can easily walk to Galata Tower from the Bankerhan Hotel. The hotel has 36 rooms and an amazing view. The architecture is in line with Galata’s historical pattern and elegance.
Best Budget Accommodation in Taksim
Sanat Hostel Taksim – Check the price of this hotel
Very affordable and super well-located. Located on Hüseyinağa Mahallesi Kameriye Street. The hostel offers a restaurant, a bar, a shared lounge, and a gorgeous garden for relaxing.
Best Accommodation with Views in Taksim
Lazzoni Hotel – Check the price of this hotel
The most magnificent view of the Golden Horn and allows you to enjoy the Golden Horn with the private boat called “Vaporetto”.
3. Kadikoy (Asian Side)
Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, Kadikoy offers a more relaxed and authentic experience. It’s known for its bustling food markets, waterfront promenade, and a wide range of restaurants and cafes. Ferry connections to the European side are frequent and enjoyable, making it easy to explore both sides of the city.
Best Accommodation in Kadikoy
Best Luxury Accommodation in Kadikoy
DoubleTree By Hilton Istanbul – Check the price of this hotel here
Moda is an upbeat part of Kadikoy, full of cafes, restaurants, shops, and bars. You’re also a stone’s throw away from the ferry port.
Best Boutique Accommodation in Kadikoy
One Istanbul Hotel Suadiye – Check the price of this hotel
Located perfectly with a view of the Princes’ Islands, this luxury boutique hotel boasts modern facilities and style that matches the private, practical and comfort requirements of travelers. There’s a total of 17 suites with 3 types to choose from – a standard suite, suite with sea view, and a 2-bedroom suite.
Best Budget Accommodation in Kadikoy
Melek Hotels Moda – Check the price of this hotel
From the bold red-themed common areas to the streamlined room design, you’ll be surprised to find what you can get on a budget.
Best Accommodation with Views in Kadikoy
Wyndham Grand Istanbul Kalamış Marina Hotel – Check the price of this hotel
Located centrally in Kadikoy, this hotel is one of the best on the Asian side, most rooms have sea or marina views.
Besiktas is a vibrant district with a mix of young professionals and students. It’s known for its lively street life, great dining options, and a bustling market area. From here, you can easily access popular attractions like Dolmabahce Palace, Çırağan Palace, and Ortakoy Mosque.
Best Accommodation in Besiktas
Best Luxury Accommodation in Besiktas
Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul – Check the price of this hotel here
The Shangri-La Bosphorus Istanbul, offers a captivating fusion of Eastern and Western influences in the heart of Besiktas. Housed in a historic 1930s building, just a short 15-minute walk from the iconic Dolmabahçe Palace, this hotel exudes opulence.
Best Boutique Accommodation in Besiktas
The Pearl Suites – Check the price of this hotel
This boutique hotel offers 16 spacious 1+1 suites with high ceilings, ensuring a luxurious and relaxing stay.
Best Budget Accommodation in Besiktas
Acar Suite Hotel Besiktas – Check the price of this hotel
Strategically located in the heart of Besiktas, offering easy access to shopping districts, cultural attractions, and entertainment centers.
Best Accommodation with Views in Besiktas
Conrad Hotel Istanbul Bosphorus – Check the price of this hotel
Experience Turkish opulence with incredible views at the Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus. This hotel seamlessly blends traditional Turkish style with modern design, offering panoramic vistas of Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait.
5. Sisli and Nisantasi
Sisli is a more upscale area known for its luxury shopping, high-end restaurants, and cultural attractions like Istanbul Military Museum. Nisantasi, a part of Sisli, is a chic neighborhood famous for its designer boutiques and art galleries. It’s an excellent choice for those looking for a more upscale and sophisticated experience.
Best Accommodation in Sisli
Best Luxury Accommodation in Sisli
The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul – Check the price of this hotel here
An urban oasis, right in the heart of Istanbul, with a refreshing rooftop pool and amazing views over the city.
Best Boutique Accommodation in Sisli
Renata Boutique Hotel Sisli – Check the price of this hotel
The location is just perfect in Sisli and is walking distance to Nisantasi and Osmanbey Metro station.
Best Budget Accommodation in Sisli
Wabi Sabi Hostel Istanbul – Check the price of this hotel
Located in a completely renovated historic building, Wabi Sabi Hostel Istanbul has a large rooftop terrace with stunning city views.
Istanbul is a large and diverse city, so each neighborhood has its own unique charm and character. Consider your interests and priorities when choosing where to stay, and don’t hesitate to explore multiple areas during your visit to get a well-rounded experience of this fascinating city.
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