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Best place to stay closed to touristy places and the "real" city?

Planning to stay 6 days in Istanbul w/ 2 teens. Is it better to stay in Fatih, Galath...? I'd like to be close to the places to visit but also be able to take a boat (to karakoy and prince's island) and just walk on evenings to have diner outside. Thanks

5 Answers

top answer by
Leeann from Istanbul

A couple of things to clarify for you.

Faith is the municipality inside the old city (inside the city walls). So it's a big area. There are places to recommend and places to not recommend. The places to recommend that are close to the tourism sites are the neighborhoods (mahalle) of Sultanahmet Square (closest to Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia), Gülhane Parkı, Sirkeci. Beyazıt Karakol Sk is near the Grand Bazaar. Avoid the gritty, sleazy area of Aksaray. There are five star hotels further afield in Fatih in Topkapi Palace. You can easily get to Sultanahmet tourism sites from these areas via the T1 tram that generally runs 6am - 12am.

These recommended places in Fatih are great if you have not been to Istanbul before because you'll spend more time there seeing Ayasofya, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar etc. There are also more English speakers - being a tourism precinct, and you can also pick from plenty of restaurants that fill this area.

Galata Kulesi is in Beyoğlu - more bohemian/local. You can easily access the old city via the T1 tram. You're also close to Istiklal Street here and "modern Istanbul" - which might be what you mean by real city??? We don't have a real city as such - just a bunch of neighborhoods all different to one another. Galata is atop one of the seven hills so if anyone has mobility issues you'll need to consider the inclines in that area.

Karakoy Gulluoglu is below Galata so I think you mean you want a boat to Kadıköy on the Asian side? In this case, the boats to Kadikoy leave from Karakoy and Eminonu (Spice Bazaar area). These ports are all on the door step of the T1 tramline. 

The boats to the Princes' Island leave from Kabatas which is also on the T1 Tramline. Kabatas is about 20 minutes on the tram from Sultanahmet.

Istanbul is very easy to get around.

Are you seeing a pattern here?? ;-) Being close to the T1 tram line is the key in the neighborhoods recommended. The T1 Tram is the dark blue line in the map here:

With this info on hand then I recommend getting on or - they have all the reviews, photos, maps and prices listed so you can decide on a place suited to all your tastes and budget.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sultanahmet Square (attraction)
  2. Hagia Sophia (attraction)
  3. Gülhane Parkı (attraction)
  4. Sirkeci (attraction)
  5. Beyazıt Karakol Sk (attraction)
  6. Grand Bazaar (attraction)
  7. Aksaray (attraction)
  8. Fatih (attraction)
  9. Topkapi Palace (attraction)
  10. Blue Mosque (attraction)
  11. Galata Kulesi (attraction)
  12. Beyoğlu (metro area)
  13. Karakoy Gulluoglu (restaurant)
  14. Kadıköy (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Zack from Brooklyn

Taksim is the most modern part and has a lot to offer. The Old City is across the bridge and visit Sultanahmet Square it can be overwhelming at first as it has a very middle eastern feel to it with lots of street vendors etc but that's what I personally loved about it. Took my fiancé a few hours to adjust. Sultanahmet is where the palace is and all the museums etc but a really great place. Take them to Spice Bazaar to try all the Turkish delights and amazing restaurants that serve flat breads and unbelievable desserts. If they like animals there is an awesome cat food vendor behind the spice bazaar and me and my fiancé bought a $10 bag and walked around feeding kittens... It was a lot of fun as we really love animals. Also the area near the water or the bridge is really fun and has great fish sandwiches. There is also a great dessert restaurant near the palace where you can take a willy wonka type glass elevator to the highest floor and enjoy fabtastic desserts while over looking sultanahmet and taksim below!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Taksim (neighborhood)
  2. Old City (attraction)
  3. Sultanahmet Square (attraction)
  4. Spice Bazaar (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

Hello Buard!  I really enjoyed my stay in Sultanahmet.  There are plenty of options and Blue Mosque ApartTopkapi PalaceBasilica Cistern, and Hagia Sophia Istanbul Old City are all very close to the hotel we stated in, which was the Yasmak Sultan Hotel.  Very easy ferry access not to far away and plenty of restaurant options!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sultanahmet (neighborhood)
  2. Blue Mosque Apart (attraction)
  3. Topkapi Palace (attraction)
  4. Basilica Cistern (attraction)
  5. Hagia Sophia Istanbul Old City (hotel)
  6. Yasmak Sultan Hotel (hotel)
1 thanks

answered first by

I would not recommend Fatih. It's a pretty crappy area with a lot of prostitution and hustlers. you are much better off staying in places like Sultanahmet Square or Taksim Square where you have lot's of hotels in all price ranges and lot's of pleasant places to hang out at night.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fatih (attraction)
  2. Sultanahmet Square (attraction)
  3. Taksim Square (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Robb from Dallas, Texas

We stayed at The Grand Hyatt Istanbul. Would stay there again close to restaurants and Dolapdere Cd. Palace

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Grand Hyatt Istanbul (hotel)
  2. Dolapdere Cd (attraction)

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