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From Hestai to Arnavutköy: A Brief History and What to Do in this Beautiful Neighbourhood

Istanbul has lots of beautiful and diverse regions cornered to the sea. Today, we’ll talk about Arnavutköy, an intriguing district that holds a special place for me and hopefully for you too. Here is a brief history of Arnavutköy and seven things you can do here to live your experience to the maximum.

Located between the famous Bebek and Kuruçeşme, Arnavutköy’s beauty makes it worth learning more about its past. In the Ancient Era, it was a Greek village called “Hestai”, that turned “Promotos” when Byzantium came. And then for a while, it was named “Anaplous”. Although there is no sound evidence, the rumors are that this place ended up being “Arnavutköy” with Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s conquest of Albania, after he moved many Albanians to this region.

If you have read my articles “A Day in the Most Magical Place in Istanbul: Beyoğlu” and “Walking Through One of the Best Places: Kadıköy”, you should now be well aware that I am obsessed with ferries. To get to this magical place, take the Kadıköy-Beşiktaş ferry and then the dolmuş. Try to get there early and watch the beautiful Bosphorus from the many benches lined up at the coastline. The Bridge is accompanied by the many seagulls winking at you. You are not alone, surrounded by many fishers also lined up at the coast. There are many places to start your day with a delicious breakfast and the good thing is that almost every place has the most beautiful view. “A Bit Of Eggo” is where you can enjoy numerous breakfast options mainly focused on eggs— a high-protein breakfast to warm you up for the day ahead.

Since Arnavutköy is located in the middle of Bebek and Kuruçeşme, it’s easy and pleasant to walk to either of these places, however, a coffee at Bebek is a must. I personally prefer “Baylan” for this. Now you walk back to Arnavutköy, chatting with your friends about what to do next. You continue walking through the vintage and colorful backstreets and embracing the atmosphere around you. One of your friends has read this article and instantly suggests “Antica Locanda” for your next stop because you are always in the mood for some Italian. You eat your favorite pasta while sharing a Margarita with your friends, almost full until you eat some tiramisu to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Arnavutköy is full of different bars where you can enjoy a beer, a cocktail, or just a cup of coffee after dinner. These bars include but are definitely not limited to Any, Alexandra, Xunta, Angelo, Carlos… Especially if you are a cocktail person, Arnavutköy is just the right place for you. These bars also host events, so make sure you keep notified for a fun night out.

You have had your beverages with your friends and had the best time chatting about the same things for the billionth time now. The time you spent here made you realize how beautiful this place truly is. So now, you want to come again, of course. Well, this time try going to the very well-known “Arnavutköy Balıkçısı” for the best meze and view.

And voila, you are done with your day here! You end your day the way you started it but even with a more beautiful view of the Bosphorus at night. You feel the majestic vibe of Istanbul and are glad you are able to experience this city as a local. You watch the lovers walk past you hand in hand and think about how many have come here to watch this view and visit this place and felt their love grow greater. An image that is very beautiful, just like Arnavutköy.

Instagram accounts of the places mentioned:


"Arnavutköy'ün tarihi." fatosaltintas, arnavutkoyun-tarihi/. Accessed 23 Nov. 2022.


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