Europe

Where to Stay in Istanbul + Tips On What You Won’t Wanna Miss!

Updated on:  
July 25, 2021
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 minutes
Mousumi Gharami
Mousumi Gharami
Contributor
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Gypsies, belly dancers, dervishes, and a slice of Turkish delight, that's Istanbul in a nutshell.

Well, not really! Istanbul has more veils and layers and shades to unfold. From the surreal sight of the Blue Mosque on a full-moon night to raising a toast with fellow party peeps under blazing neon lights, Istanbul serves it all. Like a true paradox, it straddles both ends and cradles the east and the west. Istanbul, for many, is the unique destination filled with amazing sceneries and fun activities to do.

Whether you're a nomad, hippie, or history enthusiast, Istanbul welcomes you with open arms. But, hey, are you ready to stroll around the cultural capital of Europe? Maybe you're just browsing through blog posts like ours to figure out whether or not Istanbul is really the destination to go to. If so, why not check out our scoop of other cool locations nearby, such as things to do in Rome or activities to enjoy in Amsterdam.

If you're trying to figure out where to start and where to stay in Istanbul, we've definitely got you covered. From breathtaking views to budget friendly locations, Pilot will bring solutions to your budget worries and guide you to find the best-staying options in Istanbul. Dive right in.

Istanbul Turkey crowds and places to stay
Courtesy of Visit Istanbul

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Istanbul

Visiting Istanbul for the first time? Well, figuring out which part of Istanbul is the best to stay in is a tough call. You must observe vividly to soak in the unique vibe of this city because every corner has something to offer. From history to heritage, to nightlife, to shopping, it's tricky to pick one place from where you'll cover it all. Hence, we present to you the best stays around the best neighborhoods in Istanbul, that too within budget.

Sultanahmet – Best for Old Town Vibe

The Sultanahmet neighborhood to stay in Istanbul
Courtesy of Sultanamet Camii

It's a no-brainer for those who already know the places of Istanbul. But for a first-timer, well, you might wonder, should I stay Taksim or Sultanahmet? We suggest both. Sultanahmet will blow your mind if you are an old-school traveler who finds solace in the pages of history. Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, some of the significant Istanbul attractions that are in close-quarter to Sultanahmet. 

For budget accommodations, you can try Basileus Hotel. It's ideal for backpackers with clean rooms, free Wi-Fi, a private loo facility, and breakfast. You can also check out Otantik Guesthouse for cozy yet excellent rooms, continental breakfast, and friendly staff.

Taksim – The Upscale Urban Heartland

On the contrary, Taksim will serve you all things urban! It's the heartland of luxury with excellent urban connectivity and an upscale lifestyle. If you are a trendy person who finds comfort in brands and loves getting lost in the stylish city crowd, base in Taksim. Istiklal Avenue is among the busiest yet vibrant streets in Istanbul.

For pocket-friendly stays, try Taksim Avenue. It offers clean rooms with a homely yet traditional atmosphere. Whereas, T-Square Residence looks simple but provides free Wi-Fi, terrace access, a balcony with amazing views, and a wide variety of breakfast.

Karakoy – Best Budget-Friendly Corner for Backpackers

Karakoy budget friendly places to stay in Istanbul

If budget is your question, Karakoy is your answer. This charming neighborhood serves you a plethora of cafes, terrace lounges, and little shops to check out. You can stroll around and bag in little tokens from these shops or take a ferry ride to the Asian side. Apart from that, you can savor Turkish cuisines along with many international foods here.

For accommodation, you can check out Paradise Hotel. It offers everything you possibly need and that too at a low price. From services to room décor, they have it all sorted. For another option, try Cheers Porthouse. The place is ideal for tourists traveling on a tight budget. From cleanrooms to private bathrooms, you'll get everything.

Grand Bazaar – Paradise for Shopping Freaks

Talk about old markets; Istanbul has one of the oldest ones in the world. It's easily one of the must-visit places in Istanbul. From Turkish sweets to modern clothes, you will find everything under the Sun. The area has two main bazaars, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar. So, shop till you drop!

Keep the wallet ready for shopping and find budget places to stay here. Check out the City Hall Hotel. The place is affordable and nearby to a tram station. You can take a walk and reach many of the tourist attractions from this hotel. For options, also try Mansion Gorki. It offers 24-hour desk services, a private loo, great rooms at an affordable price.

Basiktas – A Treat from the Mighty Bosphorus 

Besiktas has the mighty Bosphorus spiraling across the city. It's one of the best neighborhoods to soak in the local vibe. The area offers a ton of pubs, cafes, bars, clubs, and a fish bazaar. Stroll around the cozy streets while trying various foods and sweets. Also, don't forget to try the street food over here, you'll love it.

For pocket-friendly shelters, try Linden Houses. Plenty of bars and restaurants are things to look for. The rooms are small but spotless. Otherwise, check out Hot Budget Ortakoy. It offers 3-star services that include free Wi-Fi, clean rooms, and private parking.

Galata – Avenue for Nightclubbers

Shout out to the clubbers! The area houses plenty of pubs, clubs, and restaurants with fantastic nightlife. So, slip into your party shoes, grab a drink, and groove along. You can also walk to the famous Istiklal Street and Galata Bridge.

For budget accommodations, try Mesto Galata. The place offers a unique blend of modern and traditional designs. With clean rooms and bathrooms, you won't regret staying here. Another option is Archeo. They serve cheaper room rents and food.

What You Should Avoid in Istanbul

Knowing where to stay and having a full list of options might be great, but there are some information that would be important to know. After all, affordable stay is not the only concern for a traveler. You must stay aware too. In case you're wondering, what I should avoid in Istanbul, we have got you covered.

  • Don't trust random strangers.
  • Avoid eating at expensive restaurants.
  • During rush hour, avoid self-drive.
  • Avoid shortcuts suggested by Google Maps.
  • Avoid any tourist plans or rides.
  • Avoid Marijuana or any other drug.
  • Don't make fun of religion, culture, or political people.

Plan Your Next Destination to Istanbul

With the list of spectacular neighborhoods to choose from and tips and tricks to stay safe and smart during the trip, what more are you waiting for?

With these above choices, you'll be able to make the best of your Istanbul trip, for sure.

However, if you still need help regarding Istanbul itineraries, take a look at our travel-based newsletter, FlightDeck. For your daily dose of the best offers around the world, from boarding a flight to booking a stay, our newsletter will be your one-stop solution. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and take the plunge!

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