After living in Istanbul for some time I started to realize a big downside of the life in the center of the city: there are not enough public green spaces. The area where I used to live (Mecidiyeköy) was central, I could reach supermarkets, the metro station even a shopping mall by walking, but for visiting the nearest park I had to take the bus or metro! I like so many things about Istanbul, but a city needs green areas and shouldn’t demolish them to build more and more houses & skyscrapers!
I mostly used to visit parks on the weekends, to relax and feel the nature. And I would like to name and share my favorite parks with you! For a tourist, who visits the city just for a few days, it might not be interesting or important, but for travelers who stay longer, students or newly residents a list with nice parks is helpful I guess.
1. Cihangir Parkı
Cihangir Parkı (a.k.a Sanatkarlar Parkı) is one of the parks I used to visit most! I went there so many times, to simply hang out with friends and enjoy the amazing view! I could watch the Bosporus, ferries and old town all day long. I brought all my family and friends to this place, I think it’s one of my favorite places in the whole city.
Okay it’s not a typical park, it’s not very big and the grass could be greener, but the feeling to watch the city from there is incomparable!
2. Gülhane Parkı
The Gülhane Parkı is in the heart of the old city of Istanbul, only few minutes walking distance from the famous Hagia Sophia. But compared to the busy old city it is relatively quiet and less crowded. It is a big park with high trees, green grass and many colorful flowers. In the springtime you can see lots of tulips.
At the end of the alley there is an open air tea garden called Setüstü Çay Bahçesi, they serve the Turkish black tea in traditional copper tea pots. It’s the perfect spot to relax on a sunny day, with view to the Bosporus and the the Asian side of the city.
3. Emirgan Korusu
I only visited the Emirgan Korusu once, but enojoyed staying there much! It is in the neighborhood of Sarıyer. It is a big park, which is especially popular at the weekends for families. We also saw many couples who took their wedding pictures in the park. It’s a neat park with green areas, trees, flowers a small lake and an old mansion. It is also close by to the Bosporus.
4. Maçka Demokrası Parkı
The Maçka Demokrası Parkı was the closest park to my home in Istanbul, that’s why I visited it quiet often. The park is close to the center of Beşiktaş, right next to the football stadium, overlooking the Bosporus. It is situated on a small hill side with many green areas and medium high trees.
Many dog owners come to the park to take a walk and play with their dogs and it’s nice to watch them. On sunny days I liked to go there to make a picnic and read a book.
5. Yıldız Parkı
The Yıldız Parkı is located in Beşiktaş and is one of the largest public parks in Istanbul. Once it was part of the imperial garden of Yıldız palace, a historical park of the Sultans. It’s a big park, so that I discover new parts every time I visit. In the whole area are many benches and tables for making a picnic, you can also find small lakes or nice viewpoints. The only downside is, that cars are driving in some parts of the park, can you understand why someone wants to go through a green park with a car?
6. Fenerbahçe Parkı
The Fenerbahçe Parkı is in the neighborhood of Fenerbahçe, on the Asian side of Istanbul. I only visited it once in spring and it was beautiful there. It’s a great place to hang out at the shore, with the view to the city on the one side and on the other side to the sea. In spring time there are many flowers blooming and you can watch many couples having their wedding shooting in the park.
7. Fetihpaşa Korusu
The Fetihpaşa Korusu is located close to the Üsküdar ferry station, on the Asian side of Istanbul. You can follow the many paths through the park, take a break on a bench, view the colorful flowers and enjoy the view to the skyline of the European side of the city from the highest point.
Have you realized the commonality of all parks? They all have a great view to the Bosporus 🙂 funny that I didn’t realize this until I wrote this article.
Enjoy exploring Istanbul