This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Istanbul. To help you make friends with Istanbul before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Istanbul was the destination of the legendary Orient Express. It's the gateway between Asia and Europe. In fact the city of Istanbul is half in Europe and half in Asia, with the Strait of Bosphorus splitting it down the middle. Most of the hostels in Istanbul are located in the European (west) side of the city, along with most of the cultural, political, business, and tourist attractions.
The European half of Istanbul is itself split in half by a water inlet called the Golden Horn. On the south side of the Golden horn is Eminönü/Sirkeci (the center of the city), which is next to Sultanahmet (the old city). This is where you will find most of the historic sites, including Topkapı Palace, the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the bazaars. There are a great number of hostels and other accommodations clustered within this small, easily walkable area. It's touristy, but if you want to be close to the historic sites, this is the place to be.
On the north side of the Golden Horn is Beyoğlu/İstiklal, which is the modern cultural city center. The area is focused around the extraordinary shopping avenue İstiklal Caddesi. This pedestrian avenue and its side streets are where you will find all the best restaurants, shopping, and nightlife in Istanbul. There are plenty of hostels close to İstiklal and it's a great place to be if you want to enjoy the cultural and nightlife of Istanbul.
Don't worry too much about choosing a hostel in the right neighborhood. Whether you're in the new or old city, it's quick and easy to get where you want to go either by hopping on the tram or simply by walking 20 minutes or less.
Written by local enthusiast for Istanbul hostelsHostelz