Where To Stay In Istanbul: The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and the fifth most populous in the world. Over 5 million tourists visit each year to admire the cultural and historic center, the only city in the world to span two continents, Europe and Asia.
With landmarks like Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul is one of the best destinations for history lovers, art aficionados, and of course, gourmands. Finding accommodation in Istanbul is easy too. You just need to decide which district is the right one for you and the people you are traveling with. Each district has a wide selection of hotels, both luxury and budget, hostels, B&Bs and Airbnbs for every traveler.
Arriving at Istanbul Airport and not sure where to stay? Drop your luggage at an Istanbul suitcase storage locker and explore a bit of the city. Choose the area that most interests you!
Where to stay in Karakoy & Galata
Karakoy district is situated just a few minutes' walk across the bridges to the northern peninsula. This bustling neighborhood, along with the adjoining Galata, represents a beautiful mixture of old and new. It was a financial district in the 19th century, but today it is a vibrant cultural area with plenty of entertainment for locals and tourists alike. You are in the heart of the city, but further away from the crowds. You can find overpriced luxury hotels, but also excellent accommodation for all budget travelers too.
Karakoy and Galata are packed with cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops to suit each budget. One of the most visited attractions in Galata is Galata Tower, but here you will find religious sights like the Byzantine Church of San Domenico or Arap Mosque, the Church of Saint Benoit, and the Church of SS Peter and Paul.
The Bank Hotel Istanbul
Located in the heart of the Karakoy district, this is one of the best luxury hotels in the area, offering air conditioned rooms with a minibar, an iPod docking station and a work area. All bathrooms feature a rain shower and come with complimentary L'Occitane toiletries. The on-site restaurant serves International and Turkish cuisine. The hotel also has a modern spa and fitness center.
Maravilloso Hotel Galata
Situated near Galata Tower, this budget hotel offers spacious air-conditioned rooms equipped with a work area, a kettle, a minibar, and a private bathroom with a shower. Selected rooms have a kitchen with a refrigerator and a microwave.
Where to stay in Sultanahmet and Old City
If you are visiting Istanbul mainly for sightseeing, then Sultanahmet is the best neighborhood for you. This historic district of Istanbul is on the European side and is home to top landmarks like Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. All the main attractions are within walking distance from each other as well as from most hotels in the area.
Like any major city, the city center is the best area to stay in, especially if you are visiting for the first time. This cultural and historical heart of Istanbul is a great location for everyone who appreciates art, history, shopping, luxury hotels and great food. However, being centrally located comes with an extra price. In Sultanahmet, you will find some of the best-rated hotels in Istanbul, but also some of the most expensive.
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul
If you are looking to splurge, check out the best luxury hotel in the center of Istanbul, the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet. This luxurious hotel offers modern rooms and luxury accommodation in the center of the Old City. Located in a historic building right next to Hagia Sophia (once a library, now a museum), the Four Seasons has a rooftop terrace, spa center, on-site restaurant, a private bathroom with a marble floor and deep soaking tub, and a lot more to make you feel like a VIP for the entire stay in Istanbul
Sirkeci Family Hotel & Spa
If you are looking for budget hotels in the center of the city, check out the Sirkeci Family Hotel & Spa. Located near top attractions like Basilica Cistern, Column of Constantine, the Grand Bazaar, Taksim Square, Galata Tower and Hagia Sophia, staying in this hotel will save you some money on public transport. The budget-friendly 2-star hotel features spacious and clean rooms with air-conditioning, flat-screen TV, a terrace or a patio. There is free Wi-Fi everywhere in the hotel. The buffet breakfast has Halal (permitted food under Islamic Law) and vegetarian options too. The hotel also features a sauna.
For budget travelers, solo travelers, students and anyone who doesn't mind a hostel environment, the Cheers Hostel is an excellent choice. Located just a short walk from Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, the Cheers Hostel features Wintergarden Terrace & Panoramic Bar, serving kebabs and international dishes, with stunning views of the Old Istanbul. The size of the rooms varies, but they all have AC units. Bathrooms are for sharing, but linen and towels are provided.
Where to stay in Beyoglu District
Beyoglu district or the historic Pera area is another excellent location close to Sultanahmet but separated by the Golden Horn (the primary inlet of the Bosphorus), or a flooded river valley. Getting for Sultanahmet and the Old Town to this area is easy as the two areas are connected by several bridges.
The area is packed with Neoclassical buildings lined along Istiklal Street, the most famous street in Istanbul. Walking around the historic Pera district you get the feeling you are walking in a European city because of the 19th and early 20th century architecture. There is also the historic tram line T2 that operates along Istiklal Street, adding to the Europan atmosphere.
The area is home to a beautiful shopping gallery designed after the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. If you are looking for where to stay in Istanbul on a budget, be close to major sights and events, as well as many historic cafes, restaurants, bars and boutiques, then this is the right neighborhood for you. Add museums like the Pera Museum, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Galata Tower and the Historical Galatasaray Bath to the list and you are in one of the best areas to stay in Istanbul. Here you can find a great selection of accommodation, from luxury to cheap hotels.
Pera Palace Hotel
In the heart of the Beyoglu district, right next to Sok Market is this five-star hotel housed in a neoclassical building that dates back to 1982. This lavish hotel offers spacious modern rooms with Oriental decor and Art Nouveau style and large windows. Some of the rooms have a sofa too and most are equipped with luxury bathrooms. Enjoy the indoor pool or the relaxing spa with a Turkish bath.
Double DD Hotel
For those of you traveling on a budget, but wanting to stay in this historic European side of Istanbul, the Double DD is one of the best budget hotels in the area. The rooms are small but nicely furnished and equipped with everything you need. The hotel is great value for money, considering it is a minute away from Istiklal Street, the main shopping street in Istanbul.
Where to stay in Besiktas
Besiktas is one of the most romantic areas to stay in. It is ideal for couples traveling together, but also for families and solo travelers looking for a little peace and quiet. The area is home to many parks, palaces, restaurants, museums like the Maritime Museum, the Fishermen's Market, and luxury and boutique hotels. Here you will find some of Istanbul's most luxurious residential neighborhoods, and scenic views of the Bosphorus strait all over the area.
Dolmabahce Palace is the main attraction in the area, and it is the largest palace in Turkey. Most of the upscale hotels here provide wonderful views of the Bosphorus, feature large gardens, and have both indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
The 5-star upscale hotel located between Dolmabahce Palace and Naval Museum on the European side of the Bosphorus features luxurious rooms with contemporary decor with Asian highlights. Suites have a separate living room and two balconies overlooking the Bosphorus. Each room has a private bathroom with heated floors and complimentary Bvlgari toiletries.
Located near Dolmabahce Palace, this hotel is an excellent value for the money. All rooms are equipped with AC units, seating area, flat-screen TV, kettle, and other essentials. Some rooms feature a terrace and sea views. Its proximity to the ferry boats allows for convenient travel to the Asian coast.
Where to stay in Taksim
Taksim is another central location, ideal for first-time visitors but also families traveling together. Connections to other parts of the city are many; you could get on a bus, a tram, the metro and a ferry boat. Taksim square is a large pedestrianized area that is busy day and night, which makes Taksim excellent for all seeking nightlife in Istanbul. Taksim is also a common meeting point for locals and tourists alike. The area boasts trendy restaurants and bars, modern boutiques and hotels, and lots of shopping areas. Bring the kids to Istanbul and plan for lots of family outings. Taksim is a terrific home base.
Grand Hyatt Hotel
Located within walking distance from Taksim Square this luxury hotel in the heart of Istanbul offers rooms with modern amenities, a seating area, a work area, marble bathrooms with a bathtub, and a glass-enclosed rain shower. The hotel features an outdoor pool, a spa, fitness center, floodlit tennis court, and meeting rooms. There is a variety of bars and restaurants offering Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine with vegetarian, vegan and Halal options.
Taksim Avenue budget hotel is located near Istiklal Avenue and offers apartments equipped with air conditioning, a kitchen, and free WiFi. All apartments are spacious and decorated with modern furniture. There is an on-site coffee shop for coffee lovers.
Where to stay in Outer Fatih
Located near the Historic Peninsula, between the Wall of Constantine and the Wall of Theodosius, is Outer Fatih, the cheapest area to stay in Istanbul. Here you will find amazing historic neighborhoods and attractions like the Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, the Church of the Holy Saviour, The Panorama 1453 History Museum and the Yedikule Dungeons Museum.
The area will give you a bit of the local atmosphere and you are still connected to the other parts of Istanbul by metro, tram, bus and more. There are plenty mid-range and budget hotels in the area, perfect for families and budget travelers.
Millennium Istanbul Golden Horn
The best hotel in the Fatih area is the Millenium Istanbul Golden Horn hotel. Expect everything from a 5-star hotel but with more affordable prices. Located near Eyup Sultan Mosque, this hotel features elegantly decorated rooms equipped with air conditioning, a kettle, a private bathroom with free toiletries and more. A diverse and delicious breakfast is served every morning in the in-house restaurant that serves Asian and British cuisine. You can enjoy the hot tub, sauna and on-site hammam.
This 2-star hotel can be found across the street from the Church of the Holy Apostles. It is near the Istanbul Archeology Museum or Basilica Cistern making it an ideal location for history and architecture buffs. The hotel features a restaurant and a rooftop terrace, with free Wi-Fi throughout the entire hotel. Rooms are modern, clean, and comfortably equipped with air conditioning and flat screen TV.
Stay near Istanbul tourist attractions
Istanbul has been people's favorite destination for many years. Whether you are a museum lover or you are looking for excellent nightlife or sightseeing, Istanbul has that and a lot more!
And with so many popular districts it can be hard to choose which one is the best to stay in, so hopefully, this list will help you narrow down your search. This guide has a selection of some of the best accommodation in Istanbul, but there are so many more out there, you can spend a lot of time looking for the perfect one!