Where to Stay in Istanbul? A Local Answers with Map

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Istanbul is not only preferred because of its unique location but also for many other qualities as well.

Believe me, you won’t run out of things to explore in this cosmopolitan city. 

Each neighborhood portrays a different side of Istanbul. Therefore, it is confusing to choose where to stay in Istanbul.

But don’t worry, as a local in Istanbul, I will mention the five areas you can stay in this historic city.

Let me help you find the best hotels in Istanbul’s different areas!

IF YOU ARE IN A HURRY, here is the short answer.

If it’s the first time you visit Istanbul, the best area to stay in is Sultanahmet. This is the historical center of Istanbul, and most of the historical landmarks in this area make it more appealing.

The best hotels in Istanbul are;

●   The best luxury hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet (Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com)

●  The best middle-priced hotel:  Swissotel The Bosphorus – (Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com)

●  The best budget hotel: Germir Palas Hotel (Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com)

Best Places to Stay in Istanbul
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The Best Areas to Stay in Istanbul

Istanbul has many different areas that are special and impressive in their own ways. 

That’s why it can be challenging to decide which area is the most suitable for you.

Luckily, you can arrange your options with a little bit of guidance. Below, you can see the personalized recommendations I’ve arranged for different types of travelers.

●  The best area to stay for first-time visitors is Old Town (Sultanahmet).

●  The best for luxurious hotels: Besiktas

●  The best for vivid nightlife: Taksim

●  The best place for coffee addicts and budget travelers: Kadıköy – Moda.  

●  The best for shopping: Beyazit (Grand Bazaar)    

These are the most popular areas of Istanbul. Each of these areas has great options for accommodation.    

Even though Sultanahmet is an excellent choice, I also recommend Kadıköy. While Kadıköy is a bit far from other districts, it is more organized and cheaper.

Kadıköy is connected to the European side of Istanbul by the Marmaray subway crossing under the Bosphorus.

To learn more about the details and have a better idea, please keep reading!

1.   Old Town (Sultanahmet) – Best for First-Time Visitors

I believe exploring the history of Istanbul is one of the things that everybody must do at least once in their lifetime

Sultanahmet is a place that can make you travel back in time. In this area, you can witness the marvels of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern times. 

Being the capital of many empires, you can see all the heritage of humanity that these empires brought to their capital. 

I’m a local in Istanbul, and I’m familiar with most of the historic sites in our city. However, I still feel excited whenever I visit the landmarks in Sultanahmet. 

  • Hagia Sophia 
  • Egyptian Obelisks and Hippodrome
  • Basilica Cistern 
  • Grand Bazaar (with more than 4000 shops), 
  • the Blue Mosque
  • Topkapi Palace, with a museum filled with relics from all around the world

are just a few of the marvelous things to see in the Sultanahmet District of Istanbul.

If this is your first time, you may need some travel tips, you can check my guide on What Do You Need to Know Before Visiting Istanbul?

1.1 The Best Luxury Hotels in Sultanahmet (200 USD and up)

Four Seasons Hotel

The Four Seasons Hotel in Sultanahmet is very luxurious and is preferred by both visitors and locals.

It is unbelievable that this glamorous hotel was converted from a prison. Unlike the old times, today it’s impossible not to have a good time at this hotel. 

The architecture of this hotel is splendid, with an excellent view of the historical peninsula.

The hotel is also famous for its Turkish cuisine dishes.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

White House Hotel

If you want to stay in a luxurious hotel, the White House Hotel is an excellent choice.

As mentioned, many of the most important landmarks in Istanbul are in Sultanahmet. This place is not only luxurious but also very close to those landmarks.

This place offers you an authentic environment with its Ottoman style. You can also enjoy the beautiful view from the terrace of this excellent hotel.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

1.2 The Best Middle-Priced Hotel (Below 200 USD)

Antusa Design Hotel&SPA

The Antusa Design Hotel & Spa is another fantastic option you can consider.

The price is not that reasonable when compared to other luxurious hotels in the area. You can have a good time in the bar and enjoy the beauty of Istanbul.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

1.3 The Best Budget Hotel (Below 125 USD)

Albatros Hagia Sophia Hotel 

If you’re looking for an affordable yet great hotel, you should check out the Albatros Hagia Sophia Hotel.

There’s free Wi-Fi, a bar, a restaurant, and other options. You can also easily visit the historical sites in Sultanahmet.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com.

Learn more travel tips about Istanbul by reading my guide “Is Istanbul Safe? Answered By a Local

2. Besiktas – For Luxurious Hotels and City Life

Besiktas is one of the most popular districts in Istanbul and a very vibrant area of Istanbul where there are plenty of things to do.

Even just walking down the streets of Besiktas is an amazing activity. 

Besiktas Carsi is a great place with its own culture. Besiktas Carsi is also known for its support of the Besiktas football team and its political activism of being on the opposite sides of main views.

In Besiktas, Carsi is a great place to wander, visit clothing boutiques, and eat at the famous fish market. 

A great way to experience something new would be attending a football match with Besiktas which is one of the 3 biggest Turkish football teams.

On the shores of Besiktas, the Dolmabahce Palace, the Turkish Naval Museum, and Ortaköy.

Akaretler street, where I worked as a professional lawyer at the beginning of my career, is a very popular place. Its cafes are full of life and high-level professionals during the day and the night.

Besiktas is an amazing area if you’re looking for premium hotels. Yet, there are amazing options for budget travelers and middle-priced options as well!

Looking for items for your bucket list read my guide: 21 Fun and Unique Things To Do in Istanbul (A Local’s Guide)

2.1 The Best Luxury Hotels in Besiktas (250 USD and up)

The best luxury hotels in Besiktas Istanbul are Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Four Seasons, and Swissotel.

While Ciragan Hotel and Four Seasons are located on the Bosphorus Strait, their rooms start from 1000 USD, and the Swiss Hotel is cheaper (around 400 USD a night) yet still provides great service and a great Bosphorus view.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski

Ciragan Palace Kempinski could be the most famous hotel in Turkey. 

In fact, this hotel is an Ottoman Palace that used to host Ottoman Sultans. If you want to feel like a king or a queen, this is the right place for you.

The hotel also hosts celebrity and high society weddings at this place. Many young girls dream of having their weddings at Ciragan Palace.

Long story short, it’s a glamorous hotel you should consider!

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul

Swissotel The Bosphorus

Swissotel The Bosphorus is also a very popular and luxurious hotel. 

This hotel offers so many things that it’s hard to describe them all. You will definitely find your every luxury need, but maybe more. 

You should visit the rooftop terrace while enjoying the beautiful view.

I used to go there when I was stuck working in Istanbul in the summer. Apart from the pool, the hotel offers facilities for many types of sports activities. 

There’s also a children’s pool that makes this place more family-friendly.

Plenty of people choose this hotel to celebrate their weddings as well.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus

Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus

The Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus is an amazing hotel that makes you feel like you’re in a dream. 

Like Ciragan Palace, the hotel has a view of the Bosphorus and an excellent outdoor area with an indoor, outdoor, and children’s pool. 

In this family-friendly hotel, you can feel in a holiday town in the center of the metropolitan city of Istanbul.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

2.2 The Best Middle-Priced Hotel in Besiktas (Below 250 USD)

The Artisan Istanbul MGallery

The Artisan Istanbul MGallery is an excellent choice for a mid-range hotel. 

The hotel is located in the heart of Istanbul, close to important places, and provides a family-friendly place with beautifully designed rooms. 

The restaurant and the bar are great spots in this hotel. You can also hit the gym if you’d like.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

2.3 The Best Budget Hotel in Besiktas (Below 75 USD)

Mia Berre Hotel

There’s no doubt that Besiktas is the heart of the most luxurious hotels. However, that doesn’t mean that there are no affordable options.

The Mia Berre Hotel is an amazing option for budget travelers. The rooms are chic, and the interior design is great as well.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

If you are also looking for day trip ideas outside the central areas of Istanbul, check my guide on Day Trips from Istanbul.

3. Taksim – For City and Nightlife

Taksim is a very popular area both amongst visitors and locals. 

Taksim and Beyoglu are bustling with life both day and night. Istıklal Street is the equivalent of London’s Oxford Street and Times Square of New York.

At night, Taksim and Beyoglu are the first spots that come to mind when thinking about “Nightlife.”

At night, you will find countless cafes, nightclubs, and taverns offering diverse entertainment options.

There are plenty of accommodation options for any sort of budget. That’s why you can easily find a suitable place for you.

3.1 The Best Luxury Hotels in Taksim (250 USD and up)

Pera Palace Hotel

Pera Palace Hotel is a historical hotel that was built in 1892. Agatha Christie was one of the guests of this hotel. There’s even an Agatha Christie room in the Pera Palace hotel.

According to the rumors, she wrote Murder on the Orient Express in that room. There’s even an Agatha Christie Restaurant in the hotel.

Most importantly, our great leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was a frequent visitor to this hotel. The room he stayed in is now a museum that welcomes many visitors all around the world.

Pera Palace Hotel is one of my favorites, with its beautiful design and history. It’s definitely one of the best choices for accommodation.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com.

CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel

Apart from enjoying the nightlife of Taksim, you can also have a splendid time in your hotel. CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel is an excellent choice for people who want to stay in a luxury hotel.

This hotel offers many options, from spas to high-quality guest services. It’s a very popular hotel and deserves its popularity.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

3.2 The Best Middle-Priced Hotels in Taksim (Below 250 USD)

Sheraton Istanbul City Center

Even though it can be considered a middle-priced hotel, it’s quite popular and famous. This hotel is actually one of the luxury hotels in Istanbul.

There’s an indoor swimming pool, a spa center, a bar, and many other options. It’s a high-quality yet middle-priced hotel. 

If that’s something that you’re looking for, you should consider this option.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

3.3 The Best Budget Hotels in Taksim (Below 100 USD)

The Germir Palas Taksim

Germir Palas Hotel

The Germir Palas Hotel is probably the best budget hotel in Istanbul. The architecture of this hotel and the interior design are amazing.

It’s a great option for budget travelers. If that seems like something you’re looking for, go ahead and book a room!

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

Midtown Hotel

Here’s another excellent hotel that you should check out! The Midtown Hotel is considered a budget hotel. However, it’s a very good quality hotel with amazing reviews.

This hotel has free Wi-Fi, a bar, a restaurant, and necessary amenities. If you want to stay in Taksim on a budget, I highly recommend this place.

The hotel is a few meters away from Taksim Square.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

4. Kadikoy – For Coffee Addicts and Budget Travelers

Kadikoy is an excellent area that appeals to people of all ages. This area is a perfect reflection of the vibrant city life in Istanbul. It’s like heaven, especially for coffee addicts like me.

Kadikoy became the intellectual center of Istanbul in recent decades.

You will find many cozy coffee shops and cafes. Kadıköy has a slower vibe than the overall rhythm of Istanbul. Additionally, Moda and Bagdat Street are full of beautiful restaurants and bars.

Kadikoy has amazing locations to stay, yet hotels are a bit cheaper because Kadıköy is located on the Anatolian (Asian) side of Istanbul. 

From Kadıköy, you can easily travel to all places in Istanbul by using excellent public transport. 

Marmaray subway takes you to the European side within minutes, crossing under the sea.

If this area is the suitable one for you, keep reading to discover the best hotels!

Istanbul is a multicultural place with many many languages, cultures, and religions. Read my article to learn about languages spoken in Istanbul.

4.1 The Best Luxury Hotel in Kadikoy (150 USD and up)

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Moda

Hilton can be considered one of the most popular hotels on the Asian side. This luxury hotel is located in Kadıkoy and is very close to Moda. 

Whenever I walk to the Moda neighborhood, I stare at this hotel. The architecture of this hotel is splendid. That’s why it always catches my attention.

You can relax by the pool, try delicious Turkish cuisine, and hit the fitness center if you’d like.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

4.2 The Best Middle Priced Hotel in Kadikoy (Below 100 USD)

Hotel My Dora

Hotel My Dora is a great choice for people who want to keep their money in their pockets. Even though it’s a middle-priced hotel, it’s quite affordable.

You can enjoy the bar, free Wi-Fi, or simply relax in your cozy hotel room.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

4.3 The Best Budget Hotels in Kadikoy (Below 50 USD)

Juliet Rooms & Kitchen

Juliet Rooms & Kitchen is one of my favorite hotels in Moda. This place is just as cute and cozy as its name. They also have a cafe which is available for everyone.

I remember having breakfast there with my best friend. It was delicious, and the environment was amazing.

I highly recommend this hotel for budget travelers; it’s one of the best options in Kadıkoy, Moda.

The hotel also has shared rooms which are very cheap, like 20 USD.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

Belizia Hotel

The Belizia Hotel is also a cozy hotel that is very suitable for budget travelers. The rooms are not that big, but they’re cozy and pretty.

It’s a great place for people who don’t want to spend much on accommodation. This hotel has a great location, and you can easily enjoy the beautiful streets of Kadikoy.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

To learn more about Turkish Culture, please read my guide “Is Istanbul in the Middle East? Location, Culture, Climate, and More.”

5.   Beyazit (Grand Bazaar) – For Shopping

As you might already know, the Grand Bazaar is one of the most popular spots for tourists. 

The Grand Bazaar’s origin goes way back to 1461 and it is one of the biggest closed shopping malls in the world with more than 4000 shops.

The area around the bazaar is authentic as well. of this beautiful place. 

I was educated at Istanbul University Law School and wandered around the Beyazit area for years, but I am sure there are still things for me to discover.

This area is usually very crowded because of its popularity both amongst locals and visitors.

If you’re a big fan of shopping, you might want to stay close to the Grand Bazaar. Luckily, there are plenty of great hotels nearby. 

So, let’s get started and find the most suitable one for you!

If you are looking for day trip ideas outside the central areas of Istanbul, check my guide on Day Trips from Istanbul.

5.1 The Best Luxury Hotels in Beyazit (125 USD and up)

Radisson Hotel President

The only bad thing about this hotel is that it’s so good that you won’t want to leave it. I really love the interior design of this hotel, especially the bars.

The Radisson Hotel President is really close to the Grand Bazaar, and you can easily get there or see other attractions.

This hotel has almost all the qualities you can think of. It might be hard to decide what to do while you’re staying at this amazing place.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

5.2 The Best Middle-Priced Hotels in Beyazit (Between 75 and 125 USD)

Antik Hotel

The Antik Hotel is another great option for accommodation if you want to stay close to the Grand Bazaar. It can be considered a middle-priced hotel and is great for travelers!

Additionally, you can easily visit the Grand Bazaar since this hotel is located close to it.

The Antik Hotel is a very beautifully decorated hotel and offers delicious meals. The view is also spectacular, and there are many other things you can enjoy while staying here.

I highly recommend this hotel to people who are looking for a middle-priced hotel.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

5.3 The Best Budget Hotel in Beyazit (Below 75 USD)

Hotel Beyaz Saray & Spa

This hotel is an excellent choice if you don’t want to spend too much money but want to stay in a good hotel. 

The Hotel Beyaz Saray & Spa is a very popular hotel just across Beyazit Square.

The area is known by Istanbul University’s Historical Gate. 

I can tell you from personal experience that nights are silent in this area, but during the day, it is one of the busiest places in Istanbul.

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

Suggested Reading: Is Istanbul Rich or Poor? A Local Answers with Statistics

The Best Hotels Near Airports In Istanbul

There are two international airports in Istanbul. One of them is Istanbul Airport, which is located on the European side. 

The other one is Sabiha Gokcen Airport, and it’s located on the Asian side.

There are plenty of good hotels near both airports. However, I’d like to mention the best budget hotels closest to those airports.

The Best Budget Hotel Near Istanbul Airport

Durusu Club Hotel

The Durusu Club Hotel is a great accommodation option. This hotel is a 13-minute drive away from Istanbul Airport.

The location of this hotel is beautiful and makes you feel in line with nature. The hotel is surrounded by trees, and there’s also a beautiful pool. It’s a cozy and pretty place to stay.

Click to check on Expedia.

The Best Budget Hotel Near Sabiha Gokcen Airport

ISG Airport Hotel

The ISG Airport Hotel is located very close to Sabiha Gokcen Airport. It’s a very popular hotel and an amazing option for accommodation.

I definitely recommend this budget-friendly hotel, which is only a 5-minute drive away from the airport!

Click to check on Expedia or Booking.com

I tried my best to help you in your journey to find the hotel you’re looking for. I hope it was a helpful guide and that you enjoyed it.

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