Does grabbing a simit (one of Istanbul’s famous local foods) and walking along the Bosphorus sound like your cup of tea…er, cup of Turkish coffee? Whether you’re planning a romantic and luxurious getaway to Istanbul or traveling solo to Istanbul, the city has something for everyone!
If you’d like some things that are more of hidden gems and off-the-beaten path — here are some of the top things to do in Istanbul (that aren’t the Hagia Sophia).
For a complete look into the city, peruse my Istanbul travel guide, and for a complete scope of the country, here’s my Turkey travel guide!
From luxury picks to boutique hotels to hip and happening stays, here are the best hotels to stay at in Istanbul!
Luxury Hotels in Istanbul
Çırağan Palace Kempinski
Along the Bosphorus
If you’re looking for more of a resort experience, check out the Çırağan Palace Kempinski. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to explore, a beautiful infinity pool, and a serene spa and wellness center open to guests.
This 5-star hotel occupies a former 19th-century Ottoman palace and is absolutely stunning.
Four Seasons Bosphorus
Along the Bosphorus
Those Who Love History
Not only is the Four Seasons Bosphorus actually located along the Bosphorus strait, it’s also located in a carefully restored 19th-century palace! You’ll get the luxury you’d expect from the Four Seasons hotels while also enjoying a stay in a unique piece of Istanbul’s history.
A little over 2 miles from the Hagia Sophia, take a lovely morning or afternoon stroll to the historic mosque.
Another luxurious Four Seasons hotel in Istanbul, the Four Seasons Sultanahmet has many of the same perks and the high standard of hospitality of the Four Seasons Bosphorus – the main difference is the location!
The neighborhood of Sultanahmet is filled with a lot of Istanbul’s ancient history.
Sofitel Istanbul Taksim
Heart of Istanbul
Sofitel Istanbul Taksim is an Accor hotel in the heart of Istanbul – if you haven’t experienced an Accor hotel yet, just know that you can expect French-inspired hospitality and culture with luxurious touches like Hermes toiletries when you stay here!
True to its name, this hotel is a series of historic mansions near the Hagia Sofia. It makes for the perfect backdrop to a luxurious vacation in Istanbul.
Mid-Range Hotels in Istanbul
Located across the street from the Blue Mosque, Hotel Ibrahim Pasha is a gorgeous boutique hotel that offers both standard rooms as well as larger deluxe rooms that have seating areas.
It’s just a 5-minute walk from the Sultanahmet tram stop, and a 9-minute walk from the Hagia Sophia Museum…plus, just a 4-minute walk from The Blue Mosque! Definitely an ideal location in Istanbul.
Walking Distance of Main Places
The interior of the Hotel Sultania is positively regal, with gold accents and luxurious linens in each of the guest rooms and suites. The hotel also has a spa where you can get massages, relax in a sauna, or experience the hotel’s own Turkish bath.
About a 15-minute from the Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmen Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar, this is an ideal location in the middle of some of the main tourist attractions.
Swissotel The Bosphorus, Istanbul
Swissotel The Bosphorus, Istanbul is a five-star luxury hotel right in the center of the city, right on the banks of the Bosphorus strait. The hotel also has an amazing spa where you can relax and treat yourself to a facial, massage, and more!
Swissotel offers polished and contemporary rooms and, as it sits atop a green hill, it offers stunning views of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus.
Rixos Pera Istanbul is located in the vibrant Beyoglu district, close to important historical sites like Taksim Square, the Galata Tower, and the iconic Istiklal Avenue. Enjoy a meal at the rooftop restaurant while enjoying views of historic Istanbul.
It’s definitely a hidden gem near Istiklal Street with great customer service, a gorgeous lobby, and walking location to Taksim and Galata Tower.
Budget Hotels in Istanbul
The rooms at Erten Konak are gorgeous — you won’t believe that they’re available for a budget price!
You get private bathrooms with each room as well as amenities like complimentary tea and coffee stations to help you get a jump start on your day.
Traveling as a Group
For a comfortable and safe option that doesn’t break the bank, book a room at Hanedan Hotel! They offer single, double, triple, and family rooms, so if you’re traveling with a group you have plenty of options to accommodate you.