Posted: 1/3/23 | January 3rd, 2023
Istanbul is a dynamic, sprawling, and historic metropolis known as the bridge between Europe and Asia. For centuries it was one of the most important cities in the world, a hub for trade and culture between the four corners of the earth.
Like Rome, Istanbul has layers upon layers to unravel as you wander its bustling streets. Now home to over 15 million people, it was once the capital of the Byzantine Empire (the inheritor of the Roman Empire). Then it was the center of the Ottoman Empire, which lasted over 600 years before dissolving in 1922.
Istanbul used to be a very cheap place to visit. However, prices have risen in recent years due to rampant inflation. But it’s still relatively inexpensive and home to several fun, social, and affordable hostels that can save you some money — money you can then spend on delicious food, aromatic Turkish coffee, and any of the amazing sights and activities the city has to offer, such as the Hagia Sophia or relaxing in an authentic hammam (steam bath).
But before you book your hostel in Istanbul, here are four things you need to remember:
- 1. Location – Istanbul is huge. It’s divided by the Bosphorus Strait, so picking a hostel in a location you want to be based in is essential.
- 2. Price – As in any city, you get what you pay for. If you pick a really cheap hostel, you’re probably going to get one that is small and cramped and doesn’t offer great service.
- 3. Amenities – Every hostel in town has free Wi-Fi, and most have self-catering facilities so you can cook your own meals. Many — but not all — include free breakfast, so be sure to do your research to find the one that best meets your needs.
- 4. Staff – All the hostels listed here have amazing staff who are super friendly and knowledgeable. Even if you don’t end up staying at one of the places listed below, be sure to look up reviews so you’ll know you’ll have staff who are helpful and friendly. They can make or break a hostel!
Below is my list of the best hostels in Istanbul. If you don’t want to read the longer list below, the following are the best in each category:
Want the specifics of each? Here’s my breakdown of the best hostels in Istanbul and why I love them:
Price legend (per night)
- $ = Under 400 TRY
- $$ = 401-500 TRY
- $$$ = Over 501 TRY
1. Tilas House
Located on a quiet side street in Kadiköy, a cool, laid-back residential neighborhood, Tilas House is a favorite among budget travelers and backpackers. The 150-year-old building is filled with comfortable furniture, colorful drapes, and eclectic art, and each room’s walls in are hand-painted and reflect various aspects of the culture and history of this city. It feels less like a hostel and more like a large family home.
The staff here are legendary for their warmth and friendliness. The hostel is also close to everything you might need (restaurants, grocery stores, the metro) and is kept very clean (including the bathrooms). While the dorms aren’t anything fancy, the beds are comfortable.
Tilas House at a glance:
- Great location near cafés and restaurants
- Unique, historic building
- Very welcoming staff
Beds from 1,340 TRY per night, private rooms from 1,354 TRY.
2. Hostel Le Banc
If location is your priority, Le Banc is the hostel for you. It’s located steps from Taksim Square, the modern heart of the city, so if you yearn to feel the intensity that is central Istanbul, this is the place to stay.
Le Banc has a cozy common room where you can hang out, chat with other travelers, and relax after a day of exploring. It also offers a complimentary, hearty organic breakfast. The lovely terrace has an outstanding view of the skyline too. The dorm beds are cozy, with privacy curtains and thick mattresses, and the bathrooms are modern and clean.
Hostel Le Banc at a glance:
- Excellent central location near Taksim Square
- Complimentary breakfast
- Nice on-site café, common room, and terrace with views
Beds from 335 TRY per night, private rooms from 970 TRY.
3. Yolo Hostel Kadiköy
Yolo is a very social hostel. The staff organizes a lot of gatherings and activities, plus there’s a lovely terrace, leafy communal garden, and open, fully equipped kitchen in which you can relax and talk to other travelers (and cook your own meals if you’re on a budget).
The wooden dorm beds are wide and have privacy curtains and comfy mattresses. There are also lockers in each dorm room.
Yolo Hostel Kadiköy at a glance:
- Located near a lot of galleries and hip cafés
- Organizes lots of activities
- Fully equipped kitchen
Beds from 430 TRY per night, private rooms from 935 TRY.
4. Cheers Hostel
Located on the European side of the Bosphorus and just a few minutes’ walk from some of Istanbul’s most iconic historical sites (including the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque), Cheers offers regular walking tours (in English and in Spanish) for just 185 TRY.
The hostel also has a terrace and bar with great views overlooking the city. Breakfast is included, and the Cheers Café provides a cozy place to sip Turkish coffee in the morning or nurse a beer in the evening.
The bunks are basic (they are wood and there are no privacy curtains), but the beds are comfy, and there are lockers available to store your bags. There are also female-only dorms.
Cheers Hostel at a glance:
- Organizes regular walking tours
- Relaxing common spaces (including a café and a terrace)
- Female-only rooms available
Beds from 428 TRY per night, private rooms from 1,080 TRY.
5. Stanpoli Hostel
At Stanpoli, just steps from the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, the Basilica Cistern, and the iconic Hagia Sophia, you can indulge in a Turkish-style breakfast feast on the lovely rooftop terrace, which has a great view of the historic Sultanahmet district. The hostel also has a friendly staff who also know the city well and can share their insider tips and advice to help you make the most of your trip.
Each bed in the spacious dorms has its own reading light, power outlet, and privacy curtain. The mattresses are thick, so you can actually get a decent night’s sleep too!
Stanpoli Hostel at a glance:
- Excellent location in the heart of the Sultanahmet area
- Tasty complimentary breakfast on the rooftop terrace
- Very friendly staff
Beds from 430 TRY per night, private rooms from 1,210 TRY.
6. Bahaus Guesthouse Hostel
Social activities are the name of the game at Bahaus, located on the European side of Istanbul, just a short walk from numerous historical sites (such as the Blue Mosque). Bahaus offers daily walking tours — which include a deep dive into the Grand Bazaar, a stroll around the Asian side of town, and a tour of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia — as well as some organized gatherings in the evenings for barbecue and drinks on the rooftop terrace.
The in-house bar stays open late every night. If you’re traveling alone and want to meet fellow travelers, this is the place to stay.
All the bunk beds have wrap-around curtains for extra privacy, and all rooms have an attached bathroom, air conditioning, and ceiling fans, so you won’t be sweltering during the hot summer months.
Bahaus Guesthouse Hostel at a glance:
- Excellent location in the heart of the Sultanahmet area
- Complimentary breakfast on the rooftop terrace
- Lots of activities make it easy to meet people
Beds from 430 TRY per night, private rooms from 1,136 TRY.
7. Second Home Hostel
If you have to work while you’re on the road or you’re a digital nomad, Second Home (located on the European side of town) is your best option. Not only is the Wi-Fi fast throughout the property, but there are desks in the guest rooms and the common room.
The hostel offers a nice Turkish breakfast for just 55 TRY and regular communal dinners so you can get to know your fellow travelers. The staff organize walking tours and pub crawls too.
While the beds are basic (cheap metal bunks with no curtains), there’s a chill rooftop terrace for hanging out, the bathrooms are clean and spacious, and the staff go above and beyond to make you feel welcome.
Second Home Hostel at a glance:
- Excellent location in the Sultanahmet area
- Tasty and affordable Turkish breakfast
- Lots of organized activities so it’s easy to meet other travelers
Beds from 335 TRY per night, private rooms from 835 TRY.
Istanbul is one of the most historic, iconic cities in the world, literally bridging the gap between east and west. It’s lively and energetic, and while prices have risen in recent years, it’s still very affordable — especially if you stay in one of the city’s fun, safe, and low-cost hostels.
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- SafetyWing (best for everyone)
- Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.
Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip?
Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.