On the edge of the more busy tourist area stay in a authentic neighbourhood and immerse yourself in the local culture,yet still have easy access by foot, or a 10 minute ride on local transportation to Aya Sofia, The Blue Mosque, Topkapi palace, the Grand Bazaar, Beyoglu Taksim etc, and all of Istanbul's major attractions.
On hilly cobbled streets, the twin neighbourhoods of Balat Fener were once the home of Istanbul's minorities. Here you'll see old Greek, Jewish, and Armenian homes, and some of the cities oldest Synagogues and Churches.
The area, because of so many national treasures, was recently declared a world heritage sight by UNESCO and has a mixture of older more conservative residents and more modern new comers living in their restored houses.
Your host's are local British/Turkish residents on hand to give any information or help if required.
The area is loved by photographers and film makers so don't be surprised to come across film crews as you wander around. The street were you will stay was featured in the last Bond movie 'Sky fall'.
We had a lovely time staying in the apartment, and being in Balat definitely gave us a different view on Istanbul than we might have gotten elsewhere. Ozkan was extremely helpful making sure everything was arranged ahead of time (he and Peter were traveling when we arrived), and helped us with transportation to and from the airport. The apartment is small but functional - a little kitchen, fridge, oven, stove, pots, pans and silverware. We had a great time walking around (it's very hilly, you will definitely get a workout!) and used the guest book (filled with tips) to find places to visit and eat. The area is very traditional, and relatively poor, though there are small signs of emerging gentrification, and a little ragged around the edges, but the apartment itself is great, and we had no problems walking around, even at night. If you're looking for a taste of the real Istanbul, or at least a part of it, I highly recommend this stay. Thank you so much, Ozkan and Peter!
This basement studio located in old Istanbul is ideal for two, is fully-equipped and provides an opportunity to experience aspects of life in Istanbul which might otherwise be overlooked. Our welcome from Ozkan & Peter was both warm and informative and included some complementary essential supplies. For the price, you couldn't do better.
I stayed in the studio for 14 days in April 2015 and was very happy with the place and the hosts. So much so, that I would definitely stay there again.
After looking at many options, I decided on this place because it provided an affordable option in what can be a very expensive city.
The studio was clean and well organized and is located in a non-touristy neighbourhood. Local food shops are just a short walk away. The biggest outdoor market in the city also takes place once every week in this neighbourhood as well... an atmospheric outing and a great way to stock up on local fruit and produce.
I found the bed comfortable and slept well every night. The hosts provided a lot of great information, including "insider" tips on places to eat and things to do and see. They were welcoming and responsive to all my requests both online and off, and genuinely concerned with ensuring my comfort and well-being.
If you want great hosts, a clean, well organized and smartly equipped studio in a neighbourhood where you are likely to meet more locals than tourists, then this is definitely a place to consider.
We knew it would be different. The apartment had everything we needed. The location was excellent. We stayed local for the 1st night and found plenty of good food places.
We had an Istanbul card (a must if you use public transport). We did the usual visitors venues but missed a few as we had been before.
We started with breakfast at a café at the bottom of the hill. I went for a shave while my wife planned our day. The shave was an experience at about £2.50.
We got a tram and funicular up to Taksim square and walked back to the main bridge. We caught the football in a really nice pub then crossed bridge to Enimou to get a bus back to local area.
After our cruise ended we took owners advice to go to Princes Island. A short walk from the ship to the terminal port then 1 hour 40 minute sail to the Island.
Cheapest day out ever. About £2.00 each return on the ferry. We got a horse drawn carriage for a tour of the Island. About £18.00 for 4 people for about an hours ride. Great value. We had a meal before sailing back. The ferry was BUSY, and we went on a weekday.
Would recommend any independent traveller to book the property and experience the real Istanbul.
The apartment looks like on the pictures, it was smaller than I expected but that did not matter as it was clean, well-equipped and well-maintained too. It is not big but for two people who are looking for a nice and cozy place to stay it is just right. I especially liked the colors of the apartment and that everything was in such a good condition.
We enjoyed having such a good kitchen for cooking and we also liked watching DVDs on the DVD player.
The only thing I missed was a little garbage bin in the room, but this is just a suggestion :) .
The communication with Peter and Özkan was always kind and friendly, already before our arrival and during our stay as well. They are very open and nice people, you should definitely not hesitate to ask, if you have any questions.
We are not new to Istanbul, so we enjoyed to see another side of this big, vibrant city. Balat is a unique part of Istanbul, where not many tourists go, although it is already an insiders' tip to explore this area I think. I always felt safe, when I was walking through the streets. I did not walk alone in the dark, but with my boyfriend by my side I did not feel uncomfortable walking the streets at night either. I enjoyed that there were not many cars in the little alleys and streets, the children playing outside and all the little corner stores and different stores down in the main street (especially the Tarihi Taş Fırın and the Şok grocery market).
One thing I was really happy about was the possibility to go running! I just went down the streets and crossed the big street till I reached the Golden Horn and then I started running (to the right towards Sultanahmet) at the playground and soccer field. You can run along the water for the whole time (the sidewalks are mostly off from the main street) till you reach the first bridge (if you cross this street and go on you'll reach Eminönü). I just ran on the bridge to the other side of the Golden Horn and at the end of it, I just turned around and ran all the way back to where I started, equals about 5 km. So, if you're a runner, you have an easy possibility to get a run in. I would recommend to not dress to boldly. I ran on my own and felt safe and comfortable always.
We enjoyed our time in the Old Istanbul Stay (13 days) and would definitely recommend it to other people, who want to explore another side of Istanbul and live in a more quiet, nice neighborhood, which is still close enough to Sultanahmet and other touristic places!
After the hustle and bustle of Istanbul city a good place for stress relief. Small but nice appartment with all inventory you need. Some food markets are around the appartment also some restaurants - we can recommend the original 'Agora' restaurant. You can go to the city by bus, but you can also walk in 45min. (but: walk across the Golden Horn, not through the town, this could be a little confusing).
Thanks to Oskan and Peter for their very nice welcome and their good recommendations and the organization of shuttle services.
Best regards from Germany
Dieter and Daniela
A delightful tasteful place to stay. Come and visit Balat Fener for an authentic experience of Turkish life.
On the Shores of the Golden Horn, it's only a 5 minute walk down the hill to the water and original Byzantine walls.
In the heart of Istanbul's old districts and on one of the 7 hills of the Old city, the area is changing as its ancient homes, churches, mosques and synagogues go through gentrification, guided by UNESCO and EU programs.
The right choice for the discerning traveller.
On the ground floor of a listed historical building in the heart of Istanbul's Old town.
All the mod cons including air con, central heating, well equipped kitchen (including full oven) TV/DVD, separate bathroom (with power shower) comfortable double bed, dining area and sofa/sitting area;
|Rate Period||Nightly||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly *||Event|
My Standard Rate
1 night minimum stay
|Fees||No additional mandatory fees|
* Approximate monthly rate. Actual rate will depend on the days of the month you stay.