Where (Not) to Celebrate New Year in Istanbul?

Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu, Istanbul is ready to welcome the New Year in Turkey.

by Erlend Geerts

in Sightseeing

Celebrating New Year (Yılbaşı / Yeni Yıl) in Istanbul is a great idea. Turkey’s metropolitan is bustling all year round, but definitely goes the extra mile to welcome the New Year.

Every venue wants to outdo the other to make the transition from old to new as unique and special as possible. Therefore, listing what every bar, restaurant or hotel has up their sleeve is simply impossible. The purpose of this article is to offer you some popular yet proven ideas for New Year’s Eve.

Outdoors

If you like crowds and want to gamble on fair weather, then maybe the Nişantası or Kadıköy street party is your cup of tea. By all means avoid the one held on Taksim Square.

The best way to experience this kind of New Year celebration is to have dinner in a restaurant in Nişantası or Kadıköy, and around 23:00 join the street party. From that point onwards you’ll celebrate on the street with thousands of others and buy your drinks from the shops around. You want to make dinner reservations in time.

The drawback with street parties is that, certainly in the latter stages, you may experience improper behavior.

Indoors

In general, the largest well-known Istanbul hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs offer fixed price entertainment. Prices vary quite a lot depending on what’s included in the New Year’s Eve pack. Hotels and restaurants mostly have a dinner-party combination, where bars and clubs usually offer unlimited drinks. If live performances (of famous Turkish stars) are scheduled, then the prices rise even more. Most of these party tickets are sold through Biletix

Fireworks illuminate Istanbul on New Year's Eve.

Fireworks illuminate Istanbul at New Year.

Semi-Indoors

For those who don’t want to pay some of the steep prices or simply don’t like to stay put in one place on New Year’s Eve, I suggest to head down to Istiklal Caddesi, Ortaköy or Bebek.

The side streets of Taksim’s famous car-free street are packed with smaller bars and pubs. But be prepared to find Istiklal Caddesi even more crowded than it usually is. Ortaköy and Bebek have fewer bars to offer, but tend to be cozier and are certainly better located to see the fireworks.

Fireworks

Yes, I already briefly mentioned it. At precisely midnight, the city will be illuminated by fireworks. If you can, try to celebrate New Year’s Eve at an establishment with a rooftop terrace or close to the Bosphorus shores. Some even play it safe, and make reservations for one of the many New Year Bosphorus Dinner Cruises.

Happy New Year – Mutlu Yıllar

What's Next

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Yulia December 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

My husband and I’ re going to spend New Year Eve in Istanbul.
So we ‘r searching for programs for this event in good restaurent.
Please advice some good places. I’m waiting for links!!

Reply

Asim December 20, 2012 at 11:08 am

Hi Erlend,

This is really a informative website.
I am planning to visit istanbul from 27dec to 1st jan with my spouse n kids ages 3 and 5 years. Can you pls comment on weather during this time. I will be staying near taksim, which time will be good for Bosphorus tour and how i can book if we want to dine in for new year night.

Is taksim square recommended for families during new year eve?

Thanks

Reply

Erlend Geerts December 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Hi Asim,

I can’t predict the weather. I would not recommend the festivities on Taksim square with kids of your age. Rather try to find a party inside with a limited crowd.

Erlend

Reply

Laura April 25, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Hi Erlend,

I’m planning to travel to Istanbul next december with a friend. We will be arriving at Istanbul airport at 31st a little late, so i figured that joining a street party is the best option for us. Why is it that you recomend avoiding Taksim square?

Thanks!!
Laura

Reply

Erlend Geerts April 26, 2013 at 7:54 am

Hi Laura,

That’s just based on facts collected over the years which show that there are always more irregularities recorded at the Taksim street party compared to the Nişantaşı one.

But as you know, they are currently remodeling Taksim square, so let’s wait and see what this year’s New Year eve setup will be.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

brashid September 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm

hi i am thinking of visiting istanbul at the end of Dec this year with kids (3,8,10) who would love to see snow and have some fun in it any places near istanbul …. we are willing to stay there a few days if it’s worth the stay…. any recommendations???

Reply

Erlend Geerts September 30, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Hi Brashid,

The first thing that comes to my mind is the slopes of Uludağ. They are about 3 hours drive from Istanbul, and very popular among locals for a skiing holiday. At the end of December you should be fine snow wise, and beat the school semester break invasion starting the last week of January, which lasts for 15 days.

Have fun,
Erlend

Reply

Anonymous October 28, 2013 at 5:30 am

Our family has 2 kids that are ages 11 and 9 and we are staying in beyoglu in a rented flat for new years eve and we were wondering where to see the fireworks and what can we do to stay out of the crowds and enjoy new years?
Thanks

Reply

Erlend Geerts October 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Hi,

It’s a bit early to say. Please remind me in December, then I’ll have more details about this year’s festivities and plans.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Kama November 11, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Hi Erlend,
I’m traveling with my family and friends to Istanbul on 27th of December. Trying to find out where to stay and celebrate new year eve. Search in internet, can’t find interesting offers for this night, with interesting shows and concerts. Because of the kids we would like to stay in the same hotel where party is going to be, therefore can’t book anything yet(. Can you please help with any idea?! Thanks in advance.

Reply

Erlend Geerts November 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Hi Kama,

As you can imagine, it’s impossible for me to list every New Year event in Istanbul, let alone rate something that didn’t happen yet.

The only advice I can give you is to check the websites of hotels within your budget for their New Year plans and/or contact them.

You can also check out the site of Biletix every once in a while for new events. You can find the link in the article.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Andrea November 20, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Hello there
My friend and I will be heading to Istanbul around this time. We are young and looking for a place to party all night, preferably electronic music? Is Istanbul the place to stay? or is it more for big crowd street parties and fire works…

Reply

Erlend Geerts November 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Hi Andrea,

Both are available. Did you check out our page on Istanbul night clubs? Also, don’t forget that the comments hold valuable info too.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

angie December 13, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Hallo

because I will bein istanbul on new years eve i would like to ask if it is worth it to go on 360 , do we see the fireforks from there? any other suggestion ?

thank you for a kind reply..

Reply

Erlend Geerts December 14, 2013 at 9:54 am

Hi Angie,

360 and BuzAda are famous places where you can’t go wrong. As I wrote before, there are no official fireworks. But people of course make their own here and there.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Luminita-Cristina November 18, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Hello,

We are a bunch of friends who decided to celebrate the new year in Istanbul, but don’t know exactly what would be the best to do on that specific night. Since you don’t recommend the Taksim place (which is very close to were we are accomodated – Stay Suites), maybe you could suggest us some places near the water, in the neighbourhood, that could allow us to watch the fireworks, eat, have fun and dance all night long? Thank you in advance.

Reply

Erlend Geerts November 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Hi Luminita,

First of all: there are no organized fireworks on New Year’s Eve. You’ll see them, but there is no best place.

Venues and parties change every year, so it’s best to check biletix for the latest developments, as I wrote in a previous comment. Classic venues however are Reina, Anjelique, and SuAda by the waterfront.

Have fun,
Erlend

Reply

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