Celebrating New Year in Istanbul (Yılbaşı / Yeni Yıl) 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.
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.
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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 package. 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
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.
Yes, I already briefly mentioned it. At precisely midnight, the city will be illuminated by unofficial 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