We list the best hotels, hostels, B&Bs and guesthouses in Istanbul as recommended by travel experts from CNN, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, Fodor’s, New York Times and more. All hotel recommendations have been referenced with customer reviews and we only listed places that have at least a 4 out of 5-star customer review rating.
“Sumahan on the Water, a 24-room low-rise hotel in a former Ottoman raki distillery, now with its own marble hammam. A boat fetches guests on the European side and speeds them across the Bosporus. A buffet breakfast is served along the shore.”
Featured in New York Times’ 36 Hours in Istanbul.
“What a rehabilitation success story: a former prison just steps from Topkapı Palace and Aya Sofya is now one of Istanbul’s premier accommodations, where rooms and suites are luxuriously outfitted and overlook the Sea of Marmara, the Old City, or a manicured interior courtyard.”
Featured as Fodor’s Choice in Istanbul.
“The Pera Palace speaks of the fin de siècle era when well-to-do Europeans “took the air” on the leafy Grand Rue de Pera (now the heaving Istiklal Caddesi). Stepping through the doors feels like stepping straight back in time to an altogether more glamorous era.”
Featured as Frommer’s Exceptional Choice in Istanbul.
“This gem of a hostel, situated in the very heart of the old city, blends faux-Ottoman style with plenty of bright, neo-bohemian touches like pastel-hued planters to create a friendly and communal vibe. It’s a good base – but also offers guests a range of activities like pub crawls, darts competitions and walking tours.”
New York Times, Fodors, Frommers, Telegraph
Fodors, Frommers, CNN, Telegraph
Lonely Planet, Fodors, Frommers, Telegraph
New York Times, Frommers, Telegraph
Frommers, Fodors, Telegraph
Lonely Planet, Telegraph
New York Times
Istanbul is one of the largest cities in Turkey that lies within Asia and Europe across the Bosphorus Strait.
Some of the major neighborhoods in Istanbul are:
Arnavutköy is an upmarket neighborhood situated by the Bosphorus renowned for its fish restaurants and Ottoman waterfront mansions. It also has a wide range of cocktail and gastro bars, beautiful houses, and many other interesting places.
Balat is previously Armenian and Greek Orthodox neighborhood of the city with full of colorful churches and old houses. The neighborhood is replete with vintage shops, art galleries, ceramic ateliers, micro coffee shops, and historic streets. It has also several landmarks such as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Church of St. George.
Çukurcuma is an neighborhood in the city that is famed for some of the best antique dealers in Istanbul. Some best antique dealers include Aslı Günşiray, Modern Tarih, and A La Turca. The neighborhood is also renowned for the Museum of Innocence that is a literary museum established by Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, inspired by his novel of the same name.
Galata is a neighborhood that is a part of Beyoğlu district. It is the home to the famous Galata Tower that overlooks the neoclassical buildings and old cobblestoned streets. The neighborhood has a popular café Mavra that is the favorite haunt of locals and visitors.
Karaköy is a neighborhood that is situated right by the waterside and previously was a major port in the city. It is now filled with trendy boutiques, restaurants and cafes that draw many wandering tourists and locals to these places.
If you're looking for a cheap hotel in Istanbul, then book Hotel Empress Zoe. It's an excellent budget hotel offering great value for money. It's in a good location, it's been recommended by travel experts and the hotel has excellent customer reviews.
You like some luxury but don't like the famous chain hotels. If you're looking for the best boutique hotel in Istanbul, you should check out Ibrahim Pasha Hotel. It's a very cool hotel that has been highly recommended by travelers and experts.
Also check out our list of the best boutique hotels in Istanbul, it's a manually curated list of the most unique and romantic hotels in the city.
If money isn't a problem and you're looking for a luxury hotel in Istanbul, then go for Four Season Hotel Sultanahmet. The hotel offers excellent service, it's in a top location, it has been rated very highly by previous guests and renowned travel critics have recommended it.
If you're looking for a great hostel in Istanbul, then you should check out Hostel Cheers Lighthouse. The hostel has magnificent reviews by backpackers, it has been recommended by well-known travel experts and it's in a good location.
If you're looking for a room with a view, then try the Sumahan on the Water Hotel. It offers amazing views of Istanbul according to recent customer reviews.
For a 3-star hotel you have to pay around $60 per night and for a 4-star hotel you would be looking at $100 per night. If you're after a luxury 5-star Istanbul hotel then you can expect to pay around $170 per night.
Try Hotel Empress Zoe if you're looking for a delicious breakfast at a hotel in Istanbul. The hotel has excellent customer review ratings for breakfast.
Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht. Witness the enchantment of Istanbul with a 2.5-hour sunset cruise along the beautiful Bosphorus. Aboard the glass-encased luxury yacht, enjoy the city’s main attractions at dusk including the Dolmabahce Palace, Ortakoy Mosque, and Rumeli Fortress. Price: $60.
Full Day: Classic Istanbul Tour Including Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Experience Istanbul’s timeless sights on a full-day tour of the city’s stunning historic places. Listen for the ancient echoes of pounding hooves and charioteers at Hippodrome Square and spot the distinctive tiles of the Blue Mosque. Price: $65.
Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour. Skip the line and enter the magnificent Hagia Sophia, which is the world’s largest place of worship, built by Emperor Justinian in 532 AD. Enjoy a guided tour inside and see the tallest dome of the largest Christian church in the world. Price: $16.
More things to do in Istanbul
The metropolitan municipality of Istanbul is historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium. As Turkey’s economic, cultural and historic center, Istanbul is regarded as the most important Turkish city. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia; part of it lies in the continent of Europe and part of it lies in Asia.
The commercial and historical center lies on the European side of Istanbul while a third of the population lives in the Asia side. Viewed by many as the bridge between the East and the West, this holds both literally and figuratively.
Istanbul is located strategically as the link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea which helps it to create a cosmopolitan populace. The city has seen a lot of growth in several sectors such as arts, music, film, and cultural festivals which further boosts its attractiveness to tourists and visitors.
Istanbul is dubbed the European Capital of Culture, and it ranks as the world’s fifth most popular tourist destination. The biggest attraction in Istanbul is its historic center which is partially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Center.
Istanbul is indeed a global city with several landmarks and places of interest such as the Maiden’s Tower and Hagia Sophia.