Balat Istanbul

Balat Tours & Experiences

Bosphorus Cruise & Sightseeing Golden Horn

Visit the Spice Bazaar and Rüstem Pasha Mosque, plus enjoy a 90 minute Bosphorus cruise to see Istanbul's best landmarks from the sea. ...

From €40.00 /per person

Half Day Golden Horn Tour

This half-day tour offers you a great experience of Istanbul's most visited historical attractions. Admire the sights along the Horn and enjoy the great view....

From €40.00 /per person

Golden Horn & Bosphorus Tour

Golden Horn & Bosphorus cruise along the fascinating Golden Horn with a full-day tour. ...

From €75.00 /per person


Balat is probably the most photogenic district of Istanbul. Balat with its old narrow streets, flamboyant bay windowed houses, once, has been home for Jew population. It has a cosmopolite nature which connects various religions and cultures with synagogues, mosques and churches. The travellers wishing to experience Istanbul’s old tissue and witness its history step by step before it is lost to modernization, should definitely see Balat. If you want to experience Balat in its entirety and do not know where to start, this will be your guide to Balat Istanbul.

Balat Photos

Top Picks

So where is Balat in Istanbul? It is very close to Golden Horn area, between Ayvansaray and Fener neighbourhood, in the district of Fatih. If you are wondering how to go to Balat Istanbul, don’t worry. Because there are ways you can reach there via public transport as well as by car. You can take metrobus and take off at Ayvansaray stop then walk along the Eminonu coast or take the bus from Eminonu. If you are around Sultanahmet region and wondering how to go from Sultanahmet to Balat, you can take the T1 tram line and then almost all the buses will take you close to Balat.

What to do in Balat?

Let’s begin to find things to do in Balat. As we said this is an intersection point of religions so it would be a shame to leave Balat without visiting one or two religious architectures. The first of these buildings is Fener Rum Orthodox Patriarchate. As a result of the toleration policy towards the orthodox the patriarchate remained its form till today and now is visited by thousands every year. The other of these buildings is, of course, a mosque, Ferruh Kethuda Mosque. It is also called Mahkemealti, because there have been trials on its yard. The last of the three kinds are churches and we have two on our list: Sveti Stefan Church and Maria of the Mongolians Church. Sveti Stefan is called the “iron church” colloquially. 500 tons of iron was used on the construction of the church! Besides it is the only church with the title of an iron church. Maria of the Mongolians aka “the Bloody Church” has a little bit more interesting history to it. You should definitely go and discover. Next stop is the “Red School” which is the Fener Rum Erkek Lisesi, Fener Rum school for boys. It is one of the most sublime architectures on our list.
After tasting the history of Balat through the architectural marvels we should go on with the particulars of our what to see in Balat list. Balat’s streets, on their own, are very pleasing to the eye. Even if you are not looking at a specific thing, the atmosphere of the street will charm you. Merdivenli Yokus (the inclination with stairs) is one of the first things that should come to mind when we talk about Balat. It is the symbol of the Balat neighbourhood of Istanbul and is where the most famous pictures of Balat is taken. The houses on the Merdivenli Yokus has been included by the UNESCO World’s Heritage and restored according to the original. You will feel nostalgic and be filled with the joy of discovering the depths of Istanbul while climbing up Merdivenli Yokus. If you want to do gift shopping or want to keep something to remind yourself your day in Balat, you should stop by the antique shops of Balat. Sentimental objects, pretty looking antiques even though they no longer function like gramophones, watches, radios and so on. Tens of people come here to watch the auctions on these items even if they are not buying anything. This is probably one of the most exciting site out of the places to visit in Balat.


Eating at Balat

After a long day of walking around and taking pictures in awe, it is finally time to regain your energy. May be you want to begin your day by a good breakfast at Balat and then procede your journey. Either way First step of it is to decide where to eat in Balat. When it is time for a weekend breakfast Istanbul, first we think of common ones like Bosporus viewed places. Starting your day with one of the boutique breakfast places in Balat is a great way to start indeed. Cooklife Balat serves you great fruit pancakes, Perisperi gives you a nice atmosphere by the combination of an antique shop and a café and Forno provides you with open buffet of breakfast. Forno Balat has great dough dishes like pizza, traditional lahmacun and pide. For lunch and dinner, you may as well go there. Naftalin café on the other hand smells like nostalgia and is waiting for you to serve your afternoon coffee. If you are looking for a sumptuous dinner and wish to have a drink or two, Agora Meyhanesi serves since 1890 and has been the centre of delicious food and Turkish traditional raki. For experiencing a Turkish traditional night, meyhane would be the perfect option.


From Balat to Istanbul

If you wish to stay at Balat during your Istanbul visit or just want to spend a couple of days there, you can stay at a hotel close by, like Troya Hotel Balat which is 115-year-old Greek-Ottoman house transformed into a boutique hotel. If you chose to stay at Balat and worry about how you will reach other parts of Istanbul, you don’t need to worry. You have the opportunity to easily access other parts of Istanbul from Balat. It is easy to go from Balat to Taksim and you can continue your tour to wherever you like from there, since it is very central. There are ferries to Balat if you want to reach there by sea, like the ones from Karakoy to Balat or from Uskudar to Balat. Of course nothing is compared to sea travel so if you want a full experience on the sea of Golden Horn region after your trip to Balat, you should definitely try a cruise tour of Golden Horn.

Balat Comments

Donna - May 25, 2019

Non of parfumes have the smell of Spice Bazaar. You see the Rustam Pasha Mosque from outside as a regular mosque. But when you enter you see the marvelous design by the architect Sinan. After this architectural beauty we went to see the natural beauty, Bosphorus.

Cecilia - May 10, 2019

Near Spice Bazaar and Rustem Pasa Mosque, Bosphorus Cruise was like meditation. Strongly recommended.

Davis - February 06, 2019

It was our first morning in Istanbul so the tour was good to get a feel for the city. The spice market was good to see - it’s not so much of a tour but time to walk around the market, which was fine for us. The boat tour (which is the main reason for people going) was a little disappointing. 

Marco - January 28, 2019

I like to make investigations before my journeys. I saw a lot of old pictures of Bosphorus. I saw a lot of green places near the Bosphorus. But now there are a lot of buildings. And people can be some more kind inside of Spice Bazaar.

Sign In