8 hidden Istanbul gems you really should discover
Straddling Asia and Europe, Istanbul is large, diverse city with an intriguing mix of suburbs and untapped rural areas. Discover some of the unknown parts of the city and its outer reaches.
This beautiful forested region north of the city is just half an hour from Istanbul’s business district. Home to Istanbul’s elite, low-density Zekeriyakoy has a number of mansions and villas in secluded, peaceful forest settings. Most of the homes are private, residential villas but proximity to Istanbul New Airport, as well as Istanbul’s third bridge, which opens in August will allow easy access to the area, meaning the investment potential of real estate in Zekeriyakoy is high.
Property in Zekeriyakoy: Homes start at US$500,000. See Luxurious Zekeriyakoy villa.
Did you know Istanbul has its share of beautiful sandy beaches? Take a look at Kilyos. This sleepy coastal village on the Black Sea, just five minutes from Zekeriyakoy, is a fishing village which comes to life each peak season as Istanbulites leave the city in search of sandy beaches and fresh air. Homes here are generally beautiful villas and mansions owned by Istanbul elite wanting space and fresh air within easy commute to the city. The same travel connections that are tipped to make Zekeriyakoy so desirable apply to Kilyos. Demand here is growing quickly.
Property in Kilyos: Homes start at $500,000. See this beautiful 5 bedroom Kilyos villa.
Up-and-coming Atasehir won’t be a hidden gem for long. The area is being developed at a fast pace and the Istanbul International Financial Centre is set to move to Atasehir, consolidating Turkey’s financial power.As well as the hustle and bustle of the financial machinations, peace and tranquility is also found in Atasehir at the Botanic Gardens. The 113-acre city oasis is home to 1500 different plants and 20 species of animal.
Property in Atasehir: Atasehir Palace is one of the most exciting investment opportunities in our portfolio. Off-plan units start at $260,000, and prices are set to rise exponentially.
Located on the Marmara shore, Buyukcekmece is a family favourite, and a number of new apartment and villa complexes have been developed here to cater for the growing demand of young families wanting to bring their children up away from the inner city. The infrastructure is great for families, with good schools and hospitals and lots of local social activities. The Metro system will connect the town to wider Istanbul within the next decade. The town’s waterfront tea gardens, Blue Flag beach and play areas give the area a laidback feel, and at the weekends you can see families strolling and picnicking by the waterfront.
Property in Buyukcekmece: A number of projects are being built in the area, offering lovely housing with views over Buyukcekmece Lake and Marmara Sea. Rising demand and the area’s high potential ensures investments in Buyukcekmece are some of the best in the city. Properties in Buyukcekmece start at around £100,000. See these luxury sea view apartments.
Wild, rugged Sile on the Black Sea coast is a favourite with those wanting a retreat from the city with incredible sea views.The quaint fishing village is located on jagged cliffs overlooking the wild sea. Thanks to its elevation, property in Sile enjoys incredible endless sea views over the Black Sea. Sile is full of surprises: a short drive through the forest takes you to some amazing, untouched sandy beaches. Quiet and peaceful with calm waters, Sile’s hidden beaches are one of the many reasons why Istanbulites are falling in love with this part of the coastline - and starting to buy Sile property in increasing numbers.
This forest area between bustling Atasehir and seaside Sile is a traditional and very rural area which is currently being developed for Istanbulites looking for luxury villas at a lower price than in the city. Resadiye is a favourite with weekenders, who love to visit the area’s quaint, family-run barbecue restaurants.
“The Village of the Poles” was founded by just 12 Polish settlers in 1842, and retains its strong Polish flavour and traditions. The unique village is a popular weekend spot, famous amongst Istanbulites for its green surroundings and peaceful ambience - and its intriguing cuisine, which includes Polish pies and liquors. Visitors also explore the town’s Polish history via its cemetery and church, and peruse its unique artwork.
Yusa Tepesi (Joshua’s hill) is an intriguing site. It’s widely thought that the prophet Joshua is buried here, in the “hill”. The grave is enormous, around 12 feet high. Scholars and historians can’t decide whether Joshua was a giant, or (more likely) the location of his remains wasn’t known, so the grave was made large to cover all bases. People like to visit the grave here because it’s believed that if you pray there your wish will be granted. The views from Yusa Tepesi are phenomenal. And it’s now one of the best places for a view of Istanbul’s third bridge, and nearby you can visit the incredible Yoros Castle, an Ottoman fort built to launch projectiles at tax-dodging ships.