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Istanbul - Neighborhoods

We'll be taking our 1st trip to Istanbul in Oct. and plan on renting an apartment for one week. What neighborhood(s) can anyone recommend? We're looking for a local/authentic feel, but in a central location.

Posted by
5694 posts

The historic Old Town/Sultanahmet neighborhood is where you'll find the Blue Mosque, Topaki Palace, etc. Loved staying there on my first visit this past May. It is the touristy area because of the famous sites but it is also authentic and wonderful to explore. With the metro it is very easy to get around both the east and west parts of Turkey. Fabulous
city! Enjoy your stay!

Posted by
2788 posts

I hope you have RS Istanbul Guide Book as it had lots of recommendations that we used when we visited Istanbul last summer. We spent a total of 9 days there and still did not see/do every thing we wanted. I would go back there any time and we found the locals friendly and helpful.

Posted by
1133 posts

We are just starting our planning for our first trip to Istanbul next spring. A really great website is We are awaiting Rick's book on Istanbul and searching the internet for all sorts of information. How does one obtain tram tickets and how easy is it to get around using the tram or bus? Does anyone have a favorite hotel to recommend? George

Posted by
3112 posts

Some tram stops have a ticket booth. At others, you'll need to buy tickets at a nearby shop. I found it efficient to buy about the number of tickets I thought I'd need for the day up front. The tram line runs from out beyond the Grand Bazaar to near the Dolmabache Palace, passing many of the most popular sights and crossing the Bosphorus along the way. Just use a ticket to enter through the turnstyle and wait for the next tram. There are tram stops near both funiculars up to the new town. I found the trams very easy to use.

Posted by
157 posts

I recommend Sultanahmet for your first trip. I was there during Ramadan 2010 and it was so lively. Had fabulous time and people are so friendly.

Posted by
3696 posts

Someone on this site recommended the Old City Viva Hotel and I booked and stayed there a few weeks ago. It was reasonable, great location on the tram line, substantial breakfast, and helpful staff. The rooms are modest but we had a wonderful time from this central location and I would stay there again. It was a bit closer to the Spice Market than the Blue Mosque and Topkapi area but all within walkable distance. Also a few wonderful restaurants right down the block. Loved Istanbul.