Besiktas district is located on the European side of Istanbul and is famous for its lively and colorful neighborhood life, bazaar, fish market, student population, cultural and artistic activities, nightlife, shopping malls, historical buildings, soccer club, beach recreation, restaurants and ferry pier.
It is one of the most popular and valuable neighborhoods located at the entrance of the Bosphorus. Here you will find a quick guide to explore Besiktas district with the best things to do and see as well as insider tips.
Besiktas is the cultural, artistic and educational capital of Istanbul, but it is also the most valuable area of the Bosphorus with its Ortakoy, Arnavutkoy, Kurucesme and Bebek districts. Besiktas is also an ideal place where you can observe the life of Istanbul in the best way, as well as one of the most important transportation centers.
Besiktas is also home to the historical heritage of the Ottomans, culture and art with its Dolmabahce, Ciragan and Yildiz palaces.
Things to do and see
Walking around Besiktas Square, watching the crowds, relaxing and drinking tea or coffee in the various cafes by the sea with the Bosphorus is one of the best things to do in Besiktas. Besiktas Square and Besiktas Market area are the heart of Besiktas. All of them are full of a wide variety of cafes and restaurants with beautiful views of the Bosphorus.
Walking through the Kabatas area from Besiktas, you can see and visit and see the Great National Assembly of Turkey, the National Palace Museum of Palace Collections and the Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture, then the famous Dolmabahce Palace. And through the Ortakoy area, you can see and visit the Ciragan Palace.
Other historical and famous places to visit and see include Yildiz Palace and Yildiz Park, located in the upper parts of Barbaros Boulevard.
Besiktas Square is beautiful with a variety of cafes, restaurants, stores and the vibrant life of Istanbul. It is very pleasant to spend time in the square surrounded by restaurants and cafes overlooking the Bosphorus and to admire the beautiful views of the Bosphorus from the Besiktas coast. The famous Naval Museum and the tomb of Barbaros Hayrettin Pasha are located near Besiktas Square, close to the sea.
Besiktas Market Area (Carsi)
The Besiktas market area is a very lively place and the heart of Besiktas. It is also the center of the famous Besiktas fan group called Carsi. You can spend time in the area with its many bookstores, designer stores, fish market, grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, taverns and more.
Besiktas Historical Pier
The historic Besiktas Ferry Pier is worth a visit with its architectural structure. The tiles made by the architect Ali Talat Bey (1869-1922) on the front of the pier are attractive and very impressive. The pier serves the public ferries of Uskudar and Kadikoy.
The Naval Museum is a fantastic museum located in Besiktas and houses a collection of more than 20,000 pieces related to Turkish maritime history. Most interesting are the ornate ships of the Ottoman sultans.
The museum is located on the route of the Big Bus Istanbul. After visiting the museum, you can spend a great day in Besiktas, strolling and resting in the various open-air cafes on the Bosphorus.
Dolmabahce Palace Museum
Dolmabahce Palace is one of the most visited sites in Istanbul which was built by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecit in 1853.
Located on the banks of the Bosphorus, the palace has an impressive appearance with white marble and basic European baroque architecture with oriental touches. The interior of the palace is decorated in a way that reflects the grandeur of the era.
Yildiz Palace is a magnificent palace located on a hillside overlooking the Bosphorus between Beşiktaş, Ortaköy and Balmumcu, and covers an area of 500,000 m2.
The palace consists of pavilions, kiosks and 19th century villas set in beautiful gardens. Learn more about Yildiz Palace.
Yildiz Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Istanbul and consists of many beautiful pools, waterfalls and ponds, as well as fascinating gardens and trees.
Some of the trees are over 400 years old. It is one of the best parks in Istanbul. A beautiful day at the park, a walk in the gardens and a rest in the cafes and restaurants will make you feel very peaceful.
The Ciragan Palace
Located between Besiktas and Ortakoy, Ciragan Palace is famous and attracts people’s attention with its striking beauty like Dolmabahce Palace. The palace was completed in 1974 during the time of Sultan Abdulaziz.
Today, the Ciragan Palace serves as a luxury hotel and hosts various events. Breakfast is also available every Sunday. However a little expensive.
Located in the Ihlamur Valley, between the districts of Yildiz and Nisantasi behind the hills of Besiktas, the Ihlamur Pavilion is one of the most beautiful pavilions in Istanbul with a spectacular structure.
We recommend you to visit the Ihlamur Pavilion which was used by Sultan Ahmed III as a private garden and have a good breakfast in its café.
Neighboring Besiktas, Ortakoy is one of Besiktas’ favorite seaside neighborhoods, and famous for its colorful bazaar, sweet narrow streets with many cafes and stores and its lively atmosphere.
Ortakoy is also one of the most popular meeting points for tourists and locals, with its popular nightlife, bars, pubs, clubs, the square overlooking the Bosphorus with a variety of good cafes, restaurants and baked potato stores.
Where to eat in Besiktas
Besiktas is live for 24 hours. and offers a wide range of dining options, from luxury restaurants to very famous quality restaurants and cafes where tourists and locals go. You are able to find all kinds of food and drinks, Turkish and world cuisine to your taste in Besiktas. On the coast you can find many tea gardens, cafes and restaurants, as well as in other popular areas such as the Besiktas market area, the restaurants behind the Besiktas Fish Market, Barbaros Boulevard and Ihlamurdere Street.
Balkan Restaurant and Sohretler Koftecisi (meatballs – located in Sair Leyla Street in Beşiktas Market), Asım Usta’nın Yeri (Doner – in Mumcu Bakkal Street), Kartal Restaurant Canım Ciğerim (in Sehit Dursun Street), and last but not least, the luxurious Vogue Restaurant in Akaretler, are the most famous and recommended places to eat well in Besiktas. We also recommend you to try the authentic street cafes for Turkish coffee and tea in Besiktas market area.
Besiktas nightlife is very lively. The Besiktas coastline, Akaretler and the Besiktas market area are the most popular areas. You will find a wide range of cafes, bars, pubs, bistros, live music bars and discos.
Joker No: 19 and Craft Beer Lab in Akaretler, BeerHall and Thales Bistro in the center of Besiktas, Insomnia Gastropub in Mumcu Bakkal Street, Masquerade Club and Buddha Bar in Gayrettepe are the most popular cafes, pubs and bars in Besiktas.
Where to sleep
Besiktas offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget apartments, apartment hotels to two to five star hotels.
Royal Suites Hotel, Cheya Hotel and Meydan Besiktas Hotel are the popular mid-range hotels in Besiktas at first sight. You can check and find your ideal hotel in Besiktas via Booking.com with hotel information, photos, reviews and price comparison and book your hotel in Besiktas online.
How to get there?
Getting to Besiktas is very easy as Besiktas is one of the most popular centers for tourists and residents of Istanbul. For intercity transportation to Besiktas, you can find many transportation options. It is possible to reach Besiktas;
- From Kadikoy; by public ferries,
- From Uskudar; by ferries or public boats,
- From Taksim, via shared yellow cabs (dolmus) or public bus,
- From Sultanahmet and Eminonu, by streetcar Bagcilar-Kabatas (line T1) to Kabatas (last stop) and then from Kabatas in 10 minutes. by walking.
You can view public bus routes and schedules and search for routes/station on the Istanbul Municipality public bus website. Also check the Istanbul rail network map for streetcar stops and the Istanbul ferry lines map for ferries.
From the airports of Istanbul
- From New Istanbul Airport (IST) (43 km to Besiktas and takes about 90 minutes) – you can take the shuttle bus from Havaist Airport to Taksim and then to Besiktas, or take a cab or private shuttle bus which is the best of all and which we recommend.
- From Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) (43 km to Sultanahmet and takes about 90 minutes) – you can take the shuttle bus from Havabus Airport to Taksim and then to Besiktas, or take a cab or private shuttle which is the best of all and which we recommend.