Istanbul, the city where East meets West, is a treasure trove of ancient wonders and modern delights. But amidst the whirlwind of tourist attractions and the hustle and bustle of the city, there are hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy are two such neighborhoods, located on the European side of the city, just a stone’s throw away from the heart of Istanbul. Despite stereotypes, there are many things you can do in Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy in Istanbul. Let’s explore them!
How Far Are Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy from Tourist Attractions?
Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy are located on the western side of the city, approximately 15-20 kilometers away from the historic Sultanahmet area. While they may be a bit further from the tourist hotspots, they are well-connected to the rest of the city by public transportation. See the location >>
How to Get to Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy?
The easiest way to get to Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy is by taking the metro or Marmaray. Both neighborhoods have their own metro stations, and you can easily reach them from any part of the city. You can also take a taxi or a bus, but be prepared for the traffic.
The M1A metro line stops at both Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy neighborhoods, making it easy to reach them from any part of the city.
Read also: Transport for Tourists in Istanbul: the Main Routes of Tram, Metro, Funicular and Ferry (2023)
How to Get to Bakirkoy from New Istanbul Airport?
If you’re arriving at New Istanbul Airport and need to get to Bakirkoy, there are several options available. You can find more information about the shuttle bus and its schedule on our guide: How to Get from New Istanbul Airport (IST) to Bakirkoy: Shuttle Bus, Metro, and Transfer.
Florya: Bakirkoy’s Most Beautiful Neighbourhood
Florya is one of Bakirkoy’s most beautiful neighborhoods, located right by the sea. It’s the perfect place to escape the city’s chaos and enjoy a peaceful day by the water. You can take a walk along the seaside promenade, enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the many cafes, or visit the Istanbul Aquarium and Floria Istanbul Beach.
Discover the Best Things to Do in Bakirkoy and Zeytinburnu, Istanbul
Veli Efendi Horse Racing Track and Istanbul Aviation Museum
If you’re a fan of horses and planes, then you’ll love the Veli Efendi Horse Racing Track and Istanbul Aviation Museum. Located in Zeytinburnu, these two attractions are right next to each other, making it easy to visit both. You can watch the horses race, or explore the aviation museum and learn about the history of flight.
Enjoy Nature at Bakirkoy Botanical Garden
Bakirkoy Botanical Garden is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy some time in nature. The garden is home to over 2,000 species of plants and trees, and you can take a guided tour to learn more about them.
Church of Saint Mary of the Spring
The Church of Saint Mary of the Spring is a Byzantine-era church located in Zeytinburnu. It’s known for its stunning mosaic artwork, which dates back to the 5th century. The church is a must-visit for history and art enthusiasts.
CNR Expo Center
If you’re in Istanbul for a conference or trade show, then you’ll likely visit the CNR Expo Center. This massive convention center is located in Bakirkoy and hosts events throughout the year. Even if you’re not attending an event, it’s worth visiting to see the impressive architecture.
1453 Panorama Museum: Discover History
The 1453 Panorama Museum is located in Zeytinburnu and is a must-visit for history buffs. The museum features a 360-degree panorama of the Fall of Constantinople, which took place in 1453. It’s an immersive experience that will transport you back in time.
Merkez Efendi Mosque and Cemetery
For a glimpse into the rich history of Istanbul, head to the Merkez Efendi Mosque and Cemetery in Zeytinburnu. This mosque, built in the 17th century, features exquisite Ottoman architecture with a spacious courtyard and an elegant minaret. The mosque is named after the Sufi saint Merkez Efendi, who lived in Istanbul in the 16th century and was the founder of the Merkez Efendi Dervish Lodge.
Adjacent to the mosque is a cemetery where many of Istanbul’s most distinguished scholars and theologians are buried. It’s a peaceful and serene place, perfect for a quiet stroll or contemplation.
Yenikapi Mevlevi Lodge and Whirling Dervishes
If you’re interested in experiencing the spiritual side of Istanbul, head to the Yenikapi Mevlevi Lodge, also known as the Galata Mevlevihanesi. This 15th-century lodge is home to the Whirling Dervishes, a Sufi order known for their hypnotic dance ritual called the Sema. The Sema is performed every Sunday, and visitors are welcome to attend and witness the mesmerizing spectacle.
Merkez Efendi Hammam: A Turkish Bath Experience in Zeytinburnu, Istanbul
After a long day of sightseeing, treat yourself to a traditional Turkish hammam experience at the Merkez Efendi Hammam. This historic bathhouse, built in the 16th century, has been lovingly restored to its former glory, complete with marble floors, ornate tiles, and a domed ceiling. Enjoy a rejuvenating scrub and massage, followed by a dip in the hot and cold pools, and emerge feeling refreshed and renewed.
Enjoy the Turkish Bath in the Famous Hammams of Istanbul
If you’re a fan of marine life, don’t miss the Istanbul Aquarium, located in Florya. This massive aquarium is home to over 15,000 sea creatures from around the world, including sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. There are also interactive exhibits and shows, including a walk-through tunnel where you can see the fish up close and personal.
Enjoy Free Entry to the Istanbul Aquarium and Guided Tour with Istanbul E-Pass
The Istanbul E-Pass is a valuable option for travelers, as it offers free entry and guided tours to the Istanbul Aquarium, along with 50+ other attractions, providing a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the city.
If you’re looking for more fun things to do with kids in Istanbul, we recommend checking out our article: Fun Things to Do in Istanbul: Best Places to See with Kids.
Floria Istanbul Beach
When you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Floria Istanbul Beach in Florya. This tranquil beach is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, with crystal-clear waters and pristine sand. There are also plenty of amenities, including showers, changing rooms, and sun loungers, making it the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun.
Shopping in Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy
If you’re looking for shopping options, Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy have plenty of local shops and markets worth exploring.
Forum Istanbul Mall
If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy and looking for shopping options in Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy, head to Forum Istanbul Mall, located in Bayrampasa. This massive shopping center features over 280 stores, including international brands and Turkish designers.
There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes, making it the perfect spot for a day out with friends or family. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends, electronics, or home decor, Forum Istanbul Mall has something for everyone.
Find more malls in Istanbul >>
For a more intimate shopping experience, head to the Carousel Mall in Bakirkoy. This charming mall features a range of boutique shops and eateries, as well as a cinema and a bowling alley. It’s a great spot to spend a rainy afternoon or to pick up some unique souvenirs to take home.
Marmara Forum Istanbul: Fun Under One Roof
Marmara Forum Istanbul is another must-visit shopping destination in Bakirkoy. This massive mall features over 330 stores, as well as a variety of dining options, entertainment venues, and even a cinema complex. It is a popular spot among locals and tourists alike, and it’s not hard to see why.
One of the unique features of Marmara Forum Istanbul is its open-air design, which allows for natural light to flood the space and creates a pleasant shopping atmosphere. It’s also a great place to escape the heat during the summer months, as there are many air-conditioned areas to take a break and relax.
Whether you’re looking for high-end luxury brands or more affordable options, Marmara Forum Istanbul has something for everyone. You’ll find everything from fashion and beauty to electronics and home goods, as well as a wide selection of restaurants and cafes.
If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to check out the KidzMondo indoor theme park located on the second floor. It’s a fun and interactive experience where kids can role-play various professions and learn about different careers.
Best Hotels In Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Zeytinburnu or Bakirkoy, there are several great options to choose from.
Titanic Port Bakırköy
Experience the luxurious Titanic Port Bakirkoy, a premier Istanbul hotel located near the city’s top attractions. This sophisticated urban retreat is surrounded by exceptional shopping, fine dining, and convenient public transport options.
Titanic Port Bakirkoy offers remarkable convenience with its close proximity to Istanbul’s major touristic districts, central areas, and ring roads. Within walking distance, guests can find over 200 shops, prominent hospitals, Galleria, Capacity and Carousel Malls, and Atakoy Marina Park. The area also features walking trails, bike paths, children’s playgrounds, and social facilities along the shore.
Mercure Istanbul Bakirkoy Hotel
The Mercure Istanbul Bakirkoy Hotel is ideally situated near shopping centers and caters to both business and leisure travelers. The Ecru Restaurant on the 2nd floor and the Octo Lounge in the Lobby serve a diverse selection of world cuisine.
All rooms in this four-star hotel are designed with modern comforts in mind. The hotel offers 92 rooms, including Deluxe City View, Superior, Junior Suite, Family Suite, and Classic. In addition to non-smoking rooms, there are 2 specially designed rooms for disabled guests.
Novotel Istanbul Zeytinburnu
Novotel Istanbul Zeytinburnu offers comfortable, centrally-located accommodations with modern furnishings, TVs, minibars, and stunning Marmara views. The hotel features a sauna, massage services, a pool, free parking, and shops, making it an ideal choice for both families and business travelers.
Easily accessible from the E5 highway, tram, and Metrobus lines, guests can explore Istanbul’s city center, Bosphorus, Sultanahmet, Topkapi Museum, and the historical peninsula.
Best Restaurants In Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy
When it comes to finding a place to stay in Zeytinburnu or Bakirkoy, there are plenty of excellent options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel with all the amenities or a budget-friendly option that won’t break the bank, you’ll find something that suits your needs.
Abdülkadir Restaurant is a popular choice for those looking for authentic Turkish cuisine in Bakirkoy. The restaurant is known for its delicious kebabs and meze dishes, all made from fresh and high-quality ingredients. With its cozy and welcoming atmosphere, Abdülkadir Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a satisfying meal after a day of exploring.
Hükümdar Sofrası Bakırköy Aile Mangalbaşı Et Lokantası
For a taste of traditional Ottoman cuisine, head over to Hükümdar Sofrası Bakırköy Aile Mangalbaşı Et Lokantası. This family-friendly restaurant serves up succulent grilled meats and other classic Ottoman dishes in a warm and inviting atmosphere. From the flavorful lamb chops to the mouth-watering baklava, every dish at Hükümdar Sofrası Bakırköy Aile Mangalbaşı Et Lokantası is sure to delight your taste buds.
If you’re looking for a casual spot to grab a bite, Haydin İstanbul is a great choice. This popular fast-food chain offers a variety of delicious burgers, sandwiches, and wraps, all made with high-quality ingredients and fresh produce. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic cheeseburger or a spicy chicken wrap, Haydin İstanbul has something for everyone.
For those who love Turkish street food, Ehl-i Ciğer is a must-visit. This cozy restaurant specializes in ciğ köfte, a popular Turkish snack made from bulgur, tomato paste, and a variety of spices. The restaurant’s version of ciğ köfte is especially flavorful and delicious, and is served with fresh vegetables and a tangy lemon sauce.
Last but not least, Steakman is the perfect place to indulge in a juicy steak or a succulent burger. This upscale steakhouse offers a variety of premium meats, all cooked to perfection and served with a variety of delicious sides. From the perfectly seared ribeye to the juicy Wagyu burger, every dish at Steakman is sure to satisfy even the most discerning of meat lovers.
Apartment for Sale in Bakirkoy and Zeytinburnu: A Smart Investment Opportunity
Investing in a property in Bakirkoy or Zeytinburnu can be a great investment opportunity. Both areas are highly sought after for their proximity to Istanbul’s city center and transportation hubs, making them popular locations for both locals and tourists.
With the growing demand for housing in Istanbul, property prices in Bakirkoy and Zeytinburnu have been steadily increasing over the past few years. This makes investing in an apartment in these areas a smart financial move, as the value of your property is likely to appreciate over time.
There are plenty of things to do when it comes to dining and exploring in Zeytinburnu and Bakirkoy. In conclusion, Bakirkoy is a great destination for those visiting Istanbul, offering a perfect blend of historical sites, modern shopping centers, and comfortable hotels. With its location near the sea, visitors can enjoy a variety of water activities and stunning views. The area is also home to many popular shopping malls, such as Capacity and Carousel, offering a wide range of products from well-known brands to local crafts. Moreover, Bakirkoy is filled with various hotels that cater to different budgets and preferences, providing visitors with a comfortable and convenient stay. Whether you are interested in exploring Istanbul’s history, shopping, or simply relaxing by the sea, Bakirkoy is definitely worth a visit.