Where To Stay in Istanbul Taksim or Sultanahmet 2019


Where to Stay in Istanbul 2019

Best Areas to Stay in Istanbul > Beyoglu, Sultanahmet, Bosphorus

It’s not easy to decide where to stay in Istanbul, considering that Istanbul offers variety of options to its visitors.

Should you stay in Modern Istanbul “Beyoglu” (Taksim, Galata, Karakoy) or Old City “Fatih” (Sultanahmet, Eminonu, Beyazit) or Bosphorus (Besiktas, Ortakoy). These choices have its own pros and cons. Let’s review them in this blog post.

Considerations about Taksim, Sultanahmet, Bosphorus

  1. Taksim is closer to action and nightlife. (sometimes noisy)
  2. Sultanahmet is so near to main tourist attractions (no fun at all)
  3. Bosphorus area is absolutely beautiful and classy. (but too expensive)

Modern “Beyoglu” vs Old City “Fatih”

A Brief Information About Golden Horn

The Golden Horn is a natural inlet connected to Bosphorus. The Golden Horn separates the modern Istanbul and Historical Peninsula (Old City or Constantinople).

Many new hotels have been opened around Golden Horn shores recently. Those luxurious hotels could be alternative to Sultanahmet, Taksim and Bosphorus hotels.

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Istanbul

Where To Stay in Istanbul > Best Area 2019

  • Staying in Old City: Sultanahmet, Sirkeci, Eminonu, Beyazit

Best Area to Stay in Istanbul for Families with Kids

Sultanahmet is obviously closer to top tourist attractions such as Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace and Grand Bazaar. These attractions are located within a walking distance from the Sultanahmet hotels.

The downside of booking a hotel in Sultanahmet is that the area is not lively when it’s dark. Streets get empty and there is almost no nightlife in the area.

This place is to find the peace and take a safe & quiet walk in the night.

Best Area To Stay in Istanbul Old City:

  1. Eminonu
  2. Sirkeci
  3. Gulhane
  4. Sultanahmet
  5. Cemberlitas
  6. Beyazit
  7. Laleli

+ Pros: The area is closed to traffic, silent and safe neighborhood. It is nearby the must-see tourist attractions. You can easily get the tram to reach out to Modern Istanbul (Galata-Taksim neighborhoods)

– Cons: The only disadvantage of this area is that there is almost no nightlife here. After 23:00 in the evening, almost everywhere becomes silent and empty.

Recommended hotels to stay: Best Hotels in Sultanahmet

Best Places to Stay around Sultanahmet
Best Areas to Stay in Sultanahmet Old City

Click Here for Map of Old City (Fatih)

  • Staying in Beyoglu: Taksim, Galata, Cihangir, Karakoy

Best Area to Stay in Istanbul for Young Couples.

Where to stay in Istanbul Sultanahmet or Taksim? A very common question. Let’s check the latter.

Taksim (district name Beyoglu) is nearby Istiklal Street, Galata Tower, Taksim Square and Dolmabahce Palace. There are also trendy neighborhoods around such as Cihangir, Galata and Çukurcuma. These places are adorned with cozy cafés and busy nightlife.

Istiklal Street is a lively area bustling with people 24 hours a day. You should note that some hotels are located in noisy areas. If you are looking for a peaceful night, perhaps you should choose a hotel a few streets away from Istiklal Street.

The fashion boutiques (in Nisantasi), the largest shopping malls (Levent, Sisli, Mediyekoy) located near to Taksim Square. They are accessible with a simple metro ride.

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Istanbul Beyoglu:

  1. Karakoy
  2. Galata
  3. Pera
  4. Istiklal Street
  5. Taksim Square
  6. Tarlabasi
  7. Cihangir
  8. Tophane

+ Pros: It’s where the heart of the city beats. It is closeby both Istanbul Old City and the Bosphorus. Art galleries, cinemas, cafés and bars all around Istiklal Street.

– Cons: Taksim Square and its surroundings are overcrowded during the weekend. The noise of people and cars may disturb you. It’s less safer than Istanbul Old City.

Recommended hotels to stay: Best Hotels in Beyoglu

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Beyoglu

Local Advice About Where To Stay in Istanbul

You will spend time in both areas for sure. You can easily use the tram, funicular and taxi to commute between Sultanahmet and Taksim.

My personal experience tells me that the best place to stay is the Sultanahmet. Almost everything related to history exists in the Sultanahmet. You can just walk back to your hotel after sightseeing and have a good rest.

You can visit the Taksim after a short taxi ride. You simply join the nightlife around Taksim and Istiklal Street then you can come back to Sultanahmet to have a good sleep.

  • Staying in Bosphorus: Besiktas, Ortakoy, Bebek

Best Area to Stay in Istanbul for Sea View and Luxury

If you want to be close to the unique beauty of Bosphorus, you can choose hotels located in this area. In general terms, these hotels are in the most expensive category.

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Bosphorus:

  1. Besiktas
  2. Ortakoy
  3. Bebek
  4. Beylerbeyi (Asian Side)
  5. Cengelkoy (Asian Side)

+ Pros: Districts alongside Bosphorus provide a wonderful scenery. Besides the life quality is considerably higher than other areas. Best restaurants & nightclubs are nearby. There is cozy Ortakoy & Bebek neighborhoods.

– Cons: The hotels are expensive and far from the major tourist attractions. It might take a long time to get Sultanahmet because of busy traffic. The roads that lead to Besiktas, Ortakoy and Bebek always busy.

Recommended hotels to stay: Best Hotels in Bosphorus

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Bosphorus

Last Words

Both Asian And European Sides. This is a matter of preference after all. All areas are nice; some lively, some beautiful, some quiet.

I hope this short article help you decide about where to stay in Istanbul. I also recommend you to read Best Places to Airbnb in Istanbul post for further information.

Latest Update: 27.05.2019

Written by By Serhat Engül

Best Area to Stay in Istanbul 2019

  • Nayyar


    This short summary really encapsulates the Istanbul city accommodation options. All correct. Thank you

    • Serhat Engül

      Dear Nayyar, Thank you for your kind review. I am glad to see that it’s been useful for you.

  • Maria


    This is so helpful! We are going to be there next week, for the first 6 days, we are doing a heritage tour of the historical sites with the tour group, konya, bursa etc. Also the blue mosque, hagia sofia and topkapi palace. For the next 3 nights, we can’t decide which hotel to book and what else to see , we want to see the city mostly by walking. Does your blog share info on bosphorus cruise?

    • Serhat Engül

      Hello Maria, I am happy to see that the blog post has been useful to you. Yes I have another post related to Bosphorus Tours of Istanbul. You may find it from this link: please click here.

  • Ankita


    Hello Serhat

    Your blogs are really helpful. I am from India and we are planning to visit Turkey from 26th November to 4th Dec. We will be travelling to Istanbul 3N-Bodrum 1N-Kusadasi 2N-Pamukkale (Day Trip) -Cuppadocia. Can you please tell me what will be the weather condition in those places? Will it be a good idea to visit those places?


    • Serhat Engül

      Hi Ankita, it would be starting to get cold in Istanbul those days. However it’s still nice time to visit. As the Istanbul’s high season is April, May, September and October (basically spring and fall) visiting the city in the late autumn will let you see the main sites more comfortably. (less people and less waiting in the lines). However I can not say positive things about Kusadasi and Pamukkale. It’s best to visit those places when it’s sunny and warm. It would be cool and sometimes rainy in the West coast of Turkey during the late November. Cappadocia is beautiful for all seasons.

  • Douglas Greyson


    This is a great article to get informed about İstanbul. I’ve been to most of the places in this list and i can say this list is well prepared. Those who will go to istanbul may also enjoy this article i’ve found here: cheap but comfortable hotels in Istanbul
    Thanks for the article!

    • Serhat Engül

      Hi Dougles, thank you for your kind review and contribution on the issue.

  • Iveta


    Hi Serhat,

    This is indeed very accurate, even though I been in Istanbul 7 years ago. I am coming back in October, perhaps you could advise if Taksim area is safe enough to stay for a solo female traveller from Lithuania? Thank you!


    • Serhat Engül

      Hi Iveta, generally speaking it’s safe. However Taksim Square, Karakoy and Galata Tower areas are crowded and sometimes uncomfortable. In my opinion Cihangir neighborhood is the best for a solo female traveller who wants to stay in Beyoglu (name of the disrict that covers Taksim, Galata, Cihangir, Karakoy etc.)

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