Explore Rumeli Hisari, Istanbul: Best Things to Do, See Guide

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Discover the Rumeli Hisari neighborhood of Istanbul with our local guide. We’ll explore the secrets of this beautiful neighborhood of Sariyer along the Bosphorus European shores, including the best things to do, attractions, historical sites, places to see, eat, drink, stay, restaurants, and give you all the info you need to plan your visit.

Rumeli Hisari is a historic and touristic district located on the European side of Istanbul, between the neighborhoods of Bebek and Emirgan along the Bosphorus coast. In this article, you can find general information about Rumeli Hisarı district, places to visit, activities to do, popular dining spots, and transportation information.

The fortress after which the district is named was built in 1452 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II before the conquest of Istanbul. The district stands out with its historical texture and magnificent Bosphorus view, offering visitors a unique experience with its historical remnants and natural beauty.

Top Things to Do, Places to See

Rumeli Hisari is known for its serene and peaceful atmosphere. As you wander among the historical walls, you’ll feel as if time has stopped. This district is one of the favorite spots for both locals and tourists.

Taking walks amidst the greenery here will enhance your day with the cool breeze of the Bosphorus. The historical houses and narrow streets will take you on a journey to old Istanbul.

Today, Rumeli Hisari is a popular destination for outdoor activities and tourist visits on weekends for Istanbulites. It also serves as a tourist area and open-air theater where various concerts, especially in the summer months, are organized.

Among the places to visit in Rumeli Hisari, the historical fortress after which it is named comes first. This fortress was built as an important part of Fatih Sultan Mehmed’s strategy to conquer Istanbul, and enchants visitors with its architecture and history.

While wandering inside the fortress, you can find traces of military architecture and the Ottoman conquest. Additionally, climbing to the top of the fortress to watch the magnificent view of the Bosphorus is an experience not to be missed.

Other activities you can do in Rumeli Hisarı include walking and biking along the Bosphorus coast.

The walking paths stretching along the coastline offer magnificent views, especially in the early morning or at sunset. Moreover, the parks and green areas along the coast are ideal for picnics. While sitting at the seaside cafes sipping your coffee, you can enjoy the unique beauty of the Bosphorus. Additionally, there are many quality fish restaurants available.

Rumeli Fortress Museum

Preparation for the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the construction of the castle, which was completed in a short time, like 4 months, to keep Istanbul safe from the dangers that could come from the Black Sea, started on April 15, 1452.

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With the division of labor, the construction of each section was entrusted to a pasha, and Fatih Sultan Mehmet himself undertook the construction of the part on the sea side. When looked at from the sea, the construction of the tower on the right was supervised by Saruca Pasha, the construction of the one on the left by Zağanos Pasha, and the construction of the tower on the coast by Halil Pasha.

The construction of the castle was completed on August 31, 1452. Rumeli Hisarı has three large towers named Saruca Pasha, Halil Pasha, and Zağanos Pasha, and a total of four towers including Little Zağanos Pasha, as well as 13 large and small bastions. The fortress also has the largest castle towers in the world.

Located on the narrowest and most turbulent part of the Istanbul Bosphorus, 600 meters across from the Anatolian Castle on the Anatolian side of the Istanbul Bosphorus, Rumeli Hisarı was built in a way that reads “Muhammad” in Arabic letters when viewed from a distance.

Bogazici University

You can visit Bogazici University to stretch out on wide green areas in an area with extremely impressive natural beauty. As you step into the campus from the main gate in Hisarüstü, you can admire the breathtaking view of the Bosphorus along the winding roads downhill.

Orhan Veli’s Tomb

If you head towards the slopes of Rumelihisarı, you’ll feel the verses of the famous Istanbul poet Orhan Veli. Orhan Veli’s tomb, located in Aşiyan, in this neighborhood where he hummed an indescribable lament, referring to Rumelihisarı as “Urumelihisarı” in his poems.

While visiting Orhan Veli’s tomb, close your eyes and listen to Istanbul just as the poet did. Also, in Aşiyan, you can find the graves of Ahmet Vefik Pasha, Münir Nurettin Selçuk, and Yahya Kemal Beyatlı.

Haunted Mansion (Perili Köşk)

Located directly across from Rumelihisari Pier, the Egyptian Yusuf Pasha Mansion, with its minaret-like tower and magnificent structure, is known among locals as the “Haunted Mansion.” The mansion, which served as the residence of the aide-de-camp of the Khedive of Egypt Yusuf Pasha during the Ottoman period, remained incomplete after the death of Pasha and stood empty for a long time. The mansion, which has been restored while preserving its stone and red brick covering, was leased to Borusan Holding in 2007 and hosts various art events.


Located between Baltalimanı and Emirgan, Boyacıköy is a nostalgic neighborhood filled with memories and old photographs. It got its name due to the non-Muslim masters brought from Thrace to meet the fez needs of the Ottomans at the beginning of the 1800s.

Planned by Italian engineer Luigi Florari in 1857, the neighborhood, where Armenian, Greek, and Muslim neighborhoods lived in friendship for two centuries, saw many waterfront mansions and Roman-era temples demolished. However, Boyacıköy’s tree-lined narrow streets and picturesque houses are still worth seeing.

Continuing towards Emirgan…

Emirgan Pier

You can reach Emirgan with a short walk from Boyacıköy. Emirgan Pier will welcome you before you reach the center of the neighborhood. The pier was first built in 1851 when the Şirket-i Hayriye ferries started operating in the Bosphorus.

Active until 1989, the pier was demolished during the coastline arrangement and later rebuilt to stay true to its original design. From this pier, where you can see old photos of the pier and the Bosphorus, trips are organized to Istinye, Çengelköy, Arnavutköy, Bebek, Kandilli, Anadoluhisarı, and Kanlıca.

You can continue with our Emirgan guide page for Emirgan neigborhood.

Places to Eat & Drink

Rumelihisarı is also quite famous for its dining venues. Restaurants and cafes with Bosphorus views are among the favorite spots for both locals and foreign tourists. Restaurants offering a wide range of dining options from seafood to Turkish cuisine cater to your taste buds with many alternatives.

There are places where you can enjoy every meal from breakfast to dinner with pleasure. Especially breakfast places right by the Bosphorus are ideal for long and enjoyable breakfasts with a view.

In the evening, you can enjoy fresh fish and appetizers in seafood restaurants accompanied by the cool breeze of the Bosphorus. Moreover, the cafes and pastry shops in the neighborhood offer excellent options for relaxing and snacking throughout the day.

See the best restaurants in Sariyer

How to Get to Rumelihisari?

Rumelihisari is located in the Sarıyer district on the European side of Istanbul. This historic neighborhood, situated on the Bosphorus coast, is easily accessible with various transportation options. You can easily reach Rumelihisarı using public transportation within the city.

Transportation by Bus: There are direct bus services to Rumelihisarı from many points in Istanbul. Buses departing from central locations such as Beşiktaş, Taksim, and Sarıyer go to Rumelihisarı stop following the coastline.

Some of the most commonly used bus lines are 22, 25E, and 40T. Since these lines follow the Bosphorus coast, you can enjoy traveling with wonderful views during the journey.

Transportation by Metro and Minibus: You can get off at Hacıosman station using the M2 Yenikapı-Hacıosman metro line. From there, you can continue to Rumelihisarı by taking a short taxi ride or by minibus to Hisarüstü.

Minibuses depart from Boğaziçi University’s Hisarüstü Campus and continue along the coastline, stopping at Rumelihisarı.

Transportation by Sea: For those who prefer sea transportation, city lines ferries are an ideal option. Ferries departing from Beşiktaş, Üsküdar, and Eminönü operate along the Bosphorus route. You can reach Rumelihisarı by getting off at Bebek or Arnavutköy piers with a short walk or taxi ride. Ferry travel offers a pleasant transportation alternative while enjoying the unique views of the Bosphorus.

We recommend checking IETT public bus routes, METRO, and City Lines ferry schedules from the following links, as the routes mentioned on the page may change over time.

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