10 family friendly areas of Istanbul

The last decade has seen Turkey increasingly open up to its Middle East and European neighbours, with an increase in trade, business and diplomatic ties. So it’s no surprise that a number of expats are moving to Istanbul for work - and many of them are bringing their families, too.

Read more: Why I moved my family to Istanbul.

However, despite this increased interest in Turkey’s largest city, information is limited, making it difficult for potential expat families to find the most suitable suitable areas of the city. We’ve compiled a guide to the city’s most family-friendly neighbourhoods, taking into account the following factors:

  • Good transport
  • Parks and nature spots
  • Safety and security
  • Family-friendly facilities and amenities

Read on to discover the best areas of Istanbul for families.

1. Yakuplu

The focal point of Yakuplu is the West Istanbul Marina, a glitzy, world-class yachting facility. The marina’s success has prompted rapid growth around the area, and a wealth of cafes, restaurants, picnic areas, sports facilities and even a city beach are attracting wealthy professionals and pushing property prices up.

Public transport and road links to central Istanbul are excellent. This travel infrastructure, coupled with the dizzying array of local activities and attractions, means Yakuplu has become a favourite with young, wealthy families.

One Yakuplu project (pictured above, listing on the left) is attracting a great deal of interest from local and expat buyers with children. Built by one of the city’s most eminent developers, the sea-view mega project has been planned with families in mind. The brand new, custom-built neighbourhood has hospitals, schools and lifestyle facilities, a mall with brand-name stores - as well as all the marina-related perks you can imagine.

2. Kucukcekmece

Built around Kucukcekmece Lake, Kucukcekmece is an established settlement twenty kilometres west of Istanbul on the sea of Marmara. The area has its roots in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Today, it’s a favourite location of young families wishing to settle outside the bustle of the city centre.

As a result of the influx of people moving into the area, the infrastructure has developed rapidly: new schools, shopping centres and housing developments have sprung up, and links to the central city, catering to city commuters, mean workers can travel to work with ease.

The area’s still developing, which means property is currently well priced for expat families.

3. Beykent

The appearance of Starbucks is a sure-fire way to tell whether an area’s on the path to gentrification, and the two branches that have opened up in this Beylikduzu neighbourhood tell us things are on the up for Beykent.

This older Beylikduzu neighbourhood is easily the most elite in the district and Beykent property is greatly in demand by middle class Turks. Originally established by the municipality, the neighbourhood is well organised with safe, pleasant compounds - ideal for families. The high street offers a wealth of branded shops (including the aforementioned Starbucks) and facilities.

A short walk from the central area takes you to the seafront, which has been revamped to attract the city’s professionals and wealthy families. Here you can enjoy beachfront activities like sailing and swimming, as well as excellent restaurants, cafes, playgrounds and parks. A law forbidding high rise property means apartments here enjoy a double whammy view of the sea and the local lake.

4. Bahcesehir

Quiet, suburban Bahcesehir is a purpose-built neighbourhood designed for families and city commuters. Thanks to careful planning, Bahcesehir is full of the kinds of facilities that families love, especially outdoor leisure areas: leafy parks, a lake, walking trails.

In downtown Bahcesehir you’ll find all the shops, restaurants and lifestyle facilities suitable for modern family life. There are some good public and private schools in the area, too. Outside the central part of town, there are a number of quiet neighbourhoods - the kind of neighbourhoods expat families would want to buy property in Bahcesehir. Again, these are well resourced with parks, malls, sports clubs and facilities and cafes and restaurants.

5. Buyukcekmece

Visiting Buyukcekmece is like taking a seaside holiday - without even leaving the city. Located on the Marmara coast on the European side of Istanbul, Buyukcekmece is a mixture of industrial, rural and suburban areas that’s quickly becoming popular with workers wanting a little fresh air and seashore life away from the city centre.

In the centre of town you’ll find a lovely boulevard with playgrounds, shops and restaurants, ideal for weekend family jaunts. Local facilities are great for families: supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, gyms and cinema complexes mean you don’t need to head to the central city at all if you’d prefer to avoid it. And of course, its proximity to the sea offers lots of lovely local strolls, which can be followed up by lunch at one of the shorefront tea gardens.

For many, the proximity of property in Buyukcemece to Istanbul Ataturk Airport is a big draw of living in the area, as expat families can enjoy easy access to travel links around Europe and the Middle East.

8. Bomonti

If you’d like to live in the heart of the city but balk at paying central-city prices, Bomonti property is a solid option for families. Just twenty-five minutes from the upscale luxury shopping paradise Nisantasi but a third of the price, Bomonti’s quickly catching up to its elite neighbours as rapid development transforms the area from slummy to swanky.

Although development has been swift, yielding shiny residences and big-name brands, Bomonti retains some of the old Istanbul charm, with traditional neighbourhood cobblers, coffee houses and family businesses. There are lovely old industrial buildings that are being repurposed as lifestyle facilities - the Bomonti Brewery being one.

Bomonti’s charm, low property prices and proximity to central Istanbul mean it’s an attractive, safe option for expat families moving to Istanbul.

Read more: Why I'm investing in Bomonti

9. Media Highway

Its central location and high-quality developments mean Media Highway should be firmly on the map of any expat families eyeing a move to Istanbul.

The new city business district has had millions of dollars poured into it, improving infrastructure including construction projects, lifestyle facilities such as schools and hospitals, and transport. Media Highway residents will be able to travel to the central city by way of an extended metro line, which will be completed next year. Ataturk Airport is easily accessible from the area, as is the New Istanbul Airport.

Media Highway is a busy, bustling area with plenty of invaluable facilities for families.

10. Bagdat Avenue

Want to live life like upper-crust Istanbulites? Head to Bagdat Avenue on the Asian side of the city. Bagdat Avenue is a well-kept secret - at least, with foreigners, who tend to stay on the European side of the city. However, the true elites head for property in Kadikoy, Fikirtepe and Goztepe, central Asian-side areas with commanding views over the Bosphorus to the historic Istanbul peninsula.

Again, increased infrastructure spending surrounding these areas is good news for expat families, who’ll benefit from the modern schools, hospitals and lifestyle facilities in the area. Although expat families don’t tend to seek out Bagdat Avenue property, this is likely to change with the advent of the new Atasehir Financial Centre, a mammoth construction that will house national and global financial companies and institutions, creating thousands of jobs and pushing property prices skywards.


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