Best Turkish Baths in Istanbul
Best Hamams in Istanbul For Couples – Turkish Bath Prices, List, Map
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 Hamams 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 Hamams
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 Hamams in Istanbul – Turkish Baths
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.
Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam
Kilic Ali Pasha Hamam
Best Hamam (Turkish Bath) in Istanbul Old City (Near Sultanahmet)
Best Hamams (Turkish Baths) in Sultanahmet (Istanbul Old City)
The bath was established by Nurbanu Sultan (wife of Sultan Selim II) in 1584. The architect was famous Mimar Sinan. One of the oldest hamam in Istanbul. It’s very centrally located and “easy to find” location. Next to Cemberlitas Tram Station.
This hamam is located within walking distance from Basilica Cistern. This traditional Turkish Bath was built in 1741. It can be easily found by walking on Yerebatan Caddesi (Basilica Cistern Street). Neighboring the Adamar Hotel and Sura Hotel, two popular hotels in Sultanahmet Area.
Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamamı
Dedicated to renowned Hurrem Sultan (Also known as Roxelana), the wife of the greatest Sultan of Ottoman Empire: Suleiman The Magnificent.
This old hamam was built in 1556 by Mimar Sinan (Chief architect of the palace during the peak of Ottomans). This Turkish Bath is located next to Hagia Sophia. Known as a luxurious and expensive Turkish Bath. Best Hamam in Sultanahmet and Old City of Istanbul.
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 also provide a pick up service from the hotel. (Reservation is needed)
Best Hamams (Turkish Bath) in 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 District.
Kılıç Ali Pasa Hamamı
Located very near to Istanbul Cruise 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. Definitely the Best Hamam in Taksim, Istanbul.
Best Hamam (Turkish Bath) in Beyoglu (Near Taksim)
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.
List of Best Turkish Baths in Istanbul
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.
Best Mixed Turkish Bath (Hamam) For The Couples
Best mixed Hamam for couples is Suleymaniye Hamami. 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.
Oldest Turkish Baths and Hamams in Istanbul
How to Use a Turkish Bath? What Happens in Hamams?
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.
Cheapest Old Turkish Baths in Istanbul (Cagaloglu-Cemberlitas)
Istanbul Turkish Bath (Hamam) Prices 2018
Turkish Bath prices in Istanbul ranging from 35 Euros to 80 Euros. This price is including body scrubbing and bubble wash with relaxing massage. Cost of a Turkish Bath is around 35-40 Euros in Cemberlitas, Cagaloglu and Suleymaniye Hamams. While luxurious Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Bath requires 80 Euros by offering extra head & neck massage and cold sherbet drink.
Istanbul Turkish Bath (Hamam) Opening Hours 2018
Istanbul Hamams are usually open from 09:00 a.m. till 09:00 p.m. Best time to go to a Turkish Bath is between 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. after a sightseeing tour.
Turkish Bath experience make you feel relaxed and ready to sleep. It’s recommended to go back to hotel immediately after visiting a hamam as your body will be very warm. Otherwise you may catch flu easily.
Turkish Baths in Istanbul on a Map – Best Hamam Locations
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 Hamams in Istanbul – Turkish Bath Prices and Cost by Serhat Engul