If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, look no further than Eyup. Tucked away in the heart of the city, this charming neighborhood is steeped in history, culture, and spirituality. Here, you can explore ancient mosques, sample traditional Turkish food, and immerse yourself in local life. In this guide, we’ll take you through the best things to do and places to see in Eyup.
What’s Special About Eyup?
Eyup is one of the oldest and most sacred districts in Istanbul. It’s named after Eyup Sultan, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad who died in the 7th century. According to legend, Eyup Sultan’s tomb was rediscovered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II during the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. Today, the Eyup Sultan Mosque stands as a testament to the district’s spiritual significance. But Eyup isn’t just a religious destination. It’s also a thriving community, where locals come to shop, eat, and socialize.
History of Eyup
Eyup has a rich and complex history that dates back to the Byzantine era. In the 4th century, the district was known as Chrysopolis and served as an important trading hub. During the Ottoman period, Eyup became a center of Islamic scholarship and culture. Many of the district’s most iconic landmarks, including the Eyup Sultan Mosque, were built during this time. Today, Eyup is a vibrant blend of ancient history and modern life.
Where is Eyup?
Eyup is located on the European side of Istanbul, just north of the Golden Horn. It’s easily accessible by public transportation, with several bus and metro lines running through the district. If you’re coming from Sultanahmet or Taksim, you can take the metro to the Eyup station and walk from there. See the location >>
Best Things to Do and Places to See in Eyup
Eyup Sultan Mosque
No visit to Eyup would be complete without a trip to the Eyup Sultan Mosque. This stunning mosque is one of the holiest sites in Istanbul and draws pilgrims from all over the world. The mosque’s interior is adorned with intricate calligraphy, tilework, and stained glass, while its exterior boasts a grand courtyard and imposing minarets. Be sure to visit the tomb of Eyup Sultan, which is located inside the mosque complex.
Eyup Cable Car
For a unique perspective of Istanbul, take a ride on the Eyup Cable Car. The cable car runs from the base of Pierre Loti Hill to the Eyup Sultan Mosque, offering stunning views of the city and the Golden Horn. Read more…
The ride takes about 10 minutes and costs around 10 Turkish Lira per person. The cable car operates daily from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The station is located near the Eyup Sultan Mosque, and tickets can be purchased on-site. Don’t miss this opportunity to see Istanbul from a bird’s-eye view!
Experience the Magic of Eyüp and Pierre Loti Hill
For a memorable day in Istanbul, we highly recommend taking a guided tour of the historic Eyüp district and enjoying a scenic ride on the Eyüp Cable Car to Pierre Loti Hill. This popular excursion offers visitors breathtaking panoramic views of the Golden Horn and a chance to explore the charming Pierre Loti Café, named after the famous French novelist who often frequented the spot.
Pierre Loti Hill
For a panoramic view of Istanbul, head to Pierre Loti Hill. This hilltop vantage point offers breathtaking vistas of the city and the Golden Horn. The hill is named after the French writer Pierre Loti, who was a frequent visitor to Istanbul in the late 19th century. Today, the hill is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, with several cafes and restaurants offering refreshments.
For a unique and unforgettable experience, visit the Istanbul Dolphinarium located in Eyup. Here, you can watch dolphins and other marine animals perform in shows and demonstrations. The dolphinarium also offers interactive experiences where you can swim with dolphins or sea lions.
If you’re interested in Turkish history and culture, don’t miss Miniaturk. This open-air museum features over 100 miniature models of iconic Turkish landmarks, from the Hagia Sophia to the Selimiye Mosque. The models are incredibly detailed and offer a unique perspective on Turkey’s rich heritage. You can also take a boat tour around the Miniaturk lake, which features models of Istanbul’s most famous bridges.
Istanbul E-Pass: Enjoy a Free Guided Tour of Miniatürk
Enjoy the Miniaturk Museum with over 50 other activities at a fixed price with the Istanbul E-Pass.
- If you’re looking for more things to do in Istanbul with kids, check out this guide: Fun Things to Do in Istanbul: Best Places to See with Kids.
Eyup Cultural Center
For a taste of local arts and culture, check out the Eyup Cultural Center. This modern venue hosts concerts, theater productions, and art exhibitions throughout the year. You can catch a performance of traditional Turkish music or dance, or admire works by local painters and sculptors. The cultural center is also home to a library and a cafe, making it a great place to spend an afternoon.
Where to Stay in Eyup: the Best Hotels
If you’re looking to spend more time in Eyup, there are several excellent hotels to choose from. Here are some of the best options:
Radisson Residences Avrupa TEM
Enjoy a cozy and modern stay at Radisson Residences Avrupa TEM Istanbul. The 143 elegantly furnished suite apartments offer contemporary technology for a relaxing extended stay. Choose from one- or two-bedroom apartments, Presidential Duplex Suites, or the Penthouse Suite with stunning views. Enjoy amenities like modern kitchen facilities, free Wi-Fi, a well-equipped fitness center, and free parking.
Vialand Palace Hotel
Start your unforgettable family vacation at the all-suite Vialand Palace Hotel. Perfect for a weekend getaway, business trip, or family holiday, the hotel is centrally located within the Vialand Shopping & Entertainment World. Just a short walk from various attractions, the hotel offers spacious suites for a comfortable stay.
Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul Golden Horn
Located on the shores of the Golden Horn, Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul Golden Horn offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history. The hotel sits on the historic peninsula, where the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn played a significant role in the development of the Byzantium, Roman, and Ottoman empires. Immerse yourself in Istanbul’s vibrant and diverse mix of cultures while enjoying the modern comforts and amenities of this luxurious hotel.
How to Get to Eyup from Popular Neighborhoods?
Getting to Eyup is easy from most parts of Istanbul. Here are some of the best ways to reach the district from popular neighborhoods:
From Sultanahmet: Take a ferry from Eminonu or ride a bus 399B/399C/36C/44B/86V/39D.
From Taksim: Take the 55T bus from Taksim Square.
Read also: Transport for Tourists in Istanbul: the Main Routes of Tram, Metro, Funicular and Ferry (2023)
Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or a culture vulture, Eyup has a lot of fun things to do for everyone. From the spiritual significance of the Eyup Sultan Mosque to the panoramic views of Pierre Loti Hill, this hidden gem of Istanbul is full of surprises. So if you’re looking to escape the crowds and discover a different side of Istanbul, head to Eyup and see what this enchanting neighborhood has to offer.