romantic places in Istanbul for couples

Romantic Places in Istanbul for Couples – How to Spend Quality Time Together

Last updated on January 8th, 2024

With the number of romantic places in Istanbul, the challenge lies not in finding a spot for your date, but in choosing from the city’s many beautiful options, where every corner radiates the promise of unforgettable moments.

As we all know, some cities are more romantic than others. And although Istanbul is not exactly Vienna or Paris, it still has plenty to offer to couples looking to spend some quality time together in a romantic atmosphere be it on Valentine’s Day, honeymoon to Turkey, or any other occasion.

Thanks to its historical neighborhoods, natural spots, and of course, awe-inspiring views of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, Istanbul effortlessly captures the essence of romance.

Of course, everyone can have their own romantic getaway places, but I did my best to list the ones that I love in Istanbul and think you will enjoy them too because they are just special.

So in the following lines, I am listing my top romantic things to do in Istanbul together with some romantic restaurants and hotels as well as some finest Istanbul hidden gems. They are all great picks for a romantic getaway in this grand city!


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My Favorite Romantic Spots & Things to Do in Istanbul for Couples

Stay in Istanbul’s Most Romantic Hotel

One of the top romantic places in Istanbul is definitely the epitome of luxury and romance that many lovey-dovey hotels of Istanbul offer. So making a plan to stay in a nice hotel should be your number one thing, especially if you are coming to this city for the first time.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by The Stay Bosphorus (@thestaybosphorus)

Depending on your preferences and travel style, you can choose a luxury resort-style hotel, boutique private property or even a romantic apartment with touches of Ottoman-inspired elements. And the best thing here – there are romantic hotels and apartments in Istanbul for any budget, you don’t even need to spend much.

To give you examples, here are my top hotels in Istanbul where you can feel very special with your second half. They are located in different parts of the city but all with charm and a touch of romance.

  • Hotel Ibrahim Pasha – right in the heart of the Old Town, with a cozy terrace and rooms that have been designed to evoke a romantic ambiance. Great for a mid-budget
  • The Stay Bosphorus – boutique hotel with Bosphorus views, but you need to choose a room with a balcony overlooking Buyuk Mecidiye Mosque and have cozy mornings or evening there
  • AJWA Sultanahmet – the most romantic hotel in Istanbul Old Town with Ottoman-inspired design and intimate atmosphere
  • The Bank Hotel – a member of Design Hotels
  • TomTom Suites – in a historic building in one of the most romantic neighborhoods

Have Breakfast on the Terrace Overlooking the Golden Horn

To start the day with an authentic Turkish breakfast overlooking beautiful Istanbul, hearing seagulls soar, and sharing captivating stories… isn’t it romantic? To me it is!

You can organize it all yourself if you decide to go to one of the Istanbul breakfast restaurants with a view! Particularly view of the Golden Horn or Bosphorus.

And then if you do a bit of history research, you can download stories about the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires as well as about the establishment of the Turkish Republic and its modern era to read (and discuss) them while enjoying a meal and looking at Istanbul from above.

One of my favorite breakfast places in Istanbul which guarantees a truly romantic restaurant visit is Huqqam Lounge Terrace near Rustem Pasa Mosque on the opposite side from Karakoy. But there are many more to choose from. You need to see my list of incredible breakfast places in Istanbul to get inspired.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Huqqam Lounge Terrace (@huqqamloungeterrace)

During breakfast, you will taste menemen (scrambled eggs with vegetables), sausages, cheeses, olives, cheese pastries, pekmez (unsweetened jam), honey with kaymak (a dairy product with consistency between sour cream and butter), simit (Turkish bagel), cucumbers, tomatoes, and grapes.

Start your day in this way and relish a truly delightful morning!

Other suggestions for how to spend breakfast or lunch time in a romantic way

 

Explore Galata Tower Stairs & Its Restaurant

There is this saying in Istanbul that the person you go up the Galata Tower with will be the person you will be marrying… This may be true or not – you can try and see! But this is not the real reason I have included this place on the list.

Galata Tower is one of the most beautiful structures in the city, located in a beautiful, historical neighborhood (Galata neighborhood, which should be discovered as well!) and it has an amazing view of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn from the top, the kind of view that gets even better with the presence of a loved one!

And, if standing on top of maybe the most iconic structure in the city and gazing at a panoramic view of Istanbul and Bosphorus is not enough, you can top this experience with a romantic dinner at the tower’s restaurant, which has a great ambiance.

Explore Hidden Corners of Çamlıca Hill

One of the best spots for some quality time together is Çamlıca Hill which has long been on the list of İstanbul’s most romantic spots for couples. Once you are there, you will easily understand why!

Cherished by locals as one of Istanbul’s most romantic spots due to its panoramic views of the city and the Bosphorus, it offers couples a breathtaking setting for intimate moments. The peaceful atmosphere, romantic strolling paths, and symbolic significance make it a go-to destination for those seeking a romantic escape from Istanbul’s busy streets.

romantic place in Istanbul
spending time in Uskudar

Çamlıca Hill (Çamlıca Tepesi in Turkish) is located in Üsküdar – an old neighborhood in İstanbul that is definitely worth seeing. (I have a detailed post about this neighborhood here if you want to check that out too!)

Come here at any time of the day to walk its green parks, enjoy tea or coffee, breakfast, lunch, or a romantic dinner with your partner in its beautiful cafes and restaurants, and of course, admire a spectacular Bosphorus and city view. But for the outdoor experience to be more pleasurable, I would recommend Summer or Spring months.

Go on a Romantic Terrace & Cable Car on Pierre Loti Hill

Another famous hill of the City of Seven Hills (Istanbul is also known as city of seven hills, as the old city was built on seven hills on the Historical Peninsula), this one takes its name from the French author Pierre Loti, who lived in İstanbul between 1850 – 1923, and fell in love with it – for that we cannot really blame him…

Situated in Eyüp, which is one of the oldest settlement points in İstanbul, Pierre Loti Hill looks over a mesmerizing view of the Golden Horn, thus it is a favorite spot of not just the locals of the city, but of the foreign visitors and expats as well.

It is also, as you can guess, a great spot for a romantic gathering, no matter the time of day or the occasion – be it breakfast, coffee, lunch, or dinner.

Plan Your Evening Out Around the Sunset Time

Sunsets in general are associated with beauty and a romantic ambiance. But watching the sunset in Istanbul is particularly special because this city’s unique geography provides impressive vistas for sunset views. The interplay of the sun’s rays with the historic skyline, the domes and minarets of mosques, and the shimmering waters of the Bosphorus creates a totally romantic scene.

Istanbul sunset from Camlica Hill

Sunsets in Istanbul are always magical (even in winter) and serve as a great backdrop for romantic evenings. Even those people who are on a tight budget can have a fantastic night out with a date if they just go to one of the vista points around the city.

You need to read my post about the best sunset spots in Istanbul to understand what I mean and find those locations where to have a romantic evening on a budget.

Another option, if you are ready to spend on a sunset is to go to a restaurant with a view of the western side or to join a ferry cruise that also includes some type of shows and dinner like one of the cruises below:
 

Go For Lunch or Dinner to a Romantic Restaurant

The number of romantic restaurants in Istanbul is as high as the number of beautiful romantic hotels. You can go to one of the many restaurants with a view of the Bosphorus or Istanbul from above to indulge in a culinary journey that mirrors the enchanting cityscape.

Whether you prefer a cozy, candlelit setting or an open-air terrace under the stars, many restaurants in Istanbul offer not only exquisite cuisine but also views and ambiance that elevate the dining experience. 

romantic restaurant in Istanbul
Romantic Turkish Traditional Dinning Table with Special Alcohol Drink Raki, and Beautiful Istanbul Bosphorus View

If you want something different than just a roof-top restaurant (this concept is very common in Istanbul), then consider the Çamlıca TV Tower that has an observation deck, a cafe, and a restaurant on the highest floor.

It is the tallest building in Istanbul and is a true masterpiece of futuristic art that lights up at night almost like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Be sure to reserve a window table in advance.

Head to Belgrad Forest With Secluded Trails

If you are a lover of nature, Belgrad Forest is among the best places you can go in Istanbul for a day or for a weekend trip.

Obviously, it will be a beautiful experience both alone or as a couple, but for couples who would like to spend some quality time surrounded by the trees and accompanied by the chirping of the birds, it provides a perfect romantic getaway.

Belgrade Forest
walk in Belgrade Forest

Here you can take a serene nature walk, have a picnic if you want to, pick up mushrooms (be careful if you are not an expert as there can be dangerous ones as well), ride a bike (there are some for rent near the park’s entrance), or if you are in the adventurous mode, rent an ATV!

Belgrad Forest, in Sarıyer district, is the type of place that you should allocate at least half a day, if not more, so it would be nice to discover it on a not-so-busy day, without many plans.

Hide Away in a Maiden’s Tower Surrounded by Water on All Sides

Another major symbol of the city, the modest yet always beautiful Maiden’s Tower is another perfect spot to visit with a loved one – just imagine standing on a small islet, in the middle of the Bosphorus with your significant other, watching the city lights, the seagulls flying around, and the ships passing by…

Thinking about it, visiting the Maiden’s Tower can be considered an all-in-one type of activity for couples, as it is a romantic getaway, and also an exciting cultural trip. On top of being an important symbol of the city, Maiden’s Tower has a rich history, and it also has a very interesting legend about it!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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You can reach the Tower by taking a ferry either from Üsküdar or from Galataport, an open-air mall situated at the seaside in Beyoğlu. The ferry experience is quite romantic on its own.

Have a Romantic Evening in a Bar ‘Roof 16’ 

Roof 16 is a romantic restaurant and bar in Istanbul on the rooftop of Swissotel The Bosphorus which allows one to experience and look at Istanbul from a new perspective. It seamlessly blends Peruvian cuisine with Mediterranean flavors, offering a delicious and contemporary menu rich in culinary sophistication. And all of this is accompanied by a gorgeous view!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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You have the option to visit as outside guests, yet the experience becomes even more exceptional when you choose to stay here. The price is above average but the hotel is an ideal haven for romantic couples.

It features pools, a spa, a superb rooftop restaurant and bar, as well as rooms adorned with panoramic windows offering captivating views of the Bosphorus.

After a day exploring museums and an evening spent at the rooftop bar, waking up to such a breathtaking view in the morning is nothing short of delightful!

Drive to the Hidden Lake of Saklıgöl, Şile

If you are willing to do a bit of traveling and get away from the city, Saklıgöl in Şile is actually quite the spot to spend some quality time with the person you love.

Aptly named, (it means “hidden lake” in Turkish), Saklıgöl is an artificial reservoir created by constructing a dam, surrounded by lush green forest that exudes tranquility and looks like a postcard-perfect retreat away from the hustle of a metropolis like Istanbul.

Sile area

With its lakeside bridge, extending into the forest, observation terraces, and resident ducks, the ambiance resembles that of a National Park. You’ll find there lots of greenery, crystal-clear waters, breathtaking nature, and a wooden restaurant that adds a unique charm.

It is an ideal place near Istanbul for activities like cycling, walking, and nature photography which is a nice spot for dates and romantic getaways. Saklıgöl is the perfect choice for couples who are also lovers of nature, as it has its tranquil, relaxing ambiance.

As is the case with some of the other examples on this list, it would be better if you allocate a day to spend here, as it is a little far from the main city, particularly Istanbul’s Old Town. And it might get too tiring to just come, spend an hour or two and get back, which might defeat the purpose of relaxing and having a laid-back day surrounded by beautiful nature.

Hide among the Trees in Lush Atatürk Arboretum

Speaking of natural beauties, you don’t really need to go all the way to Şile to surround yourself with green. Atatürk Arboretum is a lovely oasis that is located in the Sarıyer district.

best nature place near Istanbul

It is covered with the most beautiful shades of green all around, and filled with beautiful trees. Here you can walk along the ponds, watch the ducks and swans swim, discover the different types of trees present in the area (there are a lot of them!) and have a great time forgetting that you are actually in a chaotic city of 20 million people!

A nature museum and park at the same time, it has a really romantic ambiance, especially if you are a nature person.

The Atatürk Arboretum is closed only on Mondays, and it is open for visits every other day between 9 AM to 5 PM. Just a note – as it is a popular spot in Istanbul both for the locals and the tourists – if you want fewer people around you, visiting this place on weekdays would be a more suitable option.

Spend a Day on One of the Romantic Princes’ Islands

Princes’ Islands are usually among the first things that come to the minds of İstanbulites when they would like to briefly escape the hustle of the big city and spend some time by the sea in a more relaxed, village-like setting (and of course, if it is summer, sometimes, to swim…)

Having been to all of the islands, I can certainly recommend them to those who are looking for a romantic getaway.

Burgazada island things to do
best beach destination in Istanbul

The ferry ride to the islands itself is very cool, especially in the right season (and if you are with the right person, of course), and when you get to the islands, you instantly feel the changing of the atmosphere and feel like you are in a place much different from İstanbul. 

All islands have the perfect setting for a romantic walk, bike ride, sightseeing, or, a romantic dinner by the sea, in one of the small, cozy Turkish taverns there. But among all of them, my favorite island is still the Burgazada.

Get Lost in Mysterious Cihangir

To finish the list with another romantic spot for couples, I am picking one of the most beautiful and romantic neighborhoods in the city.

view of Istanbul from above
residential buildings in Istanbul

Cihangir is a small neighborhood in Beyoğlu, that is filled with old apartments, narrow streets, beautiful cafes, bars and restaurants, interesting people of all origins, and lots and lots of cats!

It has a very European vibe, not just aesthetically but socially as well as you will certainly notice once you are here, especially if you spend a lot of time in other areas of İstanbul.

Just walking its streets exploring the neighborhood would be a pleasurable activity, but there are a lot of places where you can have a drink or two, or a chic dinner with your partner as well, so it is definitely worth exploring for those looking for places to go on a couple’s adventure!

For more information on this neighborhood, you can check out my detailed post about Cihangir!

Other Date Places in Istanbul

Istanbul has many spots where couples can feel special and have an intimate experience. Here are more of my favorites to consider:

In need of more ideas? Check my Istanbul guide page with all the activities and suggestions!

best romantic places in Istanbul for couples
 
 

 

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