Sultanahmet, the district in Old Istanbul around the Byzantine
the premier sights of Istanbul: Topkapı
Sophia and the Blue
surrounded by good hotel neighborhoods.
Staying in any of them allows you to walk to most of Istanbul's top sights, and to easily take the tram to most of the rest.
Here are the hotel
areas near Sultanahmet.
A few hotels are right near Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) and offer an advantage to travelers with limited mobility: these places are the closest to the sights, and you can easily retire to your room for a rest whenever desired. More...
Next to Ayasofya at the very center of Sultanahmet, with
the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque on its southeast side,
the hotels around the Hippodrome (At Meydanı) are as close as you
can possibly get to the major historical
sights on the peninsula of Old Istanbul. More...
The ancient road to Rome extends from
Sultanahmet Square and the Hippodrome westward 1 km (6/10 mile) to Beyazit Square. On its
north side are several hotels within
a 2- or 3-minute walk of the Hippodrome
in an area of narrow streets (some
pedestrian) crowded with restaurants. More...
East and south of the Hippodrome toward the Bosphorus, this warren of streets
packed with a hundred small hotels of all shapes, sizes
and degrees of comfort and price, from
backpackers' hostels to the elegant
Seasons Hotel Istanbul.
All are within a 5- to 10-minute walk
up a gradual hill to the Hippodrome.
Down the hill north of Sultanahmet along Alemdar Caddesi
on the way to Sirkeci
Station, this neighborhood
has a hundred hotels in all price ranges, and
several dozen restaurants from cheap to fancy.
Prices are lower and transport connections—tram, ferryboat, suburban train, Bosphorus cruise—are perhaps the best in the city. A 10-minute walk or a short tram ride takes you uphill
to Sultanahmet, Divan Yolu and the Grand Bazaar, or north to Sirkeci
Station, the Eminönü ferry
docks and Spice Bazaar, Galata
Bridge and Beyoğlu. More...
At the far eastern/southern extent
of Cankurtaran right by the Byzantine
city walls and the shore highway,
this district has several good hotels
with virtues that may make the extra
few minutes' walk (8 to 12 minutes
uphill to the Hippodrome) worth it. (Other transport is limited.) More...
On and off
Ayasofya Caddesi, the street
running downhill from the Blue
Hagia Sophia Mosque,
and neighboring Nakilbent Sokak,
there are another hundred hotels, small and large, in
all classes, all convenient to the Hippodrome, though the tram stop is on the far side of it.
Just west of the Hippodrome up
the hill off Divan Yolu is a small park beneath
which lies Binbirdirek,
Cistern of 1001 Columns.
Facing the park and on neighboring
Klodfarer Caddesi are several good
hotels, some quiet, some with fine views and moderate
prices, only steps from the major sights and transport. More...
West of Binbirdirek, south of Divan
Yolu, Piyer Loti Caddesi is a
partly-pedestrianized street, therefore
fairly quiet, and lined with good
small hotels. More...
South and west of Binbirdirek and Piyer
Loti, this neighborhood has a variety
of lodgings on narrow streets in
a real Istanbul-Turkish (not tourist)
neighborhood. It's a 10- or 15-minute
walk uphill to
the Hippodrome though, and transport is not so convenient. More...
Farther west, south of Beyazit Square near the Grand Bazaar and Istanbul University, are several
good modern quiet hotels near shopping and the tram line, with lower prices,
and still only a 12- to 15-minute
walk (or shorter tram ride) from the Hippodrome along historic
If you already have the name of
a hotel and want to know more
about it, see my Istanbul
—by Tom Brosnahan