Where to stay in Istanbul
Istanbul is a very colorful and multifaceted city. And the choice of the area in which it is better to stay during your independent trip to Istanbul may depend on which facets of its color are more interesting and closer to you. And your impressions of the city will largely depend on the chosen area and hotel. In Istanbul, you can plunge into history and a riot of oriental colors and sounds, or you can prefer more modern and more European quarters. Perhaps you like to live surrounded by attractions, or are looking for quieter and more peaceful places, or maybe you are interested in entertainment and nightlife – there are hotels in Istanbul for every taste and almost every budget. You just need to know where to look for them. And we will help you with this! So, which districts of Istanbul are more convenient for tourists, what are the features and differences of different districts, where and how to find the best hotels in Istanbul?
The most tourist-friendly areas of Istanbul
For your convenience, we will not go into the geography of the city in too much detail and study all 39 districts. We will only tell you about those areas that are most convenient for tourists coming to Istanbul on their own.
You may have heard that this amazing city is located simultaneously in Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus Strait divides Istanbul into European and Asian parts. Most of Istanbul’s attractions are located on the European side and are concentrated in the Fatih and Beyoglu districts. Therefore, we will tell you more about these areas.
Fatih District: the heart of old Istanbul. Sultanahmet, Sirkeci, Beyazit, Laleli
Color and contrasts of Beyoglu area. Karakoy, Galata, Taksim
Modern Shishli. Nisantashi
Asian part of Istanbul: Kadikoy and Uskudar
Conclusions: where to stay in Istanbul
Istanbul hotels: tips for tourists what to consider when choosing
Fatih District: Plunging into History
The Fatih district in the European part of Istanbul is the oldest part of the city, which remembers not only Ottoman, but also Byzantine history. It was here that the history of Constantinople took place. It was here that the sultans lived for several centuries. These squares have witnessed the rise and fall of Constantinople. And these ancient streets are remembered by both Byzantine merchants and Ottoman janissaries. The very name of the region means “Conqueror” and reminds of the times of the fall of Byzantine Constantinople and the transformation of the city into the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Mehmed II was called the conqueror, under whom the future Istanbul passed into the hands of the Ottomans.
But the Fatih area is quite large and is divided into several quarters, each of which is unique in its own way. Let’s take a closer look at them in order to understand exactly where it is better to stop.
Sultanahmet – the very heart of old Istanbul. It is here that the most important objects of attraction for tourists are concentrated: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Sultan’s Palace, Blue Mosque, Basilica cistern. Unsurprisingly, it is always crowded here. Deserted these places could only be seen during quarantine. Among the minuses besides the crowds of tourists – most often small rooms in old buildings (the old center is not “rubber”), on some streets there may be noise from trams (check the location of the hotel), there may be overpriced prices in the nearest cafes and restaurants, and the hotels themselves not cheap. But there are also significant advantages here – the most famous sights of the once brilliant Constantinople and the mighty Ottoman Empire are within walking distance, you live practically next door to the former Byzantine emperors and Ottoman sultans, and you can find hotels with a view of the Blue Mosque or Hagia Sophia (question of price ). In the evenings it becomes quiet and calm – nightlife is in full swing in other parts of the city.
A selection of hotels in Sultanahmet (the heart of Ottoman and Byzantine Istanbul)
Eminönü is an area of narrow picturesque streets, the oldest Ottoman mosques and famous oriental bazaars. It stretches to the Golden Horn Bay (across which the famous Galata Bridge stretches) and is adjacent to Sultanahmet, and therefore to the main attractions. At the same time, it is already a little quieter here, there are no such crowds of tourists. But the oriental flavor, and the abundance of shops and eateries, and the richest history and architectural monuments are quite enough. Among the most famous sights of this part of Istanbul are the beautiful Suleymaniye Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar, as well as many ancient Byzantine monuments.
To learn a lot about this unique area, visit its most striking sights and make many interesting discoveries about the history of Istanbul – walk with our audio guide along the route of the audio tour “From Constantinople to Istanbul”.
The Eminonu area itself is also rather big and is divided into several different quarters. One of the most convenient for tourists is the Sirkeci quarter. Here is the station of the same name, where the legendary Orient Express arrived. But don’t let the proximity of the station scare you. From here, it is a stone’s throw to Topkapi Palace and the magnificent Gulhane Park. Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are also within walking distance. At the same time, the pier, from where you can go on cruises on the Bosphorus, and the Galata Bridge, through which you can reach the Beyoglu district, and transport stops are very close.
Find a hotel in Istanbul Sirkeci
Another convenient quarter for tourists is Beyazıt. It is located very close to Sultanahmet, and therefore the main attractions, from here you can take a tram or metro (Vezneciler station) to different parts of the city … At the same time, it is quieter, calmer and more pleasant here than in some of the neighboring quarters.
Stay in Beyazit quarter of Fatih district
A little further west, in the area of the Laleli Mosque and in the eponymous quarter Laleli Tour operators are especially fond of accommodating Russian tourists, and therefore do not be surprised by the abundance of Russian-language signs and the corresponding public in this part of the Fatih district. Here you can find inexpensive hotels, many shops and shops, and the “interesting things” of the Sultanahmet quarter are relatively close. But it can be quite noisy, and not everyone likes the high concentration of merchants and Russian-speaking “package” tourists.
Hotels in the vicinity of Laleli with prices and tourist reviews
So, we draw conclusions: is it worth staying in the Fatih area and, in particular, Sultanahmet, in Istanbul? What to look for?
If you are interested in sights, immersion in the local flavor, you want to live among the monuments of history and architecture (and possibly overlooking them) is a great choice.
But take into account the possible “side effects” of the location in the historic center – it is always filled with many tourists, and rooms in old buildings may have poor soundproofing. But the most famous places of Istanbul are within walking distance. Other parts of the city can be reached by metro or trams. Sultanahmet and other quarters of the Fatih area are especially convenient for tourists who are traveling to Istanbul for the first time, or planning to stay here for a short time. Choosing a hotel in the historic center, you can reach almost everywhere on foot, almost without using transport, which will save a lot of time.
To avoid problems with the hotel, carefully study the reviews of tourists and pay attention to the nuances. Including whether there are tram lines near the hotel, how quiet the rooms are. Also keep in mind that most of the hotels in Sultanahmet and the surrounding neighborhoods are in older buildings, so the rooms are mostly small. However, they can be quite cozy.
If you are traveling by car, there may be problems with both parking and the actual passage through the territory of the old center (passes may be required) – check with the hotel representatives in advance.
The most comfortable in terms of living are the Sultanahmet districts, the Sirkeci and Beyazit districts (Eminonu district).
Stay in the historic district of Fatih