Istanbul is definitely not a very quiet or calm city, but there are plenty of places where you can hide away and focus on your work. From the city’s loveliest libraries and co-working spaces to a few quiet hidden cafes, check out Istanbul’s best places for full concentration.
Art Gallery, Library, History Museum
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The research library of SALT Galata / Courtesy of SALT Galata
Apart from the research library where you can spend hours on your work in a quiet environment, SALT Galata also has its own art gallery, museum, bookstore, café, and restaurant. Located in what used to be the Ottoman Bank, traces of its grand past are evident in the beautiful marble floors, staircases, and large wooden entrance doors.
One of Istanbul’s most popular co-working spaces has two locations: one in the business district of Levent and one in the more central neighborhood of Şişhane. Membership at Kolektif House (which ranges from a private office to flexible use of all locations) comes with members-only events, a shared kitchen, meeting rooms, lounge areas, and much more.
Tucked away in the Çukurcuma neighborhood among Istanbul’s most beautiful antique shops, Café Cuma’s second floor is a great hideaway, where you can work for hours at the communal table or on the couches by the window. When you work up an appetite, definitely try the cafe’s freshly baked pastries with a cup of coffee.
Redesigned by Tabanlıoğlu Architects in 2015, the Beyazıt State Library is not only a great place to study, but also a visual masterwork. Historic elements like the multi-domed roof, and modern structures like the black glass boxes for old manuscripts create a beautiful balance.
Much more than a co-working space, Atölye Istanbul is an academic spin-off project with ties to Stanford d.school and NYU Tisch ITP. Atölye’s workspace (for which you can choose between a flexible, fixed, or corporate membership) fosters a community feel, with activities such as yoga, happy hour, movie nights and a rhythm circle (drums included).
Completed in 1976 by architect Sedad Hakkı Eldem (one of the pioneers of nationalized modern architecture in Turkey), the Atatürk Library is both an architectural highlight and a great place to study. With a great view of the Bosphorus thanks to its position on a sloping site, the large reading room on the top floor is the perfect place to study quietly for hours.
Another fantastic little café in the heart of the Beyoğlu neighborhood, Müz Botanik & Kahve has one communal table and a few places by the window where you can study for hours surrounded by succulents, terrariums, and potted plants (all for sale). Order a cup of coffee and something sweet on the side and linger for hours while local Istanbul life passes by outside.