Istanbul: The Ultimate City Guide

This city has served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. This aged but modern city has had the well-deserved honour of being the capital of three empires that once governed the world. Where two old continents reach out to meet in the beautiful sight of the enormous strait known as the Bosporus. Being the heart of global trade, every nation in every era of history wanted to be a part of it.


The economic, cultural, and business centre of today's Turkey, Istanbul is one of the most inspiring and important cities globally. Due to its unique geographic location and incredible climate, this city has always been a focal point for investors, visitors, and immigrants.

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Istanbul at a Glance

With its location at the intersection of Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a diverse megacity. With over 15 million residents, it is the most populated city in Europe. Istanbul is capable of offering a very rich portfolio in history, geopolitics advantages, lifestyle, diversity, infrastructure, art, and humanity.

You will read about the history, geographical location, and weather conditions of Istanbul. Let’s see what this magical city has in its heart that makes it such a special metropolis.

Istanbul’s History

Byzantium, Constantinople, and now Istanbul! Istanbul is not just a city with history. This city has been the stage for many important historic scenes. The colourful city has hosted a big range of kingdoms and civilizations. From Alexander to Fatih Sultan Mehmet, all the conquerors had an eye on this strategic location and a big piece of paradise.
Istanbul has hosted many historical eras in it, the most influential of which are:

  • Roman Empire
  • Byzantine Empire
  • Ottoman Empire

Romans conquered this city in 193 and kept the city under the Roman Empire's control for more than 200 years. In the 4th century, Constantine the Great made Byzantium the capital of the whole Roman Empire, calling it Constantinople. The city experienced a long era of prosperity and wealth during the reign of Byzantine emperors.

In 1453, Ottoman Turks conquered the city under the leadership of Sultan Mehmet II, a.k.a Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Ottomans changed the city’s name and called it Islambol. Ottoman sultans brought back prosperity and wealth to the city and build numerous buildings and mosques. Istanbul was ruled by the Ottomans until World War I when the troops of the allied countries occupied the city. After the victories brought by Ataturk, Turks gained back control over Istanbul and the Republic of Turkey was born in 1923.
 

Yerebatan Sarnıcı or Basilica Cistern is one of the most interesting signs of Istanbul's rich history

Istanbul’s Location

It can be easily claimed that Istanbul is the heart of the world! Connecting two ancient continents, Asia and Europe, Istanbul has always benefited from its unique location. Access to open waters has also boosted prosperity and trade in this magical city. 

This map easily proves that Istanbul is literally the heart of the world, exactly in the middle point between east and west
In modern times, Istanbul merged into a logistics and passenger hub. There isn’t any city with a better location to connect the East to the West, and the North to the South. The number of important cities and capitals within the short flight range from Istanbul is unrivaled. 

Flight duration to some of the major cities from Istanbul is:
London: 4h 10mins
Paris: 3h 45mins
Berlin: 2h 55mins
Moscow: 4h 10mins
Dubai: 4h 10mins
Delhi: 5h 50mins
New York: 10h 40mins
Singapore: 10h 40mins
Beijing: 10h 20mins

Another natural reward that Istanbul’s location provides is the Bosphorus Strait. It is the only gate that ships can travel to the Black sea from other open seas. Not only is this place the gate of the black sea, but also it is the natural borderline between Europe and Asia.
 

Istanbul’s Climate

Generally, Istanbul’s weather can be considered as Transitional Mediterranean (1). Experiencing harsh weather conditions doesn’t have a high possibility in Istanbul since the city rarely experiences extreme cold or hot weather.

this climate chart shows that Istanbul's weather does not experience huge changes during a year despite experiencing four seasons.

Temperature

On average, Istanbul’s weather temperature swings between 3 (°C) (37.4 F) on the coldest winter days and 29 (°C) (84.2 F) on the warmest summer days. The mean temperature is 14.95 (°C) (58.91 F), which indicates that Istanbul has pleasant weather.

Precipitation 

On average Istanbul experiences 820 mm of rain-and-snow fall per year. The period between December to March is the wettest part of the year in Istanbul. Great rainfall creates beautiful city landscapes during autumn and spring, and there is a great chance of experiencing snowfall in the winter.

Life in Istanbul

With more than 16 million residents, Istanbul has many characteristics of a country in its urban heart! You would expect to face a multifaceted society in such a large city, which indeed is a true perception. This city is big, diverse in many aspects, rich in culture and civilization, and welcoming to people of any kind of ethnicity, nationality, and belief. 

In this section, you will read about Transportation in Istanbul, Education in Istanbul, Food and Cuisine in Istanbul, Things to Do in Istanbul, and Work and Business in Istanbul.

Transportation: Let’s Move Around in Istanbul

As a megacity, economic center, and tourism hub, Istanbul is expected to offer a wide portfolio when it comes to transportation. Istanbul is a transportation hub indeed.

A family flying to Istanbul, the transportation hub of the world

How to Get To Istanbul

There are zillion ways to reach Istanbul, while some of them could be considered time and money-consuming highly, and some of them are the fastest and most affordable ones. Why don’t we just check out these ways together and decide if they are favorable or not?

From Air

Home to one of the biggest airports in the world and one of the airlines with the highest number of international destinations, it is not an unexpected expectation if one assumes Istanbul as a reachable location. Istanbul has two international airports, one on each side of the city:

Istanbul Airport (IST)

One of the largest airports in the world, Istanbul Airport (IST) is a global hub. Designed to serve more than 100 million passengers annually, this airport serves passengers from more than 292 destinations in 116 countries and about 50 domestic destinations. This airport is located on the European side of Istanbul.

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW)

Located in the eastern parts of the Anatolian side of Istanbul, Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) is the second airport serving passengers flying to and from Istanbul. Having direct flights to more than 124 destinations in 41 countries and 33 domestic destinations, this airport is nowhere close to small airports despite falling behind Istanbul Airport in terms of numbers and size. 

From Sea

Although passenger travel by sea is not as convenient and popular as air travel, Istanbul’s access to the Sea of Marmara and the Black sea gives this city an edge to offer sea travel from its ports. You can visit some Turkish cities like Bursa, by taking a ferry from ports in Eminüönü or Yenikapı in Istanbul.

Istanbul is reachable from sea: a cruise ship is boarding passengers from Galata Port in Istanbul.
Some cruise ships also berth on the coasts of Istanbul for short breaks. Galataport is designed to serve these cruise ships. 

Railway

Istanbul is connected to the national high-speed train network (YHT) of Turkey. Although there aren't direct connections between the European countries’ railway systems with The Turkish network, you can travel to and from the main European cities like Paris and Berlin to Istanbul on the rail with several changes.
However, YHT is a very convenient solution if you are planning to travel inside Turkey and enjoy the terrestrial beauties of Turkey. You can take this train from several stations in Istanbul:

  • Pendik
  • Söğütlüçeşme
  • Bakırköy
  • Halkalı

Public Transportation in Istanbul

A city with more than 16 million residents needs every kind of public transportation infrastructure to help this population move. People in Istanbul use taxis, minibuses, buses, the BRT system, metro (subway), urban railway, and ferryboats for their daily commutes.
Do not forget to get an Istanbulkart provided by IETT since it is usable for Metro, IETT buses, and even in other services provided by the municipality of Istanbul (such as public lavatories, etc.)

Metro and Railed Network

With 8 active lines and 3 under fast development lines (as of 2022), Istanbul has a complex subway system, providing fast and clean access to a handful of locations. Additionally, the Marmaray rail system that connects the Asian side to the European side is connected to Istanbul’s metro network, carrying millions of passengers between continents. 
Three funicular lines and three tram lines boost Metro Istanbul’s reach and convenience.

Bus, Minibus, and BRT Network

The network of buses in Istanbul is huge and complicated. There are more than 500 lines and no less than 8000 bus stops. Minibuses (called Dolmuş in Turkey) that only accept cash also operate and extend the reach of public transportation to the locations that buses do not have access to.
A BRT line which is extended from the far western parts of the European side to Kadıköy district on the Asian side is also a popular means of transportation in Istanbul. This line, also known as Metrobus, has more than 40 stops and passes by the Bosphorus bridge. 

Taxi

Taxis are the most expensive means of transfer on this list. You can both find them on the streets, call taxi stations, or use digital apps like Uber, Bitaksi, or Getir. Taxis have a strict management system in Istanbul and the cost is calculated by an automatic system. 

Education in Istanbul: A Global Center!

Istanbul is an attractive destination for families with kids and students from a variety of countries. Distinguished schools and higher education institutes located in Istanbul have made this metropolitan an educational hub and one of the biggest destinations for education in the world.

Itsanbul has lots of well-known schools with rich histories. This building is one of Istanbul's  historical schools

Schools at Istanbul

Free education is offered to every Turkish citizen in public schools. In addition to the public educational system, private schools that have curriculums of their own provide education to children at a variety of price ranges according to each school’s pricing policies.
Some of the notable schools in Istanbul are:

Robert College

The American Robert College of Istanbul is one of the most highly-notable schools in Turkey. The oldest continuously running American school outside the United States, Robert College is regularly ranked very high as one of the best schools in Turkey. Robert College offers its programs in English.

Galatasaray Schools

Established in 1481, Galatasaray High School is the oldest school in Turkey. Students from all parts of Turkey have the chance to be accepted into this school through a nationwide test. Galatasaray schools are one of the recognized institutes that offer education in French.

Istanbul High School

As one of the highly-ranked and respected public schools in Turkey, Istanbul High School or Istanbul Erkek Lisesi is one of the highly-selective schools in Istanbul. Germany recognizes this school as a German school.

F.M.V Işık Schools

Providing education from kindergarten to high school, Işık schools are one of the oldest and most established schools in Turkey. Working under the supervision of Feyziye Schools Foundation, Işık schools have been one of the first movers when it comes to providing education with updated methods.

Kabataş High School

Surrounded by the palaces on the coast of the Bosphorus strait, Kabataş High School is one of the most prominent schools in Istanbul. Hardly any place in Istanbul has the fascinating views that Kabataş high school has.

British International School Istanbul

Providing a modified English National Curriculum, British International School is a primary and secondary private school with two locations in Istanbul. This school has one of the widest ranges of nationalities of students.

Liceo Italiano di Istanbul

Owned and financed by the Italian government, Liceo Italiano di Istanbul or Italian High School of Istanbul is one of the prominent international schools in Turkey.

Lycée Saint-Joseph

Lycée Saint-Joseph is an Istanbul-based French international private high school. It caters to students in the lycée levels (senior high school). It has a beautiful campus in the Kadıköy district of the Asian side of Istanbul.

Deutsche Schule Istanbul

Deutsche Schule Istanbul is a private German school, located in the Beyoglu district on the European side of Istanbul. Established in 1868, this school offers the possibility of higher education in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to its graduates.

Koç Schools

As a high and elementary school with English as the primary language, Koç school is one of the selective institutes in Turkey. This school is internationally recognized and most of its students seek academic opportunities abroad.

The list of notable selective and private schools in Istanbul does not end here. You can find the best school according to your neighborhood and your children’s preferences. 

 

Read More About Best K-12 Schools in Istanbul →


 

Universities in Istanbul

Home two dozens of recognized public and private universities, Istanbul has been a popular destination for students and academicians. International relations, high educational standards, great research facilities, and infinite career opportunities are among the reasons students and researchers select Istanbul for their academic life.

some universities in Istanbul have some spectacular campuses. Bilgi university uses a historical industrial site as its campus
Some of the most notable universities in Istanbul are:

Boğaziçi University

Consistently the highest-ranked Turkish university, Boğaziçi University is an internationally recognized Turkish higher education institute. The main campus of Boğaziçi University is located in Etiler, Beşiktaş.

Istanbul Technical University

The world’s third oldest technical university, Istanbul Technical University (ITU) is one of the most recognized universities in Turkey. Focusing on engineering majors, ITU has been a highly-ranked university in world rankings in the fields of engineering and technology.

Galatasaray University

One of the most prestigious and respected universities in Turkey, Galatasaray University is an international higher education institute in Istanbul. This university is formed as a result of cooperation and agreements between the governments of Turkey and France.

Istanbul Bilgi University

Istanbul Bilgi Univesity is one of the most successful, globally respected, and fast-growing private universities in Turkey. With campuses in historic sites and award-winning buildings, and an array of attractive programs, Istanbul Bilgi University has become one of the most appealing universities, especially for international students.

Marmara University

The only multilingual university in Turkey, Marmara University offers programs in Turkish, English, French, and German. With more than 13 campuses, Marmara university is one of the largest universities in Turkey. Its Haydarpaşa Campus is one of the most beautiful university campuses in Turkey.

Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts

The first western-style academic institute in the Middle East, Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts is located in the Beyoglu district in the European side of Istanbul. The first Turkish university of fine arts and architecture in Turkey, Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts has introduced many artists and architects to the Turkish and International community.

Istanbul University

One of the oldest educational institutes in Turkey’s history, Istanbul University is a public university located on the European side of Istanbul. This university has introduced two Noble Prize winners: Aziz Sancer in Chemistry and Orhan Pamuk in Literature.

Koç University

Despite being relatively a newly established university, Koç University has become one of the most prominent and prestigious universities in Turkey. This private university has been endangering Boğaziçi University in its comfort zone as the highest-ranked Turkish university.

Yıldız Technical University

A member of the Times Higher Education's top 1000 club, Yildiz Technical University (YTU) is one of the well-known public universities in Istanbul. With its historical Beşiktaş campus, this university has been one of the higher education institutes that Turkish students make wishes about.

Bahçeşehir University

One of the most internationally oriented universities in Turkey, Bahçeşehir University (BAU) is a private university located in Istanbul. High educational quality, well-equipped research facilities, and English-centered education have made this university a preferred choice for students.

Yeditepe University

The largest foundation university in Turkey, Yeditepe University is one of the most successful private universities in Istanbul. The main campus of Yeditepe University is on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Istanbul Aydın University

One of the most popular foundation universities for international students, Istanbul Aydın University is a technology center with numerous campuses on both sides of Istanbul. 

Istanbul Medipol University

Mostly known for its medical science programs (Medical Science, Dentistry, and Pharmacy) among international students, Istanbul Medipol University is a newly founded but successful private university.

 

Read More About the Best Universities in Istanbul → 

 

 

Food in Istanbul: Welcome to the Paradise!

What is a big old historic city without its cuisine? You can imagine how much can Istanbul offer when it comes to eating! Istanbul is a paradise for food lovers, who come to this city from every corner of the world to try unique dishes only found in Istanbul.

Turkish food or food offered in Istanbul covers all the tastes from vegans to meat lovers.  A colorful table of Turkish food.

Turkish Food: East Meets West Here!

Not only is Istanbul the joint between the east and the west geographically but it also is where cultures and traditions from the east and west met. Turkic, Arabic, Greek, Russian, and Mediterranean influence have made Istanbul a paradise for food and drink lovers with every taste.

Almost all Turkish cuisine comes from Ottoman cuisine, which is a mix and refinement of Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Eastern European, Armenian, and Georgian cuisines, among other items. Turkish food has also had an impact on the cuisines of other countries in the region, such as those in Southeast Europe (the Balkans), Central Europe, and Western Europe, as well as those in the Middle East.

The Ottomans mixed different types of food from around the world into their cuisine, including Mesopotamian, Greek, Levantine, Egyptian, and Balkan food, as well as traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia (like Ayran and Kaymak), to come up with a wide range of dishes.

Some of the most popular Turkish dishes you can find in Istanbul are:

Döner

A kebab composed of meat (or chicken) grilled on a vertical rotisserie is known as a doner kebab. Seasoned meat packed in an inverted cone is gently rotated on a rotisserie close to vertically positioned, radiating heat.

Pide

Pide is a flatbread with an oval form that is cooked with various toppings or stuffings. Spiced mincemeat (Kiymali Pide) is popular, as are spinach-based variations and Turkish beef sausage (Sucuk).

Lahmacun

Lahmacun is a circular, thin piece of dough covered with minced meat, minced vegetables, and herbs like onions, garlic, tomatoes, red peppers, and parsley, and then baked with spices like chili pepper and paprika.

Köfte

Kofta is a Turkish meatball or meatloaf family of meals. Kofte is meatballs made with minced meat – commonly beef, chicken, hog, lamb, or mutton, or a combination of these – and spices, as well as additional ingredients. You can get it on a plate or wrapped in bread (Dürüm).

Börek

Borek is a filled Anatolian and Balkan pastry consisting of a thin flaky dough like filo stuffed with meat, cheese, spinach, or potatoes. There are numerous variants of Borek in Turkey such as Su Boregi (Boiled Borek), Sigara Boregi (Cigarette Borek), Kol Boregi (Arm Borek), etc.

Künefe

Kunefe, also known as Knafeh, is a Turkish dessert prepared with kataifi, a spun pastry soaked in a sweet, sugar-based syrup called attar and stacked with cheese or other ingredients such as clotted cream, pistachios, or pecans.

İskender Kebap

Iskender kebap is a Turkish meal made with sliced döner kebab meat, hot tomato sauce, and melted special sheep's milk butter and yogurt smeared heavily over pieces of pita bread. It may be made using grilled lamb or chicken that has been thinly and neatly sliced.

Mantı

Manti is a sort of dumpling that is popular in Turkey as well as other nations. Manti is usually served with yogurt and garlic, seasoned with red pepper powder and melted butter, and garnished with crushed sumac and/or dried mint by the customer.

Kuru Fasülye with Pilav

In Turkish cuisine, Kuru Fasulye is a stewed bean dish. It's generally cooked with white beans and olive oil, with onion and tomato paste or sauce thrown in for good measure. Other vegetables or meat, particularly pastirma, may be added at times. Kuru Fasulye is frequently served with rice or bulgur (Pilav). It is sometimes referred to as Turkey's national dish.

Baklava

Baklava is a layered filo pastry confection filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey or syrup. It was one of Ottoman cuisine's most beloved sweet pastries. The best companions of Baklava are Tea, Turkish coffee, and surprisingly, Turkish ice cream!

Street Food: Delicious and Colorful!

Istanbul is one of the cities in the world that provides a wide variety of street tastes. Street food in Istanbul is safe and clean, so tourists and residents of Istanbul always consider grabbing a bite of delicious food offered on stands on the streets of Istanbul.

Street foods in Istanbul are so varied that you will have difficulties selecting one: a stand selling Kestane Kebab or Grilled Chestnut
Following are some of the most popular street snacks and foods: 

Simit

Simit is a circular bread covered with sesame seeds or, less often, poppy, flax, or sunflower seeds that get their roots from the former Ottoman Empire and the Middle East cuisines. You can find Simit in every bakery, pastry, or mobile stands on the corner of each street.

Kestane Kebap

Another street taste you can enjoy in Istanbul is Kestane Kebap (Chestnut Kebab). Grilled Chestnut with its perfect smell can be found on stands in every spot in Istanbul. Tourists and domestic people love Kestane Kebap, so it is an easy option for you to find.

Kokoreç

Lamb or goat intestines are wrapped around seasoned offal, such as sweetbreads, hearts, lungs, or kidneys, and commonly grilled; an alternative is chopped innards roasted on a griddle. The dish is popular in the Balkans and Asia Minor. Lamb's suckling intestines are favored.

Midye Dolma

On every street corner in Istanbul, you'll find street vendors serving up midye dolma, a dish of mussels on the half shell blended with hot rice and lemon juice. Keep eating as many as the merchant offers you until you feel half-full and then stop. This is the technique with midye dolma.

Balık Ekmek

Fish sandwiches known as Balik Ekmek can't be denied when visiting Karaköy or Eminönü shores. It's tempting to bite down on these wonderful sandwiches at one of the eateries below the Galata Bridge, but locals will tell you that the Balik Ekmek you eat at a table is nothing like the one you eat standing up.

Çiğ köfte

Çiğ kofte or chee kofta is a kofta dish that is a regional delicacy of southeastern Anatolia eaten as an appetizer or meze. The meatball for vegetarians is usually served as durum or wrapped-in-bread form.
Çiğ, the Turkish word for "raw," and köfte, the Turkish word for "meatball," are both used interchangeably in Turkish.

Kumpir

In Turkey, the ultimate baked potato is known as Kumpir, and Ortaköy is the city's most popular spot to consume it. As soon as you see the row of Kumpir stands, each attempting to draw you to their unique display, you’ll know you reached the correct area. With a variety of toppings like kaşar cheese, sausages, corn, mayonnaise salad, peas, and carrots, the choices are boundless and the combinations infinite when it comes to Kumpir.

Your To-Do List in Istanbul

Istanbul has a lot to offer when it comes to leisure and entertainment. The city has been the capital of many civilizations and empires and is the cultural and economic center of not only Turkey but also eastern Europe and the Middle East. Being the focal point of the entire region for many centuries has left a clear footprint on the city.

It is not an easy task to set up an itinerary for visiting Istanbul’s attractions; not because this city doesn’t provide you with choices. On the contrary, it is indeed difficult since there seem to be no limits on how many activities you can have in Istanbul. 

Tourist Attraction: Can You Visit them in a Lifetime?

The number of tourist attractions in Istanbul is beyond limits and it requires an encyclopedia to fill in all the attractions Istanbul has. However, there are several spots you need to visit first as mentioned:

Istanbul has so many tourist attractions that you will need a lifetime to visit them all. A spectacular view from the interior of a historical mosque in Turkey.

Sultanahmet Historical Site

This neighborhood is where Istanbul's most famous landmarks including Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul grand bazaar, and the Basilica Cistern are located. Visiting all of these landmarks is a must for any first-time visitor to Istanbul.
The historic and touristic sites you can visit in this area are:

  • Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia)
  • Sultanahmet Mosque (aka Blue Mosque)
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Istanbul Archaeology Museums
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Sultanahmet Square (At meydani)
  • Ibrahim Pasha (Paşa) Palace

Before visiting Istanbul's historic peninsula, make sure you get a museum pass.

Beyoğlu District

One of the central and historically important neighborhoods in Istanbul, where Taksim square and the Galata Tower, with its perfect view of the city and the golden horn, are located in the Beyoglu district. In this neighborhood, you can find:

Beyoglu district is one of the most historical districts of Istanbul, full of places to see. An aerial view from the Galata tower and Istanbul at night.

  • The Galata Tower
  • Istiklal Caddesi (Street)
  • Taksim Square
  • Museum of Innocence
  • Rahmi M. Koc Museum
  • Miniaturk
  • Galata Mevlevi Museum
  • Church of St. Anthony of Padua

Anatolian Istanbul

The Asian side of Istanbul, like an independent city, has a long list of locations to visit. However, on the first try, there are spots you can’t miss visiting. The must-visits of the Asian side of Istanbul are:

Anatolian Istanbul has its own atmosphere, A spectacular view to the sea of Maramara in Kadikoy with a red tram in picture

  • Kadıköy and Moda
  • Maiden’s Tower
  • Haydarpaşa station
  • Bağdat Caddesi (Bagdat Avenue)
  • Seaside of Caddebostan
  • District of Üsküdar
  • The District of Kuzguncuk
  • Anadolu Hisarı (Fortress)

The European Bosphorus Side

The European side of Istanbul has unique landscapes of the Bosphorus Strait. Many fancy neighborhoods and historic sites are located along the Bosphorus coast of the European side of Istanbul. Some of the most important locations are:

The European Bosphurus side of Istanbul is full of attractions. Dolma Bahce is one of the most beautiful palaces in Istanbul.

  • Ortakoy
  • Yildiz Park 
  • Dolmabahçe Palace
  • Beşiktaş Streets
  • Bebek
  • Arnavutköy
  • Rumeli Hisari (Fortress)
  • Emirgan
  • Yeniköy and Tarabya

You can find people in most of these areas, passing time with their friends and family at almost any hour in any season of the year. Whether you love urban vibes and crowded spaces or relaxing calm environments, you can find your niche spot in one of these locations.

Everyone who has lived in Istanbul, or has visited this city in different seasons lives with the dream of a passing time on Istanbul's European coast of the Bosphorus. The breathtaking landscape, fresh weather, and positive vibes from people around refresh your soul and prepare you for a happy day.

It is not possible to mention all of Istanbul’s attractions in an article, however, if you visit the mentioned places, you will start to become familiar with Istanbul and its multifaceted characteristics. 

In some areas, nights are warmer than days, and in some locations like Vodafone Park, Nef Stadium, and Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium you can see thousands of football enthusiasts running to support their beloved team, one of the three big clubs of Istanbul, Beşiktaş JK, Galatasaray S.K., or Fenerbahçe S.K., making Istanbul one of the biggest football cities in the world.

Top Shopping Centres in Istanbul

For millions of visitors and of course residents, Multi-purpose shopping centers (AVMs) are among the strengths of Istanbul. Istanbul is heaven for shopping and millions of visitors head to this city for shopping purposes. Some of the most known malls in Istanbul are:

Zorlu Center

Zorlu Center is a beautiful shopping center in Istanbul

Location: European Side / Besiktas
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!

City’s Nişantaşı

City's Nisantasi is a mall in the center of Istanbul

Location: European Side / Sisli
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!

Istinye Park

Istiniye park is an upscale shopping center on the European side of Istanbul

Location: European Side / Sariyer
Want to Go? See the Best Route!

Mall of Istanbul

Mall os Istanbul is a huge shopping center in the west of Istanbul

Location: European Side / Basaksehir
Want to Go? See the Best Route!

Forum Istanbul

Forum Istanbul is a shopping center in the european Istanbul, where you can find all the brands.

Location: European Side / Bayrampasa
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!

Cevahir Mall

Cevahir Mall is one of the most complete shopping centers in the heart of Istanbul in terms of variety of brands.

Location: European Side / Sisli
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!

Emaar Square

Emaar square is a luxurious shopping center in the Asian Istanbul.

Location: Asian Side / Uskudar
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!◄

Venezia Mega Outlet

Venizia mall in Istanbul has canals like those of Venice city in Italy.

Location: European Side / Gaziosmapasa
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!

Kanyon Shopping Center

Kanyon shopping center in Levent Istanbul is an upscale mall where you can see a unique architecture and a shape of canyons.

Location: European Side / Levent
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!

Palladium AVM

Palladium is a famous shopping center in Asian Istanbul.

Location: Asian Side / Atasehir
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!

Vadistanbul AVM

Vadistanbul is a large complex in western Istanbul that has a great shopping center.

Location: European Side / Sariyer
Want to Go?   See the Best Route!

Marmara Forum

Marmara Forum is a popular shopping center in the western parts of Istanbul

Location: European Side / Bakirkoy
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!

Aqua Florya

With its direct view to the sea of Marmara, Aqua Florya is a popular shopping center in Istanbul.

Location: European Side / Bakirkoy
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!

Watergarden Istanbul

With live water fountain and fire shows, you will have a great time in watergarden in Istanbul

Location: Asian Side / Atasehir
Want to Go?  See the Best Route!

Work and Business in Istanbul

As the heart of the Turkish economy, and the mere metropolis of Eastern Europe and the MENA region, Istanbul is like an ocean of business and work chances. Many major companies have branches, headquarters, offices, or R&D centers in Istanbul, making it an economic capital.

Istanbul: The Economic Heart of Turkey

A city that contributes more than 20% of the gross national product of Turkey and has more than 50% share in the country's export is like a country in the heart of another. Istanbul is the heart and the brain of the Turkish economy. No other city or location can even come close to this city.

Istanbul is the economic center of Turkey

Most Turkish companies and holdings have their headquarters in Istanbul. Many conglomerates such as Koc Holding, Sabanci Holding, Eczacibasi Holding, Zorlu Holding, and Dogus Group. Many international companies like Microsoft, PWC, Accenture, IBM, etc. have an office in Istanbul.

This city attracts the largest number of expats and foreign investors in the whole region and many business people from the MENA region or Eastern Europe have offices or partners in Istanbul, not to lose any trade chances here.

Young Talents

With more than 15 million residents, Istanbul is a powerhouse for Turkish talents and the labor force. The most populous European city is also a young city by demographics; With an average age (in years) of 33.9, Istanbul is a young city compared to many European cities.

Istanbul has a young population. You can find young gropups of people in every company.
In addition to the perfect demographics, the hard-working culture of the Turkish people has always been a competitive advantage for them. People start working from an early age, making them well-experienced before getting aged and losing agility of youth. You can easily find young managers across all economic sectors in Turkey. 
Good educational infrastructure is another contributing factor to Istanbul's density of talent. Tens of great higher educational institutes are introducing a well-trained workforce to society each year. As a result of the young, educated, and experienced working population, investors have always had an eye on Turkey, especially its grand city, Istanbul.

Women Are Totally Onboard

Chances are relatively higher that you can come across a woman CEO or entrepreneur in Istanbul than what you’d expect in the first place. Women play a key role in Istanbul’s growth and prosperity.

A group of women working on a business. Istanbul has a great population of working women and women managers.
Culturally, Istanbul is ahead of the surrounding region in creating an equal work atmosphere and chances for men and women. Consequently, women have been able to unveil their full potential, making the working community safer, more humanistic, and more agile.

Entrepreneurship Is Embraced

Traditionally, Turkish people admire entrepreneurs and a culture of running businesses is set in their DNA. Due to the nature of the Turkish economy, managers and business owners from this country are more risk-tolerant than similar nations.

Istanbul is home to many businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs.
Turkey has a younger startup community in comparison with those of the USA and the EU countries, however, Turkish ventures have started to grab attention, penetrating into new markets and getting huge investments.

The success stories of home-grown startups in Istanbul have convinced investors to take more risks and invest in startups and new ventures. That is one of the reasons for exponential growth in the number of VCs in Istanbul, making it a competitive alternative for being the capital of entrepreneurship in the region.

Investment Options in Istanbul

With a very wide range of investment options in addition to the privilege of getting citizenship by investment, Istanbul is enjoying a steady inflow of foreign and domestic investment.

Investment options in Istanbul are limitless

Some of the most profitable and popular investment options in Istanbul are:

  • Real Estate Sector
  • IT and Technology
  • Istanbul Stock Exchange (BIST)
  • Textile and Fashion 
  • Health Sector
  • Tourism
  • Jewelry, Gold, and Silver Industry

To enter the Turkish investment market, you can benefit from financial advice from experienced experts. This ensures the safety of your investment and the selection of the right investment option with regard to your situation.

Istanbul’s Neighbourhoods: Colorful Lifestyles!

Istanbul has diversity in its blood. Not just because it takes more than 80 kilometers to connect its west to its east. Istanbul’s diversity is rooted in its history and neighborhoods. Each district in Istanbul is like a new city to visit. 
City vibes, Architecture, urban life, nature, history, and many other characteristics differentiate these neighborhoods. This is the main reason that many people with different lifestyles choose Istanbul to live in.

European Side

To the west of the Bosphorus lies the European side of Istanbul. Historically, this part of Istanbul has hosted the cultural, social, and economic hearts of the city. Life on the European side is usually more agile and faster than on the Asian side. Some of the most popular districts of European Istanbul are:

Beşiktaş

Located on the western shores of the Bosphorus and the Northern shores of the sea of Marmara, Beşiktaş is one of the most known districts of Istanbul and one of the most desired locations to live in. 
Historically, Beşiktaş has always been home to many of the city’s focal points. From palaces like Dolmabahçe, Yıldız, and Ihlamur to museums, parks, and stadiums, this district has a very rich portfolio of important locations. A place where history is written.
Several neighborhoods in Beşiktaş are among the most popular locations to live or do business in Istanbul. These neighborhoods include:

Bebek

Bebek is the most popular and expensive coastal location in Istanbul, where many celebrities and national and international figures reside. Some of the highest-rated cafes and restaurants are located in this area. Whether it is a cold winter night or a hot summer day, Bebek has something to offer.

Etiler

Famous for its upmarket cafés, pubs, restaurants, gyms, coiffeurs, fashion shops, and shopping malls, Etiler is an upscale brand among the people of Istanbul. Etiler is home to some of the best schools and universities in Istanbul. Bogazici University, Istanbul Japanese School, and the International British School are some of the well-known institutes that are located in Etiler.

Levent

Home to the main part of Istanbul’s European side’s skyline, Levent is one of the major business districts in Istanbul. You can find the headquarters of many Turkish and International conglomerates in this district such as Sabanci Towers, İŞ Bankası towers, and Yapı Kredi Towers.
Levent is well-known for its plazas and trade centers. Kanyon, Sapphire, Özdilek Park, and Metrocity towers are among the famous trade and shopping centers in Levent. Many people choose to live in this district to stay close to the economic hearts of Istanbul.

Şişli

With its central location, Şişli is an important district of European Istanbul. Şişli is surrounded by Besiktas, Beyoglu, Kagithane, Eyup, and Beyoglu. This district is home to famous business centers like Trump Towers, and some upscale neighborhoods such as Teşvikiye and Nişantaşı. The main neighborhoods in Şişli are:

Mecidiyeköy

Mecidiyeköy is a business and shopping district north of the O-1 highway; Istanbul's main market for computer equipment. This has a perfect connection to the urban transportation system, making it an accessible location for businesses. There is no wonder why foreign investors select this location for big projects like Trump Towers.

Gayrettepe

The main connection hub of the European side to the Asian side, Gayrettepe is one of the most prosperous districts in Istanbul. With its strategic location, Gayrettepe hosts many super-projects in Istanbul. Zorlu Center, which is one of the most loved places in Istanbul for life and trading, is located in Gayrettepe.

Bomonti

Bomonti is a name that recalls many memories for the Turkish people. Home to Babylon Performance center and Bomonti Brewery, this name is repeated a lot in the national and international literature. Great access to a diversity of locations convinces investors to build great residential projects in this area.

Nişantaşı

Little is the number of locations in Istanbul that are fancier than Nişantaşı. Fashion and boutique shops, hand-made jewelry shops, and fancy pubs and cafes have made Nişantaşı the real diamond on the ring of Istanbul and a paradise for admirers of luxurious lifestyles.

Sarıyer

Sarıyer is one of the naturally attractive districts of Istanbul. From the beautiful shores of the Bosphorus in Tarabya to the Black sea beaches of Klyos, Sarıyer is surrounded by water from its eastern and northern sides.
Sarıyer has a wide range of attractions to offer; From several nature parks like Neşet Suyu to Istanbul’s main business center, Maslak; From historical sites like Rumeli Feneri to luxurious malls like İstiniye Park. Neighborhoods worth knowing in Sarıyer are:

Maslak

The business heart of Istanbul, Maslak is a globally known neighborhood since many tech companies in Turkey are located there. Additionally, luxurious residential sites like Mashattan, Maslak 1453, 42 Maslak, and Eclipse Maslak are located in this neighborhood, making it one of the most preferred neighborhoods for buying property.

İstiniye

İstiniye is one of the finest locations in Istanbul in terms of the shores and views of the Bosphorus. Taking a walk on the shores of İstiniye is one of the purest Istanbul experiences one can have.

Emirgan

Like İstiniye, Emirgan has a unique location regarding the Bosphorus. There is no wonder why beautiful spots in Istanbul like Emrigan park and Sakıp Sabancı Museum are located in this area.

Ayazağa

Ayazağa is one of the important districts in Istanbul. Home to the main campus of Istanbul Technical University and Beykent University, Ayazağa also offers a full portfolio of modern real estate developments. Vadistanbul, one of the finest upscale locations in Istanbul is one of the projects located in Ayazağa.

Kağıthane

Kağıthane is one of the central locations on Istanbul’s European side. Due to its location and land quality, many real estate projects are located in Kağıthane, making this neighborhood one of the golden locations for property investment not only in Turkey but also in the whole region of Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Unrivaled access to a big portion of business districts, industrial areas, and educational facilities of Istanbul make Kağıthane an easy choice for families to reside in. This is has kept a steady demand for housing in Kağıthane, keeping the rent-to-price ratio high, thus investment in real estate projects in this district a promising choice.

Avcılar

Avcılar is one of the most forward-looking districts of Istanbul. Home to many developments, this part of Istanbul is fastly turning into a known spot for high-quality standards of living and a healthy family lifestyle.
With a couple of dozens of public and private universities located within its boundaries, connection to the main highways of Istanbul, and close access to the industrial zones in the west of Istanbul (like Tekirdağ), the demand for housing in Avcılar is always high. 
The lively vibe, rich natural resources (for instance, Küçükçekmece lake), relatively younger demographics, and upscale lifestyle differentiate Avcılar from all the surrounding districts. Several national and urban projects, such as Canal Istanbul and many other coastal developments promise a prosperous future for Avcılar.

Asian Side

The Asian or Anatolian side of Istanbul is located to the east of the Bosphorus strait. Believed to be the calmer side of Istanbul, the Asian or Anatolian side of Istanbul is generally known as the living side of the city.
With better weather quality and lower density in comparison with the European side, the Anatolian side of Istanbul offers a different lifestyle and urban infrastructure. Investment and life opportunities in Asian Istanbul have slight distinctions from the European side. To understand these characteristics, we need to get deeper into the neighborhoods located in the Anatolian side of Istanbul:

Kadıköy

One of the most popular districts not only in the Anatolian side of Istanbul but also in the whole city is Kadıköy. Famous for its upscale neighborhoods, cultural centers and galleries, street life, and warm people, Kadıköy has been one of the districts that a meaningful portion of Istanbul citizens love to live in.
Kadıköy is a rich urban area with countless historic, cultural, social, and commercial spots. From the beautiful Moda shore to the glamorous Baghdad street, the Haydarpaşa terminal to Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, and many other hotspots, Kadıköy offers an unrivaled experience of an urban life that can easily rival any other city and town in the world. The main neighborhoods in Kadıköy are:

Acıbadem

One of the most agile districts in the Kadıköy region of Istanbul, Acıbadem is a location where Ottoman mansions were located in. Today, Acıbadem is one of the central locations in the Anatolian side of Istanbul due to its great mobility options and immediate access to both sides of Istanbul. 
Many upscale medical centers and campuses of some of the established universities are located in this area, raising the urban standards of this neighborhood and grabbing the attention of real estate investors in the county. The young and upscale demographics of this neighborhood have created a pleasant atmosphere for the area to live and work.

Fikirtepe

Fikirtepe is one of the well-located neighborhoods of Kadıköy in terms of diversity of accessibility options. Within a walking distance of many of Kadıköy’s attractions and transportation hubs, this neighborhood has absorbed many families and investors in its modern residential projects.

Bostancı

Laying along the coast of the Maramaray sea, Bostancı is one of the popular locations for entertainment and also living opportunities. This neighborhood enjoys a unique view of the Prince Islands of Istanbul. With cafes and restaurants that seem to be open days and nights, keeping life flowing on the streets, it is very difficult to get bored in Bostancı! 
Bostancı’s elite demographics, unique views of the sea of Marmara, and diversity of entertaining options have made it an upscale location, where many luxurious and branded projects are located.

Suadiye

Similar to Bostancı, Suadiye is another upscale neighborhood with clean beaches on the sea of Marmara coast. Home to many branded upscale restaurants and close access to Bağdat street has created an enticing picture of Suadiye in the minds of Istanbul’s citizens and visitors. 

Kozyatağı

One of the most populated areas in Kadıköy, Kozyatağı is a neighborhood where families prefer to reside in. Its access to highways and junctions connecting the eastern part of Istanbul and Industrial districts to the city, together with walking-distance access to upscale parts of Kadıköy has kept a great demand for residential projects located in this area.

Caddebostan

Beautiful beaches, bar streets, historical mansions, cultural centers, and beautiful parks have made Caddebostan a comprehensive collection of urban options. This upscale location in Istanbul offers what one can imagine getting in urban life on its menu!
Caddebostan is home to many developments and residential projects, most of which are offered to families who want a healthy lifestyle, an urban life, and a luxurious home at once. Like the neighborhood, the residential projects in this area are a full menu!

Üsküdar

Historic, prestigious, beautiful, diverse, lively, and picturesque! If you think they were enough to describe an urban area, you are most probably wrong! Üsküdar is a beautiful collection of all!
Üsküdar is one of the most known districts of the Asian side of Istanbul. Located right across the European district, Beşiktaş, Üsküdar is a neighboring district to the Bosphorus strait, where you can enjoy unique views from the European side of Istanbul. 
Üsküdar is another focus point for families and investors that are looking for upscale neighborhoods and attractive residential projects. Some of the most known neighborhoods in Üsküdar are as follows.

Çengelköy

A green romantic village in the heart of an urban area, Çengelköy, is one of the neighborhoods that host visitors who want to enjoy waterfront views and the natural beauty of forests. Kuleli Military High School, one of the most known Turkish Military Schools is located in Çengelköy.
There is no wonder why some of the high-quality projects are located in Çengelköy. Families that are looking for a cozy neighborhood with good access to urban facilities prefer to live in such areas.

Beylerbeyi

Beyblerbeyi is one of the most expensive and praised locations not only in Üsküdar but also in Istanbul! With many historical locations, famous seafood restaurants, a beautiful palace (Beylerbeyi Palace), and other historical, natural, and social attractions, this neighborhood are one of the locations every Turkish citizen wishes to live in.

Ataşehir

The district of skyscrapers, Ataşehir is one of the planned developments in Istanbul. This district is designed to host residential and business centers, thus having many high-rise buildings is a meaningful fit to the characteristics of the whole area. 
One of the tallest buildings in Turkey, Metropol Istanbul Tower 1 is located in Ataşehir. The original planning of this area targeted more than 80,000 higher-income families to reside in this area. 
Within the boundaries of Ataşehir sit many malls and shopping centers. Bulvar 216, Palladium, Brandium, Novada, and Optimum are worth mentioning. Yeditepe University, one of the largest private universities in Turkey is located in Ataşehir. 

Kartal

Kartal is a major appeal for those looking for fresh air thanks to its accessibility to the sea and forest. Due to its proximity to the D100 (E-5) highway, which makes it easier to reach there, Kartal connects Istanbul with the rest of the world because Sabiha Gökçen Airport is just 10 minutes away. It is a transportation hub because of the abundance of transit options, which include the metro, the IDO ferry terminal, and even high-speed trains.

Kartal, which is located on the coast of the Marmara Sea, offers fantastic opportunities for a promenade along its shoreline since it is lined with great recreation areas, playgrounds, cycling or jogging trails, as well as a variety of cafés, restaurants, and event spaces. A booming neighborhood, Kartal is home to a number of business hubs and luxurious residences.

Şile

Famous for its Black Sea beaches, Şile is one of the uncommon parts of Istanbul in terms of location, nature, and urban characteristics. Generally, Şile is a resort area with beautiful beaches.
Far from the noise and smoke of the city, Şile is a clean, relaxing location, where some wealthy families prefer to spend parts of the year in. Due to its special weather and climate conditions, Şile is home to some of the most attractive developments and projects.
 

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