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Visit Istanbul: Your Travel Guide

Just before dawn, there’s an eerie silence in Istanbul before the city abruptly comes to life, as the call to morning prayer reverberates through the ancient markets and winding alleyways. Jump on the Bosporus ferry to experience a startling contrast between East and West.

Things to Do in Istanbul

Basilica Cistern
In the deepest, darkest recesses beneath Sultanahmet Square lies an amazing relic rescued from the sands of time. Around 7,000 slaves gave their blood, sweat and tears building these subterranean caverns, which look like a buried church. Inside, it’s awe-inspiring – 2.4 acres of marble columns, some topped with Roman mythological figures…and mood lighting for the gods!
Yerebatan Caddesi 13, Sultanahmet
Open every day 9 am – 5:30 pm
Sultanahmet Mosque ('Blue Mosque')
Sky, cerulean, azure…it’s a festival of blue! Light reflects every shade of the coolest color as it strikes the famous tiles of this mosque, one of the most celebrated in Islam. The mosque itself is part of a larger complex that includes a covered bazaar, Turkish baths, public kitchens, a hospital, schools, a caravansary, and the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet.
Sultanahmet Mosque, 34122 Sultanahmet, Fatih, İstanbul
Open Saturday to Thursday 8:30 am –12:30 pm and 2 pm – 4:30 pm and 5:45 pm – 6:30 pm, Friday 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm and 5:45 pm – 6:30 pm.
Hagia Sophia
This 1500-year-old monument has seen it all. Built as a church then transformed into a mosque, it’s now one of the world’s great museums. Inside, you’ll find an amazing synthesis of Christian and Islamic design, reflected in the time-worn mosaics on the walls of this enormous space. It’s a good idea to purchase tickets online to avoid the long lines.
Ayasofya Meydanı, Sultanahmet Fatih
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9 am – 5 pm; changes seasonally (check website for details)
Grand Bazaar
If there’s money to be made, you’ll find one of the bazaar's vendors selling it. For flashy decorations, Turkish fashion or any number of tourist trinkets, the Grand Bazaar has 3,000+ shops to browse, spread throughout dozens of covered alleys. One of the world’s oldest and largest markets is also a prime spot to practice your haggling skills – never accept the first offer!
Beyazit Mah. Kuyumcular sk. Kapali Carsi, 34126 İstanbul, Turkey
Open Monday to Saturday 9 am – 7 pm
Topkapi Palace
Once upon a time, the Sultanate moved across town, and left behind 173 acres of prime real estate. Built in 1478, Topkapi Palace was the heart and mind of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. What lay abandoned in 1853 was restored 50 years later, when the palace became one of Istanbul’s premier museums, with elaborate courtyards, gates and a harem that remain largely intact.
Bab-ı Hümayün Caddesi, Sultanahmet (behind Hagia Sophia)
Open Monday 9 am – 5 pm, Wednesday to Sunday 9 am – 5 pm
Spice Bazaar
Faster than you can say "sugar and spice," the spices at this market will have you soaking up one fragrant scent after another. Pick up jasmine, juniper, and everything in between, from the vendors at one of the world’s oldest and largest markets. Search for Egyptian scented oils, Iranian saffron and Russian caviar – the world is at your fingertips here.
Yeni Camii Meydanı, Eminönü (next to the New Mosque)
Open Monday to Saturday 8 am – 7 pm
Suleymaniye Mosque
Süleyman the Magnificent’s (1520–66) taste was pretty…well, magnificent. Despite having wealth beyond imagination, his refined taste inspired this mosque’s minimal design. This allows simple touches, like beams of light through the stained-glass windows, to shine through. The complex also houses public service buildings and the charming Darüzziyafe Restaurant.
Tiryakiler Carsisi, Prof Sıddık Sami Onar Caddesi, Süleymaniye
Open every day 9 am – 12:30 pm and 2 pm – 4:30 pm
Galata Tower
Inmates imprisoned here during the Ottoman era would imagine flying across the Bosporous to freedom. Centuries later, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi did just that, an early aviator who flew on artificial wings straight to the Anatolian side. These days, Galata Tower’s famous 360° panoramic views of the city and its popular restaurant offer plenty of fun for all visitors.
Bereketzade Mh., Galata Kulesi, Beyoğlu
Open every day 9 am – 8 pm
Taksim Square
Taksim Square might be associated with recent political unrest, but a trip here paints a vastly different picture. The square is the heart of modern Istanbul and functions mainly as a transportation hub. It’s also a popular entertainment area, surrounded by shops, restaurants and local cafes. Cross town on the historic tram for a nostalgic touch of old Istanbul.
Beyoğlu, Tak-ı Zafer Cd, 34435 Gümüşsuyu
Open every day
Dolmabahce Palace
Apartments with 285 rooms are hard to come by, but that’s exactly what Sultan Abdülmecid I was after. In 1856, he, his wife, children and pet hamster moved in with 6 other sultans. Blending Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical influences, Dolmabahce’s amenities include 68 toilets, 6 steam rooms, dozens of opulent chandeliers, its own clock tower – and now even Wi-Fi.
Dolmabahçe Caddesi, Beşiktaş (across from the İnönü - Beşiktaş soccer stadium)
Open Tuesday and Wednesday 9 am – 4 pm, Friday to Sunday 9 am – 4 pm
Blue Mosque
Constructed between 1609 and 1616, the striking Sultan Ahmed Mosqueo—or "Blue Mosque"—is still a place of worship today. With no war victories to fund it, this expensive structure had to be paid for straight from the treasury – angering the Ottoman legal scholars of the time. Non-Muslim visitors are encouraged to visit, but should be respectful of the strict dress code.
Istanbul Archaeology Museums
In awe of the archaeological museums already established in London, Paris, and Vienna, Sultan Abdülaziz called for one to be constructed in Istanbul. The resulting campus consists of three buildings – the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the Archaeology Museum, and the Museum of Islamic Art or "Tiled Pavilion."
Built by Sultan Mehmed II, this grand fortress was designed to control the flow of ships passing along the Bosphorus strait and helped him conquer Constantinople during the siege of 1453. Made up of three towers and thick battle-ready walls, the structure forms the shape of the Prophet Mohammed’s name in Arabic, when seen from above.
Beylerbeyi Palace
Built to include both eastern and western architectural elements, Beylerbeyi Palace was commissioned by Sultan Abdülaziz in 1861. A summer home for Ottoman royals, this luxurious residence has also housed many foreign dignitaries. It’s relatively small and only takes an hour or so to explore – don’t miss the decorative bathing area at the edge of the Bosphorus!

When to Go to Istanbul

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
50 ℉ 40 ℉
51 ℉ 40 ℉
55 ℉ 44 ℉
64 ℉ 50 ℉
73 ℉ 60 ℉
80 ℉ 67 ℉
86 ℉ 72 ℉
86 ℉ 73 ℉
79 ℉ 67 ℉
69 ℉ 58 ℉
62 ℉ 53 ℉
52 ℉ 43 ℉
12 %
11 %
11 %
11 %
11 %
7 %
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Traveler's Reviews & Photos

Very Good
The public transport is cheap and efficient, but still, is good to plan long walks to get to know the city. Food was good everywhere, but a lot cheaper away from the tourist attractions ;)
Kitty Alhe
October 14, 2017
Very Good
Beyoglu and Sultanahmet are both great areas, with fabulous historic buildings. The Bosphorus is very beautiful, worth sightseeing on the ferry or to visit Prince's islands. The trams are easy to get to the ferry.
October 15, 2017
Big,beautiful,amazing city! Colorful,with much old building and history,Bosphorus is just stunning,view from the bridge are amazing. So much stuff to do and to see. For every recomodation!
October 14, 2017
Smell of history . Meeting point of west & east civilizations. Friction of habits from different cultures. Excellent variety of food . Good shopping . Phosphorus activities amazing . Good public transport . Very busy streets but clean . I love Istanbul 🌷
Nasser Alsaad
October 15, 2017
Everything! It's a vibrant city with a multitaste, East and West and many things in between.....History, traditions, culture, good food...
October 14, 2017

Accommodations and Hotels in Istanbul

CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel Istanbul

8.7 Excellent

Score from 2,975 reviews


Average price per night
  • “wonderful staff”
    175 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    150 related reviews
  • “amazing views”
    99 related reviews
The Parma Hotel & Spa Taksim

8.5 Very Good

Score from 1,916 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    282 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    275 related reviews
  • “very clean”
    91 related reviews
Eurostars Hotel Old City

8.6 Excellent

Score from 1,605 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    295 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    246 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    82 related reviews
Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Sisli

8.5 Very Good

Score from 3,611 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    224 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    154 related reviews
  • “very clean”
    103 related reviews
Best Western Plus The President Hotel

8.5 Very Good

Score from 1,513 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    256 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    175 related reviews
  • “amazing views”
    101 related reviews
Lasagrada Hotel

8.6 Excellent

Score from 1,295 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    151 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    100 related reviews
  • “very clean”
    60 related reviews
InterContinental Istanbul

8.6 Excellent

Score from 2,834 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    202 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    168 related reviews
  • “amazing views”
    88 related reviews
Radisson Blu Hotel Istanbul Pera

8.1 Very Good

Score from 2,435 reviews


Average price per night
  • “wonderful staff”
    277 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    230 related reviews
  • “very clean”
    89 related reviews
Rixos Pera Istanbul

8.8 Excellent

Score from 1,802 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    277 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    276 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    95 related reviews
Discover Istanbul

Popular Neighborhoods in Istanbul

European Side

1820 properties

Several districts make up this area. The salty sea air blows through the medieval ruins of Rumelihisari fortress, which makes for an unforgettable coastal stroll. Sisli has peculiar monuments like Ihlamur Palace (an Ottoman Summer Palace) and the Atatürk Museum (devoted to the life of Turkey's first president) that are worth a visit.


881 properties

This historically conservative area has given way to the "new" Istanbul. Fatih’s historic Wednesday market is a mixture of sights and sounds that can’t be missed. Any other day, start at Sultanahmet Square and branch out to the historic Topkapi Palace and Complex, Hagia Sophia and the gorgeous coastal walkways along Kennedy Avenue.

Old City Sultanahmet

777 properties

Begin your adventure in Sultanahmet Square: the gateway to the historic center. In Topkapi Palace, Byzantine artifacts shine proudly in the display cases. Hagia Sophia’s mosaics are time-worn, reflecting the history of a space that has been both mosque and church across 1.5 millennia. Funky bars and cozy cafes summon you to come enjoy a drink.


519 properties

Street culture, energetic cafes and antique stores with unique treasures await in this cosmopolitan district. Fashionistas will have a field day at the boutiques on Istiklal Avenue. Concerts, movie theaters and exhibition centers provide family-friendly entertainment, and the trendy clubs and bars bring out the glamourous after dark.


477 properties

Istiklal Avenue’s historic buildings loom over the eateries and brand-name stores below. You can head to Cicek Passage and Nevizade Street to dine in an old-world ambiance. From here, take the tram to Galata Tower for picture-perfect city views. Stick around in Karakoy for the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, or the trendy retaurants.


202 properties

Sisli is a large district on the European side of Istanbul, near the Bosporus Bridge. A mix of mosques, churches and synagogues make the area eclectic. The Trump Towers and Cevahir Shopping Mall are reminders of the growing tide of commercialism sweeping through the area. The narrow streets of Nisantasi are loaded with boutiques and galleries.

Asian Side

199 properties

The Asian side of Istanbul lives on the edge of the past and present. Kadıköy is a mix of scents and sounds; in Moda, buy tapas-style food from a quirky street vendor, then wander past tattoo parlors and street art for a live exhibition of urban Istanbul flow. Buy branded clothing on Bagdat Avenue, then dine out in style.


133 properties

There’s a sort of haze around the palaces, towers and gardens around Beyazit Mosque, giving the feeling of being lost in time. The mosque has stood proudly since 1506 and weathered many storms over its cut-stone exterior. The Grand Bazaar is filled with the sights, smells and sounds of an authentic Turkish market.


127 properties

Start your adventure at the Laleli Complex, which contains a historic mosque in the raised courtyard at its heart. The mosque is considered one of Istanbul's finest examples of 18th-century Ottoman architecture. From here, stop by one of the many textile merchants (the area's economic lifeblood) or sip a coffee in one of the cozy cafes.


104 properties

Sirkeci is a coastal district that has gone from shabby to chic. Search for some delicious street food or visit the delightful eateries around Hoca Pasa Street. Boutique shopping is fairly personalized here. It's also the perfect launchpad for adventures in the Old City, with many major attractions less than a 10-minute walk away.


80 properties

Fragments of the Ottoman Empire remain in this district on the coast. Picnic or play in the flower-filled groves of Yildiz Park, followed by a walk to Ortakoy – inviting cafes by day and plush clubs by night. Salute the sea at the Turkish Naval Museum, see and be seen in trendy Bebek and Kurucesme, or crown your day at Dolmabahce Palace.


76 properties

To stay in Kadıköy means immersing yourself in traditional Turkish culture, and it’s a fast ferry ride from this residential district to the city’s prime attractions. Elaborate wooden houses that creak with the passing of time, and remnants of the Roman Empire await as you wander the streets. Indulge in mouth-watering Turkish Delights from Akustik Market.


56 properties

Aksaray is primarily known as a transportation hub, with easy connections to Taksim and the Old City, though there are still some charms in the area. The area is filled with budget hotels, but one sight worth seeing is Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Camii, a 19th-century imperial mosque built in a fusion of styles, known for its unique stone masonry.


32 properties

Ortakoy’s residents are youthful and cosmopolitan. Among the swathes of modern art galleries, you'll find eateries tempting you with delicious local delicacies. One of the area's oldest buildings is the Turkish Bath, followed by the neo-Baroque Ortakoy Mosque. Take a cruise across the Bosporus, or shop for trinkets at the emporiums.


32 properties

Take a decent pair of walking shoes to navigate the 3.4-mile stretch atop the 8th-century City Walls of Constantinople. Make sure to spend some time at Kara Ahmet Pasha Mosque, a medieval learning center that houses painstakingly detailed mosaics. The area maintains its scholarly nature, with many cafes and student haunts.


15 properties

You could spend your entire trip immersed in Turkish culture in Üsküdar. Head inland for antique shops and boutiques and bring a healthy appetite to the local eateries. Find a fragment of the lost Ottoman Empire in the lavish Beylerbeyi Sarayi (Palace). It’s a short ferry ride from Kiz Kulesi (The Maiden’s Tower) from the famous Greek myth.


4 properties

Eyup has a long Muslim history. The Tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari—dedicated to a slain friend of the Prophet—is an important pilgrimage site in Islam. The elaborate tiles of Eyup Sultan Mosque and Ottoman-era cemeteries with elaborate marble tombstones are definitely worth seeing. From here, take the Eyup Gondola to Pierre Loti, overlooking the Golden Horn.

Local Tips for Istanbul

Mihrabat Grove
Melike by Melike

Melike loves to be immersed in nature with family and friends, away from city life.

I really love a weekend away in Mihrabat Korusu, which is one of Istanbul’s biggest groves. Brunch with family and friends, followed by a long walk along the trails immerses you in pure and unspoiled nature. I’d recommend coming to the area with a private car or a taxi.

Bagdat Street
Duygu by Duygu

Duygu is a shopaholic – when she finds unusual clothes and accessories, out comes the cash!

Bagdat Street is heaven for a woman who has been shopping her whole life and still has nothing to wear! There are stores ranging from well-known international brands to local boutiques. It also includes a lot of cafes and restaurants where you can sip coffee after a tiring shopping adventure.

  • Bagdat Street, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Open every day
Kadıköy Bar Street
Baytan by Baytan

Spontaneous Baytan loves grabbing a couple of drinks on a fun night out with friends.

Kadıköy Bar Street, also known as Kadife Sokak, is known for its good prices and relaxed atmosphere. Most of the places are cozy and casual and you don’t have to make a reservation. Sometimes I want higher quality meals, so I head to the wine houses for exquisite dishes and drinks.

  • Kadife Street, Kadıköy, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Open every day
Bosporus Cruise
Goksu by Goksu

Goksu has lived in Istanbul for 26 years and loves seeing the city by boat.

A 1-hour-long Bosporus cruise may be the most unforgettable experience you have in Istanbul. I’d recommend setting aside a few hours, then setting out on the ferry from Ortakoy. It’s especially wonderful to take the ferry during the spring and summer months.

  • Ortakoy Pier (between Mecidiye Mosque and Esma Sultan Mansion)
  • Open every day
SALT Galata
Oylun by Oylun

On Saturday mornings, Oylun loves going to an exhibition and reading in a local park.

SALT Galata – the former Headquarters of the Ottoman Bank – is filled with history and excitement. I like to sip a coffee or have lunch at the restaurant overlooking the uneven roofs of Karakoy and the Golden Horn. The on-site gallery also has cutting-edge exhibitions to enjoy afterwards.

  • Garanti Bankalar Caddesi 11, Karaköy 34420
  • Open Tuesday to Saturday 12 pm – 8 pm, Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm
Çiçek Pasajı (Cicek Pasaji)
Aslı by Aslı

Istanbul never ceases to surprise and amaze Aslı, even after 26 years of living here.

Çiçek Pasajı is the best place to spoil yourself in Istanbul! I recommend trying some "raki" (or any number of delectable Turkish dishes) at the eateries underneath the covered passages of Çiçek Pasajı. Some of the eateries even have live music right next to your table!

TT Arena
Onur by Onur

Onur loves a bit of soccer therapy now and again – especially at the legendary stadiums!

I love the atmosphere in Turk Telecom Arena during soccer season. Galatasaray fans are some of the loudest in the world – they even made the Guinness Book of Records in 2011 with a 131.76-decibel roar from the crowd! You can also buy merchandise at the large store in front of the stadium.

  • Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Türk Telekom Arena Stadı Huzur Mah., 34415 Seyrantepe Şişli
  • Check website for details
Terkos Passage
Eklimya by Eklimya

Not too luxurious, not too cheap – high-quality clothing at decent prices keeps Eklimya happy!

If you are looking for reasonably priced fashion, shop at Terkos Passage at the end of the Istiklal Street. Terkos has the atmosphere of a bazaar; you’ll find branded products and everything in between under one roof. Here’s a tip: negotiate with the sellers if you’re paying with cash!

  • Asmalı Mescit Mh. İstiklal Caddesi Terkoz Çıkmazı Sokak
  • Open every day
Read our FAQs on this destination –>

Recommended in Istanbul

Get up early. Most museums open at 9 AM. Crowds are already gathering before opening. If you go later than 10 AM to Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sofia, Basilica Cistern - you're gonna have a bad time. Queues are hundreds of meters long, going slow. The rest of the monuments have reasonable queues, and can be visited later in the day. Don't go to Taksim Square, or on the road that leads from Taksim to Galata Tower if you don't like large crowds. There are millions of people on that main street. Might help getting a museum pass. At the time of our visit, it would've made up for its cost, and we wouldn't have to wait in long queues because we'd get an express pass.

Grand Bazaar! Amazing experience that no one should miss. It's not really about the products there but the atmosphere. There are 64 streets in the bazaar but I think only 10 types of stores, many of each of them. The sellers will try to reach to you by trying to guess where you are from and as you start communicating with them you'll experience their enthusiasm about their products and their love for the customers. Their goal is to sell you everything and they do it really well, I enjoyed it a lot! If the Grand Bazaar is too big for you then try the Spice Bazaar at the New Mosque, much smaller but similar atmosphere. asked travelers...

Why do you recommend Istanbul for food?

You can get Turkish food almost anywhere in the world but trying the local variants is just unforgettable. I never liked hummus or falafel too much before this but in Istanbul I tried the local ones and they were so delicious I'll never forget. Very creamy and you can actually taste the chickpeas. Also the Turkish breakfast was a delight (no pun intended) after my trip in France where they just have croissants in the morning. The Turkish breakfast is healthy and filling with eggs, cheese, olives, vegetables and butter and jams for bread.

The atmosphere. You can find most of these things in other places but not in market places with such heady atmosphere as in Istanbul. It is an experience to spend time in Grand Bazaar even if you buy nothing. Shopping areas in India, my country, are equally interesting but they tend to be dirty and full of traps like potholes and overflowing drains. Istanbul has the atmosphere without these problems. The place we liked most was Arasta Bazaar near the Blue Mosque.

Get an Istanbul card which you can then load at machines at all transport stations. This allows you to travel very cheaply on trams, ferries, metro bus etc regardless of the distance. We kept ours from a previous trip and just loaded it at the airport. Easy and very cheap way to travel in from Ataturk airport.

Istanbul is a bustling city with a dramatic backdrop of mosques and muslim culture. Turkish people are very proud to be part of such a great nation, but they are also very humble and welcoming to guests. I loved my time there.

Agia Sofia is a must, Basilica Cistern and The Topkapi Palace. The Bosphorus tour is also interesting and the scenery is absolutely fantastic. The mix between ancient Christiasn, Romans, Otomans is an Invaluable experience.

Amazing cheap high quality Turkish brands. My favourite: Desa, Derimod - for leather goods, Gizia - for fashion, Magic form - lingerie, Koton, Mudo, Collins - cheap clothes

To get the best experience is to walk a lot ,use the public transportation ,such as the metro lines and Ferries .There are also many guided tours.


Istanbul Transportation

Air – Istanbul Ataturk Airport

Istanbul’s main airport is 12.5 miles from the city center. Taxis are readily available and are the most convenient way to reach the center – they cost around TRY 45 and take 30 minutes in mild traffic. The Havatas Bus to Taksim Square is a better value. It departs every 30 minutes on the hour between 4 am – 1 am, costs around TRY 10, and takes around 30 minutes. From Taksim Square, catch either a taxi or the metro to your end destination.


The "Hafif Metro" is very efficient. There are two main lines: Yenikapı to Ataturk Airport (M1A) and Yenakapi to Haciosman (M2). The M1 runs every 5 minutes from 6 am – 12:30 am from Monday to Saturday, and every 8 minutes on Sunday. The M2 line runs from 6:15 am – 12:30 am Monday to Saturday (from 6:30 am on Sunday). To use the Metro, purchase a token from a machine or swipe an "Istanbulkart" (available at some Biletmatik machines) to pass through the turnstiles.


Taxis are easy to find – just stop at a taxi stand or hail one from the street. They’re reasonably priced compared to prices in Western Europe and the U.S., making them an affordable way to travel. Official taxis are bright yellow with the words "taksi" on top, and always have digital meters. Language is often an issue, so always have your destination written on a piece of paper. If you go through tolls, these will be added to the final charge.


City center bus service hubs include Taksim Square, Aksaray and Beşiktaş on the European side, and Üsküdar and Kadıköy on the Asian side. Bus shelter stops are easily available on the main routes. Services run from 6:30 am – 11:30 pm and destinations are displayed on the front of the bus. Ticket prices vary by destination and must be purchased from the white booths near major stops before boarding. Purchase an Akbil or "Istanbul Kart" to save on fares.


Traffic in Istanbul is often heavy and it can take longer to cross the city by car than by public transportation. Drivers are also known to be quite aggressive. There are few multi-story car parks in the city and on-street parking can be difficult to find. However, road conditions in Istanbul are moderate, less so outside the main centers. If you do decide to drive, renting a GPS device with the latest updated maps is recommended.


Ferries and "sea buses" are a fun and fast way to move between the European and Asian sides. There are four ferry companies in operation; the fastest and most popular is IDO. The major docks on the European side can be found in Eminönü, Sirkeci and Karaköy. Tickets cost around TRY 3 for a single economy class ticket (around TRY 1.95 with an Istanbulkart), which can be purchased at the ferry terminal. Note that timetables change seasonally.

Food in Istanbul

Top Restaurants in Istanbul

Cheap Eats

If you need a tasty break while exploring the Historic Peninsula of the city, you can stop by Paksüt, offering savoury desserts at a small charge.

  • Babı Ali Caddesi No 10/A, Fatih, Istanbul
  • Open every day 10:00–22:00.
  • 0090 2125137910
Cheap Eats
Anatolia Cafe Restaurant

Located at a backstreett, this quiet restaurant welcomes you with a warm hospitality and delicious dishes from traditonal Turkish and international cuisine.

  • Alemdar Mahallesi, Divanyolu Caddesi, Ticarethane Sokak No 21/A, Fatih, Istanbul
  • Open every day 11:00–00:00.
  • 0090 2125278907
Mid-Range Fare
Buhara Restaurant

Another hotspot popular for its menu full of well-prepared Turkish food. You can enjoy it with a soft drink and salad.

  • Nuruosmaniye Caddesi No 7, Cağaloğlu, Istanbul
  • Open every day 09:00–18:00.
  • 0090 2125137424
Mid-Range Fare
Panoramic Restaurant

Delicious dishes from Mediterranean and international cuisines await you at this place. Sit back and enjoy the panoramic Bosphorus views, inside or in the terrace upon your request.

Cheap Eats
Tarihi Sultanahmet Köftecisi

Historic Sultanahmet Köftecisi is an ideal place for a quick and tasteful lunch. The restaurant is famous for its delicious meatballs.

Upscale Dining
Fes Cafe

Taste authentic Italian food on the table or at the sweeping stool-lined bar of Fes Cafe.

Upscale Dining
Havuzlu Restaurant
Cheap Eats
Vuslat Ocakbaşı & Restaurant

Located at the heart of Old Istanbul, Vuslat is a grill restaurant with an open fire pit in the middle. Taste its delicious meat dishes.

  • Emin Sinan Mahallesi, Yeniçeriler Caddesi No 15, Fatih, Istanbul
  • Open every day 11:00–00:00.
  • 0090 2125160008
Upscale Dining
Nar Lokantası

Having an elegantly decorated interior and a cosy garden, Nar's menu focuses on traditional Ottoman cuisine prepared with natural ingredients from Anatolia.

Cheap Eats
Kurufasülyeci Erzincanlı Ali Baba

This small spot presents delicate white beans paired with traditional buttermilk, called "ayran".

Upscale Dining
Konyalı Lokantası

Meals at Konyalı Restaurant in Topkapi Palace are treated to a stunningly situated break on a short walk through history. Most popular specialties are the slow-cooked tandir lamb and orange baklava. Reservation needed.

Mid-Range Fare
Le Safran Restaurant

Le Safran invites you to enjoy nice tastes at the heart of Old Istanbul. You can finish your meal with a traditional dessert like baklava.

  • Alemdar Mahallesi, Ebusuud Caddesi No 11, Sirkeci, Eminönü, Istanbul
  • Open every day.
  • 0090 2125148899
Mid-Range Fare
Ziya Şark Sofrası

Ziya Şark Sofrası will have a spell on you with its delicious traditional tastes from Eastern Anatolia Region. You'll be glad to meet çiğ köfte (steak tartar a la turca).

Upscale Dining
Matbah Ottoman Palace Cuisine

Matbah welcomes exclusive guests to the stylish 'Ottoman Palace Cuisine' maintaining its unique heritage accompanied by Historic Peninsula view. Reservation needed.

Mid-Range Fare
Tarihi Subaşı Lokantası

This restaurant presents the most popular flavours of Turkish cuisine in a buffet. Choose the most appetizing ones and enjoy your meal.

Cheap Eats
Meşhur Filibe Köftecisi

An affordable spot for meatball in Old İstanbul. The restaurant offers digestive clove after the meals.

  • Ankara Caddesi No 112 Fatih, Istanbul
  • Open every day 10:00–17:00.
  • 0090 2125193976
Mid-Range Fare
Şerbethane Cafe & Restaurant

Şerbethane Cafe&Restaurant is the ideal address for enjoying traditional brakfast, soups as well as a variety of kebabs. Don't forget to taste testi kebab.

  • Küçükayasofya Mahallesi, Küçükayasofya Caddesi, Torun Sokak, Arasta Pazar No 117, Beyoğlu, Istanbul
  • Open every day 08:00–22:00.
  • 0090 2125170004
Mid-Range Fare
Olive Restaurant

Offering both Historic Peninsula and the Bosphorus views, Olive Restaurant presents a comprehensive menu including traditional Turkish cuisine besides various flavours from international cuisine.

Upscale Dining
Sarnıç Restaurant

Sarnıç's menu synthesizes the most popular tastes of international cuisine. Traditional French entrees like beef bourguignon with standard Turkish grills are absolute must-eats. Reservation needed.

  • Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Soğuk Çeşme Sokak No 26, Fatih, Istanbul
  • Open every day 19:00–23:30.
  • 0090 2125124291
Cheap Eats
Ziya Baba

Ziya Baba is a cozy place, which offers an affordable taste of Turkish cuisine.

  • Küçükayasofya Mahallesi, Kadırga Limanı Caddesi No 136, Fatih, Istanbul
  • Open every day 08:00–00:00.
  • 0090 2124586736
Upscale Dining
Yıldızlar Restaurant

Placed on the lower deck of Galata Bridge, this restaurant will provide you with stunning views and elaborate tastes, including fish dishes and appetizers, at once. Turkish tea and fruit plate will follow your meal.

Cheap Eats
Şar Lokantası

Şar features elaborate homemade foods besides good flavours from traditional Turkish cuisine in an affordable price.

  • Hobyar Mahallesi, Hoca Paşa Sokak No 15, Fatih, Istanbul
  • Open every day 07:00–23:00.
  • 0090 2125264646
Upscale Dining
İmbat Terrace Restaurant

With stunning Bosphorus and Historic Peninsula views, İmbat Terrace showcases traditional and modern flavours from both Turkish and Aegean cuisines.

Upscale Dining
Sultania Restaurant

Savour Sultania's quick bites, sandwiches, Turkish-style pitas and pastas with fresh beverages and cocktails in a nostalgic atmosphere.

  • Ebusuud Caddesi 14-20, Sirkeci, Eminönü, Istanbul
  • Open every day 07:00–23:00.
  • 0090 2125281343
Mid-Range Fare
Paşazade Restaurant

Designated as a traditional Ottoman street, this restaurant features speacialties from traditional Ottoman cuisine.

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