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Price & Hours

Free

Details

Entertainment and Nightlife, Free, Cafes, Neighborhood/Area Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

While the area surrounding Taksim Square draws the vast majority of partygoers, the small neighborhood of Ortaköy happily enjoys its less popular status. You won't simply stumble onto this cool enclave; located north of Beyoglu along the Bosphorus, you'll need to take a ferry or a bus from the Kabatas tram stop to reach it. Hopping a taxi will be a necessity in the nighttime, but the journey will be well worth it.

During the day, you can explore the narrow streets that divide a dense array of market stalls and shops. But when the sun goes down, crowded restaurants and bustling bars take over. Ortaköy is a nightlife hub for Istanbul's trendy and wealthy young people, so expect to pay dearly for that breathtaking view of the Bosphorus and your delicious food or drink.

Previous travelers loved the scene offered in this bustling neighborhood, adding that it makes for an excellent date locale at sunset. Some, though, wished there were fewer tourists around and said tastier and more affordable meals can be found elsewhere. If you do decide to visit this free neighborhood, keep in mind that prices and hours for its shops, bars and dining establishments will vary.

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#1 Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)

Sultan Ahmed I was determined to build a mosque that rivaled the nearby Hagia Sophia, and most would agree that he accomplished this task – or, at least, came close. Since the early 1600s, the Blue Mosque has been quite the sight to behold, with an array of domes, semidomes and minarets (or narrow towers). It's also one of the biggest tourist draws in Istanbul.

Visitors say this mosque offers "stunning architecture inside and out." It can, however, get busy, so consider arriving early. And remember, the Blue Mosque is an active religious site, so dress conservatively. Women should wear headscarves, as is custom. If you forgot to bring one, you can borrow one from the mosque.

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