Istanbul: Places to Explore

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Beşiktaş and Nişantaşı

A short ways up the Bosphorus from Karaköy is one of Istanbul’s most visited attractions outside the Old City: the stunning neoclassical Dolmabahçe Palace, each room more ornate and over-the-top than the last. Nearby Beşiktaş is home to attractions like Yıldız Parkı and the recently reopened Naval Museum, which showcases an impressive collection of Ottoman artifacts in a specially designed venue overlooking the water. Most of Istanbul’s luxurious Bosphorus-side hotels, including a couple that are housed in former Ottoman palaces, are likewise found in and around this area. A major transit hub, Beşiktaş is also the gateway to the Bosphorus neighborhoods to the north, and a departure point for ferries to Istanbul’s Asian side.

Up the hill from Beşiktaş is Nişantaşı, the city’s high-fashion district, home to the flagship stores of internationally known luxury brands as well as some local talent; the upscale hotels, restaurants, and cafés here also make it a great area for people-watching. The Military Museum is just a short walk away on Cumhuriyet Caddesi, which then leads back to Taksim Square.

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