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Istanbul is known for a lot of things — Hagia Sophia, Galata Tower, Blue Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, the Maiden Tower. And while vast parks and green spaces may not come to mind when you think of Turkey’s largest metropolis, maybe they should. 


If you’re planning on spending a few days in Istanbul, there are several ways to fill your time. Apart from cultural attractions, architecture, mosques, bazaars, and shops to visit, you can spend some time away from the crush of the city in one of Istanbul’s beautiful parks.

Travel with public transportation within the city less than thirty minutes, you’ll be transported from bustling city scape to stunning foliage – you just gotta know where to look. No worries! I’ve got you covered.

Maçka Park

Maçka Park

Tucked away from the commotion of the Şişli lies its largest park and undoubtedly one of the most entertaining. From several points of the park you can even enjoy the seascape. It is green and undulating. People meet there to have enjoyable leisure-time activity. There are playgrounds for picknickers, dog-walkers, joggers and nature-lovers.

Get some drink from the close by supermarket and lie on the grass and enjoy sunshine by yourself or with your friend(s). As it is too crowded at weekend, you may prefer to visit at the weekdays.

Yıldız Park

Yıldız Park

This park is located at the heart of Beşiktaş. It was used for a long period as hunting ground by the Ottoman Sultans since the late 18th century. It was converted into park during the reign of Abdülhamid II in the 1880s, when he decided to move from Dolmabahçe to nearby Yıldız Palace. It is now the largest urban park in the central İstanbul and undoubtedly the most beautiful one with its rich flora and fauna and off-course with its unbeatable sea and city view from the top of its hills. There are also pavilions and villas within the park built by Ottoman rulers and high officials, some of which are now used as café and restaurant.

Belgrad Forest

Belgrad Forest

This large greenery sits upon a ridge at the northwest of the city. The large woods allow for long walk, biking and even horse-riding. There is a 6-kilometre trail around a lake and several cafes, from which you can get some food and drink. This giant green area hosts more than 2000 exotic and native plant varieties.

If escapism is what you’re after, don’t miss this place especially during warmer months. In case you do not have a car, there are buses from Taksim that take you off to the Belgrad.

Gülhane Park

Gülhane Park

This is the oldest park in the city, located at the heart of historical peninsula. The park used for centuries as the outer garden of the Ottoman imperial palace, Topkapı. 1912 onwards, it was opened to the public. It is famous for the hundred years old walnut and oak trees.

Visitors can see blossoming flowers and centuries old trees as well as buildings of architectural and historic interest. The oldest known monument of the city, Column of Goths (3rd century, AD) is standing for centuries at this park. It is a giant 18 meters tall marble column.

Tanzimat Fermanı (the imperial edict of Gülhane), is declared in this park in 1839. It is a reform edict declared by the sultan as part of the modernization process of the state’s legal and political system.

Caddebostan Shore

Caddebostan Shore

Although it is not a park, the green area lies along the sea from Fenerbahçe to Bostancı. It is one of the best places to go jogging and biking at the Anatolian side. People spend leisure time here especially at weekend. During warmer months you see thousands of people sitting around, drinking cold drinks and chatting. I like to take a stroll here early in the morning and sit on large rocks by the sea to take in the view.

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