Honeymoon in Istanbul: 6 Most Romantic Things to Do & More

The words “honeymoon, Istanbul” may not be the destination you initially thought of. However, now that we’ve suggested it, you may be wondering is Turkey or, at least, Istanbul, good for a honeymoon.

It’s a shame that Istanbul doesn’t make more of the honeymoon destinations lists because there really is everything here – from beaches to history to culture. Most hotels provide honeymooners with a warm welcome because this city loves romance!

Suppose you’re planning to visit Istanbul for your honeymoon. In that case, the best season is either Spring (April-May) or Autumn (September-October). During those times, the weather in Istanbul is relatively mild, and the parks are stunning. If you visit Istanbul in the spring, you may want to arrange your trip around the Tulip Festival. 

If Istanbul is going to be your honeymoon destination, you have come to the right blog post; we have a list of romantic activities for you to really get the most out of your honeymoon in Istanbul. 

You will find 3 categories for best honeymoon ideas in Istanbul:

-Romantic things to do in Istanbul

-Best restaurants for a romantic dinner in Istanbul

-Romantic Hotels in Istanbul for honeymoon couples

Related content: Secret Istanbul: 15 Hidden Gems in Istanbul that You'll Love

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6 Best Romantic things to do in Istanbul:

1. Private cruise on the Bosphorus

Private Bosphorus cruise is one of the many great things to do for honeymoon in Istanbul

Is there a better way to spend your honeymoon than to cruise along the Golden Horn? You’ll be able to see all the lovely sights by the Bosphorus strait from the European and the Asian sides. This may include the famous ancient city monuments in the Sultanahmet neighborhood: The Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the lovely mosques, such as the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, on the Asian side. There’s also a chance you can get a better view of Maiden’s Tower with a cruise.

A sunset or a dinner cruise may be the most romantic options, but they aren’t the only ones. There are many different types of cruises to pick from. You catch a cruise with belly dancers, Turkish folk music, or Turkish shows.

Related content: The Ultimate Guide to Beyoğlu & Taksim: 18 Best Things To Do

2. Bike in Princes Islands (Büyükada)

These picturesque islands make the perfect honeymoon spot. Büyükada may be the most famous island on the Marmara sea, and there’s much to explore on it.

There are three ways to get about: horse carriage, cycling, or a stroll. If you go for a stroll, you won’t get too far as the island is pretty big. A horse carriage is lovely, but it doesn’t give you the freedom that a bike might do. You can bike your way to the historical spots from Trotsky’s house to the many Ottoman mansions to the Churches like Agia Yorgi. 

There’s peace in these islands (at least during the weekdays), where the world seems to melt away, as they are away from the crowded city of Istanbul. Take a break on any one of the hills overlooking the sea. You’ll realize that Büyükada is like a small, meditative town outside the city. Further, the island retains Istanbul’s character over the years due to the overcrowding issue.

Prices for Bike rental are cheap but bring a water bottle – this will be hard work. Although, the beautiful views will be worth it plus it’s an excellent exercise to burn off the calories from all the food you’ll be eating.

Related content: Ultimate Guide to Sultanahmet: 10 Best Things to Do & More

3. Visit a Turkish bath together

There is an unforgettable mysticism in the Turkish baths that you may reflect upon when served tea. Though most of these spa-like baths separate the sexes, a few are couple-friendly, like Ağa Hamamı and Süleymaniye Hamam. 

A Turkish bath is a perfect place to get cleaned and a romantic start to your night. You’ll feel special as the masseurs give you an exfoliating treatment, throw some suds on you, and indulge you in whichever spa treatments you’ve opted in for. Though many luxurious hotels do have a Turkish bath, and some even have it in the rooms, it would be a shame to visit Istanbul to get the real Turkish bath experience. 

Some places will host you for a few hours. Others are happy to serve you Turkish tea, dried fruits, and nuts for you to rest up for as long as you wish.

Related content: 10 Best Turkish Bath & Hamam in Istanbul | First-Timers Guide

4. Day trip to Cappadocia and hot air balloon ride

Cappadocia is only an hour’s flight away from Istanbul and arranging a day trip is easy. There are several online booking opportunities for day trips.

The first thing you might want to do when you arrive at your destination is to take in the spectacular views from the hot air balloon ride. You’ll see the volcanos, fairy chimneys, cliffs, houses, churches, and other buildings carved from soft volcanic deposits. You may want to pay extra for breakfast as you have to be by the balloon in the early morning. Moreover, you can indulge in champagne if you pay for that tour. 

You can combine the balloon ride with an afternoon of exploring underground cities, staying in a cave hotel, quad biking around the UNESCO landscape, and drinking as much Turkish tea you can imagine. This will be an unforgettable treat.

For customized day tours from Istanbul to Cappadocia, please visit Made in Turkey Tours website, and don’t forget to mention “Yummy Istanbul” to get a special bonus.

Related content: 22 Most Beautiful and Famous Cities in Turkey (2022 UPTD)

Related things to do

5. Taste of Two Continents Tour

tour guide with guests inside shop tasting small cups of red pickle juice istanbul food tour

Influenced by all the countries in the world that the Ottoman Empire has been to, this country has vibrant and diverse dishes on offer. It’s always a good idea to plan a food tour at the start of your trip so that you can visit and re-visit some of the best restaurants.

Our food tour will help you discover new flavors and give you tips on how to avoid ‘tourist traps.’ The Taste of Two Continents tour isn’t just a tiny sample of food at every spot, it will be the main course meal to help you get a real sense of life in this city. This is a great way to explore the city and get an idea of Turkey.

As you move from the ancient city in Europe, by the Golden Horn, to Istanbul’s Asian side, you’ll be guided by not just the food. Still, each location will inspire stories on daily life in Istanbul and the culture of Turkey. Your guide will help you catch a ferry back to the European side when all is done.

The best part is that there’s free cancellation if you give 24 enough notice. If something goes wrong, like a flight delay, and you don’t end up at your final destination in time for the tour, you just need to give 24-hour notice. 

You’ll start the day with breakfast and end it so full that you may not need to eat for weeks. You’ll discover what the locals are the proudest of… the food! It’s the perfect way to start your honeymoon in Istanbul because you’ll have an idea of which location to explore further and how to ride a ferry.

For more information visit our Frequently Asked Questions page, the link to our tour page is here: https://yummyistanbul.com/taste-of-two-continents-tour/

Related content: The Best Turkish Foods: 44 Lip-Smacking Good Turkish Dishes (w/ Photos)

Related things to do

6. Watch the Maidens Tower and Galata Tower from Salacak

Maiden's Tower, one of the best views in Istanbul at night

You may want to go at sunset or even during the evening to see the gorgeous lights. If you didn’t know, Turkey has love stories that extend to the buildings. There’s a little story of the two towers. As the tourists watched the Maiden’s Tower for years on the Salacak Coast, the Galata Tower took notice and fell in love. Unfortunately, they were star-crossed lovers like Romeo & Juliet or Leyla & Mejnun. The majestic, handsome Galata Tower and the dainty, sweet Maiden’s Tower couldn’t be united because of the sea between them.

The lovely Maiden’s Tower began to pine for her love in the interim. The Galata Tower responded by writing letters and poems. When scientist Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi decided to fly, he chose the Galata Tower. As he made his way up, he heard the Galata Tower’s sighs. Çelebi offered to take The Galata Tower’s letters to the Maiden’s Tower when they spoke. Unfortunately, as he flew across Istanbul to deliver the letters, the strong winds affected him. All the letters were dropped to the waters of the Bosphorus.

The Galata Tower became deeply depressed upon seeing his love letters fall into the body of water. However, the Maiden’s Tower finally understood that her love was requited, so she sang with the seagulls. Consequently, the two towers become brighter day by day in Istanbul. 

Another not-well-known romantic story surrounds the Maiden’s Tower from when Istanbul was a part of Greece. In ancient times, Leander fell in love with Aphrodite priestess, Hero, who was in the Maiden’s Tower. He swam across the Bosphorus to be with her.

She would light a lamp to guide him every night, like a lighthouse. Though they parted in the winter and agreed to resume their affair in the summer, Leander saw the lamp burning during a stormy winter night. Thinking something terrible must’ve happened, he swam across the turbulent waters to be with his lover. Unfortunately, the waves overtook him. When Hero saw his dead body, she threw herself off the tower to be with them. When their bodies washed up, they were seen to be embracing.

Related content: Istanbul at Night: 15 Best Places to Visit & Things to Do

Best restaurants for a romantic dinner in Istanbul:

1. Mikla

Image credit: Mikla Restaurant

The celebrity chef, Mehmet Gürs, draws on his Finnish-Turkish to create culinary masterpieces. Though each course is a magical surprise, the rice pudding served with sour apple sorbet will stay with you. Moreover, you can see the skyline of Istanbul. Is there anything more romantic than seeing the brilliant manner in which Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia are lit up?

Do not forget to drink a cocktail on the rooftop bar before or after your dinner.

Related content: Best Bosphorus Restaurants in Istanbul: Top 9 Right Now

2. Tuğra Restaurant at Çırağan Palace Kempinski

Tugra is one of the best bosphorus restaurants in Istanbul.
Image credit: Tuğra Restaurant

Known for being the restaurant for proposals and honeymooners, this romantic spot is located in the old Çırağan Palace. You’ll be dining on dishes that were once served to sultans with a perfect view. Don’t miss the creamy Chicken Topkapı.

Related content: The Best Baklava in Istanbul: TOP 11 Baklava Shops

3. Sarnıç Restaurant

Image credit: Sarnıç Restaurant

Suppose you ever want to eat a romantic meal at a place as lovely as the Basilica Cistern. In that case, you may wish to visit Sarnıç restaurant. This cavern-life restaurant has a unique vibe, a quick stroll away from the beloved touristic attractions like Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern.

Related content: 14 Best Restaurants in Sultanahmet (Istanbul Old City)

4. Tarihi Viktor Levi Şarap Evi

Image credit: Tarihi Viktor Levi Şarap Evi

A trendy wine bar with food that’ll have you reminiscing about your vacation in Turkey for years. Try the sour cherry wine with the souffle for a real treat. The fettuccine Alfredo and grilled salmon are perfect.

Related content: The 10 Best Turkish Wines That Every Wine Lover Must Try

Romantic Hotels in Istanbul for honeymoon couples:

1. Çırağan Palace Kempinski

If you really want to create an impression in Istanbul, why not stay in a Palace the Ottoman Sultans stayed in? This is a historical building of not just Istanbul but of Turkey. Though the Dolmabahçe Palace doesn’t accept guests, the same architects built this once-palace.

Related content: Palaces in Istanbul: 10 Stunning Royal Ottoman Palaces

2. Régie Ottoman

Régie Ottoman is a luxury boutique hotel surrounded by touristic attractions like the Grand Bazaar. If you’re addicted to coffee, some of the rooms have an espresso machine. You don’t need to wander around the Old City to find a cafe.

Related content: Grand Bazaar Istanbul: Best Shops & Things to Buy (2021 UPD)

3. Hotel Empress Zoe

Image credit: Hotel Empress Zoe

Great location: in the old city. Aside from its fabulous location in the ancient city of Istanbul, the rooms are an escape to a new world. The Penthouse Suite has a private terrace with views of the lovely Blue Mosque, and the more extensive suites have their own fridges and kitchen area.

Related content: 22 Best Museums in Istanbul that Every Traveller Should Visit

4. Rixos Pera Istanbul

If you decide to spend your honeymoon in Istanbul, you may want to watch the sunset from your private balcony in the Terrace Suite. You see everything in a prime location, including the romantic, lovesick Galata Tower. The huge walk-in shower is a bonus!

Related content: The 17 Most Stunning & Beautiful Mosques in Istanbul

5. Four Seasons Bosphorus

Though you may be on your honeymoon, sometimes you may wish to unwind from a long day of walking. The Four Seasons has one of the most stunning views in Istanbul – and is in a great location if the other just wants to go for a stroll.

Related content: 20 Best Turkish Street Food in Istanbul: Complete Guide & Where to Find Them

6. Sumahan on the Water

By the Bosphorus, this hotel has a romantic fireplace for winter and has beautiful views for the summer. A quiet, family-owned hotel, this is an escape from the hustle of Istanbul.

Related content: 12 Most Iconic Turkish Foods & Where to Eat Them in Istanbul

Final words

Whether you’re an avid traveler or a newlywed, we hope these tricks and tips help make your honeymoon in Istanbul more romantic. Have fun exploring the city together–and don’t forget to explore some of our favorite local dishes while you’re here!

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