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NYE Advice for Istanbul

While we’re still awaiting word if entertainment venues will be open on New Year’s Eve in Istanbul, our advice is to wait until the covid-19 situation becomes more clear before making any plans.

Coronavirus

Due to COVID-19, it’s expected that New Year’s Eve 2020 in Istanbul, along with the rest of the world will be a less shiny affair.

Since the calendar will have flipped all of its pages since the coronavirus pandemic started though, tourism has learned over time to adapt and persevere. While a social distancing New Year’s party will not be the same as it always was, just remember that you can still play it safe and have a good time.

Budgeting

New Year’s Eve in Istanbul can be an expensive affair or a cheap and budget-friendly one. This depends on your preference and how deep your pockets are. If you fancy private parties in exclusive restaurants, yachts, hotels, or clubs, then get prepared to open up your wallet.

If you’re running on a tight budget, there will be numerous parties scattered across the many famous streets and squares of Istanbul. These types of affairs however are probably are best left until 2021, as the bigger the crowd, the harder it will be social distance.

Social Distancing

Smaller venues, especially those with open-air patios and limited seating will be your best options. Some open-air parks and hills might also be worthwhile, but it’s hard to say which ones will be less crowded than others until the hour is near, and the New Year’s Eve festivities have already begun.

Hotels

To avoid last-minute inconveniences, it’s advisable to book your accommodation early, as otherwise, it might be a challenge due to limited room space in hotels due to the coronavirus.

Tickets

The need for social distancing will be a huge factor in the number of tickets being sold to New Year’s Eve Parties in Istanbul. In past years, many venues were oversold will the crowd spilling all over themselves, but this will a lot different now because of the COVID-19.

If you’re looking to book a specific club, gala, show, restaurant, or dinner cruise, it’s best to book early since seating will be very limited compared to previous years.

Street Parties

If you want to spend your night at crowded street parties, then Ortakoy, Bagdat Street, Nisantasi, or Kadikoy would be ideal when seeking more moderate crowds and social distancing space.

Places like Taksim Square or Istiklal Street tend to get crowded and rowdy, which can turn into a worst-case scenario for anyone worried about contracting COVID-19.

Weather

During New Year’s Eve, Istanbul is usually cold but rarely gets to the point of freezing. It can be chilly enough though that you’ll need to pack warm clothes.

The average daily temperature is 7°C / 45°F with daytime highs of 9°C / 48°F and nighttime lows of 5°C / 41°F. Precipitation is possible, but you’ll find umbrellas for sale pretty much everywhere. Remember to bring a winter coat or a comfortably warm jacket and a neck scarf. On the day of, be sure to take a look at the local forecast, so there are no late-night surprises.

Location Scouting

If you’re already in Istanbul before New Year’s Eve, soak up some of Constanople’s history while strolling through Galata, Sultanahmet, or Taksim square. Make note of wherever you see beautiful views of the Bosphorus and look around for nearby bars or restaurants that might have the perfect rooftop patio-view you’re looking for.

Then take a walk down Istiklal Street, Bagdat Street, and through Ortakoy Square to all the holiday decorations to get you in the mood, give you that feel-good, New Year’s vibe.

Theft

Istanbul is no different than any other place in the world. Where there are crowds of unsuspecting tourists, there will always be nefarious characters lurking about, looking to take advantage.

  • Be sure to put anything valuable safely locked away in your hotel safe
  • Don’t take anything with that you absolutely need; like your passport, driver’s license, etc.
  • Don’t take anything with that you’d be crushed if you were to lose it; like expensive jewelry, watches, etc.
  • If you bring your phone, be sure to backup your contacts, photos, and anything else you need from it. Also, make sure to password protect your login screen and remove any auto logins for sensitive information like email or banking.