Best Turkish Bath In Istanbul
Best Turkish Baths in Istanbul For Couples
The Turkish bath (Hamam) as an Islamic version of ancient Roman baths. It contains a dressing room, cold bath and warm bath clustered around a domed, central steam chamber. All areas are heated by a furnace with a system of flues, similar to Roman hypocaust.
You may find recommendations for finding The Best Turkish Baths in Istanbul in this post. The best Turkish hamam is actually the one you like most budgetwise. Because there is a wide range of “Hamam” options.
History Of Istanbul’s Turkish Baths
The Turkish Baths or Hamams was of special importance in the Ottoman Empire’s capital, Istanbul. There were hundreds of them in historic Istanbul by the late Ottoman time. Going to a Hamam on special occasions (Bride, groom, circumcision of a boy) became a ceramonial ritual and part of tradition. This rituals are a part of daily life ever since.
List of Best Turkish Baths in Istanbul 2018
After reading this article, you will get a good impression of the Turkish bath process and customs. So you would know what to expect. It’s very refreshing experience to visit a hamam, escpecially after a busy sightseeing tour.
- Cemberlitas Hamam
- Cagaloglu Hamam
- Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam
- Suleymaniye Hamam
- Galatasaray Hamam
- Kilic Ali Pasha Hamam
Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Turkish Bath in Sultanahmet
Turkish Baths Near Sultanahmet (Istanbul Old City)
The bath was established by Nurbanu Sultan (wife of Sultan Selim II) in 1584. The architect was famous Mimar Sinan. It’s very centrally located and “easy to find” location. Next to Cemberlitas Tram Station.
Another centrally located Hamam. A few minutes walk from Basilica Cistern. It can be found easily by walking on Yerebatan Street. (A few mins walk from Adamar Hotel & Sura Hotel) Built in 1741.
Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam
Built by renowned Roxelana (Hürrem Sultan) the wife of the greatest Sultan of Ottomans: Suleiman The Magnificent.
Built in 1556 by Mimar Sinan (Chief architect at the height of Ottomans) This bath is located right next to Hagia Sophia. Best location, luxurious service but expensive Turkish Bath.
The bath is a part of Suleymaniye Mosque Complex which was built by Suleiman The Magnificent in 1557. This one is also built by Mimar Sinan. This is only mixed Turkish Bath in Istanbul Old City. Convenient Turkish Bath for couples. They have a pick up service if you reserve in advance.
Best Turkish Baths in Istanbul Map
Best Turkish Bath Near Taksim, Galata, Cihangir, Karakoy
Built in 1481 one of the oldest Turkish Bath in Istanbul. Located very near to Galata Tower and Taksim Square. A good choice for those who stays in Beyoglu Modern Istanbul District.
Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam
Located very near to Istanbul Cruise Ship Port, Karakoy, Galata, Cihangir and Taksim. Part of a beautiful mosque complex.
Kilic Ali Pasha (with Italian origins) was one of the greatest admirals in Ottoman Empire’s history. The Kilic Ali Mosque & its Turkish Bath built by Mimar Sinan in 16th century. Very unique architecture.
Best Turkish Baths in istanbul near Taksim, Cihangir, Galata
Istanbul Turkish Bath (Hamam) Services
It’s recommended to visit a historical Turkish bath rather than your hotel’s bath. Once you get into the Hamam’s reception, you have to select and purchase the Turkish Bath service of your preference.
With this option you have to bring your own soap, bath towel. This is definitely the cheapest option and cost you much less than massaging options. However it’s not the real experience.
Most popular option for experiencing a Turkish Bath atmosphere. The massager will do the massage & scrub for you. You do not have to bring anything with you. You will be provided all hamam equipments with a locker to keep you stuff inside. They will give you a box that contains a new scrubber, sandals and a peştamal.
Tellak: The man who makes massaging and scrubbing.
Peştamal: A piece of colorful cloth to be tied around the waist.
Göbektaşı: The central, raised platform above the heating source.
Hamam Tası: A bowl to pour water over yourself
Kurna: Basins to seat beside and wash yourself.
Kese: Special kind of glove that the Tellaq uses to rub your body.
Best Turkish Bath in Istanbul 2018
Hamam Rules And Etiquette
There is certain Hamam etiquette to be followed. In a Turkish bath there are two separate sections for each of the sexes allocated to men and women.
* Men wear no underwear underneath except the peştemal. Make sure you carry the peştemal on you at all times.
* Women keep their underwear underneath the peştemal.
Is There Any Mixed Turkish Bath For The Couples?
Best mixed Turkish Bath for couples Suleymaniye Bath. This Turkish Bath is located in the center of Süleymaniye Mosque complex. Considering that the mosque is from 16th Century, it’s a place to enjoy the history and architecture.
Best Turkish Baths in istanbul
What To Expect From A Turkish Bath?
An attendant takes you to the hot room (Sicaklik). You can just lie down and take it easy & sweat! A good opportunity to check the oriental features of a traditional Turkish bath. Steam room entirely decorated with marbles and covered with a massive dome. There are a few basins around the corners, Gobektasi is located in the center of the room.
A Good Massage With Soap Foam
After a few minutes of lying and sweating on the gobektasi, tellak enters the room. The first half of the service take place on the corner of the raised platform: gobektasi.
Tellak soaks your body with hot water and lather you with a foamy swab. At the same time, staying all slippery with soap, you receive the massage. This part might be a little bit rough as tradition dictates!
Scrubbing the dirt of your body
After clearing up with warm water and the message, it’s time for the scrubbing! The spot of action will be shifted from warm raised platform to the side of the basins (kurna). Tellak uses a special kind of glove (Kese), and starts scrubbing your body.
Tiny black pieces get rubbed of your body that most of people think is dirt. This is infact the top layer of your dead skin. Then he will wash you with soap and water in decreasing tempreture in order to make your pores close.
After half and hour massaging, foaming and scrubbing service, Tellak leaves the room, but you can hold and relax some more if you wish to.
Cooling Down By Taking Shower And Drinking Tea
You eventually get to cold section (soğukluk) This room has the shower and toilet as well. You are also given some dry peştemal and clean towel before going for the showers to cool down. You can drink tea while you wait till your body temperature cool down to normal.
Turkish Bath (Hammam) Experience for Tourists
Istanbul Turkish Bath Price & Opening Hours 2018
- Operating hours for the Turkish Baths is usually from 09:00 a.m. till 09:00 p.m.
- A decent price for a Turkish Bath with massage, scrub and foam should be between 120 – 200 Turkish Lira. Equivalent to 35-50 US Dollars.
- Tellak (Massager) will be of the same sex as you are
- Organic white soap is used. If you are allergic to some products, your better have your own soap.
- You are advised to tip the attendants, so make sure you have a some little Turkish Lira notes on you. Recommended tipping is %10 of the total amount.
- For Best Turkish Bath Experience In Istanbul, make sure that you choose the Turkish bath that suits your budget and needs. As different Hamams offer different packages and massages you are advised to check their website before visiting it.
Further Recommended Reading:
- Best Things to Do in Istanbul
- Best Places to Visit in Istanbul
- Grand Bazaar Shopping Tips
- Best Local Restaurants in Istanbul
- Best Meyhane in Istanbul
- Things to do in Kadikoy
- Istanbul Spice Bazaar
- Best Coffee Shops In Istanbul
- Best Restaurants Istanbul Bosphorus
- Best Fish Restaurants in Istanbul
- Istanbul Tourist Map PDF 2018
- Where to stay in Istanbul
References for the article:
- Serif Yenen‘s “Istanbul Quick Guide”
- Erlend Geerts‘ “The Istanbul Insider”
Best Turkish Baths in Istanbul Blog Article by Serhat Engul