This old historic center of Istanbul with its picturesque and winding streets is packed with both tourists and locals. Most of the city’s major attractions can be found here: the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Basilica Cistern, Istanbul Archeological Museum and the Byzantine hippodrome. The attractions can be easily explored by foot and are also well connected by the tram. Most hotels here have great views of the Bosphorous and the Sea of Marmara. Being a touristy district there are zillions of eating options here. For well-priced local flavours venture into the small side streets.
Apparently the oldest shopping mall in the world, this location is not just a shopper’s paradise but also a must-do on a trip to Istanbul. The Grand Bazaar is a sprawling, covered mall with 4400 shops set across a maze of streets and side streets; haggling, shopping and getting lost is all part of the experience. The district lies to the North West of Sultanahmet, and to its west is the Istanbul University. The Bazaar itself has numerous small eateries, but cheaper options can be found on the side streets just outside the Bazaar.
The Beyoğlu district on the north bank of the Golden Horn (Bay of Istanbul) exudes a distinct European vibe. The main reason people choose to stay in Beyoğlu is for its fantastic nightlife. Taksim Square offers the best nightlife in Istanbul. Istiklal Caddesi which is the heart of Beyoğlu is a vibrant street ideal for strolling amidst chic cafes, boutiques and galleries. Pera Museum, the Galatasaray Square and the Galata Tower that dominates Beyoğlu’s skyline are all located here. Sultanahmet is easily accessible from here by the tram.