10 Things to Do On a Rainy Day in Istanbul

Rainy Day | © Ömer Diyelim/Flickr
Rainy Day | © Ömer Diyelim/Flickr
Istanbul is not really a rainy city like London or Berlin, but when it does pour there are plenty of places to take shelter. From museums to cozy cafes, art galleries to bookstores, here are some of our favorite places to spend a spell of bad weather, while it lasts.

Get a coffee at Café Cuma

One of Istanbul’s coziest cafes is in the Çukurcuma neighborhood known for its antique shops and the Museum of Innocence. Take the stairs to the second floor at Cafe Cuma and either curl up on the couch or take the table by the window and enjoy a freshly baked cake, tart, or cookie with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Firuzağa Mh., Çukur Cuma Caddesi No:53, 34425 Beyoğlu, İstanbul +90 212 293 20 62

Cafe Cuma | © Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

Check out art exhibitions at Mısır Apartmanı

Located right on busy Istiklal Street, the Mısır Apartmanı is an excellent example of the European architecture that once embraced Istanbul all around. The Art Nouveau apartment was built in 1905 and now houses art galleries on all its floors so that you can spend hours walking around and checking out excellent exhibitions of contemporary art.

Tomtom Mahallesi, İstiklal Cd. No:167, 34433 Beyoğlu, İstanbul

Take shelter in the Chora Church

If you’re a history enthusiast, then you should run right into the Chora Church once the rain pours down and stand in awe of this structure that dates back to the early 4th century and has some of the city’s most stunningly well preserved internal decoration. The Byzantine Church features scenes from the life of Christ set in a beautifully ornate mosaic.

Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih, İstanbul

Drink some wine at Solera

A nice glass of red wine is definitely perfect on a rainy day and the very cozy Solera Winery is one of Istanbul’s best places to enjoy this particular activity. Have a little chat with the owner who will pick out the perfect bottle (or glass) suited to your taste and if you’re hungry, order some cheese to go with your wine.

Tomtom Mahallesi, Yeni Çarşı Cd. No:44, 34433 Beyoğlu, İstanbul +90 212 252 27 19

Really relax at Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

No one wants to get wet in the rain, but getting wet in a steamy hot hamam alongside a foamy bath and massage is probably not so bad. Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı is the city’s most sparkling and luxurious (yet affordable) hamam and you can even order an extra massage after your Turkish Bath in case the rain hasn’t stopped just yet.

Kemankeş Mah., Hamam Sk. 1, 34425 Tophane, Karaköy +90 212 393 80 10

Courtesy of Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

Browse books at Pandora or Homer Bookstores

Bookworms rejoice when the weather is bad because it gives them another good excuse to spend hours at a bookstore browsing through all the titles. If you’re a fan of history and politics spend a few hours at Homer Kitabevi, which has an excellent collection in English and other languages. If you’re more the fiction type, Pandora is the best place to go for great books in English from your favorite (and soon to be favorite) authors.

Do some writing at Salt Galata

If you’re a freelancer and have decided to get some work done since the weather is so bad, there’s no better place to go than Salt Galata. Located within a magnificent building that used to house an Ottoman bank, Salt’s research library converges historic marble with modern interior design and is one of the city’s best places to work. Not to mention the bookstore, café, restaurant, and art gallery inside the structure’s many floors that are also worth a look.

Arap Cami Mahallesi, No:, Bankalar Cd. No:11, 34420 Beyoğlu, İstanbul +90 212 334 22 00

Courtesy of Salt Galata

Eat lunch at Hünkar

There’s nothing better than a home cooked meal to really warm you up when the weather is cold and rainy. Hünkar is one of Istanbul’s oldest and best esnaf (tradesmen) restaurants and serves Turkish classics true to their original recipes with the best ingredients. Choose something delicious from the steaming cafeteria-style display and enjoy the upscale yet simple atmosphere.

Harbiye Mahallesi, Mim Kemal Öke Cd. No:21, 34271 Şişli, İstanbul +90 212 225 46 65

Explore the Istanbul Archeology Museums

Composed of the Archeology, Ancient Orient, and Islamic Art Museums, the Istanbul Archeology Museums have more than enough to keep you merrily occupied and fascinated for hours while the rain pours down. Just remember that the museum closes at 7pm.

Cankurtaran Mahallesi, 34122 Fatih, İstanbul +90 212 520 77 41

Curl up on a couch at Mavra

Another cozy café that’s become an icon of the Galata neighborhood, you’ll instantly feel like a local when you sit at Mavra and enjoy one of the many delicious dishes or a piece of the divine chocolate cake. Make sure to sit on one of the couches in the back to really avoid the rain outside.