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Where to stay in Istanbul?

UK
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Where to stay in Istanbul?

We are planning to spend three nights in Istanbul. We would be grateful if you could advise what would be the best hotel location for us in Istanbul.

We want to be close to the city centre or most important tourist locations to visit.

We also want to be not very far from the Ataturk airport, as we arrive by plane and leave by plane. Although, if connection from airport to the city is good to be near airport may not be necessary.

What would be the best transportation from airport to the city center?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks a lot.

Surrey, UK
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1. Re: Where to stay in Istanbul?

The two main areas visitors to Istanbul stay in are Sultanahmet (the historical centre) and Taksim (the modern centre). The debate reigns on which to choose but it depends why you are going to Istanbul.

If you want to take in the history of Istanbul as probably one of the most important historical cities in the world, and wander at night surrounded by some of the most beautiful buildings you will ever see, then stay in Sultanahmet without a doubt. However if you want nightclubs, bars, and restaurants that stay open late into the night and want to wander round a busy thriving city, then stay in Taksim.

I would always say stay in Sultanahmet - because being in this truly awesome area is what most people want from a stay in Istanbul - but then Istanbul has a vibrant and legendary nightlife that continues till dawn, and if that is what you want, Sultanahmet is not for you. There are certainly people wandering about and plenty of restaurants open - but it does get quiet after about 11.30pm.

When my husband and I are in Istanbul we spend our time doing lots of sightseeing, travelling around and eating out every night, and we always stay in Sultanahmet and wouldn't dream of going anywhere else - however we don't do the nightclub and bars thing (because we can do that anywhere) - and personally I always feel that bit safer in Sultanahmet.

It comes down to answering the question 'why am I going to Istanbul'? and no one can answer that for you. Taksim and Sultanahmet may as well be two different cities in their attitudes and what they offer tourists, and so it depends on what face of Istanbul you want to see.

Once you make that decision, have a look at the hotel reviews, or ask any questions on the forum.

Re getting from the airport - it isn't difficult, and many of the boutique hotels in Sultanahmet offer a free one way transfer. Otherwise there are taxis, shuttle buses, tram/metro combination. Staying near the airport would not really be worth it in either time or money - as you will be doing endless travelling to the sights!

Montbéliard
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2. Re: Where to stay in Istanbul?

As said, Sultanahmet is a great place to stay. There are under Hagia Sofia some nice streets where you can find nice little hotels ( Peninsula, Historia, Marlara guesthouses and many others, about these you can find advices on tripadvisor). It depends on your budget, but you may find something good for you.

There are many taxi, and it takes 20 minutes to go to airport to Sultanahmet. About 15 euros. There are also buses.

Montbéliard
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3. Re: Where to stay in Istanbul?

Sorry : Marmara guesthouse, not Marlara.

Gold Canyon, Arizona
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4. Re: Where to stay in Istanbul?

Dear Friend01: I believe the above suggestions are excellent. One other thing I would tell you as "first-timers" to Istanbul: you will be shocked at how easy it is to get around! If you are in reasonable health you can even WALK to many of the sights in Sultanahmet & Taksim. You will immediately feel safe and right at home! Walk as much as you possibly can to truly enjoy the Sultanahmet & Taksim areas (most people speak at least some Enlish)! But take the time to learn a few Turkish phrases and the "locals" will really appreciate your efforts!

Chicago
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5. Re: Where to stay in Istanbul?

Sultanahmet is where you want to stay. Most first time visitors want to be close to all the sights. In Sultanahmet, there are hotels ranging from 60 euro to 170 euro per night. Everything is within walking distance. Taksim is easily accessible via the metro (or taxi). Good shopping, good restaurants, bars, dancing, etc.

And I completely agree with Constant-Cruiser about walking around Istanbul. Walk everywhere you can thru the city. You see an entirely different side of Istanbul when you walk through neighborhoods!

Globe

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6. Re: Where to stay in Istanbul?

Dear All,

Thank you very much for your very useful information. We definitely would be staying in Sultanahmet as we would like to do a lot of sightseeing (historical and tourist). I would also appreciate any other recommendations.

Is there a Hop on and off sightseeing bus in Istanbul? Is it a good idea to take it to have an overview of the city?

Thanks in advance,

Best wishes, Friend01.

Perrysburg, Ohio
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7. Re: Where to stay in Istanbul?

Yes, there's a hop-on, hop-off bus. It departs from Sultanahmet Square, directly opposite Haghia Sophia...but there's only one place to hop off and that's Taksim Square. The driver will, however, occasionally pull over at other places so you can take pictures. The tour takes approx. two hours, and if you take it on your first day in the city it does provide a good overview...but that's really all it's good for. As others have said, the best way to see Istanbul is to walk the city.

Surrey, UK
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8. Re: Where to stay in Istanbul?

Also buy a good guide book (like the DK Eyewitness one) that will give you a good overview of the city and will help you decide what of the many must sees in Istanbul will be on your list..... Everyone is different and some people's 'must sees' are other people's 'so whats'! In such a short stay it is best to prioritise what you are going to really enjoy rather than just following other people's choices, and a good guide book (the DK one has great pictures which I think really helps) will help you choose what to do and how to do it.

I imagine however the majority of your 'musts sees' for only a three night stay will be in Sultanahmet, and so you can certainly walk all round there yourself. It is also a nice walk down to the water and over to Galata, Beyoglu and Taksim (but take the Tunel up the hill - it is VERY steep). Or else there is the tram - which is very easy to work out.

houston
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9. Re: Where to stay in Istanbul?

I have been reading the reviews on several hotels in istanbul and Hotel Niles caught my attention: Clean, well priced and within 1 mile of most major attractions. I went on several review sites (trip advisor has it at number 2)

Anyone know of this hotel first hand? Would you recommend?

Venice, Florida
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10. Re: Where to stay in Istanbul?

Osumom

The hop off hop on bus sounds like a good way to get acquainted with the city. I will be there October 29th- November 6th. Do you know if this bus will still be running then and what the hours of operation are - or how I find more information?

Thanks!!