Best Area To Stay In Istanbul
The 7 Best Neighborhoods in Istanbul for Tourists

  1. Sultanahmet.
  2. Sirkeci.
  3. Taksim.
  4. Karaköy & Galata.
  5. Maçka & Nişantaşi.
  6. Kabataş
  7. Beşiktaş

What is the most central area to stay in Istanbul?

1. Sultanahmet (Old Town/Old City) – top area for first timers – Sultanahmet is the most popular part of the city, one of the best areas, the cultural and historic heart of Istanbul, where all the main attractions, points of interest, and of course, historic buildings are located. This is why Sultanahmet is recommended as the best area for people going to Istanbul for the first time! Known as the Old Town or Old City, you will find incredible landmarks here.

If you’ve never been to Istanbul before, you’ll want to visit this area nevertheless, as it’s hosting some unmissable spots in the Old City: Hagia Sophia Church and Museum, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, and more. It’s also close to the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar, so you’ll be steps away from everything worth visiting during your first visit.

You’ll also be surrounded by plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars! The only downside of staying here is that the nightlife is pretty much non-existent, so the area is pretty calm and laid-back after the sun sets. This can actually be an advantage to some travelers, it all depends on your taste and preference! Convinced? Here are the top hotels in Sultanahmet old city, all sorted by price:

Should I stay Taksim or Sultanahmet?

Where to Stay in Istanbul – Taksim or Sultanahmet? – When wondering where to stay in Istanbul – Taksim or Sultanahmet, you’ll have to take into account your budget and tastes. Taksim is better for people who want a good value place and somewhere with a neighbourhood atmosphere.

  • Sultanahmet is the ‘proper’ old city of Istanbul, and is close to the main tourist attractions, but is also quite a lot more expensive and touristy.
  • You might want to stay in Sultanahmet during your first trip, or if you’re just in Istanbul for a layover, and Taksim if you’ve already been to Istanbul before or are here for a more extended stay.

Whichever one you end up staying in, I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Istanbul!

What are the safest areas of Istanbul?

Kadikoy – This area is situated on Istanbul’s Asian side, and it is marked by its vibrant atmosphere and city life, as well as the presence of historical buildings. It is also characterized by the presence of many sports, cultural gatherings, and arts, as there are many historical buildings in addition to being a significant hub for transportation and shopping.

Which side of Istanbul is better for tourists?

BONUS – ARNUVUTKÖY & BEBEK: Places to Explore From Beşiktaş – Beşiktaş is also a great base from which to explore some of the charming and elegant neighbourhoods along Istanbul’s coast such as Arnavutköy and Bebek, Best Area To Stay In Istanbul Arnavutköy (meaning ‘Albanian village’ in Turkish) is not on the typical tourist trail but is actually one of the most interesting and historical places in Istanbul. With its colourful wooden Ottoman mansions facing the sea, cute seafood restaurants and cafe-lined picturesque narrow streets, this is definitely one of the must visit places in Istanbul.

  • There are also plenty of synagogues, churches and mosques! If you are looking to explore beautiful places in Istanbul then Arnavutköy should be an area that tops your list.
  • Arnavutköy is not the best place in Istanbul to stay for first time visitors to the city as its far away from pretty much everywhere.

The upmarket area of Bebek is another of the top places to visit in Istanbul. Best Area To Stay In Istanbul Home to some of Istanbul’s wealthiest residents (it even has its own marina where people dock their yachts) Bebek is extremely popular in the summer when Istanbulites from all over the city flock down to enjoy breakfast by the sea, drink in the trendy bars and escape the stifling city heat.

There are a few attractions located in Bebek, including the magnificent Rumeli Hisari Fortress. Bebek Park, located on the shore of the Bosphorus is flanked on either side by the Bebek Mosque and the Egyptian Consulate building (Valide Pasha Mansion), which are also worth visiting. The gorgeous coastal road into Bebek is narrow and during weekends and evenings becomes absolutely clogged with traffic, so bear this in mind if you want to visit the area.

Like Arnavutköy, I wouldn’t recommend Bebek as a place for first time visitors to Istanbul to stay as it’s so far away from the main attractions. It’s definitely worth making time on your trip to explore this neighbourhood though! Best Area To Stay In Istanbul Fatih District is the most popular place to stay in Istanbul for tourists because there are so many attractions here – basically everywhere you look, there’s something to visit, be it a museum, a mosque or a bazaar. Many of the sites can be visited easily on foot or via a short journey on public transport.

Which part of Istanbul is the most beautiful?

What Is The Most Beautiful Part Of Istanbul? – The most beautiful part of Istanbul has to be the Sultanahmet neighborhood. This is where the historical landmarks of the city are located, including the Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque. For quaint charm, colorful buildings, and cobblestone streets, check out the Balat area!

Which is better Topkapi or Dolmabahce?

Tripexpert Topkapi Palace and Dolmabahce Palace are both praised by expert writers. Overall, Topkapi Palace scores significantly better than Dolmabahce Palace. Topkapi Palace has a TripExpert Score of 97 with endorsements from 9 sources like Time Out, Fodor’s and Lonely Planet.

Location: Babıhümayun Caddesi, Istanbul, Turkey Expert reviews: Fodor’s “Few other royal residences match this hilltop compound when it comes to mystery, intrigue, and the lavish intricacies of court life.” Concierge “If you’re stuck for time, limit yourself to the main palace and the harem, the most intimate and personal rooms used by the sultans and their many, many women.” i Avoid going on weekends or during peak periods of the day so you miss the busloads of people who move in flocks around the grounds in a veritable babel of chattering languages.

Frommer’s “Topkapi Palace should be at the top of the list for anyone interested in the vast and exotic world behind the seraglio walls.” Lonely Planet Top Choice “This opulent palace complex is the subject of more colourful stories than most of the world’s royal residences put together.” Let’s Go “The views are luxurious, the buildings overwhelmingly crafted, and the treasures outrageous.

Why is Taksim Square famous?

Demonstrations and incidents – The square used to be an important venue for political protests,

  • On February 16, 1969, some 150 leftist demonstrators were injured during clashes with right wing groups in what is known as ” Bloody Sunday “.
  • In the events known as the Taksim Square massacre, 36 left-wing demonstrators were killed by unidentified and allegedly right-wing gunmen on the square during the Labour Day demonstrations of May 1, 1977.
  • On 10 August 1982, Artin Penik, a Turkish Armenian, set himself on fire to protest the Esenboga airport attack by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia,
  • Taksim Square was the location of football riots in 2000 when two Leeds United fans were stabbed to death during clashes with Galatasaray fans, the night before the 1999-2000 UEFA Cup semi-final first leg match between the two teams.
  • On October 31, 2010, a suicide bomb went off next to a police bus. The bomber, a TAK militant, died, while 15 police officers and 17 civilians were injured.

A march to protest the Circassian genocide took place in May 2011.

Following many other violent incidents, all protests and demonstrations were banned and today police units maintain a round-the-clock presence to prevent any incidents. It is many years since either May Day or New Year’s Day events were permitted to take place in the square, with much of the surrounding area usually fenced off for the day and the Metro station often closed to prevent people gathering.

Is it better to stay in Sultanahmet or Beyoglu?

Sultanahmet – Best Area To Stay In Istanbul For Sightseeing – The main reason why many visitors consider Sultanahmet to be the best area of Istanbul to stay for tourists is its wealth of attractions. This is, after all, where the main historic sights are located, including the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, etc.

Where should I stay in Turkey for first time?

1/10 Marmaris – Nestled in a beautiful bay, surrounded by lush mountains, Marmaris is one of the most impressive places to stay when visiting Turkey for the first time. Its extensive beach promenade, the picturesque harbor, and the charming old town are just a few of what makes it so incredible.

Best Five-Star Hotels: Marmaris Bay Resort, Casa De Maris Spa & Resort Hotel Best Budget Hotels: Elite World Marmaris Hotel – Adult Only, Joya Del Mar Hotel

How many days do I need in Istanbul?

How Many Days Is Enough To Visit Istanbul? Istanbul, a vibrant cultural hub, is brimming with must-see sites and monuments! So, how long should you stay in Istanbul? Give the city, at least three days if you’re coming for the first time. Three days in Istanbul will enable you to see the city’s most renowned sights — but anticipate a jam-packed schedule if you want to make the most of your time there! Istanbul, sandwiched between Asia and Europe, is one of the world’s most fascinating tourist attractions.

Is Istanbul safe at night for tourists?

Is Istanbul Safe At Night? – Best Area To Stay In Istanbul Any city in the world is more dangerous at night than in the daytime, and Istanbul is no exception. Luckily, Istanbul is still quite safe at night, but you should take extra precautions. Walking around at night in one of the tourist neighborhoods in Istanbul such as Sultanahmet or Kadikoy is quite safe.

  1. The places that you should be careful of are the nightlife district in Istanbul, especially near Taksim.
  2. Petty theft and pickpocketing usually happen in crowded nightclubs and bars, and Taksim is one of the most popular areas for nightlife in Istanbul, especially for travelers.
  3. Another risk is getting approached by people who want to show you this place they were recommended.

Usually, they’ll say they want to have a drink with you, and then take you to a place that is going to be in on the scam. It ends with you paying for all the food and drinks of the party, and it won’t be cheap.

Is Istanbul safe to walk around?

Is Istanbul Safe to Visit in 2022? – Best Area To Stay In Istanbul Lizavetta/Shutterstock The American, Canadian, and Australian governments agree that when traveling to Istanbul or Turkey in general, visitors should exercise a high degree of caution due to the threat of terrorism, particularly near the Turkish-Syrian border.

Fortunately, acts of terrorism have not occurred since January 2017. Additionally, these acts typically do not target tourists. Besides the threat of terrorism, Istanbul is considered relatively safe for tourists and locals. Istanbul is even considered moderately safe for solo travelers and female travelers.

However, visitors should remain cautious as many tourists are often caught in scams, frauds, or pickpocketing schemes. Let’s look further at what you can expect when visiting Istanbul.

Where is the rich area in Istanbul?

The Modern Atasehir Intertwined with Nature – Ataşehir is one of the most visited places on the Anatolian side, where you can be intertwined with nature and see modern architecture. It is one of the other most expensive residential areas in Istanbul with dozens of privileges.

Is 2 days in Istanbul enough?

Finding the Universe contains affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, then we highly recommend spending some time in Istanbul. This is the largest city in the country, and is generally regarded as the most important city in terms of cultural and historical interest.

  • Istanbul is home to numerous wonderful sights, and we’ve always enjoyed our visits here.
  • How long you visit will of course depend on your schedule, but we think 2 days in Istanbul will give you enough time to see the main highlights.
  • You could do this either as a weekend in Istanbul, or as the start of a longer trip, such as that outlined in our 2-week Turkey itinerary,

In this guide, we’re going to share with you a detailed itinerary for spending two days in Istanbul. We’ll tell you all the things you should see, share a map to help you visualise your trip, give you tips on where to stay, and share some practical advice for your visit.

Can you get around with English in Istanbul?

Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul

1. What’s the best time of year to visit Istanbul?

Istanbul is a popular destination all year round, although summer can get very hot and winter is usually cold and rainy with the occasional snow flurry. Spring and autumn months are best advised for a pleasant temperature and less crowding at the major sites.

2. How should I dress in Istanbul?

Turkish dress sense is generally westernised although revealing clothing is not very common in Istanbul (nightclubs along the Bosphorus are more of an exception). As a secular state, Turkey is tolerant of other cultures and religions. Female visitors are not expected to don a head scarf, unless they are visiting a mosque and scarves are usually available to borrow.

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3. What is there to do in Istanbul?

Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and offers many sites and things to experience. As well as the many markets and bazaars on offer, we would recommend taking a trip to the sites of the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) and Topkapi Palace.

4. What is it like as a non-Muslim visiting Turkey?

While Turkey is a largely Muslim country and some are strict followers of Islam, there are many more moderate Muslims and also smaller minorities of Christian and Jewish faiths. As a secular state, Turkey is generally very open and welcoming to other cultures, and it is rare to experience any problems as a non-Muslim in Turkey.

  1. British nationals travelling for tourism or business purposes will no longer need a visa to enter Turkey for visits of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
  2. To get a full list of which nationalities require e-Visa’s click on the following link to the MFA web page: Compared to most western countries, Istanbul is a safe city.

The incidence of violent crime against foreigners is very low and few visitors to the city experience any problems. There are some scams and pickpockets operating (more so in the tourist-heavy areas) so you should exercise usual caution.

7. Is Istanbul easy to get around? What kind of transport options are there?

Despite its huge size and number of waterways and hills, Istanbul is reasonably easy to get around. There are a large number of transport options such as bus, minibus, dolmus, tram, metro, metrobus and ferry. Also, as stated earlier, it is mandatory for travellers to wear a face mask when in transport.

8. How can I get from the European to the Asian part of Istanbul?

There are buses, metrobuses and dolmus that make the trip between the European and Asian parts of Istanbul but the cheapest and easiest way to do it is by ferry. Ferries make the trip between Eminonu and Kadiköy and Üskudar on a regular basis. Other ferries leave from Besiktas and Kabatas.

9. Is it safe to drink water from the tap in Istanbul?

Although the water is chlorinated in Istanbul, it is recommended you drink bottled water. Bottled water is widely available and reasonably cheap in Istanbul.

10. Is it safe to eat food from the street and small restaurants in Istanbul?

The standard of hygiene in Istanbul is generally fairly high, and few visitors report problems related to unsafe food in the city. Practice common sense and only eat at an establishment if it looks clean and busy. Fresh fruit should be peeled before eating and salads should be avoided if you suspect they have been washed in tap water.

11. Do I need any vaccinations for a trip to Istanbul?

No. There are no required vaccinations for Turkey, although a typhoid vaccine is recommended for longer stays.

12. Is alcohol available in Istanbul?

Yes. Although the majority of Turks are Muslims, alcohol is readily available in Istanbul. The national drink, raki, is especially popular, along with beer and wine – of which there are numerous local brands. Istanbul also has some of the best nightlife in Europe with a seemingly never-ending supply of bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

13. What language do they speak in Istanbul? Will it be hard to get by with only English?

Turkish is the official language of Turkey and English is widely spoken in Istanbul; visitors are often surprised by the relatively high level of English spoken by most Turks. An attempt to use Turkish is very much appreciated and considered good manners, though.

14. Should I take out travel insurance before visiting Turkey?

Yes. It is important that before you book your holiday, you make sure that you have relevant travel insurance for you and your party. If you or any of your party develop COVID-19 symptoms while abroad, you should contact your travel insurance provider.

15. Do I need to exchange money? Are there many ATM’s in Istanbul?

Although Euros are accepted at some larger stores and in the tourist areas, it is generally better to trade in the Turkish currency – the Turkish Lira. Exchange rates are almost always better if your currency exchange is done in Turkey, and a good strategy is to take enough local currency for your first day or so, and change the rest once you arrive.

16. Should you tip in Istanbul?

It is customary to tip around 10% at restaurants in Turkey. If the bill reads ‘servis dahil’, then the service charge has already been added. Hamam (Turkish bath) attendants will generally expect up to 25%. It is not typical to tip taxi drivers or barmen in Turkey. : Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul

Is Fatih in Istanbul a safe place?

3. Re: is fatih good and safe area at night n nhotel recomemdation 6 years ago Unfortunately, some booking sites list SultanAhmet as being within the Fatih district, which is unhelpful since that’s most of the old city. SultanAhmet is a fine place to stay, or Sirkeci perhaps. If you’re obviously a tourist you may get some hassle from sales people.

Is Istanbul a walkable city?

Walking Istanbul and London with Authors Elif Batuman and Rebecca Mead You can listen to our podcast on and each week. Follow this link if you’re listening on, Lale talks to two of her favorite authors about two cities that she’s most connected with—Rebecca Mead about and Elif Batuman on —and asks the question: What do you learn about a city by walking around it instead of driving through it? “You want to knit yourself into the fabric of a place and see your story knitted into it,” says Mead.

Plus, listeners contribute their own walking stories about Budapest, Dubrovnik, and —all solo travelers who had unforgettable experiences thanks to the decision to explore a new place by foot. For more from Women Who Travel, visit our or subscribe to our, Lale Arikoglu: Hi, and welcome to our second episode of our new Women Who Travel, with me, your host, Lale Arikoglu.

This episode is about European cities and specifically getting to know them on foot and by public transport. I’m invested in this because, I confess, I don’t drive. But many people also don’t feel like driving in, say, the traffic of, or in the narrow streets of an ancient French city.

It simply isn’t the best way to get around. I’m chatting today to two authors whose writing I love about our ties to cities. They’re Rebecca Mead, who, like me, is English, and who thought she’d settle in New York, but found herself moving to London four years ago. Rebecca Mead: London is so convoluted and, you know, all these little villages all stuck together with all these peculiar routes between them.

And I’ve never really understood how London joins up. And there’s still vast wades of it that I don’t know how they connect. LA: And Elif Batuman, who, like me, has close ties with Istanbul, and who a decade ago swapped New York for Istanbul on an extended visit.

A city that straddles both Europe and Asia. Elif Batuman: So, there are all of these sort of former fishing villages that go down the Bosporus. There’s and there are all these kind of, like, posh places, Bahçeşehir University is—is on there. And you go down, and at the bottom there is, uh, Taksim, that’s like this very transportation hub and—and that’s the downtown.

LA: This week, we put out calls to our listeners for European town walkabouts. This is Zakia Triffi. Zakia Triffi: My name is Zakia. I’m originally from, and I’ve lived in New York and moved to London in 2018. I wanna talk about, a city I love. Budapest has a lot to offer.

  1. It is beautiful and very walkable, and I recommend getting on the water to see its beauty right before sunset, walking up to Fisherman’s Bastion and admiring the grandiose of parliament’s reflection on the water, from the top of the Buda Hills where a plethora of villas could remind you of Bel Air.
  2. But what I discovered of Budapest that made me really fall in love with the region is to bike along the Buda side of the Danube towards the small villages, passing by Szentendre, to pick up some paprika and lavender amongst other souvenirs, and Etyek, another stunning small town, with charming little wineries, a particular estate with a remarkable architecture, and a delightful pool to cool off the heat of the summer days is my favorite.

Haraszthy. The food is amazing and the atmosphere and the crowd is the same people you’ll meet in the hip bars and restaurants of the city on a Saturday evening in the 5th District. What makes the city so special is not only the ease to get around, from the cathedral to the shopping area on foot, or simply strolling along the Danube as a perfect way to visit Budapest, but the thermal bath, which offer a stunning setting to round us a visit and relax in the City of Baths.

  1. LA: And here’s listener Laura Donnan’s story.
  2. Laura Donnan: So, last fall, I had the privilege of traveling by myself to,
  3. And the last part of my trip was in Dubrovnik.
  4. One of the big tourist attractions is to walk the medieval city walls.
  5. While I was walking around, uh, there are a couple of cafes which kind of dot the walls.

And I was near one of them, just taking a picture, and one of the, uh, he was a manager of the café, he came up to me and offered to take my picture. And we just started chatting and, um, ended up exchanging contact information. Oh, he had also brought me a free glass of wine.

  • So, there was a little bit of a flirtatious tone, I would say.
  • But anyways, so, the last night of my trip before I headed back to the states, we had agreed that I would go meet him up by his café up on the city walls, where he had invited me after the walls were closed for, to the public.
  • So, when I got there, as he was closing up the shop, um, I was able to just walk by myself a little bit around the walls and just take some amazing pictures of the sunset with- with no one in sight.

And, uh, when I got back to the café, he had a bottle of Croatian wine open and waiting for us, and we just sat and talked and drank wine and watched the sun go down. I would definitely call it the perfect ending to an incredible trip. Rebecca Mead: We decided to move to London, which is the city in which I was born, but it’s not really a place that I had lived.

  • I’d lived there as a very small child, but I moved away when I was three years old.
  • LA: Rebecca Mead, on her book Home/Land,
  • RM: I moved to New York in my early 20’s, after leaving university in England, and I thought I was moving to New York for a year, and it turned out that I moved to New York for about 30 years.

And I’d become an American citizen and had a family and all the rest of it. And then, a few things happened, 2016 election being one of them, but not the only one that made me and my husband decide with our then 13 year old son that we would leave New York and make a change.

And so, to me it felt like in some ways a homecoming, but actually not. Because I was very unfamiliar with the city, I’d been here many times for work, obviously. But I—I didn’t know it. I didn’t have a place in London to return to. So, it was this very strange thing where you re-transplant yourself to an environment that, you know, in some ways is so familiar.

You know, the sound of my feet on the pavements on London, the kind of, there’s a, there’s a kind of echoing, hollow sound of your heels hitting the streets that sounds completely different than your heels on the asphalt of New York. There’s a different music to the city, there’s a different smell to the city, there’s so many things about it in a sensory way that feel so different, but that were also, you know, familiar to me from very early childhood.

  1. So, it was a strange kind of re-immersion in something I’d forgotten.
  2. Like an adoptive child who’s returned to a birth parent who’s unfamiliar.
  3. LA: That’s so funny what you said about the sound of your feet on the pavement.
  4. I’ve never really thought about that before, but I can hear the London pavement and it’s very different from the New York one.

Yeah. RM: It rings. It rings. Whereas the New York one is kind of, it’s a dead, uh, sound, somebody should make a piece of modernist music comparing the two. LA: Yeah, I’m writing notes for that. RM: Yeah, yeah. LA: Um, talk a little, you know, you mentioned the sensory differences, but was the sort of sensory overload? What was the sounds, the smells? RM: You know, after dark everywhere’s really,

All of residential London’s really quiet. My son was so agitated by the absence of traffic noise and voices outside our window and all of that, he sounded, I mean, he said it was boring, but I think it wasn’t that it was boring, it was that it was so alien and so distressing. And certainly now in my life, I am ready for some quiet and I’m, and I love the fact that I can, you know, I, there’s not this incessant noise coming through the window.

But certainly, when I was in my mid 20’s in New York, that noise, that constant kind of clangor and agitation was something that I loved about it. And I loved being part of it. LA: Well, then I feel like there’s a sorta certain period of your life in New York which is about not being in your apartment, it’s about being out in the city and being in that noise.

  • And to me, I always think about how, if and when I move back to London I’ll be seeking out something slightly different. RM: Yeah.
  • Yeah, no, absolutely.
  • And—and, you know, there’s also the—the difference in temperament between the people, which is also part of the environment.
  • So, I remember feeling when I moved to New York that I was so relieved, or kind of energized by the fact that people yelled at each other on the subway, or, you know, you could cuss somebody out if they shoved you or something like,

There was all these things that were, there was a kind of vocal energy. You know, and in—in London nobody says anything and everybody sits and quietly fumes. LA: I know. Yeah. We are strange. Like, you sort of touched on it a bit and you mentioned kind of some of the contrast, but obviously this episode is sort of focused on that ritual of walking.

  • RM: London is so convoluted and, you know, all these little villages all stuck together with all these peculiar routes between them.
  • And I never really understood how London joins up, and there’s vast wades of it that I don’t know how they connect.
  • You know, and if you ride around on the tube in London, you emerge and you don’t know how far you’ve gone or how you got from one bit of one corner to another.
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So, when I first got here, I did, and I still do as much as I can, walk between places, or take a bus if—if I have to, so that I can sort of see the way that the bits of the city connect. And you, uh, you learn something about the history of the city that way.

Like, you know, the Hampstead Road that my bus goes along is, you know, the old road that the farmers used to drive the livestock down to get to the meat market at Smithfield. And because it is such an old city and there’s so much history inscribed in these streets, you know, when you walk around in the city of London and past these massive skyscrapers and banking buildings, and then you come across bits of the old Roman wall of London, and that is, I find it, absolutely thrilling.

LA: Where in London, for those who don’t know it, where do you live and what’s it like? Des- describe it a little? Rebecca Mead: I live in North London, I live very close to, I mean, minutes walk from Hampstead Heath, which is a beautiful area of kind of preserved countryside.

  • Lale Arikoglu: One place I think of in Hampstead Heath but I’d like to know if there are others you’re thinking of, are the ponds.
  • Rebecca Mead: Yes.
  • Lale Arikoglu: And the swimmers in the ponds.

Rebecca Mead: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, so, there are, for your listeners that don’t know, there are many ponds on the Heath, but there are three in which swimming is permitted. There’s a men’s pond, a ladies’ pond and a mixed pond. And the men’s and the ladies’ ponds are open all year.

  1. And I ended up swimming through the winter and now I do that regularly.
  2. I mean, I’ve become one of those crazy people that swims year round.
  3. I mean, I swim alone.
  4. I’m quite in my head when I’m doing it, and also when it’s very cold, you’ve got to just be, like, concentrating on, you know, not dying.
  5. But it’s also, it’s—it’s very social.

And everybody’s like heads above the water, breast stroke, chat, chat, chat. You know, it’s really charming and quite fun to eavesdrop on other swimmers as they go by like the ducks. LA: I love that. RM: Tell me next time— LA: Maybe I should go. Maybe—maybe at Christmas I should go for a swim.

RM: Yeah. Tell me next time you’re here and I’ll take you. LA: I will take you up on that. RM: Definitely. LA: In contrast to the chatter of- of the ponds, walking around London is sort of, I mean, obviously you can do it in groups, but is sort of inherently can be filled with solit—. a sense of solitude.

You know, where have been some of your favorite places that you’ve somewhat stumbled upon? RM: There are lots of places I’ve sort of just wandered through and stumbled across. I mean, the one that comes to mind is the old St. Pancras Church Cemetery, which is right by St.

Pancras station founded in the 18th century. And it had to be partially dug up for the laying of the railroad into St. Pancras station. So, you know, graves were dug up and the gravestones were removed and there’s a tree around which dozens of gravestones have been arranged. And it’s called the Hardy Tree.

And the story about it is that Thomas Hardy, the novelist was, and this is a true fact, that Thomas Hardy, before he became a novelist, was an architect, and he worked on, as a, as a very young man, one of his early jobs, was working on this removal of these graves from the graveyard.

  • And he writes about it in his autobiography about how they had to exhume these bodies at night so that gawkers wouldn’t look at them.
  • But what’s happened is that the roots of the tree and the trunk of the tree have grown in and among these arranged gravestones so that you can’t tell exactly what’s tree and what’s stone and the inscriptions have become very, very faded, and they’re covered with moss and they’re covered with liken.

And so, the- the stones look like stone again. You know, they don’t look like manufactured things anymore. So, that’s—that’s one that I had never heard of and found, and found very, Do you know it? LA: I don’t, and I’m like, I mean, my jaw’s sort of open because I just, I didn’t know it at all and I have to go see it next time I’m in London.

  1. RM: Yeah, it’s beautiful.
  2. LA: And it’s making me think about how London has so many, like, physical layers of history and lives led.
  3. And I never thought about it when I was growing up there, but when I go back now, it’s a ve-,
  4. And- and I do- I don’t say this in, like, negative way, I say I find it, like, enchanting.

But it’s a very, like, haunted city to me. Is that something that struck you walking around? RM: Yeah, yeah. I mean, yes. This very, very conscience of this sense of, you know, very ancient history. And maybe we should point out of course that there were people in North America.

  • LA: Yes, yes, yes.
  • RM: Um, and they do have a history, it’s just that it’s not as visible and has been rendered invisible.
  • You know, I mean, there have been efforts to make it more visible, but it’s not part and parcel of the fabric of, the material fabric of the city.
  • I mean interestingly though, in New York so many of the names come from Native American names for places.

So, Manhattan and so on. I mean, they’re, you know, if you stop to think, it’s there. But it’s not. But we don’t, mos—mostly don’t stop to think. LA: Sort of, uh, put—put you on the spot, but kind of in a few words, what does London sound like to you? RM: Oh, god.

  1. I don’t know.
  2. There are so many different sounds, but there’s like, you know, the sort of blur of voices of, like, a group of people gathering around a pub at the end of the working day on a Thursday or a Friday evening, that kind of,
  3. Just—just that, that sort of hilarity and chatter that you can’t really distinguish but you can sort of s—sense in the same way that you can, like, sense the smell of the beer in the air.

That’s one thing that I find, um, really kind of charming about London. The—the sort of willingness and eagerness to just have fun and unwind. But so, that’s one of the sounds. But, you know, everything from, as I say, the, you know, the heels on the, on the pavement to this, to the, just the silence.

  • All the—the sounds of the foxes, you know, squawking and fighting and night ’cause there are,
  • That’s another thing that I just found unbelievable, that there are,
  • The streets are full of foxes.
  • And, um, people here regard them as pests, I think, a lot of the time, I think of them as magical creatures, visitors from another realm.

Um, but that’s ’cause I’m new. LA: I also think of the foxes that way. RM: Yeah. LA: There was one that used to sunbathe at the back of my parent’s house, on the top of some extension, and literally he, so, this fox would be there every day it was sunny.

  1. And I just thought it was the most, yeah, like, a visitor from another realm.
  2. I love that.
  3. So, I actually just want to ask one more question which I’d meant to ask earlier and then got excited about the ponds and the foxes and the Thomas Hardy Tree.
  4. RM: I mean, who wouldn’t? Who wouldn’t, honestly? LA: Uh, exactly.

But from, I think we, um, both share a connection to Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. RA: Yeah. LA: ‘Cause I live a stone story away, and it has a very special place in my heart and also kind of got me through the darkest points of lockdown. What does that park mean to you and do you think that the Heath is the equivalent that you found in London? RM: There’s a weird familial connection to Fort Greene Park.

So, I didn’t just live close to it, but my husband is, on his mother’s side, descended from the general from whom the park, that- that- the fort, not the park, but the fort was originally named, which is not Fort Greene, but Fort Putnam. Uh, I think all of us, you know, if we think about place and we think about our place in those places, you want to sort of knit yourself into the fabric of the place and to see your own story kind of knitted into it.

LA: It is very funny, my best friend from secondary school actually lives sort of a few blocks away from me, which is amazing. And I was walking, uh, I was running through Fort Greene Park a few weeks ago and I ran into her, and she was reading your book.

And- RM: Oh, wow. How wonderful. LA: So, you can know that your book is being read in here, in Fort Greene Park. RM: Oh, that’s very, that’s very moving to me. Thank you for letting me know. LA: Of course. RM: Thanks. LA: Remember, to stay up to date on all things Women Who Travel, make sure you’re subscribed to the Women Who Travel Newsletter via the link in our show notes, and that you’re following Women Who Travel on Instagram.

After the break, author Elif Batuman maps out the city of Istanbul. Author Elif Batuman spent four years living in another old city, Istanbul. It was during a time of protest, and she experienced the city in all its turbulence and sense of great possibility.

  1. Elif Batuman: Yay.
  2. LA: Which—
  3. EB:
  4. LA: I will say that growing up in London feel like—
  5. EB: What a treat for you.

LA: I was gonna say, I mean, what a wild family to have back in Turkey. But, you know, growing up in London, my year was relatively diverse at school, but for some reason I was just like, I’m not interested in that side of me. I, like, just wanna be English.

  • Which would probably break my dad’s heart to hear me say out loud now.
  • And it’s only in, like, recent years that I’ve started to get really excited about that part of my life and seeing that there’s this whole kind of place to explore and get to know, and all its complexities and also magic.
  • EB: I almost felt like Turkish identity was something that I wasn’t entitled to have because my parents, especially my mom, had made so many sacrifices for me not to have to experience a burden and for me to kind of get to be American.

And it—it wasn’t until relatively recently that I was like, you know, I can have my own relationship to this side of my identity that’s not completely mediated by my parents. Which also came from, like, spending time in Turkey and meeting people who are younger than me and they have their own way of viewing the world.

  1. It’s been really fun to interact with them too.
  2. LA: I was reading something you wrote in, like, the London Review of Books, that talked about some time you spent in Istanbul about 2010, you moved there for a stint? EB: Yes, 2010 to 2013, 2014, I was there, yeah.
  3. Speaker 6: In Gezi Park, 100 yards away, everyone was suffering.

The tear gas drifted across in great invisible clouds. Speaker 7: There seems to be tear gas everywhere tonight. It’s dispersed around a wide area. And it’s not completely clear where it’s coming from. We’re not seeing the running battles that we saw last night.

  • But what we are seeing are many people with their eyes streaming, unable to cope.
  • Speaker 6: The protesters’ focus has turned to the behavior of the police and the belligerence of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan.
  • Speaker 8: He will not say, “I’m sorry,” but what he needs to say, the brutal force is not needed.

We are coming back, so we are giving the Taksim Square to all the people, and we are free. LA: What was that three, four years like there? EB: I was a writer in residence at Koç University in Istanbul, and I was teaching writing in English mostly, to native Turkish speakers.

  • And I was writing for The New Yorker about subjects that had to do with Turkey.
  • But I was kind of avoiding politics.
  • Like, oh, man, I really wanna write about that time, but it was so, it was so complicated.
  • There was so much going on.
  • It was kind of, like, some people were still pro-Erdoğan, like, including people in the American Left were still pro-Erdoğan.

And some people were already like, “He’s an authoritarian.” LA: What was sort of your daily routine? EB: I, so, for part of the time I lived on the university campus. And then I moved to Cihangir, where some of my ex-pat friend-, that was where all the New York Times people were at that time.

  • A lot of the, like, war correspondent people were kind of, their base was in Istanbul and they would, they would go to, you know, wherever they would go, Iraq and—and Syria.
  • That’s actually where I was when, in 2013, when the Gezi protests started.
  • And then I had an apartment that was in Cihangir right near Taksim, where the protesting was.

So, a lot of the time the road would be closed. So, there were, like, people staying in my apartment sometimes to do protests. That was a very exciting time when a lot of my ideas changed. And it felt like all of these stories were coming up, and it just felt like this incredibly rich and exciting time that then the- the promise of that did not last in quite the way that we’d all hoped.

  1. I did a couple of architecture stories, but this one was when they—they were constructing the Marmaray train line to connect Europe and Asia.
  2. There was all of this kind of the construction going on and uprooting and excavations and also, like, the barricades, like the political protesters had uprooted some amount.
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You know, like, I just remember the ground being dug up for all of these different purposes. I was reporting a story about, they did this excavation and they found this large number of freakishly preserved Byzantine shipwrecks. And then they were like, “Uh, finally we got these shipwrecks out and now we can excavate further.” And then they found, like, neolithic footprints and they didn’t even know that there had been a land bridge there.

  • LA: That’s such, like, a visual description of the, just, literally, like, the ground being turned upside down to unearth all these stories.
  • I love it.
  • EB: Mm-hmm.
  • LA: The loose overarching theme of this episode we’re putting together is walking and sort of getting to know and understand cities by foot.

It was sort of inspired by the fact that I can’t drive. EB: What a productive limitation. LA Yeah, exactly. I like to think it’s a good one. Istanbul is, I would say is a walking city but it’s a sprawling city, and it has so many layers to it and so many hills.

  1. When you kinda parachute in for a family trip do you kind of, like, see who you need to see and do the things you need to do and then you leave.
  2. And to actually have the time to just get to know it by foot, even if it just like walking to the bus to go to the university campus, like even just those moments give you such, like, an understanding of the place.

Did you feel like it gave you something that other trips, those shorter trips haven’t? EB: Oh, yeah. Definitely.I, When I was living in the university campus, it was sort of, like, up in the hills. And you would take these, you, as you know, there’s this network of dolmuş buses, which are, like, these mini buses that are connecting everything, which is the actual geography that the people who are, especially the people who aren’t so wealthy and don’t necessarily have cars, like, that’s how they get around.

  1. And there’s, you know, a certain amount of professors and grad students, and then there’s also livestock.
  2. And I remember once I was on one of those buses and I was just sitting there and this woman who was dressed in kind of, like, village dress, she had, like, a little girl with her, and she was like, “Okay,,” And she just, like, plunked her kid on my lap, like big sister, like, just,

And then I just had this kid on my lap. I thought that where I was living was like a one mile minibus ride from where my office was. And I thought, “Oh, I’ll just walk.” But part of the walk was on this highway, so, I, you know, I walked there once and there was, like, no kind of shoulder on the road and, like, you know, it was, like, a 15, 20 minute walk.

  1. And in that time, like, at least 10 cars honked or stopped, and then finally one delivery guy on a moped stopped and he was like, you know, “You can’t walk here, this is not safe.” And I was like, “Why is it not safe?” And he was like, “Bad people come, like they come fr-,
  2. I was like- like, what bad people? And he’s like, “How should I know what bad people? Like, just get on the bike.” So, then the,

I just remember this, like I don’t know, just, like, the wind, the breeze in my hair as I was sitting on the back of the moped and we got to the place where I lived and he was like, “It’s here, right?” And I was like, “It’s a little further.” LA: EB: I didn’t wanna get off.

And by then, I think he, like, he wanted to get rid of me and I wanted to keep riding, so our dynamic had changed. LA: I love that story so much. Oh, that’s great. I visited Istanbul a lot as a child and then have started to get to know it again as an adult, but I find it an incredibly overwhelming and intricately mapped city.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, give us a little bit of a overview of the map of the places that you were spending your time in. EB: I was, I was really spending most of my time on the European side of the city. So, the university was north of Sariyer.

So, there were all of these sort of former fishing villages that go down the Bosporus. And there are all this kind of, like, relatively posh places. And you go down, and at the bottom there is Taksim, which is, in so far there is a center of Istanbul, that’s, it’s Taksim. It’s like this very transportation hub.

And there’s Taksim Square and then there’s this, like, pedestrian street, Istiklal Caddesi, which is where all of the sort of biggest brand stores are. And it’s- it’s this packed street. If- if you’ve seen any pictures of Istanbul, you see pictures of this, like, giant street.

And that’s the shopping center, at least of the European side. The Byzantine shipwrecks were at north of Taksim. There’s a, so previously there were only bridges connecting the European and the Asian side. And then they finally built an underground train line. And that’s where they found the shipwrecks.

LA: When I move around the city, I look Turkish enough that people just assume I’m Turkish, and then as soon as I open my mouth, I out myself as—as British—British born, and I can’t speak Turkish. EB: But do they have a concept of that? Like, oh you don’t speak Turkish? LA: And I don’t speak Turkish.

  • EB: Okay.
  • LA: Do you feel like you’re treated first and foremost as Turkish or as an American?
  • EB: I speak Turkish with an accent. I can, like, go for several sentences before-
  • LA: Mm-hmm, hm.

EB:, problems come up. I also remember noticing that I would want people not to notice that I was not from Turkey. Like I would be like, “Oh, maybe I can get through this conversation without anyone being like, “Where are you from?” I find it more and more travel to be kind of like, ethically complicated, ’cause you’re also,

Like, as soon as I talk, e- especially depending on the class, it’s like they’re like, oh, you have enough money to get on an airplane and I’ve never been on an airplane. Like, it, immediately all of these things come in, which is, like, why do you have these things that I don’t have? And then to feel in myself, oh, I hope I don’t have to go to that place of guilt in this conversation makes me feel like I’m trying to get away with something.

LA: I think what you said about just thinking about travel kind of being, like, ethically complicated is really interesting. EB: Yeah, it’s not, there are, these questions don’t have very clear answers. LA: I think part of it is just- EB: Not to be a bummer on the travel podcast.

LA: No, no, this is exactly what I wanna talk about in this podcast. And I think it’s, like, accepting that the important thing is to ask those questions and maybe we just haven’t figured out some of the answers yet. EB: I don’t remember these questions being asked when I was a kid when I was younger.

So, the fact that we’re asking them, we’re, of course we’re not at the answers yet. And it’s important not to be demoralized just because we don’t have the answers right now. LA: On the subject of choosing places to live, and you said that, you know, you’re based in New York right now, how do New York and Istanbul compare? And do you feel like they each give you something different? EB: They’re so different, the New York world view and the Istanbul world view.

  1. And I did feel like they were a very productive and fun alternation.
  2. This summer I was actually, I was in Istanbul and I was hanging out on Burgazada, which is one of the Princes’ Islands, with some friends, and you know, you can go swimming there in the Sea of Marmara.
  3. And the produce was so wonderful.

And, I mean, they’re having a horrible economic crisis and people are really, really suffering. And as a result, the dollar is very strong. It’s, you know, so, there’s, uh, ethical problems everywhere. But, like, I just had such a wonderful time there. And the human relations felt so much more kind of, like, organic and it was so much easier to see people and there were more public spaces and outdoor spaces where we could kind of, like, congregate and not feel like we were fleeing from one place where we’re gonna have to pay $23 for a glass of wine to another.

  1. And there were children and old people, and I was like, “Okay, this is actual life.” There’s several islands that are known as the Princes’ Islands, and they’re between 40 and 70 minute ferry ride from the main land.
  2. So, some people live there all year round, and they’re- they’re popular for vacations.

But they’re a part of Istanbul. But you, most of them you can’t drive a car. LA: I visited one of those islands as a kid, and I still remember the magical feeling of getting to know a place that has no cars. Finally, here’s a lyrical description of an evening in Malta from Genevieve Aron, who sent us this dispatch.

Genevieve Aron: I decided to go to Malta solo, and my most memorable experience was in Bay, it’s a narrow bay with steep cliffs on either side. And the south side has layers of five floor apartments, a row, then stairs down to a promenade, then more stairs down to the promenade. And after dinner I grabbed a gelato to go, and walked over to the steps just above the water to watch the sunset.

It was a Saturday night and someone lit candles all along the steps. I’m assuming it’s so you know where to walk once it got dark. And a pop up stage was setup in the corner of the bay where live music played. And, like, even night divers were getting into the water, and I saw their flashlights swim by.

  1. There was so much life going on around me, but it was so peaceful at the same time.
  2. I sat there for almost a full hour, being in the moment, not even really thinking about anything, just watching diminish of daylight, the growing glow of candle light and town light and the gentle waves.
  3. It was a really memorable experience.

LA: Thank you for listening. I’m Lale Arikoglu and you can find me as always on Instagram, @lalehannah, and follow along with Women Who Travel on Instagram @womenwhotravel. You an also join the conversation in our Facebook group. Allison Leyton-Brown is our composer.

Which part of Istanbul is luxury?

8. Sisli – Sisli is also a cosmopolitan and upscale district of Istanbul, on the European side. It is famous for its vibrant and busy city life, history and culture, museums, churches, mosques, lively shopping streets and shopping malls. Sisli is one of the most expensive ones in Istanbul as for accommodation. The Most Livable Neighborhoods: Nisantasi, Tesvikiye, Macka

Which part of Turkey should I visit?

1. Istanbul – Once serving as the capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, Istanbul today is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in the world. Istanbul stretches across both sides of the Bosphorus, a narrow strait that connects Asia and Europe, making it the only city in the world spanning two continents.

  1. Impressive architecture, historic sites, dining, shopping, nightlife and exotic atmosphere all make Istanbul one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
  2. The Old City is where most of the city’s impressive historic sites are found, which include the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace.
  3. Another important district is New City, known for its modern day attractions, skyscrapers and shopping malls.

Beyoglu and Galata are popular zones for nightlife and entertainment, while the Bosphorus area is home to beautiful palaces, waterfront mansions and urban parks. There is no shortage of exciting things to see and do in Istanbul, A shopping affair not to be missed is the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets.

Where is the main Centre of Istanbul?

Taksim Square
Public square
Features Republic Monument, Atatürk Cultural Center, Marmara Hotel, Taksim Square Mosque
Location Beyoğlu, Istanbul
Coordinates: 41°02′13″N 28°59′09″E  /  41.03694°N 28.98583°E Coordinates : 41°02′13″N 28°59′09″E  /  41.03694°N 28.98583°E

Taksim Square ( Turkish : Taksim Meydanı, IPA: ), situated in Beyoğlu in the European part of Istanbul, Turkey, is a major tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops, and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Istanbul Metro network.

Taksim Square is also the location of the Republic Monument ( Turkish : Cumhuriyet Anıtı ) which was crafted by Pietro Canonica and inaugurated in 1928. The monument commemorates the 5th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, following the Turkish War of Independence, The Square is flanked to the south by The Marmara Hotel, to the east by the Atatürk Cultural Centre, to the north by Gezi Park and to the west by Taksim Mosque,

Several major roads converge on the Square: Gümüşsuyu Caddesi, Cumhuriyet Caddesi, Tarlabaşı Bulvarı, İstiklal Caddesi and Sıraselviler Caddesi.

What is considered city center Istanbul?

As Istanbul’s historical hub, the Sultanahmet Square puts you right in the center of the city’s most prominent and historical attractions. To be at the center of it all, it is recommended you book your accommodations in the Sultanahmet neighborhood.

What is Istanbul city center?

As Istanbul’s historical hub, the Sultanahmet Square puts you right in the centre of the city’s most prominent and historical attractions. To be at the centre of it all, it is recommended you book your accommodation in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood.

What is the main part of Istanbul?

White House Hotel Istanbul – White House Hotel Istanbul boasts a prime location in the heart of the Historical Peninsula, within walking distance to many attractions including Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. Best Area To Stay In Istanbul Best 3-star hotel