Walk through the ornate lobby of the Seven Hills hotel in Sultanahmet, and take the lift to the rooftop bar for the best view in Istanbul. Sip a Turkish beer or wine while drinking in the 360 degree panorama, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the ships on the Bosphorus. Swap seats each round for a different but equally stunning view!
Istanbul is all about roof top views and one of the best is from the 5 Kat. Located in a non descript building on a quiet side street, after a ride in a shaky old lift you step out onto a beautiful outdoor terrace with a breathtaking view over the Bosphorus. Get there early evening to grab a bar stool and a cocktail and watch the sun go down and the lights go up. Great view of the light show on the Bosphorus bridge.
Built in the 14th century, the 67m high, nine storey Galata Tower dominates the Istanbul skyline and has recently been completely refurbished to include a bar/restaurant and viewing balcony on its top storey. It was the tallest structure in Istanbul at the time, and now you can see the city that straddles two continents in a 360-degree panorama from the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace to the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmara. Enjoy a cappuccino and quick snack throughout the day, or book a table for a lively evening of fine international cuisine, great beers and wines and exotic but tasteful belly-dancing.
Sauda is a floating swimming pool in the middle of the Bosphorus lined with huge beds and including a host of bars and restaurants that provide essential sustenance to guests. It's unmissable for its unique location and innate sense of calm.
Galatasaray Adası, Kuruçeşme, Istanbul
+90 212 263 7300
I would expect my favourite night club to be in London or New York.
However, when I first came to Reina in Istanbul I was absolutely fascinated. The amazing view of the lights of Bosphorus, the music, the beautiful people - 1001 Nights in modern Istanbul way.
I love, love, LOVE Leb-i-derya. I don't care one jot that it's over-priced. It's refreshing to find a society in Istanbul hangout that's friendly and welcoming - even on a Saturday night in July without a booking. And the views are sublime. Try to arrive before sunset otherwise you'll completely miss the point and good luck in finding it! If you get lost, ask the doorman at the Richmond Hotel on Istiklal Caddesi for directions...
Kumbaracı yokuşu 57/6 Tünel, Beyoğlu
With lamb shank with pomegranate and tomato salsa, and cognac chocolate pot on their menu, this is the place to be for a taste of Istanbul's fusion offering. This one stands out in the trendy Beyoglu neighbourhood and is a bar and restaurant, so perfect to start a night out. For a 3 course dinner with wine, it came to £26 a head and was excellent value.
Mesrutiyet Cad. No. 149/1, Tepebasi Tel: (212) 245 60 70
Every city has an Irish bar (or several), and this one isn't at all bad, and for those who can't get into the swing of the disintegrating chaos of Istanbul, this is a good bolt-hole.
It is based in an Irish Cultural Centre,just off Istikalal Street (Tram Street, leading from Taksim Square) has a lively basement club called U2 and two other bars (the Lemon Tree and the Sports Bar).
It was pretty lively when Ireland beat South Africa in 2005, (or was it 2004?) friendly staff, who are generously vague about the dollar price of Guinness, and decent Irish pub food. Watch out when leaving, a friend was mugged in the rather seedy street outside, and on another night there was a serious knives and bottles gang fight on the next corner.
Istiklal Cad. Hüseyinaga Mah,
Balo Sok. No.26 Beyöglu
tel : 224 20 13
Street in Taksim? If your answer is no, you should take time to see it. It’s a great place to people watch. In addition, there are buildings from the Ottoman period, bookstores, consulates, exhibitions, bars and cafes.
Istanbul mixes history and modernity. You can go to Topkapi Palace if you are interested in history and at night you can visit Reina and Mojito for a wonderful nightlife. There are lots of perfect nightclubs such as Mojito/Levent and Reina/Ortaköy and historical places such as Sultan Ahmet Mosque/Sultan Ahmet.
To escape from the crowds in Sultanahmet and/or Taksim why not spend an evening (or two) on the Asian side of the city? Hop on a ferry from Eminonu, Karakoy or Besiktas and get off at Kadikoy.
For a great, quality meal of meze and grilled meat or fish head for the restaurants opposite the ferry terminal. Olympiat I and II are particularly good with muscle-bound waiters wobbling under trays piled high with a bewildering selection of hot and cold appetizers.
Only a short walk away (admittedly uphill) you can find a whole street of bars, full of the young, trendy and beautiful. Particular highlights are Isis (possibly Istanbul's only Egyptian theme bar) and Masal Evi (fairy house) a haven for couples.
When you're done, the hotels of Taksim are only a dolmus ride away, or taxi for the heavier of wallet.
Kadikoy - opposite the ferry terminal and then off Bahariye Caddesi
The bar at the top of Ceylan International Hotel is wonderful for sipping classy cocktails while watching the Bosphorus. It’s especially great at night when, because the hotel is high enough to avoid the city’s lights, the only lights that pierce the darkness of the sea are those of the ferries and the floodlights of the mosques and palaces. Drinks are not cheap by Turkish standards but then neither is the view.
The hotel is towards Harbiye from Taksim Square
Beyoglu District, is the most cosmopolitan area of Istanbul. Full of shops, bars and restaurants. Definitely the best area to stay and then get taxis out to the various sights like the Haghia Sofia and Topkapi Palace.
See this link for a taste of the district www.turkeytravelplanner.com/WhereToGo/Istanbul/Sights/Beyoglu/
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