Best place to stay in Istanbul

Galata waterfront istanbul turkey best place to stay in istanbul
Galata tower from the Asian side of Istanbul.

Updated on the 7/4/2020

Istanbul is a sprawling city. It has a staggering population of 16 million. That makes Istanbul one of the biggest metropolitans in the world. If you are going to Istanbul, you need to choose the best place to stay in Istanbul properly. 

If you choose a strategic area to stay in Istanbul, it will save you so much time and money! That means you have more time to explore this sensational Turkish capital!

My top four favourite areas to stay in Istanbul are Kadikoy, Eminonu, Taksim and Besiktas. 

I will break down the reasons why.

Kadikoy

Kadikoy is located on the Asian side of Istanbul. It is one of the most loved areas to stay in Istanbul. 

Being one of the younger neighbourhoods, Kadikoy is up and coming. It hasn’t attracted too many tourists yet so I highly recommend staying here.

To me, it is the best place to stay in Istanbul.

Some of the highlights in Kadikoy include (but not limited to):

Fried falafel vegan plate at Rulo lezzetler
Kadikoy is full of surprises and this place is one of them. Rulo Lezzetler serves vegan/vegetarian plate for just 11 lira! You can fill up your plate with anything as long as it's in 1 plate!

Favourite restaurant

Rulo Lezzetler

Favourite dessert shop

Asi Kunefe

Favourite cafe

Siginak Cafe

Favourite bar

Zeplin Pub and Delicatessen

Transport options:

  1. Dolmuz (minivan) to Taksim
  2. Kadikoy metro station
  3. Multiple ferry wharves (departing for many destinations at the European side including Eminonu, Yenikapi and Besiktas)
  4. Many bus lines

Accommodation options:

I loved my stay at Kuzen Otel (I am not paid to write this).  

If you wanna be in the middle of the action of Kadikoy, stay with Kuzen Otel where you can literally walk to all the places you want in Kadikoy, including the metro station and the ferry wharf! 

Moreover, it costs less than 50 euros for 2 people per night! PS: the decor is sensational.

recommended hotels in Kadikoy Kuzen Otel best place to stay in Istanbul
The beds at Kuzen Otel are so cute!

Eminonu

Eminonu best place to stay in istanbul
The hustle and bustle of Eminonu captured by my lens. Try not to spend too much money walking down this street.

Eminonu is on the European side of Istanbul. Have your heard of the famous Spice Market? Yesh, it is in Eminonu.

It is located just next to most of the dearly loved national monuments including Haghia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque and Topkapi Palace. 

For that reason, Eminonu made it as one of the best places to stay in Istanbul as well.

balkan lokantasi food in istanbul turkey
Balkan Lokantasi is one of the best places to learn about Turkish cuisine. They are presented nicely in front of you so you know what you're eating!

Favourite restaurant

Balkan Lokantasi

Favourite dessert shop

Hafiz Mustafa

Favourite cafe

Yeditepe Teras Cafe

Favourite bar

Pierre Loti Roof Pub

Transport options:

  1. Sirkeci railway station
  2. Halic metro station
  3. Ferry wharves (to Besiktas, Uskudar, Kadikoy and other destinations)
  4. T1 Tramway line (access to Sultanahmet, Karakoy, Kabataş and other destinations)
  5. Many bus lines

Accommodation options:

It doesn’t cost too much to splurge in Istanbul. 

Imagine sipping a cocktail at the rooftop bar of the hotel overlooking the glorious Blue Mosque. 

That’s what Tan Hotel can offer amongst many other things. Stay at this modern (and super new) hotel for 80-110 euros depending on the kind of room that you reserve.

tan hotel great hotel to stay in Istanbul
Enjoy your breakfast with a whooping view of the much beloved Blue Mosque from the rooftop of Tan Hotel!

Eminonu has some cheaper options too. 

For less than 50 euros, you can stay at the wonderfully decorated Le Safran Suite Hotel.

Furthermore, it’s walking distance to all the major tourist attractions. This could certainly be a good place to stay in Istanbul if you only in Istanbul for a short trip and wish to do as much as you can!

Le Safran Suite Hotel best place to stay in Eminonu, Istanbul
Not only the decor is great at Le Safran Suite Hotel, its location is very strategic too!

Taksim

Taksim is one of the busiest areas I have seen in my entire life. That makes it one of the best place to stay in Istanbul because of the easy access to everywhere in Istanbul!

Filled with all the hustle and bustle you could possibly imagine, Taksim is one of the most central places in Istanbul to stay. 

If you are based here, it would be super easy for you to navigate around.

However, the downside of Taksim – it is super touristy. If that’s what you like, you should totally stay here! 

Besides Kadikoy, I also stayed at Taksim for a while (so that I can party till 7am and not worry about getting home).

Shopping arcade taksim istanbul
There are many souvenir shops in Taksim. They are super photogenic too!

Favourite restaurant

Hayvore

Favourite dessert shop

Sakarya Tatlıcısı

Favourite cafe

Konak Cafe/ Arada Cafe

Favourite bar

Flekk

Transport options:

  1. Taksim Square Dolmuz (to multiple destinations)
  2. Taksim Square Metro Station
  3. Taksim Square buses
  4. T1 Funicular
  5. Istiklal Tram
  6. Sishane station.
  7. Walk further and you will have Karakoy wharf and other transport options offered at Karakoy.
sishane taksim tram istanbul
A little girl standing in front of the iconic tram in Taksim. The tram moves very slowly so don't you worry about her safety.

Accommodation options:

I think one of the highlights of my stay in Istanbul is my stay with Apartof (again, not paid to write this). 

I rented it for a week so got a little discount. It costs less than 40 euros per night for 2 people.

Located super close to Istiklal street, you will see all the action once you get out of your apartment. 

apartof best place to stay in Istanbul
Apartof offers the simplest accommodation decor. However, it is very spacious and clean. Its location is definitely why I chose Apartof in the first place.

Besiktas

Besiktas is another bustling neighbourhood in Istanbul.

Located close to many universities, it is one of the cheaper places to stay in Istanbul.

Favourite restaurant

Midyeci Ahmet

Favourite dessert shop

Beşiktaş Pide Güveç

Favourite cafe

Terrace cafe

Favourite bar

Joker No.19

Transport options:

  1. Besiktas wharf going to Karakoy, Uskudar, Eminonu and Kadikoy
  2. Funicular
  3. Dolmuz to Taksim and Kadikoy

Accommodation options:

The Hub Hostel offers both private rooms and hostel dorm rooms.

I suggest getting the private room as you can still meet people while still enjoy your own privacy.

The price difference is not huge so if you have some extra pennies, get a private room!

The hub hostel
The private room option at The Hub Hostel.

Going to Istanbul soon? Here is the Ultimate Istanbul Itinerary for 3 Days!

Read more about Food in Istanbul and find out all about the restaurant recommendations!

About travel insurance

I lost my luggage in Bangkok thanks to the airline that shall not be named here. The airline company was really irresponsible and I did not get my luggage back in the end.

It’s not unusual for these kinds of unfortunate event to happen at times. 

Get insured with World Nomads

In my experience, they have been wonderful to help. They responded to my email in 15 minutes with a quick plan.

The plus side, World Nomads is quite cheap as well – considering the service and the benefit that you’d get. 

Reimbursement comes in quick and they’ve always got your back! I never leave without getting insured. 

Get a Turkish Sim Card

It’s really hard to navigate around without a sim card in Istanbul. English proficiency is limited here. 

People are really keen and friendly to help but sometimes you just need to have some internet connection.

Get the 15GB Sim Card by the official tourism board of Turkey

It’s subsidised by the government to promote tourism. You get 15GB of data and 1000 minutes of international calls on top of other amazing perks. Everything comes just under 30 euros! 

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Wondering where is the best place to stay in Istanbul? This post will tell you the best areas to stay in Istanbul with recommendations on bars, food and everything else you need to know for you to make a decision!
Istanbul is enormous. This guide is to tell you the best place to stay in Istanbul so you don't waste your precious time during your stay in Istanbul! Post includes recommended restaurants, bars, shops of each area!

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Categories: Turkey