Are you wondering if an autumn visit to Istanbul is a good idea?
You might be looking for a half term adventure with the children or perhaps you fancy a more cultural city break, an escape for yourself?
We think October’s a gorgeous time to visit Istanbul. You can expect balmy weather and easy exploring with stunning views and sunsets. There are more cultural festivals at this time of year than any other, in addition to the year-round attractions. Queues for the famous sights are shorter than in the summer and most places are far less crowded. City life bustles on in the streets around you and welcoming tables at pavement cafés wait for you in the sunshine.
Here are seven ideas from us, to help you enjoy your time:
See a great film in a historic cinema during Filmekimi
The 2019 Filmekimi festival runs from October 4th to 13th. Two of the venues are in historic buildings in Beyoğlu, close to Galata, where you can enjoy the architecture as well as the movie. The festival programme has a fabulous choice of films. It’s an international event, so you can expect Turkish subtitles with original soundtracks in English: great for your Turkish language skills too!
Take a stroll around Gülhane Park in the sunshine
Gülhane Park was originally part of the grounds of fabulous Topkapı Palace and is now an oasis of calm in the busy city. In spring the park is bright with tulips, but autumn brings more subtle colour with majestic golden trees and views across the sparkling Golden Horn to Galata.
You can find the locations of Gülhane Park, Galata and our holiday apartments on this Istanbul map.
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Hello October, so autumn’s here already 💫 Does it feel like it where you are too? • In Istanbul we’re surrounded by water. Not only does the megacity straddle the Bosphorus Strait, with Europe on the west side and Asia on the east, but it also has the Marmara Sea to the south, the Black Sea to the north and the Golden Horn or Haliç in the middle! • So you can expect the odd bit of atmospheric mist or sea fog on some autumn nights, as they turn a little cooler 💫 • Original 📷: @recepcankatar
Eat delicious fish in Karaköy
The ancient neighbourhood of Karaköy, just down the hill from Galata, borders the waters of the Golden Horn and has, for hundreds if not thousands of years, been a destination to find fresh, delicious fish. Karaköy has undergone some development recently, as the informative bloggers at Turkey’s For Life report, but the area is still an atmospheric place to explore and to meet the many well-fed street cats.
Autumn is the best season for fish in Istanbul and here you can enjoy a traditional grilled mackerel sandwich ‘balık ekmek’ cooked while you wait from a simple stand by the ferry stop. If you’re feeling culinarily creative then choose something fresh from the fabulous displays to cook your own way back at home in your apartment kitchen.
Head to the top of Galata Tower
October is a wonderful time to do this. The queue to buy your ticket won’t be so very long and the weather, while you wait, should be enjoyable. Once you’re at the top – there’s a modern lift to help – the views across to Sultanahmet and Topkapı Palace are absolutely stunning. The viewing balcony is quite narrow and feels very high up, so we wouldn’t advise this adventure if you have any issues of vertigo.
If your preference is for a more private, less precarious, very similar view, then stay in one of our Petraki Place short stay apartments and you can take your drinks, meals or simply thoughts up with you any time you like: no need to queue at all. Read more about this view in another of our blog posts here.
Lose yourself in Galata
Our neighbourhood of Galata is full of interesting surprises. Discoveries of cool cafés, boutiques and artisan shops are your reward for slow exploration around yet another corner, which is a simple joy in the mild October air. It won’t be long before you’re recognised by local shopkeepers, which is a lovely feeling in a new culture.
For many, the best shopping street is Serdar-ı Ekrem, right on your doorstep if you stay with us at Pasha Place apartment. This characterful cobbled street is full of independent design shops and cosy cafes. Enjoy a wander and a coffee or two and you’ll feel a real connection with the creative, bohemian side of the city.
Wind down with some live Jazz
The 29th Akbank Jazz Festival runs for 10 days between October 17th and 27th this year. You’ll find art events and concerts from some wonderful international artists, plus family workshops and even a sushi-making jazz performance! Venues are across the city, including some in Beyoglu – a wander away if you’re staying with us.
Meet like-minded people for a photography walk
The light in October is really lovely. Our favourite guide for photography walks in Istanbul is Monica from Alternative City Tours. She’ll lead you gently through hidden back streets, onto rooftops and into multicultural neighborhoods. All the while you can experiment with your photography in the company of a small friendly group. Have a look at Monica’s Autumn programme for 2019.
“To walk with Monica is to step into a hidden Istanbul.” Mishal Husain, BBC Broadcaster
You can contact Monica directly at [email protected]
Do you have questions?
We really love autumn in Galata and throughout the rest of the year too. We highly recommend an Istanbul city break in October!
Feel free to comment or ask us any questions you may have, below. We’d love to hear from you.
If you’d like to book an apartment with us for October 2019 or later into Autumn/Winter, we may still have some availability: FIND OUT HERE