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Less or non-touristic places worth to be visited in Istanbul

As person who was born, raised and grew in Istanbul, I did travel almost every inch of Istanbul due to my jobs. . I see tourists everyday in Sultanahmet area and its really packed with tourists and its going to be packed with tourists more and more in coming months.I will go back to Canada soon ( I have been to Turkey for last 8 months)
Probably all of you who want to come to Istanbul will see Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia etc..
I would like to give you some of my recommendations worth to be visited in Istanbul and they are either non-touristic places or they are known by less tourists

  1. Feshane: I do recommend this place to visit. There are 81 cities in Turkey. Every city organises 3 or 4 days exhibition in Feshane almost every week. They run from Thursday to Sunday evening or from Friday to Sunday evening depends on city.
    Cities exhibit their local products, their arts, culture, cuisine, traditions etc.. Its like a fair. Every region has different culture, cuisine, music and customs in Turkey so it is really worth to visit Feshane.
    Two links above could give you some idea even if its in Turkish.
    The link above shows time table and its in Turkish. They always update timetable.
    Its not that far from Sultanahmet. Taxi will cost you about no more than 15 TL ($6USD) from Sultanahmet area. You can take bus from Eminonu too. Or if you like walking , you can walk by Golden Horn and visit Greek Orthodox Church in Balat on the way to Feshane.

  2. Ortakoy, it is worth to visit to eat 'Kumpir' and watch Boshborus Channel.

  3. Bebek: Its really worth to visit Bebek and walk from Bebek to RumeliHisari by watching Boshborus. You will see a lot of high end cars on your walk, luxuorus yatches, high end fish restaurants etc.. Dont forget drinking coffee at Starbucks in Bebek. You may not like coffee but it is worth to sit down and have a drink by watching Boshborus.

  4. Besiktas : Worth to be visited because of its night life, bars, restaurants, cafes etc....

5:Uskudar: Take the ferrry from Sirkeci and see Uskudar in Asian side. Its beautiful place to be visited.

There are more places I would recommend to see most. They are close to Sultanahmet Area and they are convenient to be reached by transportation or by walk.
In addition to these places, If you have time, I would recommend to see 'Ayvalik' in other side of Marmara Sea but it will take about 6 hours to go to Ayvalik with ferry and bus after ferry.
If you go to 'Ayvalik', you can also take ferry to Greek Island Mytilini from Ayvalik. Ayvalik has Sarimsakli Beach too. Its very good spot to swim. Its famous for its Aegean cuisine( They mostly use olive oil in most of their cuisine)
Two google link can give you some idea about Ayvalik and Mytilini:

You can also take flight to go to Ayvalik from Istanbul to Balikesir Edremit Airport.

Good luck

Posted by
6854 posts

I've been to several places on your list - also Eyup, the Golden Horn, steep neighborhoods around Beyoglu, Dolmabahçe Palace, Princes Isles, Istanbul Modern Museum, Kadikoy, etc. I totally agree that there is much to be seen outside of the major tourist spots that are in every guidebook.

I will be there for a very limited time this fall (less than 2 days) - would you recommend the Sakip Sabanci museum? It will be open late one evening and I want to take a ferry there. Have you been to the Orhan Pamuk museum in Beyoglu? Would you recommend it? I've read and enjoyed many of his books. Sadly I won't have time to see the Chora Museum because I don't have enough time after I arrive, but hopefully the others will be fine. Lastly, what is your favorite Turkish bath place? It could be a local one...I like trying different locations since they're all slightly different.

Posted by
83 posts

If you like art, then Sakip Sabanci Museum is good choice for you. I am not an art guy so it is not my favorite place to go so I would not go there in two days visit to Istanbul but again I do not want to hold you. Everybody has different tastes. But that museum has vast collection and one of the best in Turkey for its art collection.
You may like this museum too:
It is Koc Museum. It belongs to one of the biggest corporations in Turkey.

One less touristic museums worth to be visited ‘BESIKTAS NAVAL MUSEUM’ or with its Turkish name ‘BESIKTAS DENIZ MUZESI’. It is very important place for Turkish history. They exhibit Golden Horn Chain in the museum and they also exhibit other interesting war things belongs to Ottaman Empire and others..
Its close to Sultanahmet and Galata Cruise Port too.
You can have some information about Istanbul’s siege from Byzantine Empire in the link above and you can understand and function of Golden Horn Chain and why it was important. The Byzantine wanted to prevent Turkish naval ships entering in Golden Horn by putting chain in the entrance of Golden Horn…
Next to Museum ,there is a a park called ‘Barbaros Park’ its centeral area where people sit or teenagers skate. You will see famous Ottaman Naval Commander Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa Monument. He is very important person for Turkish history too.

The link below shows Naval Museum and Barbaros Monument.

For Turkish Baths, I will give you a link below and you can go any of those Bath places. They are the best ones in Istanbul.
I would personally recommend you ‘Cemberlitas Hamami but again all of them are the best ones in Istanbul in the link I gave you . Its very close to to Blue Mosque area too.
Galataray Hamami is good too.The link below shows its location.

Lastly, Google does not have street view for Istanbul yet but Yandex has it.
If you click on view panaroma on the right hand side ,you can have some ideas before visiting Istanbul.
Good luck

Posted by
6854 posts

Thanks for the tips. Yes, I do like art and since I've spent over two full weeks just in Istanbul a few years ago, I don't mind using the two days by hitting Sabanci and other types of places you mentioned. I've been to Cemberlitas bath, so I'll likely try something else this time. I saw the Koc Museum while on the Golden Horn ferry so I know where to locate it - thanks again!

Posted by
7 posts

What would you recommend for children? Girl aged 11 and boy aged 9? Anything in particular that would appeal to them?


Posted by
83 posts

1: Vialand
2: Istanbul Akvaryum
3: Princess Islands or we call them "Adalar"
Take the ferry from Kabatas to go to Adalar, its slower but you will see Boshborous and Marmara Sea and you will love it. You can see 4 islands in a day too. An horse cart riding would be fantastic in the islands. Make sure to get "Istanbul Kart" once you arrive to Istanbul.
4: MiniaTurk
5: A walk from Bebek to Rumelihisari by seeing Boshborous.

Posted by
1716 posts

Did you see my post about sites to see between Edirne and Istanbul? Thought you might have some good suggestions. Thanks!