Istanbul, the largest and most popular city for travelers in Turkey, sits on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait and straddles both Europe and Asia. Rich in history and culture, Istanbul comes in near the top of nearly every traveler's Bucket List.
At first glance, the city's enormous size can seem daunting. When it comes to the best neighborhoods to stay in however, there are a few clear choices.
Where to Stay in Istanbul
Istanbul is divided by the Bosphorus Strait into European and Asian sides. The European side is where you will find the highest concentration of sights and activities, as well as the most popular nightlife, dining and shopping districts. This guide will focus on the hotels, hostels and Airbnbs to stay in the European side of the city.
When it comes to determining the best neighborhoods, there are several criterion that we used:
- Ease of Getting Around
- Things to Do
- Amount of Travelers Staying
- Bars & Restaurants
These neighborhoods were then ranked by the total volume of travelers staying there, as well as the number of things to do. Without further ado, here's the list of our top neighborhoods to stay at in Istanbul.
The Top 2 Neighborhoods in Istanbul
Sultanahmet is the Istanbul you see when you close your eyes and picture the city. The two most famous mosques, the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, are both located here, as are the Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace. Sultanahmet is considered the older district of the city, so you will find a higher conentration of tourist activities, but fewer modern restaurant and nightlife options.
Things to Do in Sultanahmet
- Hagia Sophia
- Blue Mosque
- Topkapi Palace
- Grand Bazaar
- Basilica Cistern
Where to Stay in Sultanahmet
There are a number of hotel, hostel, and Aribnb options in the area depending on your budget and personal preferences.
Beyoglu is the heart of 'new Istanbul' and includes some of the best nightlife, dining, and shopping in the city. There are some important tourist sites like the Galata Tower and the Dolmabahce Palace, and the metro to Sultanahmet is close-by. But if you are looking for a more modern Istanbul experience, Beyoglu is the neighborhood to be in.
Things to Do in Beyoglu
- Galata Tower
- Dolmabahce Palace
- Istiklal Street