Istanbul’s Hidden Gem – Beautiful Balat

With over 13 million tourists flooding into Istanbul from all over the world, it’s safe to say that it is a very popular city. Known for it’s beautiful cultural design and famous traditions, it is the city where two continents meet. If you’ve heard of it, you’ll probably tell me that the ‘must-dos’ include the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, the Grand Bazaar and much more, but is Balat on that list? Well, it should be! Scroll down to find out why…

Balat is a little hilly town in Istanbul filled with cute cats, coffee shops and colourful houses, some of which are around 200 years old! You can spend hours wandering up the (very steep) cobbled streets and admiring the houses, and getting lost down the narrow paths. Balat is definitely a place where the locals are welcoming, and kids play happily in the street. There are streets filled with cafes, both old and modern style; and you’ll definitely deserve a good coffee or two after walking up and down the hills!

How to get there:

  1. Walk – You can reach Balat on foot, which is an hour walk from Sultanahmet, or about 35 minutes from Eminönü at a moderate pace. Walking is a great way to get around and guarantees you’ll see all of the sights along the way!
  2. Bus – If you don’t fancy walking, you can hop on a bus from Eminönü, the bus station is along the seafront and impossible to miss! If you’re not in the area, you’ll probably have to get a bus or tram there first, before heading to Balat. You can purchase an Istanbulkart from the machines near tram stations which costs about 6TRY and you can top it up with travel money as you need to.
  3. Taxi – For the quickest route, taxi’s are the way to go, but also will cost more than the other options. A taxi takes about 10 minutes from Eminönü and 15 minutes from Sultanahmet (allow extra time for traffic).

Make sure you bring your camera when strolling around Balat. Whether you’re interested in pretty buildings with lots of character, pops of colour and artwork, or some of the many cats wandering the streets, there are plenty of photo opportunities in the area! Colour is a huge part of this town, you see it everywhere from the gorgeous street art, to the rainbow stairs.

I hope you all have the most amazing time exploring Balat and feel free to tell me about your trip in the comments! Also, if you have an experiences and advice you’d like to share, please do!

As always, love Elise x

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