Where to sleep in Istanbul
Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, located in the Bosphorus Strait, between Europe and Asia, is the cultural, economic and financial center of the country. With over 17 million inhabitants, it is one of the largest megacities in the world. Finding a good, inexpensive place to stay is easy enough, but you need to know which are the best areas to sleep in Istanbul.
The city attracts more than 10 million visitors a year thanks to its unique location, rich history and colossal cultural heritage.
Istanbul has several districts classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a multitude of historical monuments. Whether it is historic, bourgeois, popular or commercial districts, the city can offer you a variety of different atmospheres from one district to another and a varied offer of accommodation.
Where to sleep in Istanbul: the best neighborhoods and hotels
To discover Istanbul it is useful to know its geography. The city is divided into two parts, the western European and the eastern Asian and the Bosphorus Strait marks the border between these two areas.
In general terms, the Asian side is less touristy, although neighborhoods like Kadıköy are a good option to stay, regardless of the distance from the center and other circumstances.
The European part, on the other hand, is the one most visited by tourists because it houses the main monuments and places of tourist interest. But, in addition, this same European part has another division of its own, marked by a historic estuary, a sort of spectacular natural harbor that extends into the ground. It is the legendary Golden Horn (Haliç).
The Golden Horn divides the European area into two halves considered “modern Istanbul” to the north and “old Istanbul” to the south. Both areas have their own peculiarities, and are equally interesting for the tourist when he chooses between the various districts.
The best areas to sleep in Istanbul are on the European side. The most popular neighborhoods are:
♦ Sultanahmet and Eminönü, for those who want to stay close to tourist attractions. Here the accommodation offer is very varied and you can find cheap hotels, boutique hotels and even luxury hotels. Many of them have beautiful terraces from which to enjoy the views of the Bosphorus, mosques and the sunset of the city.
♦ Karaköy, Galata and close to Taksim Square for those looking for lively, shopping areas with good restaurants and nightlife.
However, there are other areas further away from the center where you can sleep in Istanbul, which can be very interesting. The distances between the main monuments are not overly great and the city is safe enough to walk leisurely at different times of the day.
♦ Beşiktaş is a very interesting district for shopping, and it is not at all as touristy as the historic center, something ideal for getting to know local life more closely and discovering aspects such as real typical food. Its streets are very lively and full of bars, restaurants and cafes. Although it is an expensive area, it is possible to find more affordable hotels than in the center.
♦ Kadıköy is a young neighborhood and there are not many tourists, so the prices are not high. On the other hand, it is not the best area to sleep in Istanbul if you stay in the city for a few days, it is far from the main attractions and you may waste too much time in transport … but a few kilometers away you can admire the sunset from Üsküdar, the most beautiful in the world.
♦ Beyazit and Laleli are districts, close to the tourist area of Istanbul, but with a popular character. Beyazit is a very popular neighborhood located between the Grand Bazaar and the University of Istanbul. Featuring typical streets, traditional shops, tea shops and cafes.
The key point of the neighborhood is Beyazit Square, with the Süleymaniye Mosque, surrounded by numerous cafes and terraces with reasonable prices. The hotels here also have lower prices than the more touristy areas.
The Laleli district is less than 10 minutes walk from the historical center of “old Istanbul”. Here you will find a good offer of hotels but it is little chosen by tourists because there are few opportunities for the night.