A Stroll Along Istiklal Street in Istanbul

Derek Turkey, Videos 47 Comments

During my stay in Istanbul over the past five days, it occurred to me that taking a stroll along the city’s popular Istiklal Street is something that never gets old.

This three-kilometer long, pedestrian-only avenue on the European side of the city acts as the heart of the shopping/entertainment/nightlife district of Beyoglu, with an endless variety of both local and international stores, bookshops, cafes, restaurants, meyhane, food stalls, chestnut vendors, bakeries, bars, clubs, shisha cafes, tea houses and so much more lining both the street itself as well as the dozens of tiny lanes that branch off on both sides.

And the other night, as I found myself in Taksim Square, which lies at one end of Istiklal Street in Istanbul, I thought that you might be interested in joining me for a walk through this area…

(Warning: This is actually more of a sprint than a walk!)

*For those reading this post as an email, you’ll need to click here and visit my site to view the video. It’s not possible to embed the videos in the email unfortunately.


Have you been to Istiklal Street in Istanbul? Have you been to Istanbul in general? Is it on your list of places to visit?

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Comments 47

  1. Pingback: Istanbul: The Budget Traveler’s One-Day Itinerary - Travefy

  2. Pingback: 37+ Free Ways To Spend Time In Istanbul | | eurotribe| eurotribe

  3. ranjitha

    Hi,
    just got introduced to your wonderful blog.
    Could you suggest the absolute must dos in Istanbul
    am planning to spend at least a week there.
    thanks

    1. Earl

      Hey Ranjitha – Everything from the Blue Mosque to Hagia Sophia to Istiklal Street (at night) to Galata to taking the ferry to the Asian side and so much more. Just wander around this city and you’ll have great experiences…it’s hard to go wrong in Istanbul!

  4. Hans Comijn

    Just landed today in Istanbul Earl,
    staying at Agora per your recommendation.
    Love the cats, love the noise, … tomorrow Isiklal.
    If you have any Hamam recommendation, do let us know.

    See you somewhere down the road!

  5. LozinTransit

    I hate to bring up scams in Istanbul because I had positive experiences during my month in Turkey but it was certainly an experience that informed my time there. I’m sure you would have been engaged in multiple interactions walking on that iconic strip. I feel Istanbul is one of the most ascendant cultural capitals in the world, there’s an energy there.

  6. Hannah

    Of all the places I’ve visited in the Middle East, Istanbul was definitely one of the highlights. It seems Istiklal Street is one of the best places to get a feel for the diversity and multicultural character of Turkey. You can have a traditional Turkish breakfast and tea and go shopping at Western clothing stores in the morning, see Turkish people performing an impromptu traditional dance in the middle of the street in the afternoon, and finish the day off at an Irish pub in the evening. All within a one mile radius!

    1. Earl

      Hey Judy – Thanks for watching! And Istanbul certainly is a city that one could visit over and over again without getting bored at all.

  7. jan

    What a great video. It played straight through without having for it to wait and load. What are the lights strung across the street for? Any particular reason, or are they always there. It looks like a happening place for sure. Loved the little detour!

    1. Earl

      Hey Jan – I’m not sure what the lights are for exactly but they have always been there as far as I can remember. Just some decoration I guess.

    1. Earl

      Hey Dorota – You will have a great time!! It’s such an amazing city…let me know before you go as I might be there myself in June 🙂

  8. Jaime

    Love love love LOVE ISTANBUL. I so could live there one day. I spent 2 weeks there recently and wanna go back to spend more time. I love that city really is where WEST meets EAST. I love that at every turn you find something beautiful. I loved walking everywhere.

    1. Earl

      Hey Jaime – I’m glad you loved Istanbul as well! It really is one of my favorites these days and I can’t seem to get enough of that city myself.

  9. kerolizwan

    Hey Earl

    Ah Istanbul. Why you always make me envy with your posts! And Istanbul is definitely the core. I always wanted to go there, for one sole reason.

    You know how Turkey is the center of two biggest nations in the world European and Asian and how Eurasian derived and stuffs and so being a Muslim and to look at people with their Caucasian look with blue eyes and blonde hair and greeting you with ‘Assalamualaikum’ (the kind of Muslim way to say hello) is kind of ‘different’. Awesome in a way. No no. Not racist. It is the kind of awe and amaze feelings of how world has so many different races and colors and roots but still at some point, religion unites people.

    Way too glib if that may sound but the point is, I love Turkey, Istanbul in particular obviously! The weather, the architectures, the foods, the people everything! Been reading to Constantinople and Byzantine era and Roman and Ottoman empire etc. Turkey is one of a kind. History makes me nerd, in a good way. You know when you were a kid and you went to candy store and you were so happy you can pick almost about everything, I was that happy when it comes about Istanbul, my candy country.

    I call Turkey ‘the fusion land’ as being bordered with so many countries make Turkey different at its best, don’t you think ey?

    – Kerol –

    1. Earl

      Hey Kerol – Turkey certainly has a unique feel to it and absolutely does offer a visitor an incredible mix of culture, religion, history, architecture, etc. I think more and more people are discovering its appeal these days as Istanbul itself is becoming quite a popular tourist destination. And I agree with you, its location does make it a ‘bridge’ between cultures, which is why so many people are fascinated by this country.

      Hopefully I will see you there one day!

    1. Earl

      Hey Shane – Actually, we did go for some nargile right after we finished making the video. Maybe I’ll make a video of that during my next visit to Istanbul 🙂

  10. sarahlizp

    I actually used to walk the length of Istiklal nearly every morning, because it was the most direct route to work. It’s always magical, but lemme tell you, it can get old.

    1. Earl

      @sarahlizp – That’s a great street to walk down every morning, but I guess after awhile the magic does begin to wear off, just like with anything 🙂

  11. Connie Lovell

    Wow!ingborid orhi thanks for this, I feel like I’m back there in the buzz that is Istanbul! It is always an exciting place and I imagine you’ve stirred a few happy memories for many people! Make the most of it.

    1. Anil

      That video was actually in slow motion. Earl walks very fast – at least for me since I’m half his height…and since you’re half mine, you’d have to be at full sprint 😀

      1. Deniz

        I am NOT half your height! We are the same height when I stand on the sidewalk and you’re on the street. Thank you and GOOD DAY. >:(

    2. Earl

      Hey Deniz – It’s funny because as we were walking down the street Anil told me that you walked slower than anyone he knows 🙂

          1. Deniz

            A trip to Istanbul is long overdue for me, you’re right. Now if I could only figure out the pin to Anil’s bank account, I’d be able to buy a ticket tomorrow. But I’m using my time here to prepare myself so that I’ll be able to cream you guys in any race. I’ll be back with a vengeance! 🙂

          2. Earl

            The challenge has been accepted. And surely Anil should fly you to Istanbul…I’ll work on it.

  12. Mikaela

    Hi!

    I am going to have a 8 hour long layover in Istanbul. Is it possible to get a glimpse of Istanbul then and what would you recommend to do/see/eat for example? 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Mikaela – It all depends on which airport you are flying into…if you are flying into Ataturk, you could take the metro/tram over to Sultanahmet (it takes about 1 hour from the airport) where you could visit the main sights – the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. That would definitely be worth it 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Nicole – It’s a great walk, one that I do almost every evening whenever I’m in Istanbul. I vaguely remember the main street in Pisa…I guess I’ll have to go again to confirm their similarities 🙂

  13. Evrim

    Hiya Earl, I so envy you and your travels but I just realized how much I miss Istanbul and my family after watching you stroll around Beyoglu. I am a Turk living in the US, a slave to the corporate world often wondering why I cannot do what you have been doing.
    Please visit Asmalimescit and Cihangir while you are in the area and you must definitely post more videos.
    I do hope you make some Turkish friends because Turks are all nomads, just like you.
    Cheers
    Evrim

    1. Earl

      Hey Evrim – I am back in the US right now but when I go back to Istanbul in a month I will try to visit those areas you mentioned! And I will definitely make more videos, that’s for sure. Perhaps I shall see you out here one day…just remember, if the corporate world is not what you want, you have the power to change your life!

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