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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

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

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

233 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Taksim Square, situated 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.

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 (Turkish: Taksim Meydanı), situated in the European part of Istanbul, Turkey, is a major tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops, and hotels.

161 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

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.

179 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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.

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

199 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

7/24 lively street,İstiklal Avenue is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends.Shopping Malls,Cinemas,Theaters,Cazz ba

#6

Kahvaltı Evi

Food SceneRestaurants
52 Defterdar Yokuşu·Map·Hours·

47 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

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

Nice traditional turkish breakfast just oppsite to the flat

#7

Ciya Sofrasi

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

44 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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 Turkish food, try their cold dishes made with olive oil. Everything is delicious here.

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

247 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

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

The Galata Tower 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

40 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

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.

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.

#10

Karaköy Lokantası

Food SceneRestaurants
İETT Karaköy Durağı·Map·

37 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

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

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.

#11

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 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.

Very popular with those living in the area, it is better known as an esnaf or tradesmen restaurant than as an eatery that specializes in Circassian food.

#12

Kiki

Food SceneRestaurants
42 Sıraselviler Caddesi·Map·Website·

32 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

Cozy garden, turns into a bar /club at night

Nightclub with great music and drinks.

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.

is a modern shopping and entertainment centre. Istanbul Cevahir is the largest shopping centre in Europe, and the sixth largest in the world.

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

#14

Kahve 6

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

31 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Best breakfast spot in town! Fresh & organic ingredients, reasonable prices, kind wait staff, and peaceful atmosphere - highly recommended.

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

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

33 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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.

If you have any idea about Mevlana and Dervishes (who turns around with sufi music for a long time), can be a good place to see. You can visit the museum and watch Dervishes.

The oldest Mawlavi House in Istanbul is at Galata ridge, at the top of the uphill which leads to Yuksekkaldırım Street. It was built in 1491 as a hunting farm.

29 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Thanks to the pizzas prepared with good quality ingredients and cooked in a brick-oven. Its good for take away or home delivery. 0212 251 32 79 www.misspizza.com.tr

Best Italian pizza you can have in town, you can order to home,too!

When you are tired of eating kebap, try this :)

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 in Istanbul 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.E:1455

29 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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.

Coffee Bar & Roastery / Specialty coffee place for gourmet people

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

28 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

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.

It's one of the best Pub Street in Istanbul. You can find countless style cool pubs around this street. Enjoy :)

27 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

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.

You can come back home at late night with yellow mini bus - you can ask the driver to be dropped in besiktas and then you take a cab

31 local Airbnb hosts recommend

he secret to 20 years in Istanbul where many places open and close almost within a season is, of course 5th Floor’s heavenly view, its delicious food from its select world cuisine menu, the unmatc... read more

Great restaurant/bar on the 5. floor of a building with a great Bosphorus view. Good for dinner, cocktails and sunday brunch.

Nice cafe restaurant with a beatiful bosphourse view they also serve brunch on saturdays and sundays.

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.

24 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Named after one of Miles Davis’s songs, Nardis Jazz Club is Istanbul's most famous and internationally-acclaimed jazz venue (the only club in Istanbul that The New York Times recommends).

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.

90 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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.

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

111 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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...

Blue Mosque, still use as an active mosque, very impressive to see how tourism and faith can mix peacefully. Beautiful experience. You have to remove your shoes and wear something proper.

23 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

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.

22 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

Cafe, restaurant, bar. Warmly decorated.

Great, funky neighbourhood cafe

19 local Airbnb hosts recommend

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

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

#29

Büyük Mecidiye Camii

SightseeingNeighborhoods
1 Mecidiye Köprüsü Sokak·Map·

86 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Considered touristic, but it's a local favourite. Charming coastal area by the Bospherous. There are market stalls selling gift items for local and foreign visitors. Prices and quality are reasonab... read more

Ortaköy (literally Middle Village in Turkish) is a neighbourhood, formerly a small village, within the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, Turkey, located in the middle of the European bank of the Bosph... read more

Ortakoy Mosque is very stylish and elegant one. And its environ has nice Bosphorus view. Lots of bijouterie stands! Area is full of restaurants, bars, cafes, baked potatoes, waffles, local pancakes... read more

22 local Airbnb hosts recommend

Local and international DJs get behind the deck from Wednesday to Saturday,Deep house, minimal techno, acid house, funk, and disco are some of the genres you can expect to hear in the club.

Cihangir's hotspot MiniMüzikhol is the underground legend of İstanbul's nightlife. It's hard to get in and hard to get out :-) www.minimuzikhol.com

Sometimes the bouncers can be rude but you're guaranteed good music and fun! Try to get there past 2 AM-ish.