Things to do in Istanbul

Here’s your key to the city. A definitive guide of the best local spots, as told by local Airbnb hosts



Best of the best

66 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Located on the top floor of the historic Mısır Apartmanı building, offering a 360 view of the city. On the weekend 360 transforms into a night club with live performers. 0212 251 10 42

The terrace restaurant and a night club with panoramic view.It is a kind of restaurant with awesome view! However on weekends it is becoming a night club!

A fine dining restaurant and roof bar with full panaromic view of the city. Personally recommended highly for a drink during sunset rather than the night time activities. 15 minutes walking distanc... read more

233 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Taksim Square / Istiklal Avenue is a major shopping, tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul.

10 minutes walking, 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

Taksim Square is a major tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops, and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul.

180 local Airbnb hosts recommend

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Turkey’s first private museum to organize modern and contemporary art exhibitions.

The İstanbul Museum of Modern Art, Turkey’s first private museum to organize modern and contemporary art exhibitions, occupies an 8,000 square meter site on the shores of the Bosphorus.

Visit the Istanbul Modern Art Museum to see the temporary exhibitions of famous artists; is located on the shores of the Bosphorus and is Turkey’s first private modern art museum.

#4

Ciya Sofrasi

Food SceneRestaurants
43 Güneşli Bahçe Sokak·Map·Hours·Website·

45 local Airbnb hosts recommend

This is another nice restaurant, on the Asian side. You can see the cooked dishes from the outside. There is nice seating upstairs.

What is Kiva Han to the European side of town, Ciya Sofrasi is to the Asian side. In fact, Ciya is slightly better but also slightly further away... So, if you end up in Kadikoy...

Traditional delicious Turkish food, large spectrum of cold dishes with olive oil, and some rare traditional Turkish desserts.

248 local Airbnb hosts recommend

The Galata Tower — called Christea Turris by the Genoese — is a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karaköy quarter of Istanbul, just to the north of the Golden Horn's junction with the Bosphorus.

Galata Tower is a medieval stone tower, One of the city's most striking landmarks, it is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and offers a panoramic view of Istanbul's Sultan Ahmed

It is a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karaköy quarter of Istanbul, just to the north of the Golden Horn's junction with the Bosphorus. One of the city's most striking landmarks, it is a high, ... read more

#6

Kahvaltı Evi

Food SceneRestaurants
52 Defterdar Yokuşu·Map·Hours·

47 local Airbnb hosts recommend

One of the best breakfast place in Istanbul. It is also refered byTripadvisor.

Best place where you can enjoy authentic Turkish breakfast.

Traditional Kurdish Breakfast. A must-eat before leaving Turkey!

161 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. From 537 until 1453, it served as an Orthodox cathedral.

Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum. Hagia Sophia is currently the second-most visited museum in Turkey.

Hagia Sophia ( Santa Sophia or in Turkish Ayasofya ) museum is the most famous place where people goes from all over the world, regarding to Turkish statistics of Turkish historical Heritages Insti... read more

199 local Airbnb hosts recommend

İstiklal Avenue or Istiklal Street (Turkish: İstiklâl Caddesi) is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, Turkey, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends

The avenue, surrounded by late Ottoman era buildings (mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries) that were designed with the Neo-Classical, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance Revival, Beaux-Arts, Art Nouv... read more

Istiklal Avenue (or street) is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, located in the historic Beyoğlu (Pera) district, it is an 1.4 km long pedestrian street, which houses boutiques, music sto... read more

40 local Airbnb hosts recommend

This is the legendary Taksim Gezi Park which is one of the last green spaces in Beyoğlu and one of the smallest parks of Istanbul. The 2013 protests started here which sparked the whole nation.

Taksim Gezi Park is an urban park next to Taksim Square, in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district. It is one of the last green spaces in Beyoğlu and one of the smallest parks of Istanbul.

It is one of the last green spaces in Beyoğlu and one of the smallest parks of Istanbul. In May 2013, plans to replace the park with a reconstruction of the former Taksim Military Barracks (demoli... read more

38 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Baklava is world wide famous Turkish desert. Karaköy Güllüoğlu is the best place when you want baklava.

Istanbul’s most beloved (and, some say, oldest) baklava shop offers a primer on pastries, 
from pistachio rolls to ceviz burma (walnut bites). Geometric-tiled flooring evokes Ottoman style.

The most well-known baklava place in town. Do not eat everywhere as most of the others use corn syrup instead of real sugar. Btw, get ready for high calories :) But it worths !

#11

Karaköy Lokantası

Food SceneRestaurants
İETT Karaköy Durağı·Map·

37 local Airbnb hosts recommend

This place started with the concept of a traditional esnaf lokantasi and added laid-back service and funky design and paying greater attention to the food. At night, it turns into a taverna.

Go at lunchtime and you'll feel cross-century lunch traditions of workers, office people all coming together to enjoy some traditional Turkish food in a renovated, fabulously tiled interiors. Go in... read more

Karakoy is the up and coming scene of Istanbul. This was a simple restaurant but it has risen with the area. The food is still very good and quite typical. Lunch and dinner menus differ from each... read more

#12

FICCIN

Food SceneRestaurants
7 Kallavi Sokak·Map·Hours·

29 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Daily changing menu with delicious local and Circassian tastes, I love their Circassian ravioli filled with potato

This place is my favorite restaurant in entire district, I hope you'll enjoy to taste traditional Caucasian & Circassian kitchen !

This unique restaurant is divided by 6 or 7 small sections all next to one anohter. Situated at Pera district, they offer a range of tasty and fresh Caucasus cuisine at a very reasonable price.

72 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Europe's largest shopping mall, 5 minutes Metrobus ride away. Everything from kid's entertainment to Sports International, Mİgros to DIY shops to large number of loacl and international shops.

Biggest shopping Mall in Istanbul, you can find whateevr you are looking for. Easy to acces, there is a metro exit(şişli/mecidiyeköy) which is going in the mall

One of the biggest shopping centres in İstanbul. Wide range of food & shopping options. M2 Metro(Şişli)

#14

Kiki

Food SceneRestaurants
42 Sıraselviler Caddesi·Map·Website·

32 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Cozy garden, turns into a bar /club at night

Nightclub with great music and drinks.

Kiki is a good restaurant and club with a garden in the back. You may eat delicious dinner and drink fresh cocktails in the evenings. Then you continue to the night to dance till morning

34 local Airbnb hosts recommend

When you reach the end of Istiklal Avenue and continue down Galip Dede Avenue, Galata Mevlevi Lodge on the left will welcome you with all its pure beauty. The rooms that used to be the cells of dervis

The Semahane building is the main exhibition area of the museum. An area designated for sema (sufi whirling / whirlin). Theatrical sema is performed for local and foreign tourists on designated dates.

Sufi lodge of the Mevlevi order, named after the poet and religious figure Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi. This building was the first Sufi lodge built in Istanbul, dating from the 15th century, and it ... read more

#16

Lucca

Food SceneRestaurants
51 Cevdet Paşa Caddesi·Map·Hours·Website·

25 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Very trendy restaurant-bar in the center of Bebek. Bartenders and the chef are award winners.You always need a reservation and i would be happy to help you with it.

Located far on Bosphorus line, 20-25 mins by taxi, its sexy and elite crowd is always spilling out onto the street, blocking the street with their Versace-enclosed bodies or traffic-stopping Porches

Immortal hotspot. Well known Turkish and international dj's spin for the upbeat crowd, focusing on funk and house music. Adviced to go for an happy-hour and try a 'satsuma' coctail. 0212 257 12 55

29 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Bars street where you could find different kind of bars,cafes discos where you could have fun

A busy street with crowded bars all around. Try ''Buddha'' for live cover music, ''Dunia'' and ''Hera'' for electro turkish folk music, ''Teachers'' for street gazing, ''Arka oda'' for hip dj stuff.

Kadife Sokak otherwise known as ‘barlar sokak’ (bar street), is very popular in Kadikoy. Often bustling on the weekends. Go here and take your pick of which venue to go to or buy some beers from t... read more

29 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Perfect coffee, friendly staff, nice people hangin out from whole world..

Coffee Bar & Roastery / Specialty coffee place for gourmet people

Coffeeshop that pulls in Cihangir’s international crowd more so than the local; and it’s highly likely that it is their raw appreciation of quality coffee.

#19

Kahve 6

Food SceneCafes or Coffee Shops
13/A Akarsu Cad./anahtar Sok.·Map·Hours·

31 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Enjoy the breakfast in the small and cozy garden of Kahve 6.

Famous with it's wide range of breakfast dishes. Nice garden.

Best food, a cozy environment with a secret garden inside.

114 local Airbnb hosts recommend

The Grand Bazaar (Turkish: Kapalıçarşı, meaning ‘Covered Market’; also Büyük Çarşı, meaning ‘Grand Market’) in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covere... read more

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and half a million visitors daily

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.closed on sundays.

28 local Airbnb hosts recommend

A bar with a nice vibe, it's been a landmark of Kadıköy, especially for those you like to discover new music. All year except summer, venue hosts local emerging bands.

Karga bar is a very unique place. Settled on an Ottoman style house with several stories high. This building does not only feature beautiful decoration and style, but is completely decorated with s... read more

One of the oldest bars in Kadiköy. The building is great! Go inside and have a look. Sometimes there is live music or other live program.

31 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Breathtaking view of the Bosphorus. Go for a drink or dinner.

5.Kat Restaurant offers nice dining in Istanbul with the unique view of the bosphorus

Very nice view, I prefer to go for a drink rather than dinner.

24 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Julius Meinl, the Austrian coffee brand, created Karabatak as an office and hole-in-the-wall training cafe. Customers enjoyed Viennese coffee and cakes at extremely reasonable prices. .

Karabatak is a funky café that features retro-style décor and an atmosphere that makes you want to spend hours and also fortune. Don't drink the most expensive tea in Istanbul, order just 1 coffee.

When Karakoy just started to pick up, Karabatak was the first -- still serving good coffee, they have the friendliest service and nice seating options outside.

111 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Blue mosque (free)- The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built from 1609 to 1616.

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Turkish: Sultan Ahmet Camii) is a historic mosque in Istanbul. The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.

Blue Mosque. Histrocial mosque. Popular tourist attraction. Best examples of Turkish tiles in blue and green colours. Still used as a mosque. 5 min by walk...

90 local Airbnb hosts recommend

The Topkapı Palace is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for approximately 400 years (1465–1856) of their 624-year reign.

Topkapi Palace is one of the main symbols of Ottoman Empire. If you want to see and learn how the Sultans and Ottoman Elites lived, I cannot suggest you a better place.

Topkapi Palace is the most historical palace of Ottoman Empire, also known as Sultan Suleiman Palace, Archaeological museum and islamic museum are also in this Palace.

24 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Features all interpretations of live jazz during the week from 21:30 to 00:30 and from 23:30-01:30 on weekends. The club is unique in providing a stage for concerts in a club atmosphere. Must visit !

Now is the time to answer the nagging question “Where can I find a great jazz club in Istanbul?” The answer simply is Nardis Jazz Club.

Owned by the famous jazz guitarist Onder Focan. A cozy small jazz club. Pricey. Better check who's playing first.

25 local Airbnb hosts recommend

With comfy sofas, cofee tables, Journey is truly a home away from home. 0212 244 89 89 www.journeycihangir.com (wrong map direction)

This is our favorite restaurant/breakfast sport/Cafe. The food is extremely good, most of it is organic and very fresh. It's international cuisine with Turkish elements and just across the street f... read more

Great for breakfast with healthy choices and fresh juices. Also great spot for lunch or dinner with a unique menu with local tastes.

23 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Anjelique is one of Ortaköy's waterfront clubs that is as famous for it's impressive location as for it's high society atmosphere. Plays house on one floor and popular songs on the other floor.

Anjelique is one of Ortaköy’s waterfront clubs that is as famous for its impressive location as for its high-society atmosphere. If your ambition is to spot the Turkish night life, this is the place.

Since its opening in 2001, İstanbul's well-known restaurant and nightclub, Anjelique, has been the must-go place for entertainment. The celebrities of Istanbul’s nightlife-scene have been enjoying... read more

22 local Airbnb hosts recommend

A vintage-look cafe with delicious meals, or for simply having a coffee and beer...

Great, funky neighbourhood cafe

Cafe, restaurant, bar. Warmly decorated.

19 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Drink mojito and take a look at the famous street art wall. It has the best ambience on a summer afternoon.

They call it a cafe but it's a pub/bar really. Quite a cool chilled place popular with both locals and foreigners. The drinks list is good and has some local as well as international beers that are... read more