We detail the best options for connecting to the internet while traveling in Istanbul. From free WiFi hotspots to mobile and pocket internet there are many ways to go online during your stay.
Pre-Paid Mobile Internet
A pre-paid SIM card with a good data plan will not only allow you to get WiFi anywhere in Istanbul but also allow you to send and receive calls, as well as text messages.
You can also create a mobile hotspot on your phone so you connect to your laptop or multiple devices while on the go or in your hotel room.
Below you’ll find the best method to get WiFi in Istanbul along with other common methods to access the internet and social media.
Turkey has three GSM providers (Turkcell, Vodafone, and Turk Telekom) that offer SIM cards with data plans. Each provider offers varying amounts of data and pricing, but all require a valid passport for purchase.
The best deal, when it’s available is from Turkcell. For just 149 TL, you can get a 30 day SIM card with 20GB internet, 200 minutes in calls plus unlimited messaging via WhatsApp and BiP.
Do note that this deal is not always active at all retailers even though it’s still heavily advertised online.
If you’re looking for a no-fuss option, we recommend the Turistcell from the Istanbul Welcome Card, which also comes with Free hotel delivery or airport pickup.
For 28 € you’ll get 7 days access with a 15 GB of 4G Internet, 1,000 minutes of International calls and 100 SMS for texting.
Visit the Turistcell SIM Page
Most tourists purchase their SIM cards from a mobile retailer at the New Istanbul Airport, but you can find satellite stores for each provider throughout Istanbul. Do note that you will need an unlocked phone to connect to the network.
4G Pocket WiFi
For those who want easy access across multiple devices, renting a portable mobile internet hotspot is ideal. There are numerous Pocket WiFi providers in Istanbul, such as RentNConnect, AllDayWiFi or StayInWifi.
This small device hotspot allows you to connect up to 10 devices, such as laptops, iPad and phones. The WiFi device has a rechargeable battery so you can take it with you and connect within a 15-meter radius of the device carrier.
Istanbul Tourist Pass WiFi
If you’re only going to stay 3-7 days, however, we recommend you grab an Istanbul Tourist Pass which includes 3 free days of RentNConnect pocket WiFi (a 27 € value).
This option is available with any of the 3, 5 or 7-day tourist passes while extending your rental costs an extra 6€ per day. It further comes with free hotel delivery or airport pickup.
The catch-22 with shared WiFi is that it be slow depending on the number of users and comes with an internet security risk. You can, however, combine free WiFi with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to ensure you have complete privacy while browsing.
The use of a VPN is highly recommended even if you only plan on doing anything that requires a password. If you plan on doing any type of online banking or anything highly sensitive data, it’s a must-have.
Free hotspots are available at accommodation types in Istanbul other than luxury hotels who generally charge extra for it. Browse recent hotel reviews to get a better idea of what their WiFi is like.
Vacation Rental WiFi
In general, you with an AirBNB type vacation rental, you and your guests will be the only ones who access the internet password.
Free WiFi Hotspots
While out touring the city, you might also need internet, but no matter where you go in Istanbul, there’s always somewhere close by that will offer Free WiFi.
Again, we highly recommend you use Virtual Private Network (VPN) when access any free WiFi hotspot to ensure your passwords and data are secure.
Free Istanbul City WiFi
The City of Istanbul offers Free WiFi hotspots throughout most city parks and heavily visited tourist areas.
The IBBWiFi hotspots are located in major squares in Istanbul, as well as popular tourist districts/neighborhoods such as Sultanahmet, Taksim, Eminonu and Besiktas. You can also find IBBWiFi in big city parks as well as the Intercity Bus Terminals and on public buses & metros.
These free city WiFi connections are heavily used and can be quite slow as high-season tourism arrives. On top of that, you’ll only get 1 GB of free Internet per day with a maximum of 2 Mbps speed.
Before you can use any IBBWiFi hotspot, you’ll first need to register to get a free account. You can do this at the airport kiosk using your passport. If want to use the SMS confirmation, it requires that you already have a Turkey phone number.
Cafe and Restaurant WiFi
While you’ll most likely need to purchase something small like a coffee or Turkish delight, most cafes and restaurants will allow you to access their WiFi.
In general, these connections won’t be open, so you’ll have to ask for the password. Again security is an issue, so be sure to use a VPN.