Boasting many of Istanbul’s most visited sites- including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the , Istanbul Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine Hippodrome, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum and Topkapi Palace - it’s easy to see why many tourists never venture further than the historical centre of Istanbul.
Set high up on the Eminönü Peninsula, Sultanahmet makes up part of one of the oldest settlements in Istanbul. In fact, the Peninsula was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and visitors are still able to wander past the old city walls and preserved structures which used to be part of Byzantine Constantinople.
It’s worth navigating past the tourists to the back streets of Sultanahmet, where you’ll likely stumble on crumbling wooden houses, hidden tea gardens, small parks and the friendliest population of street cats you’ll ever meet.
Sultanahmet has a seemingly never ending supply of accommodation, ranging from bargain basement hostels to charmingly restored Ottoman-era guesthouses as well as internationally accredited five star hotels. Thanks to Sultanahmet’s manageable size, almost all of these accommodation options are within easy walking distance of the main sites.
Sultanahmet is very well connected to the rest of Istanbul. As well as having a dedicated tram stop, it is also nearby Sirkeci Railway Station, from where all trains from or to Europe depart.
Sultanahmet © Yildirim Inceale...
Golden Horn ©Helen Simpson
Eyup ©Helen Simpson
Ortaköy Mosque © Yildirim Ince...
"Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world" - Gustave Flaubert