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Where to Stay in Istanbul in 2023 (Best Areas and Places)

On a sunset atmosphere, an old mosque, surrounded by smaller building structures and a few trees.

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If you’re thinking of visiting Istanbul, don’t wait a second longer; take this as your sign to book and go. This is my favorite city in the whole world, and no matter how many times I visit, I’m not sure it could ever be enough. However, knowing where to stay in Istanbul is important because get it wrong, and you’re going to be stuck in that famous Istanbul traffic for half your vacation.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve traveled to and stayed in Istanbul. Several times I’ve stayed for more than a month at once and really felt like a local. It’s a city that’s drenched in history, and is completely absorbing – you could call the entire city an outdoor museum of sorts. And the food; oh my life, the food!

That being said, I can’t deny that understanding this huge urban sprawl can be complicated for a first-time visitor. Within this post, I’m going to help you choose the best area to stay in Istanbul, Turkey so you have a strong foundation on where to begin your exploration. I love this city so much that I’m already excited about your trip too!

Best Areas to Stay in Istanbul

Quick Look: Best Areas to Stay in Istanbul

Sultanahmet: The Best Place To Stay in Istanbul for Your First Time

If you want to know where to stay in Istanbul for the first time, I’d highly recommend Sultanahmet. While this isn’t the perfect neighborhood entirely (where is), it is home to the majority of Istanbul’s top historic spots, and you’ll be able to get a snapshot of the city as a whole by basing yourself here.

This is where you’ll find the Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, and Topkapı Palace. There are also countless hotels in this part of the city, as well as a million and one (I didn’t count) cafes and restaurants.

Pros of Staying in Sultanahmet

  • You’re close to the must-visit attractions for a first-time visitor
  • One of the best places in Istanbul for iconic photo opportunities
  • Fairly quiet after midnight, so it’s great for getting a good night’s sleep
  • It’s easy to get around from here by tram and bus
  • Very multicultural and most people in this area speak English

Cons of Staying in Sultanahmet

  • The food isn’t the best and is quite overpriced – you’ll be told it’s traditional, but it’s touristic-traditional
  • If you’re looking for where…

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