Discover the best parks and forests in Istanbul and its around. Istanbul’s parks are the perfect way to enjoy nature, do sports, see festivals like the Tulip Festival and have breakfast in the trees, close to the center and monuments.

The forests in Istanbul are more difficult to access and require a vehicle, but promise unspoiled nature and beautiful grounds for picnics and sports activities.

See this list of the best parks and forests in Istanbul, in the center and around.

List of Best Parks in Central Istanbul

1. Gülhane Park in Fatih

Gülhane Park in Fatih

Located on Istanbul’s historic peninsula, this former Topkapi Palace garden accessible from the Gülhanepark stop of the Eminönü Kabataş-Bağcılar streetcar. With its beautiful gardens and pools enjoying an impressive view of the Bosphorus, the park, a historical and cultural place spreading over a gigantic area, the park is the center of interest for local and foreign tourists.

In terms of culture, the Topkapi Museum, the Alay Pavilion, the Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar Museum Library, the Gothic Column, etc. are all worth a visit. The Gülhane Park promises pleasant moments and unforgettable walks in the forest in the heart of the old city. It is one of the most popular forests in Istanbul.

2. Emirgan Park in Sariyer

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Located in the Sariyer district of Istanbul, Emirgan Park is accessible by private vehicle or public transport and is served by all IETT buses to Sariyer. A tulip garden was created in 1960 in the park where the tulip festival is held in April. A nice walk in contact with nature is a good way to get away from the daily grind of the city.

You can even start your day with an excellent breakfast served in the pavilions located in the park on weekdays and weekends. Note its privileged location on the banks of the Bosphorus.

3. Yildiz (Star) Park in Besiktas

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On the ridges of the Besiktas district, this park, the former “Kazancioglu Garden” overlooks the Bosphorus. There are many cafes and restaurants, children’s playgrounds, hiking trails, ornamental pools, bridges, historical houses all in a beautiful nature where you can see all shades of green.

What a pleasure to start your day with an excellent breakfast in a beautiful vegetation of magnolia, laurel, oak, cypress, pine and Judas tree! Traditional Turkish cuisine is served in the Malta Pavilion overlooking the Bosphorus. It is one of the most popular forests in Istanbul.

4. Macka Park in Sisli

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This park is located between Nişantaşı, Dolmabahçe and Harbiye in the Kadırgalar Valley. The vegetation, worthy of interest with trees such as lime, chestnut, poplar, sycamore, walnut, attracts the attention of photographers in particular.

The park delights visitors of all ages with its children’s playgrounds, cafes and restaurants and 9 artificial pools, suitable for picnics as well as sports such as hiking. It is accessible by public transport: the 30A, 30M, 32T, 49T, 89C, DT2 and the M2 metro pass near the park.

5. Özgürlük (Freedom) Park in Göztepe

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Easily accessible by bus (14B,14ÇK, 16D, 19F, 2, 20K), marmaray, metro (M4) or bus, Kadıköy’s popular Özgürlük parki is located in the Göztepe district. The park, which offers facilities such as cafes, children’s areas and a tennis court, is frequented by visitors of all ages.

City dwellers who want to escape the unhappy clutter of the metropolitan crowd come here to see all the shades of green, spend time on the walking paths, play sports on the basketball and soccer fields, and have a good time on the playgrounds that cater to all. There is even an ice rink. It is one of the most amazing forests in Istanbul

6. Doğatepe Park in Rumeli Hisar

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Located in Sarıyer, a district of Istanbul, Dogatepe Park, easily accessible by public transport, is also reachable by metro and bus; bus lines 43R, 559C, 59R, 59RS and Metro line M6. Inside the park, spread over a large area, there are playgrounds, a sports field with equipment and an ornamental pool.

The restaurants located in the upper part of the park have a unique view. Here you can enjoy delicious Turkish dishes and the view of the Bosphorus and its bridge while sipping your tea brewed in the samovar. The Asian side of Istanbul is at your feet. All in all, it’s a great place to be.

10. Ulus Park in Beşiktaş

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Ulus Park in the Besiktas district of Istanbul, offers a relaxing environment away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city with a beautiful view of the Bosphorus as a backdrop. The park has children’s playgrounds, a fitness area, cafes and restaurants as well as ornamental pools. The less restless can simply enjoy the unique view of the Bosphorus while sipping a drink on the terrace.

The important monuments of the city such as the Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque are also within easy reach, making for a great walk in the park. The DT2 and U2 bus lines and the M6 metro line provide easy access.