Whenever I visit Istanbul there will be new things to do in Istanbul at night. The city is always on move and never stop growing, every now and then I find new places to visit in Istanbul at night.
After spending several weeks in Istanbul in the last 3 years, I think Today I’ll be talking about the best Free and Low Budget things to do in Istanbul at night, it’s depends on your taste, travel plan, budget and most of all your traveling personality.
What To Do At Night In Istanbul beside Taksim?
Once the sun sets in Istanbul the city became very exciting, your first research on the internet will guide you to visit Taksim to enjoy the best pubs and clubs in the area.
Yes, Taksim is one of the best places to check in Istanbul at night, but Istanbul Nightlife isn’t just sipping beer and wine around the Istiklal Caddesi Boulevard.
Best Things To Do In Istanbul At Night
As we always recommend, try planning your trip ahead, book for attractions and check your budget before and upon arrival at the city. Also make your own list of things to do in Istanbul at night, if you’re a non-drinking traveler Taksim is not your 1st choice.
Bosphorus Cruise Trip in Istanbul (Price $$$)
One of the most popular Tours in Istanbul is the Bosphorus Cruise, it takes between 3-4hrs for each cruise to complete its itinerary, it depends from which station you’re boarding to which you get off the boat.
Most Cruises will include hotel transfers, open buffet dinner and wonderful attractions and traditional shows on board. Keep in mind that beverages are NOT included in the price.
CONS: We thought a lot before including this one on the list, it’s Pricey (requires a booking and cost around $60-$80). Also the Bosphorus Cruise Tour takes the whole night, if you’re on a budget with few days to spend in Istanbul, try other activities.
Sultanahmet Meydanı At Night (Free)
Enjoy visiting the Sultanahmet Meydanı (Meydanı=Square) located between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, the vibrant atmosphere in this area will make you want to stay all night long, you’ll enjoy the Colorful Dancing Fountain if you’re visiting Istanbul in Summer, grab a Dondurma Ice Cream and enjoy the view over there.
CONS: When visiting the area in winter, it’s NOT the best choice at night, you can enjoy the area by the morning with so much activities going around.
Turkish Night Show (Price $$)
Even if you’re out by night looking for fun drinking wine or having a light beer, you can still enjoy the most traditional Turkish Night, a traditional Anatolian Folk Music is a must when visiting Istanbul, Dance Groups or Dervish Show.
CONS: A Turkish Night Show is part of the cruise and can take place in restaurants or the hotel lobby, it will cost around $30-$50 and it’s NOT my first recommendation for budget travelers.
Istanbul Grand Bazaar at Night (Free)
My first choice personally, visiting the Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar) in the Morning is not the same at Night, when the Moon rises in Istanbul colors and lights rises. Even for those who can’t spend a lot shopping you can spend time exploring artefacts and grab a souvenir or two.
With over 4,000 shops in this oldest market in the world, you can’t explore everything at once, if you find something you like just grab it, because the market is very crowded and you’ll walk few hours on the Grand Bazaar’s 60 streets, just to find a shop you just pass by the last time.
In the Grand Bazaar you can shop for various authentic goods made by Turkish Artists like Turkish Carpets, handmade Pottery and Jewelry, beautiful Glass Lamps and Lights, also Spices and Textiles are widely present in the shops.
CONS: The Istanbul Polisi guarantee the safety in the market day and night, but beware of the Pickpocket and Thieves. I never encountered anything similar in this area, but some friends got robbed without noticing.
Another thing to keep in mind is Tourist Prices versus locals/residents prices, sellers think they have the upper hand, always Bargain to get cheaper prices or just leave, the seller will ask you to come back and offer better prices. I paid half price for souvenirs even when it has a price tag.
Turkish Bath (Price $$)
The first thing to do is prepare your skin for the bath, it’s similar to a sauna (kind of) then you join the steam rooms for a better experience. It takes not less than 3hrs to enjoy the full experience of a Hammam. You can take special soaps with you (available at the Grand Bazaar).
CONS: The price for a Turkish Bath can reach $150 for a season, it depends on which activities or services you request, sometimes it’s worth it. Do your research regarding prices, also ask locals about the Best Time to visit the Hammam and which place they recommend, most affordable places can be far away from the city with better experience and cheaper prices.
Rooftop Cafes in Istanbul (Price $)
For those who wants to enjoy relaxing music, jazz music or even a cup of tea, or even listening to a Turkish group playing traditional music while enjoying a good plate of food, that’s the perfect activity for you.
A rooftop cage/restaurant provides a great view at the city lights while having small talks with locals or between friends. I myself enjoy sipping a cup of traditional tea, sometimes I spend more than 2hrs on a rooftop taking pictures and listening to locals telling stories about Istanbul, as a solo traveler you can meet other travelers and chat about their/your experience in the city, one of the most recommended things to do in Istanbul at night will be a rooftop cafe.
CONS: Rooftop cafes are somehow different in style and you can’t make a decision which one to pick at first, if you don’t get a recommendation by a fellow traveler or a local, you’ll have to trust your gut and try the place.
Night Fishing near Istanbul (Free)
Best places to try Night Fishing in Istanbul will be Karakoy or near the Galata Bridge, sometimes you can improvise and ask fishermen there to teach you or guide you through a fishing season, locals will enjoy small talks with tourists and will definitely accept to share the fishing experience with you.
Also, you can taste a grilled fish plate directly from the Marmara Sea, eating something caught by your own hands is a great experience and this extraordinary plate comes with a story to tell for your next friends gathering.
CONS: This activity is not for impatient travelers, if you’re someone with a tight timeline and want to explore more places don’t go for Night Fishing in Istanbul. Fishing also require some experience, you don’t want to spend a night doing something you don’t enjoy.
Pick a Sunrise Spot in Istanbul (Free)
Whatever activity you pick for the night, it can’t be complete if you miss the sunrise in Istanbul, even if you call the night out early, you can get up soon and complete your day by watching the sun rises on the City of Istanbul.
The best spots are Galata Bridge on the Eminonu side, from Sultanahmed over the Marmara Sea. Or the north side of Istanbul at Taksim Square.
You can enjoy a sunset at a rooftop cafe, from your hotel (depends on its location) or when riding a boat. This activity is the best choice for photographers, solo travelers and the best of all it’s free, safe and doesn’t take time.
Sleep Tight and Dream of Istanbul:
As the City of Istanbul offers a mix of ancient and modern in all ways: food, drinks, culture; you can’t miss an activity and you’ll find something that you enjoy.
Don’t be afraid to try new things, get out of your comfort traveler zone and pick something new/different every night. Even if some activities are very exciting and fun to do every night, but trying new things in Istanbul is the best souvenir to take home.
If you enjoyed reading and have suggestions or questions, please post a comment and will make sure to include it on our update.