Istanbul for Digital Nomads – Review!
Travel Guides

Istanbul for Digital Nomads – Review!

Istanbul! It was initially going to be 2 weeks… turned into 3 months! What an amazingly colorful, exotic, tasty, historical, vibrant city. One of the most historical cities in the world, the bridge between East and West, this metropolis has something for everyone.

Overall, it’s a must visit. DEFINITELY put it high on your list. Do a 3-4 day at least stopover next time you cross this region.

My time: It’s been so great. I’m excited and proud say I have ‘lived here’. For a semester, if you will. As always, travel is all about people. And I ended up meeting some great friends here, which of course makes everything better.

OK, let’s dive into my typical city review!



  • Exotic, busy, lively, cultural, spicy, tasty
  • 15,000,000 people (The biggest city in Europe! 13th biggest in the world. Moscow 12M, London 9M)
  • Tied with Germany for the biggest population in Europe at 80M (UK, France, Italy are 60M)
  • A mix of west and east
  • Many ‘boroughs’ like a NYC

Cost of Living

  • Relatively cheap compared to western Europe
  • As always, it’s to you!
  • You can get a basic room for $400/mo if you wanted
  • Nice Airbnb apartment $1000-2000/mo
  • Local food is relatively cheap. Local meal for $3-5
  • Taxis: $2-3. Get the BiTaxi app.
  • I wouldn’t wanna live here for less than $4k/mo, especially if you like international food, a nice apartment and going out

Cafe / Coffeeshop / Co-Working Scene

  • Starbucks (tons)
  • Espresso Lab ⭐️
  • There are many coworking spaces
  • WiFi:
    • Fine for video calls
    • Upload: Low single-digits were most common in cafes & Airbnb’s
    • Download: 5-15 most common

Expat / Digital Nomad community

  • Not necessarily a digital nomad hotspot…yet
  • Not as big as Tbilisi or Budapest perhaps
  • There were tons of laptops in the coffeeshops everywhere… perhaps there are lots more because of corona, I don’t know
  • Expat community: I’m sure there are many but I didn’t notice tons

Things to Do

  • Old town tour: Sultanahmet
    • Hagia Sophia
    • Topkapi Palace
    • Grand Bazaar
    • Underground Basilica
  • Hookah Lounges
    • Zebra Lounge is the best
  • Get a tour guide: I use Showaround app to book a local guide.
    • Turkish Breakfast
    • Instagram pic hotspots, rooftop
    • Airbnb experiences
    • Dolmabahce Palace tour (epic must see)
    • Nisansiti tour
    • Ask for a ‘where the locals hang out’ tour
      • Bebek
      • Ciangir
      • Besiktas
  • Rent a yacht/boat
  • Weekend to Cappadocia – the hot air balloons place (1 hour flight)
  • Weekend to Bodrum or other beach town

Where to Stay

  • Taksim – Taxim square is a long walking area, the most common area for tourists to stay. A great option. I stayed here for the first few weeks.
  • Nisantisi – This was my favorite neighborhood. It’s a local hot spot. Like a Brooklyn. Upscale. Full of Organic restaurants and hip cafes. Barely any tourists around. I lived here for the latter half of the stay. I like it here.
  • Chiangir – This is a cool hip area next to Taxim. A great option to stay if you want to be within short walk to Taksim but not in the thick of touristy stuff.
  • Besiktas – This is where ‘pub street’ is. Another great option to stay. It’s next to Nisantisi, near Vodafone stadium and Dolmabace Palace.


  • Airbnb
  • Hotel
  • Great options for any budget



  • Must try Turkish Food
    • Turkish breakfast
    • Durum (wrap)
    • Lahmacun (turkish pizza)
    • Et Tantuni Dürüm – Yogurt smothered wrap (or as I call it ‘Turkish enchilada;)
    • Must-try desserts
      • Baklava 🤯
      • Kunefe 🔥
      • Katmer 🤤
  • International food
    • Nisantisi has healthy organic budda bowl spots
      • Healin – best organic brunch spot
      • Kase No 16 – fire bowls (best falafel bowl ever_
  • Apps: Yemeksepiti to order food!


  • Plenty of nightlife, like a NYC
  • Spago rooftop


  • There are lots of hot Turkish girls!
  • Some say it’s more of a conservative crowd
  • But I think there are plenty non-conservative


  • It’s an amazing city!
  • A must visit
  • Stop over next time you cross the region
  • As always, travel is all about the people

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