Beşiktaş has always been the type of neighborhood where a visitor immediately becomes immersed in its buzzing energy, a one-of-a-kind combination of local culture, history, city life, and delicious food. Head there on a work day to make sure you don’t miss out on any place that might be closed on Sunday.
9am – Local food hunt
Technically, there are two markets in Beşiktaş: the heart of the neighborhood, çarşı, where tradesmen of all industries settled into a permanent setting, and Beşiktaş pazarı, a weekly Saturday market known for a wide variety of fresh produce and some unbelievably cheap fashion deals on the upper level. Taking place opposite the local registry office, it is always worth browsing if you’re in the area, plus it serves as an alternative spot for a breakfast on the go.
10:30am – The football spirit
Anyone who has ever been to Beşiktaş on a match day knows that the football team under the same name is an integral part of the neighborhood’s DNA. To get a better grasp of what it means to be a Beşiktaş fan, join a tour of the stadium (English audio guides available), which takes place a few times a day, and visit the team’s museum to learn more about its history and notorious fans, known for breaking several world records for the loudest stadium cheer.
Noon – Grab a quite bite
A popular lunchtime destination, Beşiktaş will cause your head to spin from all the options available in the area. Since you can pick only one spot at a time, we strongly suggest Karadeniz Döner, where the jolly Asım Usta has been looking after each order for decades. The line in front of this little shop implies that the quick, juicy bites are worth the wait. After the meal, have a glass of pickle juice from Soydan Turşucu nearby. It’s really great for your digestion.
1:30pm – Visit Dolmabahçe Palace
No tour of the area would be complete without a visit to its most important landmark, the Dolmabahçe Palace. A former residence of the Ottoman Sultans, built during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecid I, it contains a famous staircase built of Baccarat crystal, brass, and mahogany, which is only one of the reasons to take a tour of the place over and over again.
3pm – Coffee break
To recharge your batteries over a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, pick one of the many cozy spots in Akaretler. With streets paved with outdoor tables, the area is particularly popular in the summer, but retains its charm during the colder months as well. One of our favorites here is cafe-bookstore Minoa, where you can also find a copy of our magazine.
4:30pm – Strolling around
If the weather conditions encourage you to stay indoors, take a quick tour around the Maritime Museum, displaying some interesting examples of the former Ottoman Empire’s naval glory. Are you an outdoor person no matter the weather? Take a stroll towards Yıldız Park to enjoy the greenery and peaceful nature.
5:30pm – Cocktails and dinner
Happy hour with a view, anyone? Head to the bar on the 14th floor of the Conrad Hotel for a pre-dinner cocktail against a panoramic view of the Bosphorus. And if you like your weekend outings to be a little extra, at dinner time look no further than Shangri-La Hotel’s signature restaurant, Shang Palace, for examples of the best of Szechuan and Cantonese cuisine in Istanbul.