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Visit Balat in Istanbul: Attractions, Food, Shopping, Hotels, Map

Visit Balat Istanbul

Balat on the European side of Istanbul is a vibrant and joyful district.  At the heart of the historic peninsula, it reflects Istanbul's heritage.

Welcome to the colorful streets of Balat! It is a historic neighbourhood where different religions and minorities live together.
This post will provide you with ideas for things to do and tell you about attractions in this beautiful bohemian neighborhood. It guarantees a memorable experience from lively streets with trendy cafes to historic sights.

Explore the rich food scene, immerse yourself in the arts of streets.

Let’s start to explore together!

Introduction to Balat: The Bohemian Neighborhood on Istanbul's Europien Side

balat district istanbul

With its colorful streets and rich history, Balat is a must-visit destination for travelers. 

The streets are full of history. Discover old synagogues, churches and mosques that tell stories from centuries ago. Every corner tells another story.

You should also visit the local galleries. They showcase the talented artists' works. There are many events to attend, such as ceramic workshops and live music performances.

Check out this article for more information about Balat's rich heritage and culture, as well as the dynamic spirit of Istanbul.

How to Get to Balat

how to get to balat

Different ways to travel to Balat from the center of Istanbul

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Bus: If you come here by bus, the easiest way is to take the Balat buses from Eminönü Square. The trip takes around 20-30 minutes.

Ferry: There are ferry lines to Uskudar, Karakoy, Kasımpasa, Fener, Balat, Haskoy, Ayvansaray, Sütlüce and Eyüp. During the day there is a service almost every 1-2 hours. You can easily reach here by ferry from any point.

Taksi: You can also take a taxi or utilize ride-hailing apps like Uber or BiTaksi from Eminonu or anywhere directly to Balat. Consider traffic conditions, particularly during peak hours, since they may alter travel times.

Explore Balat With This Guided Tour

Our recommendation: For us, the ideal way to get to Balat is to choose a private tour with a guide. Explore a different side of Istanbul in Fener and Balat. These areas are rich in Greek, Armenian, Jewish, and Bulgarian culture. Start in Fener with a Greek church and colorful staircases. Then see historical sites like the house of Dimitrie Cantemir and the Church of St. Mary of the Mongols. Don't miss the Phanar Greek Orthodox College and the church of Panagia Paramythia. Visit the Bulgarian Church and admire the famous wooden houses.

Things to Do, Tours & Top Attractions 

1. Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarchate

Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarchate

Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarchate is a famous place in Balat. It is special because it's in the former capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. Also, it is the main church for many orthodox churches.

2. Aya Yorgi Patriarchate Church

Aya Yorgi Patriarchate Church

Aya Yorgi Patriarchate Church is very important for Greek Orthodox people. It's in Istanbul and became the main church long ago. The church is dedicated to a Christian martyr named Aya Yorgi. One special thing about this church is that it has a sacred stone believed to be where Jesus was chained and whipped in Jerusalem.

3. Ahrida Synagogue

Ahrida Synagogue was built in the early 15th century. It's named after Ohrid, a city in North Macedonia where its founders came from. It's the biggest synagogue in Istanbul. The building is made of brick and stone. Inside, the prayer pulpit looks like the front of a ship. Some people think it looks like Noah's Ark, while others say it represents Ottoman ships bringing Sephardic Jews from Spain.

4. Get a Guided Tour of Balat

get a guided tour of balat

Here is why you should do a guided tour of Balat:

  • Learn about Balat's history and culture from a local expert.
  • Explore Balat's most notable landmarks.
  • Make new acquaintances by meeting other travelers.
  • Try some of the great meals available in Balat. Get an inside look of here that you wouldn't be able to access otherwise.
  • You can also buy tours where you can visit Sultanahmet, Taksim and Balat districts.

5. Take Advantage of Cultural Events 

Sveti Stefan Church balat

Fener Greek High School: Fener Greek High School is a historic educational institution in Fener, Istanbul. It has a rich Ottoman history. The school was founded in the late 19th century. It has played an important role in the education of the Greek minority in Istanbul. It is known for its impressive architecture and cultural importance in Istanbul's Greek community.

Sveti Stefan Church: Sveti Stefan Church is an Orthodox church in the Balat Istanbul. It is also known as St Stephen's Church. The church was built in the 19th century and is an important religious and cultural landmark for the Bulgarian community in Istanbul. 
Sveti Stefan Church is famous for its beautiful architecture. 

Shopping Along the Historic Balat Streets

shopping in balat

Shopping in Balat can be the most enjoyable thing in your tour. 

Local Boutiques: Discover small boutiques selling handmade jewellery, textiles and clothing in the narrow streets.
Antique Shops: Balat is famous for its antique shops where you can find unique treasures and vintage items.
Street Markets: There are street markets and stalls selling everything from fresh foods and spices to handcrafted items.
Art Galleries: Explore art galleries, which showcase the work of emerging and established artists.
Cafes and Shops: Many of the cafes in Balat are also shops selling handcrafted pottery and food.

Don't miss out, reserve your place today!

Enjoy Top Restaurants & Meyhane’s & Cafés 

Agora Meyhane:

agora meyhane balat

Agora Meyhane's address: Hızır Çavuş Mah. Vodina Street No:128.  Fatih, Istanbul

forno balat

Forno Balat's address: Fener Kireçhane Sokak, No. 13. Fatih, Istanbul

Naftalin Cafe:

naftalin cafe

Naftalin Cafe's address: Yıldırım Cd. No:27/A, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul

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