Sultan Ahmet Square
Fourteen minutes away from Taksim Square with a bus or taxi is Sultan Ahmet Square, one of the oldest area historical sites in Istanbul. At the time when Istanbul was the Roman Constantinople, Sultanahmet served as a social center called the Hippodrome. It accommodated up to 100,000 Romans who came to watch chariot races.
On the northern corner of the square sits the marble Milion Stone, an important landmark of the Byzantine empire. Other attractions with the square include the Serpentine Column, Column of Constantine, Thutmose III Obelisk, and the Walled Obelisk.
Taksim Square is Istanbul’s focal district. And for this reason, it’s where you’ll find a lot of hotels, restaurants, cafes, and shops without even searching. It’s also a very historical district where numerous events transpired here that are important to Istanbul’s history, like the laying of the city’s main water line, and the Gezi Park Protests.
The Istiklal Avenue is one of the main reasons why tourists come to Taksim. This is a nostalgic street that’s home to bookstores, music stores, restaurants, pubs, boutiques, cinemas, nightclubs, and theatres. On the entrance of Istiklal Caddesi is the Independence Monument, a famous landmark bearing the statues of Istanbul Independence heroes.
Walking to explore Takim during the evening is the best. However, you shouldn’t do so in the afternoon. Think about riding the Taksim Trams for this allow you to quickly scan the landmarks in Taksim. An example is the Taksim Gezi Park and the Ataturk Civic Center.
Looking for a place to stay in Taksim Square is never difficult, as there a lot of hotels around. In fact, one of Istanbul’s most established hotels is nearby. North of Taksim’s Gezi Park, a few meters east of Taksim Metro, lies InterContinental Hotel, which offers luxurious rooms that let you see the Bosphorous and Istanbul’s skyline.
If you like Taksim Square, then Beyazit Square should also agree with your taste. This is another famous square that had been used long before Istanbul existed. Beyazit stands at the site of the Tauri, an ancient roman forum that existed at the time of Byzantium or Constantinople.
Beyazit is a hotspot because it offers quick access to the Grand Bazaar, which is the oldest marketplace in the world where lots of traditional Ottoman goods are available. Another famous sight is the University of Istanbul that looks like a fortress. Finally, the Bayezid II Mosque and the Beyazit Tower are also nearby.
Not far from Besiktas and still offering a magnificent view of the Bosporus is Ortakoy Square. Ortakoy is famous for the scenes that tourists enjoy from morning till night. During the day, visit the 19th-century Ortakoy Buyuk Mecidiye Mosque that looks like its standing when on the water when viewed from the Bosporus.
As for the nighttime activities, nothing beats time spent in the cafes and restaurants. Get the camera ready because Ortakoy receives the full magnificence of the Bosphorus Bridge.
Kadikoy Square is where to go for seeing the best of Istanbul’s Asian side. It’s a place where lots of youngsters hang around before heading out for the party nightlife, or to go shopping on the nearby Bagdat Avenue. But most of all, the spectacular view of the Bosphorus is simply worth lingering.
For seeing interesting things, try the Haldun Taner Stage, which serves as a spot for cultural presentations in Anatolia. It’s also a theatre and performing arts center for music students from the University of Istanbul Conservatory. At times you can see live violin and piano performances, along with European operas.
Not far from Kadikoy Square is the infamous Barlar Sokak or bar street which has the heaviest concentration of the cheap bars in Istanbul. For this reason, a lot of youngsters frequent around. Moreover, like-minded adults are always ready to hang out.
Spending time on the benches placed on the spots of Kadikoy that faces the Bosporus is a free and basic activity that you shouldn’t miss. From them, you can see the coming of the ships that hail from other areas like the Besiktas and Eminonu. The old trains in the Hydraprasa Station yard are also visible. But all in all, the fresh wind of the Kadikoy is the reason why you should just sit and relax.
Eyup Sultan Square
Eyup Sultan Square is a small area that’s next to the Eyup Sultan Mosque. Within this square is a picturesque pedestrian area lined with trees and flowers. Stand on the side of this are small locally owned cafes and restaurants where you can order a hefty Turkish feast.
The view of the Bosphorus in the Eyup Sultan Square is mesmerizing. It stands on the highest point of Istanbul’s European side, and with this, you’ll get to see all of the distant buildings such as the other nearby mosques, parks, and squares.
Not far away is the Eyup Teleferik, the famous cable that will take you to the top of Pierre Loti Hill. Here you can quietly enjoy the picturesque views from the hilltop cafe and tour the historical Eyüp Sultan Cemetery.
Besiktas is on the back of the Bosporus riverbank and near to the aesthetic Dolmabahce Palace. Being part of the Bosporus cruise route, tourists riding the tourist boats of the Bosporus won’t miss this.
Turkish cuisine is a salient feature of Besiktas Square. It’s a place where tourists find a lot of riverside cafes and restaurants. Several walkways allow for a relaxing walk. As for notable buildings inside, don’t miss the Naval Museum and the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasha Tomb.
Eminonu Square is always bustling with people, buses, and ferries on the nearby Bosphorus. The place is always lively because it offers access to the Galata Tower, the Spice Bazaar, the Sultanahmet tourist area, Galata Bridge, and the Golden Horn. Not far is the Eminonu port where you can sail away on a Bosphorus cruise.