Thinking of moving to Istanbul? Not sure where to live? Don't worry, we've prepared a list of the most livable places in Istanbul to help you with this big decision.
Moving to a new city is always stressful. And if this new city is an eclectic world metropolis like Istanbul, one can easily feel overwhelmed by all the choices you have.
This guide will give you the information you need before settling into an area in Istanbul. You’ll learn about what to expect from these most livable places in terms of the general atmosphere, family-friendliness, transportation, housing options, and rent prices.
So, what are the most livable places in Istanbul?
The Top Ten Districts To Live in Istanbul
Beyoğlu is the heart of entertainment and culture on the European side. There are various public transportation options connecting Beyoğlu to the city.
It's a multicultural neighborhood, popular among young people and expatriates. Most people working or living around can speak English. The Beyoğlu neighborhood is alive 24/7 with countless cafés, restaurants, bars, bookshops, shops and stores, movie theatres, cinemas, and concert halls.
Each neighborhood in Beyoğlu offers something different, and you can find calmer places to live here. But the Beyoğlu district is generally better suited for singles. Here you can mostly find small rental apartments in old buildings.
The monthly rents in the neighborhood vary from 3.000-8.000₺ TRY ($380-1000 USD). A studio apartment or a small, two-bedroom furnished, ready-to-live apartment might cost you around $600-1000 monthly.
Most livable neighborhoods: Taksim, Cihangir, Gümüşsuyu, Galatasaray, Firuzağa, Çukurcuma, Galata, Fındıklı, Kabataş.
Neighboring Beyoğlu, Beşiktaş is another central district. You can take a ferry to the Asian/Anatolian side of the City from the piers or use various buses to travel around the city.
With each neighborhood offering something different like a sea view, green parks, traditional markets and restaurants, historical sights, entertainment, luxury houses, business offices, or shopping centers, it's suitable for both families and single. Beşiktaş is also a popular expat location.
The monthly rents are around 2.500-25.000₺ TRY ($320-3250 USD).
Most livable neighborhoods: Sinanpaşa (Central Beşiktaş), Yıldız, Gayrettepe, Nispetiye, Levent, Etiler, Ortaköy, Arnavutköy, Bebek.
Şişli is a central area full of plazas, offices, banks, shops, and shopping malls. The back streets are residential, and Şişli’s several neighborhoods are home to a lot of people from different socio-economic classes.
Teşvikiye and Nişantaşı lure the elites and celebrities of Istanbul, whereas Esentepe, Gayrettepe, and Levent neighborhoods are home to plazas, business people, and white-collared workers. Blue-collared workers and families, newly-graduated professionals, and students inhabit the Mecidiyeköy neighborhood.
Public transportation is widely available in Şişli, but heavy traffic and parking are always a problem.
The monthly rents are around 2.500-8.500₺ TRY ($320-1000 USD), depending on the neighborhood.
Most livable neighborhoods: Teşvikiye, Nişantaşı, Esentepe, Gayrettepe, Levent.
Kadıköy is a vibrant central area and a transportation hub on the Asian side of Istanbul. Central Kadıköy is located along the sea and has numerous shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
You can find an apartment for every lifestyle and budget in this large district. Retirees, students, white-collared professionals, and expats live in this area in harmony.
The monthly rents are usually around 2.500-6.000₺ TRY ($320-750 USD), depending on the location.
Most livable neighborhoods: Acıbadem, Caddebostan, Bostancı, Erenköy, Fenerbahçe, Göztepe, Koşuyolu, Suadiye, Osmaniye (Bahariye), Caferağa (Moda).
Üsküdar is another coastal transportation hub on the Asian side. Most people working on the European side also prefer to live here, taking ferries to work, avoiding traffic jams, and enjoying the view.
Üsküdar is historic, authentic, and conservative, but also very busy and crowded. There are many traditional cafes and restaurants, but there's not much nightlife here.
Moving towards Salacak or Kuzguncuk from the center, you have nicer apartment buildings with a magnificent sea-view in a calmer area, but the rents also go up.
The monthly rents vary between 2.250-8.500₺ TRY ($290-1000 USD).
Most livable neighborhoods: Altunizade, Çengelköy, Kuzguncuk, Salacak, Selimiye.
Bakırköy is on the coastline of the Sea of Marmara. Formerly it was home to Greek and Armenian populations, so it's a multicultural neighborhood.
Quieter than the city center, but not far from it, Bakırköy is lively with shopping malls, stores, cafes, and restaurants.
The Florya and Yeşilköy neighborhoods used to be summer resorts, and they still have that vibe with nice sandy beaches, cafes, and restaurants.
Planned as a satellite-city, Ataköy consists of high modern apartment blocks and shopping malls.
Bakırköy offers various public transportation options, including maritime transport and larger houses. So it's great for families.
The rents vary between 2.500-65.000₺ TRY ($320-8.380 USD) as both apartments and villas are available.
Most livable neighborhoods: Florya, Yeşilköy, Ataköy.
Sarıyer is on the northern tip of Istanbul, meeting the Black Sea on the European side. The air is fresh and the atmosphere is relaxed here. There are museums, parks, and beaches and seaside restaurants in this region, so it’s perfect for families.
The neighborhoods in Sarıyer are generally high-profile. There are secluded luxury villas and mansions on the shores and in the forest. But there are more affordable options available as well.
If you don’t need to rush to city life for work, Sarıyer is a perfect place to enjoy your life in Istanbul.
The rents vary depending on the neighborhood, and since you can even rent luxury villas, there’s a wide gap between prices. The monthly rents are 1.500-310.000₺ TRY ($194-40.000 USD).
Most livable neighborhoods: Istinye, Emirgan, Zekeriyaköy, Yeniköy, Baltalimanı, and Tarabya.
Ataşehir is on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. Offering only skyscrapers, multi-story apartment buildings, and luxury residences as living and working spaces, Ataşehir hosts headquarters and offices of companies and businesses. There are large shopping malls with cinemas, pubs, tennis courts, and gyms in the area.
Although most residents in Ataşehir are car owners, there are bus lines that you can use. There are large parking spaces in the area.
The monthly rents are around 1.500-16.000₺ TRY ($194-2000 USD).
Most livable neighborhoods: Barbaros, Atatürk Mahallesi, İçerenköy.
The majority of Istanbul´s main historical and cultural landmarks are in the Sultanahmet and Topkapı neighborhoods in the Fatih district. Thousands of tourists visit the district each year, so almost everyone around speaks English. It’s perfect for living in the heart of history.
With old timber houses lining up the narrow streets and a view of the Golden Horn, two neighborhoods have recently gone into a revival phase with the attention of the photographers and hipsters.
Fener used to be populated by Istanbul’s Greek population, and Balat is the traditional Jewish quarter. You might enjoy the eclectic and nostalgic lifestyle here, but don’t expect a luxurious one.
Fatih has 57 neighborhoods, but most are generally home to conservative Muslims.
The monthly rents are around 1.500-6.000₺ TRY ($194-750 USD).
Most livable neighborhoods: Sultanahmet, Topkapı, Fener, Balat.
10. Adalar / The Prince Islands
The Prince Islands are in the Sea of Marmara. The four main islands of this archipelago are Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Kınalıada. They are accessible by ferry from Beşiktaş, Eminönü, and Kabataş from the European side, and Kadıköy and Bostancı from the Asian side.
These islands are perfect havens in nature, providing a day trip away from the hectic city life. During spring and summer, the Princes' Islands are popular destinations for day trips from Istanbul. There is almost no motor traffic on the Islands, so you must enjoy walking, or bicycle rides to live there.
The islands are also home to a multicultural crowd; the Jewish, Armenians, and Greeks frequent the islands, and there are active synagogues, churches, and mosques.
If you don’t have to work in the city or commute frequently, Adalar is a great place to live in. You can find both apartments and detached houses with gardens for rent here.
The monthly rents are around 1.500-8.000₺ TRY ($194-1000 USD).
Most livable neighborhoods: Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kınalıada.
Just a few final tips on renting a place in Istanbul: Not all apartments come furnished in Turkey. There are also maintenance fees collected by the apartment management, plus the bills. So always ask about these details while renting a place in Istanbul.
Istanbul is a great city to live in, but it’s massive. There are thirty-nine districts and hundreds of neighborhoods in this busy city. Trying to decide where to live in this city might be hard because every Istanbul neighborhood is unique and has something distinctly different to offer.
Now that you know about the top ten districts to live in Istanbul, we can move onto the best ten neighborhoods in these districts.
We’ve listed the best neighborhoods for all walks of life; for families, singles, pet owners, urban dwellers, and those who are looking for some peace and quiet. Hopefully, our top ten neighborhoods list will help you make up your mind about where to live in Istanbul.
The Top Ten Neighborhoods to Live in Istanbul
1. Cihangir, Beyoğlu
Cihangir is a colorful, multicultural neighborhood of Beyoğlu and the most central area you can find. So, you can find all sorts of shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, or cultural events within walking distance.
Cihangir quarter of Beyoğlu is very popular among the Turkish acting scene as well as well-frequented by expats. People usually come to Cihangir to see some famous faces, and the neighborhood cats are as famous as TV personalities here. This neighborhood is calmer than the famous Istiklal street, but still lively with tea houses and artisan coffee shops.
This neighborhood is better suited for singles.
The monthly rents are around 1.800-18.000₺ TRY ($230-2300 USD).
2. Moda, Caferağa in Kadıköy
Moda is a quiet and artsy neighborhood on the Asian side near Kadıköy. It’s within walking distance to the lively Kadıköy center, which will cater to your every need.
In Moda, you can enjoy the Marmara Sea view from the open-air tea houses or walking or riding your bike on the coastline. You can spend your evenings quietly watching the sunset on the rocks at the coast or join a crowd playing their guitars and singing.
This neighborhood is open to every walk of life. The apartments here are more spacious compared to the ones closer to the center.
This neighborhood is perfect for families as well as singles. It’s also great for living with a pet, but don’t forget to talk about keeping a pet in the house with your landlord.
The monthly rents are around 2.000-15.000₺ TRY ($260-2000 USD), pricey apartments usually have a great sea view.
3. Bahariye, Osmanağa in Kadıköy
Located right behind the port, this neighborhood of Kadıköy is the most central part. Bahariye Street is the Anatolian side equivalent of Istiklal Street with numerous cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, theatre stages, and cinemas around.
This neighborhood is lively and is perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in city life. Quieter parts of Kadıköy and the coastline, like Moda, are also within close proximity.
This is a neighborhood suitable for both singles and families.
The monthly rents are usually around 2.500-6.000₺ TRY ($320-750 USD).
4. Bağdat Caddesi (Bağdat Avenue) in Kadıköy
Bağdat Avenue is a 9-mile glamourous main street. The luxury shopping street runs parallel to the coastline of the Sea of Marmara. The street runs through various neighborhoods, all of which offer nice, quiet, and somewhat luxurious living spaces for singles or families.
The neighborhoods lined along Bağdat Avenue constitute an upper-scale residential area. Göztepe, Caddebostan, and Suadiye quarters are perfect for families and pet owners.
There are great parks around, and the coastline is perfect for long walks, riding your bicycle, having a picnic, or mingling with the crowd hanging out on the coast.
You can also find more affordable rental apartments if you move a bit further towards the inner parts of the neighborhood.
The monthly rents vary between 3.000-30.000₺ TRY ($390-3900 USD), depending on the number of bedrooms, proximity to Bağdat Avenue, the coast, and the view.
5. Nişantaşı in Şişli
Nişantaşı is located on the European side of Istanbul, between Taksim and Beşiktaş. This high-end neighborhood is home to many Turkish celebrities and expats. There are high-end luxury shops for shopping, cafes, and restaurants in the area.
This neighborhood is suitable for both singles and families. It’s enjoyable to walk down its narrow streets lined with lovely old apartments, but parking is a constant problem in the area.
The monthly rents are around 2.500-35.000₺ TRY ($325-4500 USD), so there’s an apartment for every budget within the area.
6. Ortaköy in Beşiktaş
A nice 40-minute walk or a 20-minute ride from Beşiktaş will take you to Ortaköy, one of the most scenic neighborhoods in Istanbul. Ortaköy has been a cosmopolitan area since the Ottoman era, hosting Turkish, Greek, Armenian, and Jewish communities.
Situated under the 15 Temmuz Şehitler Köprüsü (formerly the Boğaziçi/Bosphorus Bridge) on the coast, this small neighborhood offers a picture-perfect view of the Bosphorus strait with the Neo-Baroque Ortaköy mosque ornating the shore.
Ortaköy is famous for its cafés and tea houses, kumpir (jacket potato) stalls, artsy handmade gifts stalls, art galleries, high-end nightclubs, bars, and restaurants. There's also a small theatre stage in Ortaköy.
You can use public buses here, but heavy traffic is always a problem. Ortaköy offers larger apartments for families, some with communal gardens.
The monthly rents are around 2.500-6.000₺ TRY ($320-770 USD).
7. Bebek in Beşiktaş
Situated on the Bosphorus shores, Bebek is one of Istanbul's most prestigious neighborhoods. It's famous for its breathtaking view and coastline, luxury villas and apartments, exclusive cafes, and restaurants. Bebek is preferred by expats, as well as Turkish celebrities and the elite.
Boğaziçi University is within walking distance, with one campus entrance in Bebek. The Istanbul International Community School and FARIT, the Friends of the American Research Institute in Turkey, are also nearby.
Public transportation is limited to buses and sparse ferries, and the traffic is heavy, especially during the weekend.
The monthly rents are around 7000-25.000₺ TRY ($900-3250 USD).
8. Etiler in Beşiktaş
Although it’s in the Beşiktaş district, Etiler is further away from the sea and closer to the business quarters of Levent and Maslak. It's a prestigious, high-end district with luxury shopping malls, night clubs, private residences, and luxury apartments.
Nispetiye Street is the center of Etiler, and it leads the way to Boğaziçi University. The Istanbul Japanese School and campuses of the British International School Istanbul and Tarabya British Schools are also located in Etiler.
From the Etiler subway station, the metro line can take you to Boğaziçi University/Hisarüstü or Levent direction and connect to M2 Yenikapı - Hacıosman Metro Line. Buses are also available.
Etiler is a quiet neighborhood suitable for both singles and families.
The monthly rents vary between 7.000-15.000₺ TRY ($900-1900 USD).
9. Kuzguncuk in Üsküdar
By just a ten-minute ride from the hectic Üsküdar, you arrive in a much more tranquil, green, and artsy neighborhood by the Bosphorus strait. With the beautifully preserved old wooden houses of Kuzguncuk, you feel as if you're in a movie set.
Here you can enjoy the Bosporus view and the nice, small cafes and bakeries, and lead a peaceful life whether you're single or with your family. You can rent three-story houses as well as apartments here.
The monthly rents are around 3.300-15.000₺ TRY ($425-1950 USD).
10. Florya in Bakırköy
If you want to enjoy the coastline, live close to the city but away from its chaos, Florya is perfect for you.
Situated by the Sea of Marmara, Florya used to be a summer resort for Istanbul residents. Sandy beaches still exist in this neighborhood, and various beach cafes and restaurants serve both traditional older crowds and younger ones.
Florya Atatürk Forest is another recreational space offering fresh air to the area, and Florya Sports Complex is right by this forest.
Once you reach the E5 Highway within minutes, you can reach any part of Istanbul using the Metrobüs service without getting into the traffic. Or you can go to Bakırköy to use the ferryboats.
The rents vary considerably, between 2.500-65.000₺ TRY ($320-8.380 USD), as you can rent both apartments and traditional detached houses with a sea view or villas with pools in this area.
Here, we have made a list of the best residential areas in Istanbul. There’s something for everyone in our top ten lists for the best ten districts and neighborhoods in Istanbul. They entail both busy and lively urban areas and more quiet, family-friendly zones.
We’re hoping that our guide to the most livable places in Istanbul will help you decide which neighborhood is best for you.