Top 3 Neighborhoods to Explore During Your First Visit to Istanbul, Turkey

Sultanahmet, Alemdar, Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Photo by Mathias Reding on Unsplash

Istanbul, Turkey, is full of charming neighborhoods that deserve exploring and are well worth your time. However, if you are visiting the city for the first time, you might want to first check out its best areas before moving forward.


Sultanahmet neighborhood is usually the place most tourists go to first. Considered the historical part of the town, it features an intriguing mix of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman architecture, as well as some of the city’s best shops and restaurants. Here, you’ll find the majority of Istanbul’s famous tourist attractions, including Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Topkapi Palace.


Taksim is dubbed as the commercial center of Istanbul. Offering a more modern feel than Sultanahmet, the neighborhood is full of shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, and cultural institutions. The list of its most prominent tourist attractions includes Dolmabahce Palace, Galata Tower, St. Anthony of Padua church, and a large number of traditional hammams and Turkish baths.


Located in the Asian part of Istanbul, Kadikoy offers a slightly more unique experience for visitors. The neighborhood is especially famous for its markets that sell local food and spices, handmade souvenirs, vintage clothes, and accessories. You’ll also be able to explore intriguing mosques and churches, see unusual landmarks, and enjoy live performances from street musicians while here.