Explore Besiktas (Guide with Top Things to Do & See + Advice)

Besiktas is located on the European side of Istanbul and famous for its vibrant and colorful neighborhood life, bazaar, fish market, student population, culture and art activities, nightlife, shopping centers, historical buildings, football club, seaside recreation and eating places and ferry piers. It is one of the most popular and valuable districts located at the entrance of the Bosphorus. Here you’ll find a quick guide to explore Besiktas with top things to do and see plus insider advice.

Besiktas is the capital of culture, art and education of Istanbul, but it is also the most valuable region of the Bosphorus with its Ortakoy, Arnavutkoy, Kurucesme and Bebek neighborhoods. Besiktas is also a great area where you can observe the living Istanbul in the best way, as well as one of the most important transportation hub.

Besiktas also hosts the historical heritage of the Ottomans, culture and art with its Dolmabahce, Ciragan and Yildiz Palace.

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Things to Do & See

Strolling around the Besiktas Square, watching the crowd, having a rest and drinking tea or coffee at the various cafes nearby the sea in the company of Bosphorus is one of the best things to do in Besiktas. Besiktas Square and Besiktas Market Zone is the heart of the Besiktas. All are full of variety of great cafes and restaurants with beautiful Bosphorus views.

Strolling through the Kabatas area from Besiktas, you may see and visit and see the Grand National Assembly of Turkey National Palaces Museum of Palace Collections and Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum and after, the famous Dolmabahce Palace. And through the Ortakoy area, you may see and visit the Ciragan Palace.

Other historical and famous places to visit and see include the Yildiz Palace and Yildiz Park, located at the upper parts of Barbaros Boulevard.

Besiktas Square

Besiktas Square is great with variety of cafes, restaurants, shops and lively Istanbul life. It is very enjoyable to spend time in the square surrounded by the restaurants and cafes overlooking the Bosphorus and to watch the magnificent views of the Bosphorus from the Besiktas coast. The famous Naval Museum and Barbaros Hayrettin Pasha Tomb is located by the Besiktas Square, near the sea.

Besiktas Market Zone (Carsi)

Besiktas market zone is a very lively place and the heart of Besiktas. It is also the center of the famous Besiktas supporters group called Carsi. You can spend time at the areas with its plenty of book stores, designer shops, fish market, grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, taverns and more.

We Highly Recommend These Fantastic Night-time Activities

Historic Besiktas Pier

The historic Besiktas Ferry Pier is worth seeing with its architectural structure. The tiles made by the architect Ali Talat Bey (1869-1922) on the front facade of the pier are attractive and very impressive. The pier serves for Uskudar and Kadikoy public ferries.

Naval Museum

Naval Museum is a fantastic museum located in Besiktas and houses a collection of more than 20,000 pieces related with the Turkish Maritime history. The ornamented Ottoman Sultans’ boats take the most interest. The museum is on the route of Big Bus Istanbul. After visiting the museum, you may spend a great day out in Besiktas, stoll around and rest at the various outdoor cafes by the Bosphorus.

Dolmabahce Palace Museum

Dolmabahce Palace is one of the most visited sights in Istanbul that was built by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecit in the year 1853. Located on the banks of the Bosphorus, the palace has an impressive look with white marbles and with a basic European baroque style architecture with oriental touches. The interior of the palace is decorated in a manner that reflects the grandeur of the epoch. Read more about Dolmabahce Palace.

Yildiz Palace

Yildiz Palace is a beautiful one located on the hillside overlooking the Bosphorus between Beşiktaş, Ortaköy and Balmumcu, and covers an area of 500,000 m2. The Palace consists of 19th century pavilions, kiosks and villas that are set in beautiful gardens. Read more about Yildiz Palace.

Yildiz Park & Grove

Yildiz Grove is one of the most beautiful parks in Istanbul consists of many beautiful pools, waterfalls and ponds, as well as fascinating gardens and trees. Some of the trees are about more than 400 years old. It is one of the best parks in Istanbul. A great day out at the park, walking in the gardens and having a rest at the cafes and restaurants will make you feel very peaceful. Continue reading…

Ciragan Palace

Located between Besiktas and Ortakoy, Ciragan Palace is a famous one and attracts people’s attention with its striking beauty like Dolmabahce Palace. The palace was completed in 1974 during the era of Sultan Abdulaziz. Today, the Ciragan Palace serves as a luxury hotel and hosts various events. Breakfast is also available every Sunday. However a bit pricey.

Ihlamur Pavilion

Located in the Ihlamur valley, between Yildiz and Nisantasi neighborhoods lying behind the back hills of Besiktas, the Ihlamur Pavilion is one of the most beautiful pavilions of Istanbul with a spectacular structure. We recommend you to visit Ihlamur Pavilion which has been used by Sultan Ahmed III as a private garden and have a nice breakfast in its cafe. Read more about Ihlamur Pavilion.


Neighboring Besiktas, Ortakoy is one of the favorite seaside neighborhoods of Besiktas, and famous for its colorful bazaar, sweet narrow streets with lots of cafes and shops, and lively atmosphere. Ortakoy is also one of the most popular meeting points for both tourists and locals, with its popular nightlife activities, bars, pubs, clubs, the square overlooking the Bosphorus with variety of nice cafes, restaurants, and baked potato shops. Read more about Ortakoy.

Eating Out – A Culinary Tour through Besiktas

The neighborhood of Besiktas is like a gastronomic tour through Istanbul’s vibrant food culture, thanks to its mix of traditional Turkish taverns, modern fusion eateries, and trendy coffee shops. The district perfectly blends the flavors of Istanbul’s diverse culinary history with innovative techniques, creating an enticing feast for the senses.

Besiktas is live for 24 hrs. and offers wide range of dining opportunities from luxury restaurants to very famous quality restaurants and cafes where both tourists and locals go. You are able to find every kind of food & beverage, Turkish & world cuisine for your taste in Besiktas.

Besiktas Centre, for instance, is a hub for street food lovers. Here, you’ll find vendors selling everything from succulent kebabs and balık ekmek (fish sandwiches) to mussels stuffed with spiced rice. The marketplace is also famous for its breakfast venues, offering an array of Turkish delicacies such as menemen (Turkish scrambled eggs) and simit (Turkish bagel).

Ortakoy, known for its iconic mosque by the Bosphorus, is a gastronome’s delight with its blend of stylish cafes, seafood restaurants, and the famous kumpir stalls serving baked potatoes with an array of fillings. The chic neighborhood of Bebek, with its waterside promenade, hosts upmarket eateries and pastry shops offering delicious treats, including the much-loved Turkish dessert, baklava.

Venture a little further into the district, and you’ll find Kurucesme and Arnavutkoy, popular for their waterfront fish restaurants and trendy bars offering breath-taking views of the Bosphorus. Etiler is another noteworthy neighborhood, known for its high-end restaurants, patisseries, and brunch spots that cater to the city’s cosmopolitan crowd.

Ulus, on the other hand, is home to several upscale dining establishments where you can indulge in a gourmet meal while soaking in panoramic views of the city. From stylish sushi bars to the traditional Turkish grills, the culinary offerings in Ulus are as captivating as its vistas.

See Our Picks of the Best Restaurants in Besiktas

Nightlife in Besiktas

Nightlife in Besiktas very lively. Besiktas coastline, Akaretler, and Besiktas Market Zone are the popular areas. You may find wide range of great cafes, bars, pubs, bistros, live music bars and night clubs here. Joker No: 19 and Craft Beer Lab in Akaretler, BeerHall and Thales Bistro in central Besiktas, Insomnia Gastropub in Mumcu Bakkal Street, Masquerade Club and Buddha Bar in Gayrettepe are the most popular cafes, pubs and bars in Besiktas.

Where to Stay?

As for accommodation; Besiktas hosts wide range of accommodation opportunities in from budget apartments, apart hotels to residents and from two to five star hotels.

You may check and find your ideal Besiktas hotel via Booking.com Besiktas Hotels or Trivago Besiktas Hotels with the hotels info, photos, comments and price comparison and book your Besiktas hotel online.

How to Get There?

Public Transportation

Getting to Besiktas is very easy as Besiktas is one of the most popular hubs for both tourists and locals in Istanbul. For intercity transportation to Besiktas, you may find many transportation options. It is possible to access Besiktas;

You may see the public bus routes and timetables as well as make a route/station search from the Istanbul Municipality Public Busses website. Also check the Istanbul Railway Network Map for the Tram stops and Istanbul Ferry Lines Map for ferries.

From Istanbul Airports

For getting to Besiktas;

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