Explore Sariyer, Istanbul: Best Things to Do, See, Stay Guide

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

Sariyer district is located on the northern coast of Istanbul on the European side along the Bosphorus shores, and stands out with its natural beauty and historical texture. The area serves as a destination that attracts the attention of both locals and tourists.

The natural beauty, green spaces, and beaches of the district offer a perfect escape for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Additionally, Sariyer is enriched with its historical structures and cultural heritage, and offers visitors a unique experience for its visitors.


A Brief History of Sariyer

It is believed that the first settlement in the area where Sariyer is located began in the Chalcolithic period between 5500-3500 BC. Based on the remains in the region, the first settlement in the area is known to have been during the Byzantine period. During the Byzantine era, settlements such as Sosthenion (Stenos) (Istinye), Therapeia (Tarabya), and Kleithra tou Pontou (Kireçburnu) were established.

Although it is not certain when Sariyer became part of the Ottoman Empire, it is believed to have been under Ottoman rule during the time of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. In the 16th and 17th centuries, mansions and waterfront residences were built along the shores of Sarıyer. In the 19th century, summer residences for foreign embassies were built in this part of the Bosphorus.

Sariyer maintained its status as a place of entertainment and summer resort in Istanbul in the 19th and 20th centuries and became a district in 1930 after the proclamation of the Republic.

Top Things to Do, Places to See

Sariyer offers travelers many places to explore and activities to do. You can enjoy a pleasant walk along the Bosphorus coastline, visit historical landmarks, or relax on the beach. Additionally, you can have a picnic in the green areas of the district, go for nature walks, or participate in water sports. Every corner of Sarıyer offers a story and activity worth discovering.

Sariyer not only attracts attention with its natural beauty but also with its rich historical heritage. Hosting many historical artifacts from different periods of Istanbul’s history, Sarıyer showcases an era of the city’s past.

Among the historical buildings in the district are Rumeli Fortress, Yeniköy Mansions, Kireçburnu Lighthouse, and many other historical structures. These buildings bear the traces of the Ottoman period and shed light on the history of the district.


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Sariyer is also one of the richest districts in terms of vegetation cover in Istanbul. The eastern extensions of the Belgrade Forests are within the borders of Sariyer. Additionally, areas covering Rumeli Kavagi, Rumeli Lighthouse, and Kilyos are also covered with forests.

Turkey’s first and the world’s famous planned Arboretum, Atatürk Arboretum, is also located within the Belgrade Forest.

Due to its clean air and water and its status as an important picnic area, Sariyer is visited by Istanbulites for relaxation, entertainment, and sports purposes during both summer and winter seasons on weekdays and weekends alike.

Private Sadberk Hanim Museum

Located in Büyükdere neighborhood of Sarıyer, Sadberk Hanim Museum was established by Vehbi Koç Foundation in 1980 and holds the distinction of being Turkey’s first private museum. The museum takes its name from Sadberk Hanım, the wife of Vehbi Koç, and began with her personal collections.

The museum’s collection encompasses a wide range of items, including artifacts from the Ottoman period, objects of Islamic art, archaeological finds, and ethnographic pieces. Consisting of two main sections, the museum is exhibited as the Sadberk Hanim Collection and the Sevgi Gönül Collection.

Wanna learn more about Sadberk Hanim Museum?

Sariyer High School Park

Sariyer High School Park, located in the center of Sariyer, is a popular recreational area frequented by both young people and families. The park takes its name from the contributions of graduates from the local high schools. With its green spaces, walking paths, children’s play areas, and seating areas, it offers visitors a pleasant place to spend their time.


Sariyer Healthy Living Trail

Sariyer Healthy Living Trail is an ideal place for those who love to exercise surrounded by nature. Stretching along the coast of Sarıyer, the trail is suitable for activities such as walking, running, and cycling. Outdoor sports equipment and rest areas along the route contribute to the well-being of people of all ages.

Sariyer Fishermen

Sariyer is one of the most famous fishing districts in Istanbul, and the fishermen here are renowned for their fresh seafood and delicious fish. Restaurants located along the coast offer both magnificent views and unforgettable gastronomic experiences. Most fishermen display the freshest fish from boats returning from the sea in the early hours of the morning.

Historic Sariyer Patisserie

Historic Sariyer Patisserie is one of Istanbul’s oldest and most famous patisseries. It is highly recommended to visit here while in Sarıyer. Established in 1895, the patisserie is famous for its traditional flavors, especially the Sarıyer pastry.

Belgrad Forest

Belgrad Forest, sprawling over a vast area to the north of Sarıyer, are one of the largest green spaces in the city. Named after Serbian villagers brought by Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent during his Belgrade Campaign, the forest is a paradise for nature lovers.

The forest features walking and running trails, picnic areas, and ponds. With its rich vegetation and various animal species, Belgrad Forests are a perfect escape for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul and be one with nature. Transforming into a different beauty every season, the forest is a destination for those seeking a breath of fresh air in the city.

Wanna learn more about Belgrad Forest?

Atatürk Arboretum

Atatürk Arboretum, located southeast of Belgrad Forest, is a living plant museum established in 1949. Being Turkey’s first arboretum, this area is enriched with natural vegetation and exotic tree and plant species brought from all over the world.

In addition to being an important source for academic research, the arboretum also serves the public, offering a unique experience to nature lovers. Botanical trips and educational programs held here provide an ideal learning opportunity for those interested in plant science.

The Most Beautiful Neighborhoods of Sariyer

Sarıyer is home to some of Istanbul’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Emirgan with its magnificent natural beauty and waterfront mansions, İstinye with its luxurious lifestyle, Büyükdere with its tranquil atmosphere, Rumeli Hisarı with its historical texture, Yeniköy with its stunning views, Tarabya with its culinary delights, Rumeli Feneri with its serene shoreline, and Rumeli Kavağı with its natural wonders offer visitors fantastic opportunities to explore Sarıyer.

Rumeli Hisari

Rumeli Hisarı is a historic and touristic neighborhood located between the neighborhoods of Bebek and Emirgan on the shores of the Bosphorus. Named after the Rumeli Fortress, which was built in 1452 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II prior to the conquest of Istanbul.

The waterfront promenades stretching along the neighborhood offer spectacular views, especially during the early morning or at sunset. Additionally, the parks and green areas along the coast are ideal for picnics. While sipping your coffee at the seaside cafes, you can enjoy the unique beauty of the Bosphorus. Moreover, there are numerous quality fish restaurants available.

Emirgan

Emirgan is one of the most famous and coveted neighborhoods of Sarıyer. Particularly known for Emirgan Grove, the neighborhood attracts attention with its lush nature and historical mansions. Emirgan Grove exudes an atmosphere that entices visitors in every season. Additionally, the fish restaurants and cafes along the neighborhood’s coastline are among the places where visitors can enjoy pleasant times.

Istinye

Istinye combines modern lifestyle and natural beauty in Sariyer. Especially renowned for Istinye Park shopping mall, the neighborhood is a favorite destination for shopping enthusiasts. Furthermore, Istinye Marina, located on the neighborhood’s coast, stands out with its luxury yachts and stylish restaurants.

Yeniköy

Yenikoy is one of the sought-after neighborhoods along the Bosphorus in Sariyer. It stands out with its historical waterfront mansions, green parks, and charming streets. Yenikoy is an ideal spot for those who want to take a walk or enjoy the seaside. The cafes and restaurants along the neighborhood’s coastline offer delicious meals accompanied by views of the Bosphorus.

Kireçburnu

Kireçburnu is a charming and peaceful neighborhood. Its name comes from the intensive lime production carried out during the Ottoman period. The coastline of the neighborhood is filled with fishing boats, tea gardens, and restaurants. One of Kireçburnu’s most well-known features is its natural beauty; while walking along the shore, you can enjoy both the sea and lush parks.

Tarabya

Tarabya is a historic and luxurious neighborhood with one of the most beautiful bays on the Bosphorus. Inhabited since ancient times, Tarabya was used as an important resort area during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Today, Tarabya is known for its luxury hotels, quality restaurants, and unique views of the Bosphorus.

You can take a walk along the coastline, sit at the seaside cafes, and enjoy fresh seafood while taking in the breathtaking views.

Büyükdere

Büyükdere is a tranquil neighborhood located on the coast of Sariyer. The neighborhood is known for its important structures, such as historical mansions that carry the traces of old Istanbul. Additionally, the fish restaurants and cafes along Büyükdere’s coastline offer visitors a pleasant experience. After Büyükdere comes the Sariyer center.

Rumeli Kavağı

Rumeli Kavagi is a neighborhood famous for its natural beauty in Sariyer. Located at the northernmost point of the Bosphorus, the neighborhood is famous for its mussels and figs. It stretches along the coast between Rumeli Feneri and Sariyer. Particularly popular for sea tourism in the summer. With its beaches and restaurants along the coast, it offers visitors a delightful holiday experience.

Offering a peaceful life away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, this neighborhood retains the atmosphere of a fishing village, making it one of the rare places to preserve its charm.

Garipce Village

Garipce Village is a charming village known for its natural beauty and historical texture, away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Located near the Black Sea, this small village offers a peaceful escape where green and blue meet. With its narrow streets, stone houses, and intimate atmosphere, it makes visitors feel like they’re in an Aegean village.

The village is particularly famous for its breakfast spots and fish restaurants. You can buy fresh fish from the fishing boats along the coast or enjoy delicious seafood with the unique view of the Bosphorus at the restaurants. Additionally, Garipce Castle, one of the historical landmarks of the village, offers magnificent views of both the village and the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge.

Rumeli Feneri

Rumeli Feneri is a historical and tranquil neighborhood located on the coast of Sariyer. The neighborhood is known for the area where the Rumeli Lighthouse is located. The atmosphere is calm and peaceful, and it attracts visitors with its natural beauty and historical structures. Rumeli Feneri, especially with its historical buildings and magnificent sea view, captures the interest of visitors. Here, you can taste seafood in local restaurants and enjoy the unique view of the Bosphorus.

Maslak

Maslak is a dynamic area located in Sariyer district on the European side of Istanbul and is known as one of the city’s most important business and finance centers. Standing out with its modern skyscrapers, luxury residences, large shopping malls, and intense business environment, Maslak is one of the points where Istanbul’s economic heart beats. The strategic location and proximity to transportation networks have made Maslak an attractive place for both business and living.

Maslak began to develop rapidly, especially from the 1980s onwards. The area, which was previously covered with military areas and vast green areas, gradually became home to Istanbul’s tallest buildings and largest business centers. The rising silhouette of Maslak reflects Istanbul’s modern face, while the business centers and plazas in the area accommodate the headquarters of many national and international companies.

Maslak has become not only the center of the business world but also a hub for social life. Vadi Istanbul, Istinye Park, and UNIQ Istanbul are among the large shopping centers that have brought great vitality to the area in terms of both shopping and entertainment.

Moreover, the green areas and parks surrounding Maslak offer ideal spaces for relaxation and social activities amidst the busy work pace. This combination has made Maslak one of the most prestigious areas in Istanbul, both for business and living.

Uskumruköy

Uskumruköy is a residential area known for its natural beauty and serene lifestyle. Preferred by those seeking to escape the city’s hustle and bustle, Uskumruköy is surrounded by forests, offering ample green spaces. Filled with modern housing projects and detached houses, the neighborhood provides a peaceful and secure living environment for families. Additionally, the nearby attractions and recreational areas offer enjoyable getaways for weekends.

Zekeriyaköy

Zekeriyaköy is a prestigious neighborhood known for its luxury housing projects and natural beauty. Providing a life amidst greenery away from the city’s noise, Zekeriyaköy is particularly popular among high-income groups and foreigners. Offering a life intertwined with nature, the neighborhood stands out with its spacious villas, modern residential complexes, and social facilities.

Zekeriyaköy also boasts a close proximity to the Belgrad Forest and the beaches of Kilyos, making it an ideal living space for nature lovers and sea enthusiasts.

Bahçeköy

Bahçeköy is a neighborhood famous for its historical and natural attractions. Adjacent to the Belgrad Forest, Bahçeköy is one of Istanbul’s greenest areas, providing an ideal environment for nature walks, cycling tours, and picnics.

Bahçeköy is an important area preserving Istanbul’s natural heritage with its historical aqueducts, groves, and recreation areas. Despite being close to the city center, its tranquil and peaceful atmosphere makes it an indispensable destination for nature lovers.

Kilyos

Kilyos is a coastal village located in Sarıyer district on the shores of the Black Sea. Away from the city’s noise, Kilyos is famous for its natural beauty and extensive beaches, making it a popular destination for Istanbul residents, especially during the summer.

Kilyos beaches attract sea lovers with its clean waters and wide sandy beaches. The beaches and beach clubs are crowded with families, youngsters, and water sports enthusiasts on weekends and holidays.

Additionally, the historical Kilyos Castle, dating back to the Ottoman period, sheds light on the village’s history. Kilyos is not only a place to enjoy the sea and sun but also an ideal destination for nature walks and camping activities.

Dining Options in Sariyer

Sariyer reflects Istanbul’s rich and diverse culinary culture. Located along the shores of the Bosphorus and amidst greenery, the district offers many options ranging from local flavors to international cuisines.

Fish Restaurants: Sarıyer is renowned for its seafood, hence you can find numerous fish restaurants along the district’s coastline and the shores of the Bosphorus. These restaurants offer fresh and delicious seafood dishes.

Cafes and Coffee Shops: While strolling through the streets of Sariyer, you’ll come across many charming cafes and coffee shops. These places are ideal for experiencing local flavors and enjoying the atmosphere of the district. Sarıyer Börekçisi, Çınaraltı Kahvesi, and Sarıyer Çay Bahçesi are among the places offering local delicacies and a warm atmosphere.

Restaurants: Sariyer boasts a variety of restaurants offering international cuisines as well as local flavors. Restaurants located in various parts of the district provide options for dining in a chic and modern ambiance.

Street Food: Sariyer’s streets are filled with street food vendors where you can taste local delicacies and experience the vibrant atmosphere of the district. These spots offer delicious and economical options like stuffed mussels, kokoreç (grilled lamb intestines), and fish sandwiches.

See the best restaurants in Sariyer

Living in Sariyer

If you want to move to Sariyer, we can say that the district offers several advantages including a peaceful and comfortable lifestyle, clean air, impressive views of the sea and forests, diverse amenities, and luxurious housing options. The district’s strategic location and modern infrastructure provide residents with ideal living conditions.

Sariyer is situated at the northernmost part of Istanbul’s European side, along the coasts of the Black Sea and the Bosphorus. The northwestern shores of the district are home to some of Istanbul’s most popular beaches. Along the Bosphorus, you’ll find the district’s chic restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it a highly attractive area for social life.

Additionally, Sariyer is one of Istanbul’s greenest areas with numerous picnic areas, botanical gardens, and forests. These vast green spaces not only provide clean air but also offer perfect spots for camping and other outdoor activities.

Despite having a less dense population, Sariyer is not behind other regions of Istanbul in terms of development. The district offers various amenities to cater to all needs. Moreover, its proximity to the Bosphorus bridges and advanced transportation network provides easy access to other parts of the city. These features make Sarıyer an ideal place to live and work.

Which Neighborhood?

For those seeking a life close to nature, the neighborhoods of Uskumruköy, Zekeriyaköy, and Bahçeköy stand out. Especially Zekeriyaköy, preferred by those looking for villas or detached houses in Sariyer, attracts attention with its clean environment and natural beauty. These neighborhoods are considered among the most livable areas of Istanbul.

Maslak and Sariyer Center are the commercial centers of the district. These areas provide a comfortable lifestyle with numerous amenities including business centers, shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, bars, and cinemas.

Emirgan, Istinye, and Yenikoy neighborhoods offer a peaceful life close to both green areas and the magnificent views of the Bosphorus.

Tarabya stands out as an important neighborhood situated between the Bosphorus and Atatürk Urban Forest. Representing a rich lifestyle with various real estate options such as luxury mansions and modern apartments, Tarabya is known for its luxurious living standards.

How to Get to Sariyer?

Transportation to Sariyer, known as the pearl of the Bosphorus and located on the European side of Istanbul, is quite easy and diverse with both public transportation and private vehicles.

Transportation by Public Transport

  • Public Bus: Many IETT buses departing from central points such as Taksim, Beşiktaş, Şişli, and Levent go directly to Sarıyer. Especially, routes like 25E (Kabataş – Sarıyer), 40B (Beşiktaş – Sarıyer), and 42T (Taksim – Bahçeköy) are frequently preferred.
  • Metro and Metrobus: Hacıosman Metro Station is an important point for transportation to Sarıyer. You can reach Hacıosman by using the M2 Yenikapı – Hacıosman Metro Line and then quickly reach the center of Sarıyer by minibuses or IETT buses departing from there. Additionally, metro buses departing from Mecidiyeköy and Zincirlikuyu also offer an alternative transportation option.
  • Minibus: Minibuses departing from Beşiktaş and Hacıosman are also frequently preferred for transportation to Sarıyer.

Transportation by Private Vehicle

  • Highway and Bosphorus Bridge: Those who want to go to Sarıyer from the European side can use the TEM Highway or cross the Bosphorus Bridge. It is possible to reach the center of Sarıyer by passing through neighborhoods like Istinye, Tarabya, and Büyükdere.
  • Coastal Road: The coastal road extending along the Bosphorus is also a preferred route for transportation to Sarıyer. Starting from Beşiktaş and passing through neighborhoods like Ortaköy, Bebek, and Rumelihisarı, you can reach Sarıyer while enjoying the magnificent view of the Bosphorus.

Sea Transportation

  • Public Ferry Lines and Sea Buses: For those who want to reach Sarıyer by sea, they can use the public ferry lines operating on the Bosphorus route. There are also City Lines ferry services from Kadıköy to Sarıyer. Additionally, it is possible to reach Sarıyer by sea from İstinye and Emirgan with boats departing from there.

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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