A city with a glorious history, which served as the seat of successive regional powers from the Roman to the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, Istanbul boasts of a rich and variegated cultural heritage. This history is interwoven with the fabric of the city itself, where synagogues, mosques and churches in diverse architectural styles are strikingly juxtaposed.
Today, the modern city of Istanbul is anchored by its northern districts of Beyoğlu, Galata and Karaköy. Located on the eastern shore of the Bosphorus Strait, connected to the historical Old City by the Galata Bridge, Istanbul’s eastern districts are the city’s most cosmopolitan and heterogeneous, having long housed the former capital’s embassies and ambassadorial residences.
Whilst Istiklâl Caddesi in Beyoğlu remains the city’s most fashionable street, ever since the opening of Istanbul Modern, the former commercial hubs of Galata and Karaköy are emerging as the hotspots of a vigorous cultural renaissance. We’ve discovered ten Airbnb listed apartments that embody the area’s newfound vitality.
Situated in the shadow of the Galata Tower, which was built under the auspices of the Republic of Genoa, this 19th-century building is cozy yet chic, with its warmly inviting wooden ceiling beams, original parquet and hexagonal floor tiles. Elegant Mid-Century modern furnishing includes polished tables with wooden legs and an Eames-style lounge chair and Ottoman set back in an intimate raised alcove. Fully renovated in 2007, this stylish apartment features modern amenities with an industrial edge.
Price: Around £107-141 per night
Overlooking Istiklal Street – which lined by boutique shops, art galleries, European-style patisseries and cafés – guests can unwind on the terrace over a morning coffee whilst looking out over Istanbul’s preeminent thoroughfare. Inside, period details abound, including polished wooden flooring and floral-patterned ceiling molding, whilst original artwork adorns the walls.
Price: Around £75-99 per night
With the opening of Istanbul Modern, Galata stands at the forefront of Istanbul’s contemporary culture. This open plan, loft-style flat carries forward this trend, which is visible in its abundant use of exposed brick with concrete touches and industrialized furnishings. Making excellent use of its space, each immaculately designed nook serves a different yet interlinked function, making this an immaculately designed urban abode.
Price: Around £108 per night
This spacious, streamlined contemporary studio boasts of an unparalleled location for exploring the best of Galata, both old and new. Less than ten minutes by foot from Istanbul Modern and the Galata Tower, visitors can witness firsthand the transformation of this former Genoese outpost into Istanbul’s most cutting-edge district. Housed in a converted light-industrial building from the 1970s, the flat’s floor-to-ceiling glass doors and living room skylight allow guests to revel in its abundant natural light.
Price: Around £71-79 per night
The Design Duplex with Terrace and View offers a staggering view out over the city through a long glass wall that opens out to a terrace, which extends across the entire length of the apartment. Housed in a historical building, this split-level apartment is a true paean to contemporary design, integrating the building’s most singular elements — its exposed brick walls and panoramic view over the city — with modern elements that add a marked angularity to the space.
Price: Around £125 per night
Beautiful wooden doors, intricately patterned tile floors and a winding staircase lead up to this singular apartment in the heart of Galata. With an unobstructed view of Karaköy’s iconic docks and Galata Tower from its windows, this flat offers an unparalleled vantage point from which to explore the city. At the same time, the spacious, open plan apartment also offers all the comforts of a home away from home with a striking mustard yellow claw foot bathtub and whitewashed wooden floors. Light and airy, its gallery-like walls are the perfect canvas for the apartment’s many works of art.
Price: Around £124-198 per night
Warm browns, greys and off-whites predominate in this Karaköy apartment. We love the generous use of wood of different types and shades throughout the apartment including in the edging of the windows and the wood flooring, all of which lends to it the overtones of retro European charm. Original vintage pieces include delicate Art Nouveau-inspired chairs and Bentwood-style French café chairs.
Price: Around £75 per night
Distinctly crisp and fresh despite its 120-year-old history, this two-room Galata apartment marries period design with contemporary accents. Hallmarks of its rich heritage are evident in the apartment’s resplendent glass chandelier, wonderfully well-aged cabinetry and antique furnishing. Exposed brickwork and deliberate patches of unpainted walls give the flat a gritty yet pleasing appeal. Notably, each room features distinctive lighting fixtures and original artwork that offer a truly personalized experience.
Price: Around £82-165 per night
Offering stunning views over the Bosphorous, which has so strongly defined the character of Istanbul over the centuries, this Galata apartment is a mélange of design styles yet remains remarkably coherent. Built in the mid-19th century, the apartment’s décor draws inspiration from a contemporary industrial-chic aesthetic with wooden palettes doubling up as a bed frame and featuring lighting fixtures formed out of such disparate materials as plumbing pipes and found objects.
Price: Around £165 per night
Truly a uniquely designed space, the focal point of this apartment is the internal bridge that adjoins the two halves of the flat. Built in the 19th century and renovated in 2007, this elegant split-level apartment is tastefully furnished with choice pieces of design furniture such as lamps by notable Italian designers Arco, Kartell and Flos. These are paired with handcrafted objects and vintage finds. Downstairs, guests can relax and unwind in the built-in bar, a cosy den-like space bounded by original brick walls.
Price: Around £165-207 per night
This article is an advertorial published in collaboration with Airbnb and is part of an ongoing project by The Culture Trip to curate a unique selection of Airbnb’s best cultural apartments in major cities around the world. Explore these and other Airbnb listed apartments at airbnb.co.uk.