The Hotel Arcadia Blue is located in the historic peninsula of Istanbul, in the Sultanahmet district. The top floor of the hotel is a bar and restaurant called Fine Dine Istanbul, which you can visit even though you are not staying in the hotel. It is the perfect spot to have a drink, coffee or dinner while enjoying the stunning views.
Is this your second time to visit Istanbul or you just try to avoid the crowded attractions? Then my guide for 8 calm and relaxing places to escape the rush in Istanbul is just right for you. In this guide I would like to share 8 non touristy attractions in Istanbul, that I’ve visited. These sights are off the path and not so popular with tourists. Most attractions that I introduce are also suitable for low-budget travelers, since most of them are free of admission. This post can be helpful for first time visitors, who have some more time to explore Istanbul or for more experienced travelers, who visit Istanbul for the second time.
Kuzguncuk, meaning ‘little raven’ in Turkish, is a small neighborhood located on the Asian side of the Bosporus. It is a quiet neighborhood with many beautifully preserved old wooden houses and cute little cafes. For centuries Kuzguncuk was known for the coexistence of Jews, Greeks, Armenians and Turks. And today you can still find reminders of that time like old synagogues, churches, mosques or cemeteries. It is a great neighborhood to visit, if you are interested in history or if you just like to take a walk and look at the beautiful wooden houses and take a break in one of the cafes or restaurants. While wondering the historic streets of Kuzguncuk you can forget that you are in a metropolis, it has more a small town charm to it.
Edit 2018: The restaurant got closed and you can’t find it in this location anymore.
The Yemek Kulübü is a restaurant in the central district of Beyoğlu. It is located on the shopping street İstiklal Caddesi, close to the Şişhane metro station. My first visit to the restaurant was 2010, when I first visited Istanbul. Since then I often had dinner or lunch there. The restaurant has two floors and I would recommend you to choose the second floor since it’s quieter there.
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!
The Dandin Bakery is a restaurant and cafe in the trendy neighborhood of Karaköy. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cool interior. But you may also stop by for a cup of coffee. On the menu, there is limited number of vegan options like soups, salads or smoothies. Relatively, there are more vegetarian dishes.