Even when the temperature gets too high during summertimes, there is always a way to stay cool in Istanbul. Here are some things to do for escaping the heat while enjoying the city at the same time.
Take a ferry ride
Take a ferry ride across the Bosphorus—the benches along the sides of the ship are always the breeziest spots with the best view! Here you can cool down and let your mind wander while the ferry glides past magnificent palaces and little fishing boats.
Say yes to ice cream
Eat plenty of ice cream, what else? The creamy-cool foodstuff is known to boost production of thrombotonin—a stress-reducing, happiness-inducing hormone closely related to serotonin. We tested it recently, and it really works!
Istanbul’s best ice cream slingers
- Eataly: Istanbul’s Italian grocery paradise serves up creamy gelato goodness made from fresh cow’s milk. Zorlu Center, Zincirlikuyu; T: (0212) 336 66 00
- Dondurmacı Ali Usta: Ask anyone in Moda for their summer favorite, and they will probably direct you to Ali Usta’s ice cream shop. Get your scoop to eat right away, or buy your favorite flavor by the kilo to take home. Moda Caddesi No.264/A, Kadıköy; T: (0216) 414 18 80
- Girandola: Sells Italian ice cream in the form of gelato and sorbet. Try their whiskey-chocolate flavor! Bebek Arnavutköy Caddesi No.109; Arnavutköy; T: (0212) 265 26 29
- Pinkberry: Their frozen yogurt is the healthy alternative to ice cream, and oh so refreshing! Customize it with toppings from fresh fruit, to crunchy-sweet chocolate and nuts. Kanyon, Büyükdere Caddesi No.185, Levent T: (0212) 353 04 45
Enjoy the greenery
If you like your cool with a side of green, Atatürk Arboretum is the place to go. Situated within the vast Belgrade Forest north of Istanbul, this place is a living tree museum cultivated by the Forestry Faculty of Istanbul University. Three lakes and a wide range of native and non-native trees make a stroll around this peaceful spot simultaneously refreshing and educational. Belgrad Ormanı, Bahçeköy
To cool down, the best thing is to avoid direct sunlight. If crouching along the sides of large buildings is not your thing, why not go underground? The Basilica Cistern or Yerebatan Sarayı (Sunken Palace) is great for a walk in the dark. Also, more exciting sights below street level awaiting you to discover in Subterranean sights of Istanbul. Yerebatan Caddesi No.13, Sultanahmet; T: (0212) 522 12 59
Visit a museum
The antique marble statues at Istanbul Archaeological Museum couldn’t care less about the raging summer heat. Do as they do and spend an inspiring afternoon among fascinating artefacts from excavations in and around Istanbul. Alemdar Caddesi, Osman Hamdi Bey Yokuşu Sokak, Sultanahmet; T: (0212) 520 77 40
Jump into a pool
A dip in one of the city’s swanky hotel pools is definitely more upscale than a cold shower at home, and its side effects may include anything from a deep tan to a boost in your social life.
Best swimming pools in the city
- Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus: The large outdoor pool here may not quite have Olympic size, but it sure has a gold-medal view over the Bosphorus and Üsküdar on the Asian Side. Çırağan Caddesi No. 28, Beşiktaş; T: (0212) 381 40 00
- Hotel Les Ottomans: The outdoor pool of this ultra-posh hotel is filled with seawater and faces the Bosphorus. Muallim Naci Caddesi No. 68, Kuruçeşme; T: (0212) 359 15 00
- Wyndham Istanbul Kalamış Marina: Enjoy a day at their rooftop infinity pool with a beautiful view over the sea of Marmara and the Kalamış Marina. Kalamış Fener Caddesi No. 3, Kalamış; T: (0216) 400 00 00
- The Grand Tarabya: Located a little out of town, away from the big crowds, and at the point where sky meets glittering sea, is this beautiful grand hotel with its equally grand outdoor pool. Haydar Aliyev Caddesi No. 154, Tarabya; T: (0212) 363 33 00
- Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus: Spend hot summer days by the Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus pool, with lounges, beds, and a large sitting area. You need a membership to use this pool, but it’s worth it. Cumhuriyet Caddesi, Harbiye; T: (0212) 315 60 00
- Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul: At the waterfront of the Bosphorus, the heated outdoor pool presents the wholesome seaview. Almost feel like swimming in the turquoise sea of the Bosphorus! Çırağan Caddesi No.32; T: (0212) 326 4646
Head to Şile
If all of the above fails, it’s time to escape to Şile. This little seaside town on the Black Sea coast an hour northeast of Istanbul boasts several picturesque rocky bays and sandy beaches. The sea may be a bit rough sometimes, but a fairly reliable breeze provides cooling effects onshore.