Istanbul is a definitely worse visit destination if you are interested in a big city in Turkey that straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. It's Old City reflects the cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here.
Of course, itís impossible to see everything in Istanbul. This city is divided into 36 districts and has 936 neighborhoods in total, but of course, you donít need to explore all of them. Letís have a quick look to some of them.
This neighborhood represents Istanbulís old city and is one of the most visited tourist places. Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosk, Grand and Egyptians bazaars are the top places here.
Galata is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Istanbul. It was named in honor of the medieval Galata Tower. If you are looking for European vibes, this place is definitely what you are looking for. Narrow and hilly streets, cozy cafes, old bookstores, trendy fashion boutiques, Galata is a perfect place to be lost.
Named for the large Taxim square, this district is famous for its busy nightlife, shops, restaurants, and hotels. Also, this place usually hosts protests and demonstrations, so if you are not a risky traveler, it would be better for you to know ahead about this kind of activities.
Karakoy is a harborside area, where you could find a lot of funky cafes, art shops, and fashion studious. The beauty of this neighborhood is that it represents the mix of Ottoman-era buildings and modern house painted with street art.
If you are missing some luxury atmosphere, go to Nisantasi. This is a true bohemian place, popular for its fashion boutiques, art galleries, and chilling high-quality restaurants. The buildings in art nouveau style, shining glitter on the dresses from the storefronts and stylish people around, this neighborhood has its own mood, for sure.
Located between Taxim square and the port, this neighborhood is definitely one of the most attractive areas to walk. Narrow streets, art cafes, European charm and a lot of cats, come here to catch some inspiration and meet new people. Actually, in this neighborhood, there are many foreign expats.
You have probably heard this name if you are interested in football because this district is home to the famous Turkish soccer club Besiktas. Cafes, bars, markets, shops, and parks, if you want to see the real local life, come here.
This neighborhood is located right by the Bosphorus and is famous for its street food. To be honest, this is quite a touristic place that is usually noisy on the daylight. But it still worth to visit if you are traveling along the Bosphorus.
Expensive waterside apartments, a bay with yachts, fancy restaurants and cafeterias - this place is perfect for a bike ride or a walk along the seaside.
Itís the largest of the nine Princess islands in the Marmara Sea. Itís a perfect place to chill and enjoy the nature. You can come here on a ferry (city water transport) from at least all the main Istanbul ports. Itíll cost 10 TL or around 2$
You couldnít say that you see Istanbul entirely if you didnít visit the Asian side. Located in Kadikoy district, Moda is the most popular place among the youth, open-minded and artistic people. This area is full of small and cozy hipster cafes, bars and vintage shops.
So, where to stay?
If you travel to Istanbul for 1 week or less, it would be great for you to stay somewhere around Galata, Taxim or Sishane metro station as you could easily get to the main attractions. But if you are planning to stay more, check Beshiktash, Cihangir or Kadikoy. Both of these neighborhoods have a great infrastructure and are not so touristy and hectic as Sultanahmet or Taksim.