Where to Stay in Istanbul (First Time + Bosphorus View)

A complete guide to where to stay in Istanbul, Türkiye (+ the best places for first-timers, tourists, nightlife, shopping and the best hotels with Bosphorus view).

Istanbul, the largest city in Türkiye, lies at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Situated on both sides of the Bosphorus Strait, it is one of the few cities in the world spanning two continents. For centuries, Istanbul’s unique location has made it a hub for trade and culture, influenced by Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman civilisations.

With a population of over 15 million people spread across 39 different districts, Istanbul is a huge city. Given its size, choosing where to stay in Istanbul for first-timers could be overwhelming. That’s why I’ve put together this detailed guide. It will help you find the best place to stay based on the experience you’re looking for, whether it’s your first visit, sightseeing, nightlife, or shopping. I’ve also added some recommendations at the end of the post for where to stay in Taksim, as it’s a very popular tourist area.

Where I stayed in Istanbul

During my first trip to Istanbul, I stayed in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood. This is the historic heart of the city, home to all major attractions, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. As it was my first time in Istanbul, I wanted to be within walking distance of the major landmarks. So, I decided to book accommodation in the southern area of Sultanahmet, not far from the sea (so I could enjoy some sea views from the hotel’s rooftop bar as well).

My favourite place to stay in Istanbul (for sightseeing): Hotel Amira
Why: ideal location, 5min away from the Blue Mosque, but quiet at night
What I like: delicious breakfast (especially the gözleme), rooftop bar with Sea of Marmara views

If you’re visiting Istanbul for the first time, I highly recommend staying in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood. This is the most central district for sightseeing and you’ll be within walking distance from the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Plus, Galata Tower is just a short tram ride away (tram line T1, which connects Sultanahmet with the Galata neighbourhood across the Golden Horn).

Most popular hotel in Istanbul

Looking for a great hotel in an ideal location? Then take a look at Garden House Hotel – it’s not only one of the most popular hotels in Istanbul, but also one of the best-rated.

Garden House Hotel – Most popular hotel

Guest rating: 9.2 | 4,610+ reviews

A perfect location for sightseeing, within a brief 10-minute stroll from the Blue Mosque and less than 15 minutes from Hagia Sophia. Housed in a renovated 19th-century Ottoman mansion, Garden House Hotel is your home away from home. I particularly enjoyed their Garden 1897 restaurant, known for its excellent Ottoman and Anatolian cuisines.

Why book – 7min walk from the Blue Mosque, free coffee and biscuits in the lobby, excellent breakfast

sultanahmet hagia sophia
Sultanahmet – the best area to stay in Istanbul for first-timers

Tips for booking a hotel in Istanbul

Stay on the European side of Istanbul – book your accommodation on the European side, where are all the tourist attractions, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.

Visiting Istanbul for the first time? Then take a look at my itinerary for 4 days in Istanbul, which includes all must-see sights and which Bosphorus cruise to take.

Public transport proximity – Istanbul is a huge city and even if you stay centrally (in the Sultanahmet district) you’ll still need to use public transportation to get to Dolmabahçe Palace or Galata Tower for example. I’d recommend staying near tram line T1, which takes you to the most popular sights.


Where to stay in Istanbul (first time)

  • Sultanahmet – best area for first-timers (White House Hotel – best hotel in Sultanahmet)
  • Cağaloğlu – for sightseeing (Erboy Hotel – best hotel in Cağaloğlu)
  • Best hotel in Istanbul with Bosphorus viewThe Halich Hotel
  • Galata – for nightlife (Richmond – best hotel in Galata)
  • İstiklal Avenue – for shopping (Room Mate Emir – best hotel near İstiklal Avenue)
  • Sirkeci – for one night (Mest Hotel – best hotel in Sirkeci)
  • Taksim Square – for easy access to the airport (Midtown Hotel – best hotel near Taksim)

Sultanahmet – where to stay in Istanbul first time

If you look at a map, you’ll see that Istanbul is split into two by the Bosphorus Strait, connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. Additionally, the Golden Horn, an inlet of the Bosphorus, divides the European side of Istanbul into two parts – the historic peninsula of Sultanahmet and the newer district of Beyoğlu. Sultanahmet is where you’ll spend most of your time, especially if you’re visiting Istanbul for the first time.

The best place to stay in Istanbul for first-timers is Sultanahmet. It’s home to the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Topkapi Palace. Staying in this area means you can easily walk to these tourist attractions, making it convenient to explore without having to travel far.

Sultanahmet (part of the large Fatih district) is one of the most historic neighbourhoods in Istanbul. It is often referred to as the Old City or the Historical Peninsula because it was the heart of ancient Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine and later the Ottoman Empires. The area is surrounded by water on all sides except to the west, where you’ll find the old city walls. Sultanahmet is characterised by its narrow winding streets, bustling bazaars, and gorgeous Ottoman-era architecture.

A Bosphorus cruise is a must when visiting Istanbul. I highly recommend this Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show, which features a 3-course meal with a traditional Turkish folk dancing show.

Why stay in Sultanahmet for the first time

  • perfect location – Sultanahmet is the best place to stay in Istanbul for the first time, as it is home to almost all major tourist landmarks
  • iconic attractions – Sultanahmet is home to Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar and Basilica Cistern
  • walking distance to all the major tourist sites – you’ll be no more than a 10-15min walk away from the popular landmarks (except for the Dolmabahçe Palace and Galata Tower, which you can easily access by taking tram line T1)
  • excellent public transport connections to the rest of Istanbul – tram line T1 takes you to some popular attractions such as Galata Tower, Dolmabahçe Palace and Karaköy with its trendy restaurants
  • Sultanahmet is very walkable – the area is quite flat, making it easy to walk around compared to other neighbourhoods

In my opinion, Sultanahmet is the best place to stay in Istanbul if you’re a first-time visitor. However, it’s important to note that the area is highly touristy. I discovered that many restaurants mainly cater to tourists, and the food isn’t that great. So, when picking a place to dine, consider walking away from the tourist spots near Hagia Sophia. For authentic Turkish cuisine, I can recommend Mivan Restaurant and Turgut Kebab Restaurant.

Hotels in Sultanahmet (Best for couples)

​​White House Hotel – Best rated

Guest rating: 9.8 | 1,930+ reviews

​​White House Hotel is one of the highest-rated hotels in Istanbul. This boutique hotel is not only conveniently situated within a short stroll of the iconic Hagia Sophia but is also known for its exceptional service. Rooms are luxurious with elegant furnishings and it feels like staying in a small palace. Yet, in my view, the highlight is the rooftop garden. Here, you can enjoy a fantastic breakfast and stunning views of Hagia Sophia and the Bosphorus.

Why book – 5min walk to Hagia Sophia and a tram stop, rooftop garden, exceptional staff


Catch Hotel Sultanahmet – Most popular

Guest rating: 9.0 | 2,270+ reviews

Situated in one of the oldest parts of Sultanahmet, Catch Hotel occupies 9 historic mansions from the Ottoman period. The rooms blend modern amenities with Istanbul’s nostalgic charm.
Breakfast includes organic products and is served on a terrace with exceptional views of the Marmara Sea. You can even directly access the promenade along the sea from the hotel’s main entrance. Be sure to check out the amazing handmade souvenirs and jewellery shop, located in the hotel’s lobby.

Why book – 10min walk to the Blue Mosque, organic breakfast with sea views, modern rooms

Hotels in Sultanahmet (Best for families)

Dosso Dossi Hotels Old City – Best rated

Guest rating: 9.0 | 3,020+ reviews

Dosso Dossi Hotels Old City is one of the best family-friendly hotels in Istanbul. Special kids’ menus and a feeding chair are provided for your convenience, along with strollers available upon request. The location is ideal for sightseeing, just a short walk from the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and a tram stop (line T1). You can also enjoy excellent Spa facilities, which include a Turkish bath and a sauna.

Why book – 5min walk to Hagia Sophia and a tram stop, spacious rooms, child-friendly


Great Fortune Design Hotel & Spa – Most popular

Guest rating: 8.8 | 3,090+ reviews

Situated in the heart of Sultanahmet, Great Fortune Design Hotel & Spa is a great place to stay in Istanbul for first-timers. Thanks to its central location, you’ll have easy access to major attractions such as the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque (only a 10-minute walk). Also, there is a tram stop (line T1) nearby, which provides a direct connection to the Galata Tower and Dolmabahçe Palace.

Why book – 10min walk to the Blue Mosque and a tram stop, sauna and hammam, helpful staff

Luxury hotels in Sultanahmet

AJWA Sultanahmet – Most popular

Guest rating: 9.3 | 2,080+ reviews

Situated in the historic Sultanahmet district, AJWA Hotel is the ideal luxurious retreat for your holiday in Türkiye. Rooms are decorated in Ottoman style, featuring mother-of-pearl furniture, silk Tabriz carpets, hand-painted ceilings and unique marble works. The hotel offers great dining options, including the rooftop Zeferan restaurant with panoramic views of the Bosphorus, as well as Sukkari Patisserie.

Why book – 10min walk to the Blue Mosque and a tram stop, rooftop restaurant, excellent hammam and indoor pool


Mula Hotel – Best rated

Guest rating: 9.5 | 1,510+ reviews

Mula Hotel features a quiet location, just steps away from the famous Blue Mosque. Rooms are modern and some of them offer amazing views of the Sea of Marmara. There is also a great restaurant, the Nishane, a serene garden for relaxation, and a terrace boasting stunning sea views. A peaceful oasis in the heart of the busy city!

Why book – 5min walk to the Blue Mosque, spacious modern rooms, terrace with great sea views

Apartments in Sultanahmet

Blue Mosque Suites – Best rated

Guest rating: 9.7 | 430+ reviews

If you’re looking for an apartment, the Blue Mosque Suites is one of the best centrally located options. Some of the bigger apartments even come with a private hammam and a large terrace! The kitchen is fully equipped with everything you need to make your stay comfortable. There is also breakfast in the morning, which includes local specialities, fresh pastries and fruits.

Why book – 5min walk to the Blue Mosque, fully equipped kitchen, breakfast available


Duru Sultanahmet Apart & Suites – Most popular

Guest rating: 9.0 | 470+ reviews

Duru Sultanahmet Apart & Suites features an ideal location, just a short stroll from Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Apartments are modern, equipped with kitchenettes and some of them offer great sea views. Plenty of restaurants right on your doorstep.

Why book – 7min walk to Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, kitchenette, next to a supermarket

sultanahmet blue mosque night
The Blue Mosque is just a short walk from Cağaloğlu

Cağaloğlu – best area to stay in Istanbul as a tourist

The best area to stay in Istanbul as a tourist is the Cağaloğlu neighbourhood. It is strategically located near the city’s most famous attractions, including Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque. It is also home to Cağaloğlu Hamam, one of the city’s most famous and oldest Turkish baths. Additionally, Cağaloğlu is well-connected to other parts of Istanbul via the tram line T1, which provides access to the Galata Tower and Dolmabahçe Palace.

If you look at a map, you’ll see that Cağaloğlu is located north of Sultanahmet neighbourhood. And similar to Sultanahmet it is part of the larger Fatih district. Both Sultanahmet and Cağaloğlu are perfect areas to base yourself if you’re visiting Istanbul for tourism. However, in my view, Cağaloğlu is a slightly better option since it offers closer proximity to many major attractions, the T1 tram line, and ferry ports for Bosphorus Cruises.

Given this, there’s no need to worry if you’ve already booked a hotel in Sultanahmet, it’s still a very convenient area for tourism. Actually, on my initial visit to Istanbul, I stayed in Sultanahmet and I was happy with my choice. Plus, Sultanahmet offers a wider selection of hotels to choose from, given that it’s a larger and more touristy neighbourhood.

Make sure to buy skip-the-line tickets for Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia (with 15,000 visitors per day, lines are always very long).

Why stay in Cağaloğlu as a tourist

  • all famous attractions will be on your doorstep – Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern are all within a 5-10 minute walk
  • easy access to the rest of the city – the T1 tram line (Gülhane stop) conveniently connects you to popular attractions like the Galata Tower, Dolmabahçe Palace, and Karaköy, known for its trendy restaurants
  • convenient access to the ferry ports – Eminönü port is no more than a 15min walk
  • most popular experience – enjoy a visit to the famous Cağaloğlu Hamam, one of the oldest Turkish baths in the city

Erboy Hotel – Best mid-range

Guest rating: 9.0 | 2,460+ reviews

Erboy Hotel boasts a perfect location for sightseeing – just a short walk from Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. In the summer you can enjoy the rooftop Imbat restaurant, while in the winter you can taste the best of the Aegean-Mediterranean cuisine at the Paşazade restaurant. The breakfast is wonderful, featuring local ingredients and even includes a fresh honeycomb.

Why book – 10min walk to Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, 2min walk to tram stop, rooftop terrace


Vogue Hotel Supreme – Best luxury

Guest rating: 8.7 | 1,870+ reviews

Situated on the border of Cağaloğlu and Sultanahmet, this 5-star luxurious hotel is less than a 5-minute walk to Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Rooms are modern and spacious and some of them offer great views of the nearby famous mosque. Also, there’s a terrace restaurant where you can enjoy delicious Turkish cuisine while taking in the iconic Hagia Sophia views.

Why book – 3min walk to Hagia Sophia and tram stop, restaurant overlooking Hagia Sophia, spacious rooms

Cağaloğlu topkapi
Cağaloğlu – the best place to stay in Istanbul for sightseeing

Best hotels in Istanbul with Bosphorus view

The Bosphorus Strait connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, and subsequently to the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. It separates Europe and Asia, making Istanbul one of the few cities in the world located on two continents. The Bosphorus is lined with historic landmarks such as Topkapi Palace and Dolmabahçe Palace.

Staying in a hotel with a Bosphorus view in Istanbul is an exceptional and magical experience. The Bosphorus offers breathtaking views, especially at sunrise and sunset. Imagine watching the boats glide by and the city lights reflecting on the water right from your hotel room! In my view, it’s a unique and romantic experience that adds a magical touch to your stay. If you’re planning a romantic getaway to Istanbul, I strongly suggest booking a hotel near the Bosphorus Strait.

Here are the best hotels in Istanbul with Bosphorus views.


Hotel De Reve Galata – Best rated mid-range

Guest rating: 9.5 | 670+ reviews

Set right on the Bosphorus waterfront, Hotel De Reve Galata offers amazing views of the strait from its rooms. Opt for a Corner suite with a sea view or a Corner suite with a balcony for the best views of the Bosphorus. Plus, the location is perfect for sightseeing as well, less than 10 minutes from Galata Tower and Karaköy tram T1 stop, which takes to Hagia Sophia and the Blues Mosque. You can also have breakfast on the rooftop terrace while enjoying panoramic views of the Bosphorus. Additionally, there is a patisserie in the lobby, where you can savour delicious Turkish desserts.

Why book – right along the Bosphorus, rooftop breakfast restaurant, spacious rooms


The Halich Hotel – Most popular mid-range

Guest rating: 8.9 | 2,990+ reviews

Situated in the Karaköy district, right across the water of Sultanahmet, the Halich Hotel offers amazing views of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. The location is very convenient for sightseeing – a 10-minute walk from Galata Tower and Karaköy tram T1 stop (10min ride to Hagia Sophia and the Blues Mosque). There is an excellent restaurant on the 10th floor, Yuca, serving Turkish and international cuisine. Don’t miss their signature cocktails (I especially liked the exotic Tırtıl and Dedikodu cocktails).

Why book – 2min walk to the Bosphorus, restaurant with panoramic views of the Golden Horn


The Peninsula – Best luxury

Guest rating: 9.5 | 70+ reviews

This luxurious hotel is set along the Bosphorus Strait in the historic district of Karaköy. The Peninsula comprises four beautiful buildings, three of which are historic and restored to their original splendour. The hotel’s rooftop restaurant, Gallada, specialises in Turk-Asian cuisine and offers breathtaking panoramic views over the Bosphorus. The wellness centre features outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a sauna and a hammam. The best palace to stay in Istanbul for a romantic getaway in my opinion!

Why book – right along the Bosphorus, rooftop restaurant, great Spa with hammam and swimming pool

bosphorus
For an unforgettable experience stay in a hotel with a Bosphorus view

Galata – best area to stay in Istanbul for nightlife

The best place to stay in Istanbul for nightlife is Galata. This historic neighbourhood is home to countless cafes, restaurants and rooftop bars. Plus, it is conveniently connected to the tourist Sultanahmet district via tram line T1 and a brief walk away from the shopping İstiklal Avenue (İstiklal Caddesi) with its numerous nightclubs.

Galata (part of the larger Beyoğlu) has a rich history dating back centuries. Initially settled by Greeks during the Byzantine era, it later became an important Genoese colony in the medieval period. The iconic Galata Tower, built by the Genoese in the 14th century, is the neighbourhood’s most important attraction.

While researching for my guide on where to stay in Istanbul, I discovered that nearly every blog recommends Karaköy as the main nightlife area, which isn’t entirely accurate. While Karaköy does offer some cocktail bars, the heart of Istanbul’s nightlife is centred between the Galata neighbourhood and Taksim Square along İstiklal Avenue. In my view, it’s preferable to stay nearer to Galata than to Taksim Square. The Galata neighbourhood is closer (and better connected via tram line T1) to the historic Sultanahmet district and the ferry terminals.

Why stay in Galata for nightlife

  • ideal location – Galata is the best area to stay for nightlife in Istanbul, thanks to its numerous cafes, rooftop bars and restaurants, serving authentic Turkish cuisine. You’ll also be within a 15-minute walk of İstiklal Avenue and its countless nightclubs.
  • easy access to the rest of the city and major attractions – tram line T1 (10min ride from Karaköy or Tophane station) takes you to Sultanahmet district and Hagia Sophia
  • convenient access to the ferry ports – Karaköy port is a 15-minute walk away, from where you can get a ferry to the Asian side
  • my favourite restaurants and bars – head to Pera Antakya for a delicious Turkish dinner, then make your way to Flekk for a cocktail and finish the night at Nardis Jazz Club

Richmond – Best mid-range

Guest rating: 8.6 | 3,090+ reviews

Situated directly on İstiklal Avenue, the Richmond Hotel is mere steps away from Istanbul’s vibrant nightlife district. Rooms are modern and spacious and some of them feature amazing views of the Bosphorus. Numerous fantastic restaurants, cocktail bars, and shops are right at your doorstep.

Why book – right on İstiklal Avenue, 24-hour front desk, great restaurant


RUZ Hotels – Best luxury

Guest rating: 9.4 | 1,050+ reviews

RUZ Hotels occupies a 19th-century historic building next to vibrant İstiklal Avenue, famous for its bars and shopping stores. Rooms are modern, featuring comfy beds and high ceilings. In my opinion, what sets this hotel apart is its fantastic rooftop bar and restaurant, Simone, offering stunning views of the city.

Why book – next to İstiklal Avenue, 24-hour front desk, rooftop bar and restaurant

istanbul nightlife cocktail
Stay in the Galata neighbourhood if you’re visiting Istanbul for nightlife

İstiklal Avenue – where to stay in Istanbul for shopping

İstiklal Avenue (İstiklal Caddesi) is the best place to stay in Istanbul for shopping. Stretching for about 1.4 kilometres with an extensive selection of stores, from international brands to local boutiques, the avenue is a shopper’s paradise. You can find everything from fashion and accessories to books and traditional Turkish goods. If you’re interested in local brands, I suggest checking out LC Waikiki (an affordable fast fashion brand) and Vakko (a Turkish luxury fashion brand).

İstiklal Avenue, located in the Beyoğlu district, is one of the city’s most famous and bustling streets. Formerly known as Grande Rue de Péra during the Ottoman era, İstiklal Avenue has a rich history dating back centuries. The avenue is lined with elegant 19th-century buildings in different architectural styles, including Ottoman, neoclassical, and art nouveau. One of the iconic features of İstiklal Avenue is the classic red tram which runs along the street, adding to its nostalgic charm.

Why stay in İstiklal Avenue for shopping

  • perfect location – İstiklal Avenue is the best area to stay in Istanbul for shopping, as it is the city’s most popular shopping street, home to numerous local and international brands
  • ​​easy access to the rest of the city – tram line T1 (10min ride from Tophane station) takes you to Sultanahmet district and Hagia Sophia and metro line M2 (from Taksım or Şişhane station) to Eminönü neighbourhood across the Golden Horn

Room Mate Emir – Best mid-range

Guest rating: 8.8 | 1,420+ reviews

Room Mate Emir is a modern boutique hotel, less than a 5-minute walk from İstiklal Avenue. The İstiklal Mall, Halep Pasajı and numerous other shopping stores are mere steps away. Rooms are very large with comfortable beds and contemporary design.

Why book – 3min walk to İstiklal Avenue, 24-hour front desk, spacious modern rooms


Pera Palace Hotel – Best luxury

Guest rating: 8.9 | 3,350+ reviews

For a truly unforgettable stay, book a room at the 19th-century Pera Palace Hotel. This historic hotel with a beautiful Art-nouveau façade is just 5 minutes away from İstiklal Avenue and Passage Hazzopulo. The dining options include Agatha Restaurant (contemporary Turkish cuisine), Patisserie de Pera (classic French patisserie), Orient Bar&Terrace (fantastic cocktails) and Kubbeli Saloon, where you can enjoy afternoon tea.

Why book – 5min walk to İstiklal Avenue, great Spa with indoor pool and hammam, excellent breakfast

istanbul shopping gold jewelry
Head to İstiklal Avenue for the best shopping in the city

Sirkeci – where to stay in Istanbul for one night

The best area to stay in Istanbul for one night is the Sirkeci neighbourhood. It is centrally located on the European side of Istanbul, making it easy to access all the city’s top attractions, including Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Blue Mosque. If you’re short on time, staying in Sirkeci allows you to explore these landmarks without spending too much time on transportation.

The neighbourhood is situated between the historic Sultanahmet and the Golden Horn (the primary inlet of the Bosphorus). Sirkeci is famous for being the terminal point of the historic Orient Express train, which connected Istanbul with major European cities. At the heart of the neighbourhood is Sirkeci Train Station, also known as Sirkeci Terminal. Built in 1890, the station served as the eastern terminus of the Orient Express. Today, it operates as a museum (the İstanbul Railway Museum is housed here) and a regular train station.

In my opinion, Sirkeci is the most convenient area to stay if you’re short on time. You can easily explore the city’s top attractions, including Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and Galata Tower or take a Bosphorus Cruise. Plus, you can enjoy spectacular sunset views from the Galata Bridge (only a 10min walk away).

Why stay near Sirkeci for one night

  • ideal location – Sirkeci is the best palace to stay in Istanbul for one night, being not just a transportation hub but also conveniently situated within a 10-15 minute walk from the historic Sultanahmet and Hagia Sophia
  • easy access to the rest of the city – tram line T1 (from Sırkecı station) takes you to Dolmabahçe Palace and Galata Tower
  • convenient access to the ferry ports – Eminönü port is no more than a 10min walk

Mest Hotel – Best mid-range

Guest rating: 9.3 | 3,150+ reviews

This lovely boutique hotel is housed in a historic building in the heart of the Sirkeci neighbourhood. Located right next to the Spice Bazaar and just 10 minutes away from the Grand Bazaar, Mest Hotel is the ideal place for a short stay. What I really love about this hotel is that from its rooftop breakfast restaurant, you can enjoy fantastic views of the New Mosque (Yeni Cami).

Why book – 10min walk from the Grand Bazaar, rooftop breakfast restaurant, excellent breakfast


Régie Ottoman – Best luxury

Guest rating: 9.1 | 1,060+ reviews

For a luxurious one-night stay, book a room at Régie Ottoman. This boutique hotel is set in a 150-year-old renovated Ottoman tobacco company building. The location is quiet (despite being in the heart of Istanbul) and great for sightseeing. Its restaurant, OCAK, offers authentic Turkish-Anatolian cuisine and has been featured in the Michelin Guide.

Why book – 10min walk from the Grand Bazaar, fantastic restaurant, excellent breakfast

bosphorus cruise
Sirkeci neighbourhood is just a short walk from the Bosphorus

Where to stay in Taksim, Istanbul

Taksim Square is often considered the geographical centre of the city. It not only serves as a central meeting point and transportation hub but holds significant historical importance as well. At the centre of Taksim Square stands the Republic Monument, erected in 1928 to commemorate the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye in 1923.

Taksim is famous for its lively vibe, nightlife and shopping scene. İstiklal Avenue, starting from the square, is the city’s main pedestrian street filled with shops, cafes and nightclubs. Taksim Square is also where the New Year’s Eve celebrations take place. It is also excellently connected to Istanbul Airport (IST) via the Havaist shuttle bus and to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) via the Havas shuttle.

Taksim is a very popular place to stay in Istanbul for tourists. However, I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you’re visiting the city for nightlife and shopping. There aren’t any major tourist attractions in the near. In fact, the area is not very well connected to the historic Sultanahmet neighbourhood, where are the famous Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia. To reach Hagia Sophia from Taksim, you’ll need about 40 minutes, using metro line M2 followed by transferring to tram line T1. Another popular attraction, Galata Tower, is about a 30min away (metro line M2).

In my opinion, Taksim is not the place to stay if you’re visiting for tourism. Yet, it serves as a great base if you want easy access to the airport or be in the heart of the action, close to nightlife and shopping and don’t plan a lot of sightseeing.

Here are the best hotels in Istanbul near Taksim Square.


Midtown Hotel – Best mid-range

Guest rating: 8.9 | 1,710+ reviews

Midtown Hotel is situated a few steps away from Taksim Square and the lively İstiklal Avenue with its numerous shops and bars. The hotel’s More Restaurant offers both traditional Turkish cuisine and international flavours. Rooms are modern and spacious with very comfortable beds.

Why book – 5min walk from Taksim Square, excellent restaurant, spacious rooms


CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel – Best luxury

Guest rating: 9.1 | 1,060+ reviews

Located just a short stroll away from Taksim Square, this luxurious hotel boasts amazing views of the Bosphorus Strait. The excellent Spa centre features a swimming pool, sauna and a Turkish bath. At Izaka Terrace Restaurant, you can savour authentic Turkish and international dishes, and enjoy live music performances at Stella Lounge & Bar. You can opt for either a room or an apartment and I suggest booking a room with a Bosphorus view for a unique experience.

Why book – 5min walk from Taksim Square, swimming pool, restaurant with Bosphorus views

Faqs about where to stay in Istanbul

Which hotel is the best in Istanbul?

The best hotel in Istanbul is the Garden House Hotel. Located in the historic Sultanahmet district, this hotel is only a short walk from the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Their Garden 1897 restaurant, serving Ottoman and Anatolian cuisines, is excellent as well.

Which area to stay in Istanbul?

If you’re visiting Istanbul for the first time and prefer easy access to tourist sites, stay in Sultanahmet. This is the historic heart of the city, home to iconic landmarks like Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace.

Which part of Istanbul is best to stay?

The best place to stay in Istanbul for tourists is Cağaloğlu neighbourhood, situated on the European side of the city. By staying here, you’ll be within walking distance of the city’s iconic attractions such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower and the ferry terminals.

Where to stay in Istanbul – Taksim or Sultanahmet?

Stay in Sultanahmet. This is the most central and historic part of Istanbul, where you’ll find all iconic sites, including Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. Taksim is approximately 30 minutes away from all the popular tourist spots by public transport, so you’ll be quite distant from everything.

Is Kadıköy a good place to stay?

No, Kadıköy is not a good choice for people visiting for the first time or sightseeing. Situated on the Asian side of Istanbul, Kadıköy is about an hour away from tourist attractions, requiring a combination of public transportation and a ferry ride. I would recommend it only if you’re staying in Istanbul for a few weeks and want to experience a neighbourhood with a local feel.

Best hotels to stay in Istanbul, Türkiye

🔝 Most popular hotelGarden House Hotel9.2 | 4,610+ reviews
🏩 Best mid-range hotelWhite House Hotel9.8 | 1,930+ reviews
💎 Best luxury hotelAJWA Sultanahmet9.3 | 2,080+ reviews
💖 Best hotel for couplesCatch Hotel Sultanahmet9.0 | 2,270+ reviews
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Best hotel for familiesDosso Dossi Hotels Old City9.0 | 3,020+ reviews

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About the author

Avatar Milena Yordanova
I am a full-time traveller and I have visited over 20 countries across 2 continents. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places, cultures and food. I’m an expert in travel planning and I am here to help you plan your dream vacation.

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