On my third visit to Istanbul I’ve stayed in Besiktas on the European side of the city. It’s a great area close to many attractions and museums. It also has a nice restaurant and bar scene and there is always something interesting happening here. This travel guide to Besiktas should hopefully help you find unique and interesting things to do in the area;
One of the most grandiose palaces in the world, Dolmabahce was an administrative center of Ottoman Empire. The palace and the gardens are huge so plan to spend at least 4 hours here. It’s one of the most beautiful attractions in Istanbul, not only because of its beauty and historical significance but an amazing location too. Tickets for Selamlik (official part) and Harem can be bought as one or separately. Common ticket is 40 TL. It’s also possible to book a guided tour.
Rainbow stairs became a local phenomena. At first, this was thought to be an act by gay rights groups, however the initiative started by a local resident who wanted to beautify the surroundings. Few days later municipality workers painted them back to grey. This lead to protests after which stairs got their rainbow colors again.
If you love art you have to visit this museum! In my opinion it’s one of the best in Europe. The artistic collection is very rich and there are numerous exhibitions of modern art and photography. You’ll be rewarded with some lovely views of the city too, as Istanbul Modern is located by the water. The museum also has a nice cafe where you can snack and grab coffee after your visit.
Parks in Istanbul are rare and most often small in size like this one called Findikli. Now, some people wouldn’t even call this a park but the only reason I’m recommending it is because of the view. You get some fantastic views of the Asian side and bridges.
Le Fumoir at Ciragan Palace Kempinski
If you don’t mind to splurge for an amazing view and an atmosphere that will be unforgettable come here. Surroundings are beautiful, at both day and night. Beautiful palace, amazing water scenery and a lit up bridge – what more can you ask for? With an amazing view like this and a great service comes the price though. It’s a luxury brand and definitely not budget friendly but you only live once so why not? After all, Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Address: Çırağan Cad. No:32, Beşiktaş
I liked this place a lot and have visited it more than once during my last trip to Istanbul. It attracts young and hip crowd and it’s ideal for a night out with friends. There’s a great selection of alcohol especially fancy craft beer. Joker also has an open front kitchen and seafood and sandwiches seem to be the most popular. However, most people come here for drinks and a chit/chat before heading to a club. Oh, and try their potatoes. They are great! 🙂
Address: Sinanpaşa, Beşiktaş Cd. No:19
Quite similar establishment to Joker no 19. Large interior packed with good music and rich selection of beers and food. They also give a free popcorn. The only downside is that the place is packed and you’ll have a problem finding free seat. It’s worth trying though!
Address: Vişnezade Mh., Süleyman Seba Cd. No:46
This bar has a really warm atmosphere and it’s great for a night of entertainment. You can play table football or enjoy one of their live music nights. Turkish coffee is really good here.
Address: Cihannüma, Barbaros Blv. No:61, Beşiktaş
Highly rated place by burger fans. It’s good for groups as it’s set in a small street full of cafes and bars.
This place is buzzing with locals and visitors. If you love street life you should put it on your to-do list. Dining here is an interesting experience at night but you can also just look around and feel the vibe of the place.
Where to stay
I’ve stayed in W hotel as part of the World Tourism Forum event. The hotel is very trendy and is quite popular in the neighborhood, but far from budget friendly! Besides fantastic location it has a very modern design, awesome breakfast, gym and you get an Android phone free of charge. You can take it out of your room and use it while sightseeing. It has free internet and unlimited calls. Great idea! If you want to look for something that won’t break the bank head to Booking.com. Don’t forget to check HotelsCombined too as this site will search for the best price across top travel platforms.
This travel guide to Besiktas will be updated regularly so feel free to give your tips in the comments section below.