Istanbul has a wide variety of hotels of different categories and price ranges. Since everyone has different priorities we have divided the hotel market into different categories; Family, Business, Couples, Budget and Luxury. We then did some thorough research to find out what different types of travelers value when it comes to their hotel accommodations. Our editorial team has come up with a selection of the best places for each category.
Select the category of hotels
in Istanbul that best suits your needs:
Popular Hotels is a dynamic website that is largely based on feedback from our users. We have done our homework using reviews and experiences from previous guests in making our choices. This means that the selection is constantly updated to provide a current picture of the situation.
Location and offerings
Istanbul has plenty of hotels in all these categories. Most business travelers choose to stay close to the expo venues, conference centers and in the business district; Levent which is located in Beşiktaş or near the historic city center.
For families; the locations where they choose to stay are similar, but the hotels that families choose tend to have more spacious rooms and family rooms available.
Couples generally prefer to stay near the city's historic district, or in the Beyoğlu district. Many of the most popular hotels offer great views. In Istanbul you will also find many budget hotels to choose from.
The most popular budget accommodations are conveniently located in the historic city center. In the budget hotels you can choose between private or shared bathrooms, some them may have rooms even on the basement level.
The finest luxury hotels are clustered on the Bosphorus, many with amazing views of the water. Most are located on the European side of the city, around the area of Beşiktaş. But there are also a few luxury hotels with prime locations on the city's Asian side.
It is useful to first think through what you want to do during your stay, and then select the area and hotel based on your plans.
Attractions and sights
Istanbul is a historically important city, and has an endless number of ancient sites to visit. The city lies between two continents and is divided by the Bosphorus, which is an important waterway. Until it was conquered by the Turks in the 1500’s, the city was Byzantine and called Constantinople.
Hagia Sophia ıs ranked as one of the world's architectural masterpieces. It was built as a church in Byzantine times and was converted into a mosque in the 1500’s by the Ottomans. Now it is a museum ranked as one of the world's architectural masterpieces.
There are also many beautiful historic mosques, Süleymaniye Mosque, designed by the famous architect Sinan, the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) and Beyazit Mosque are all architectural wonders. The Topkapi palace is a wonderful museum and has many buildings with old mosaics, and displays of many ancient treasures, religious artifacts, paintings and is certainly worth a visit.
In the city there are many museums, such as the Istanbul Archeological Museum, the Mosaic Museum, the Atatürk Museum and the Modern Arts Museum. Children large and small also enjoy a visit to Istanbul’s Sea Life Aquarium.
Restaurants, shopping and nightlife
Istanbul is a commercial town with a long history and many take the opportunity to shop for inexpensive clothes when visiting the city. There are many large bazaars and malls, like the Grand Bazaar and the Akmerkez and Cevahir shopping centers.
The city is a melting pot where European and Asian culture are fused together and this is clearly reflected in the city's selection of food. It offers everything from high-class gourmet restaurants to small eateries selling kebabs, meze (starters) and Asian dishes.
The cultural life is rich and you can enjoy music, art and dance. The city is full of life and many people come here just to experience the atmosphere.
Many tourists take the opportunity to indulge in spa treatments and visits to the hamam or traditional Turkish baths.
There is a wide selection of popular pubs and bars, and many people consider the city's best nightlife to be on İstiklal Avenue near Taksim square.
Trade shows and events
The historic city of Istanbul has a unique location which makes this city popular with both tourists and commercial travelers. The city has several large conference centers and other venues where sports events, fairs and exhibitions take place.
Besides commercial exhibitions featuring textiles, marble and other products at the exhibition centers, Istanbul often hosts major events such as film and dance festivals. There is a wide selection of hotels, but please book in advance - especially if you have specific wishes regarding your accommodation.
Travel to and in the city
Istanbul has two major airports. Ataturk Airport is situated on the European side of the city and Sabiha Gokcen Airport is located on the Asian side of Istanbul. Most European tourists arrive through Ataturk because this airport is closer to the historic center and the most popular hotels.
From the airport most hotels can be reached most easily on public transport or taxi. Many of the hotels offer airport shuttles. It is a good idea to inquire about those when you book the hotel. There are minibuses called dolmuş (dol-mush) that run a predetermined route and depart when they are full. They stop anywhere you want to get off, and are a cost effective means of transport.
There are good transport links by metro, tram and bus. And because the city has a unique waterside location, there are also a number of ferry lines.
To use the public transit system you should buy an Akbil card, which is a magnetic card that can be loaded with a sum of money and can be used on all public transit except the Dolmus and smaller minibuses these accept only cash. The larger city buses only accept an AKBIL card. You can use it for the public ferries also. You can reload the Akbil card at machines at metro and ferry entrances, also many small shops located near bus stops are able to add credit also.
In Istanbul there are plenty of taxis. Avoid those that are parked just outside the famous attractions, they will often charge exorbitant fees. It is a good idea to ask at your hotel approximately the cost of a taxi to your destination. All taxis have meters and are required to use them. Sometimes a driver will take a longer route to a place in order to collect more, but you must be careful here also because they may also be avoiding getting caught in traffic which will save you time and money.
Weather and climate
Istanbul has a distinctly coastal climate with large variations. Summers are hot and dry while winters are rainy and chilly. The city is known for being windy at times, the average wind is 17 km per hour. The high humidity often causes the temperatures to be perceived as warmer or colder than they really are. The hottest months are July and August. Many tourists think that the best time to visit the city is during spring and autumn (April-May and September-October), when the climate is most agreeable.
Istanbul is a relatively inexpensive city to visit, and the city is known for its many historic markets or “pazars”. Many tourists take great pleasure in bargaining over the price of items. Textiles, spices and handmade goods can be found at much lower prices than in most other European countries. As in most major cities, it is wise to avoid the most obvious tourist areas.
For those visiting Istanbul, purchasing an Istanbul Tourist Pass can be a good way to save money. The card is valid for 7 days, and you can choose different price levels and content. For example, different discounts on public transport and entry to a number of famous attractions.