Beautiful villages near Istanbul (Best villages around Istanbul)

Beautiful villages near Istanbul (Best villages around Istanbul)

While talking about Istanbul, it is impossible to overlook the beautiful villages around this tourist town. Although Istanbul has a lot to offer, villages around Istanbul can give visitors great memories that will never be forgotten. This is why we will walk through the best villages near Istanbul in this article. Prepare to be fascinated! 

Before we start, you have to know that towns and villages in Istanbul are located in two different positions: European and Asian. Therefore, some astonishingly beautiful villages, such as Bebek, are located in the European area, while others like Ağva are located in the Asian region. Now, let’s find out about these villages in Turkey near Istanbul.

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Beautiful villages in the European part of Istanbul

The Bosphorous strait is a waterway that divides Istanbul into two halves. The western half is in Europe, and below we will mention some beautiful villages there.

Beautiful villages in the European part of Istanbul

An overview of beautiful villages in the European part 

  • Kızılcaali in Çatalca
  • Çanakça in Çatalca
  • Gümüşdere in Sarıyer 
  • Kilyos in Sarıyer 
  • Zekeriyakoy in Sarıyer 
  • Garipçe in Sarıyer 
  • Arnavutköy in Beşiktaş
  • Bebek in Beşiktaş
  • Ortakoy in Beşiktaş

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Çatalca and its two fantastic villages

Çatalca is a province located in the European part that offers the tourists two phenomenal villages around Istanbul to visit:

1-1) Kızılcaali is named after a tree (Kızılçalı) that grows in this area. It is 70 km from Istanbul to this beautiful village, and visitors can use the bus, cable car, and car to get there. Agriculture, poultry farming, and beekeeping are the main ways that help its residents earn money. Also, as this town has excellent flowers, it is a good supplier of flowers for Istanbul.

Çatalca and its two fantastic villages

1-2) Çanakça is connected to Catalca and has a 70 km distance from Istanbul. It is also well-known for its agriculture which helps its 2000 population survive. You can take the bus to go there to enjoy the calm suburb atmosphere.

Sarıyer introduces to us four charming villages

Sarıyer is the northernmost district of Istanbul, facing the black sea, with four magnificent villages ready to blow tourists’ minds with their absolute beauty:

2-1) Gümüşdere is located at a 64 km distance from Istanbul and is famous for its green and beautiful landscapes, which glow the most in the summer. It is also called by the name “Old Greek village.” The local people spend their time gardening and growing vegetables which has turned into a good source of income in recent years.

It is home to many festivals such as the Istanbul kite festival, Surf spot Gümüşdere, Gezgin fest, and it also offers tourists Atlitur Gümüşdere beach camp. You can go to this beautiful village near Istanbul using the Metro, taxi, or car.

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2-2) Kilyos is 30 km far from Istanbul. Although you can get there using many vehicles such as train, shuttle, car, or taxi, it is recommended to catch a ferry to Sarıyer and then a minibus towards the north. 

Kilyos offers breath-taking scenery, hidden coves, bays, and a mainstream travel scene. This incredible village around Istanbul has beautiful coasts that attract many tourists who are keen on windsurfing, fishing, hiking, and kite surfing. It also holds the Kafes music festival, which is worth experiencing.

Sarıyer introduces to us four charming villages

2-3) Zekeriyakoy has a 31 Km distance from Istanbul, which you can pass through by plane, bus, train, and shuttle. Especially if you are visiting Kilyos, it would be a pity to miss Zekeriyakoy. This beautiful village is divided into two halves: The traditional and the upmarket. 

It is one of the luxurious areas where wealthy people live alongside the villagers. Zekeriyakoy is connected to Belgrade Forest, which presents spectacular walking paths, picnic parks, and amazing flora and fauna. 

2-4) Garipçe is one of the eight beautiful villages of Sarıyer and is a famous tourist attraction in the Istanbul countryside. It is 62 km from Istanbul, and you can take a bus or a car to go there. Tourists may find many things fascinating, such as beautiful landscapes which provide a view of the bridge and Rumelihisari Castle.


Garipçe is best in summer when you can swim in the waters of the Bosphorus. Also, as the locals use fishing as a source of income, you always have access to fresh seafood, which tastes even better than what you can find in Istanbul.

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Beşiktaş and its glorious villages

Beşiktaş is another district that can introduce to us many beautiful villages near Istanbul:

3-1) Arnavutköy has an 18 km distance from Istanbul, which you can go to by tram, shuttle, bus, taxi, or car. Its name stems from its multicultural history and means Albanian village. Growing strawberries used to be pretty common in late years but is no longer an income possibility. 


This beautiful village is near Istanbul and offers a great day trip, especially in summer. Although it is a fishing village, it has many other things for visitors to enjoy, such as wooden mansions, seafood restaurants, and cobbled streets. The best one is Ayos Taksiarches, a Greek orthodox church that people believed held a sacred healing spring. 

Arnavutköy itself has a village called Baklalı, located within a 57 km distance from Istanbul, and you can use a bus or cable car to go there. It is located near the Black Sea and is famous for its broad bean, agriculture, and animal husbandry. Also, its buffalo milk yogurt is very well-known. 

3-2) Bebek is another beautiful village near Istanbul, which is located 20 km far from Istanbul. It is side by side with Arnavutköy and is a place where rich people spend time in. 

Its name means “baby” and is well-known for its magnificent views, Ottoman summer places, alfresco dining, seaside cafes, and bars. The village offers great nightlife, and you can party all through the night. Visitors can use a train, ferry, taxi, or car to go there. 

3-3) Ortakoy is a village very close to Istanbul and has only a 9 km distance to the city, which you can pass by train. Ortakoy means “middle village,” and the name stems from the fact that it is located in the middle of the European Bosphorus shores.

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Ortakoy mosque is a famous place that you must have seen in many Turkish postcards. Another famous thing about Ortakoy is Kumpir, a stuffed baked potato that is very delicious. Also, do not forget to enjoy its beautiful scenery and crafts market while you are there. 

A beautiful village where Asia and Europe meet

The villages mentioned above were some of the best towns near Istanbul, which were on the European side of the city. However, when the two sides part, you can find another province containing a beautiful district located on an important crossroad binding Europe to Asia called Kocaeli. 

So, let’s get to the Asian side of Istanbul and see what beautiful villages the Asian side offers to a tourist.

Beautiful villages in the Asian part of Istanbul

As mentioned earlier, the Asian part of Istanbul and its beautiful villages are located in the eastern part of the Bosphorous strait. 

An overview of beautiful villages in the Asian part

  • Maşukiye in Kartepe
  • Ağva in Şile
  • Kabakoz in Şile
  • Hacıllı in Şile
  • Riva in Beykoz
  • Polenezköy in Beykoz
  • Kanlica in Beykoz
  • Reşadiye in Çekmeköy
  • Taraklı in Sakarya
  • Sapanca in Sakarya
  • Çengelköy in Üsküdar
  • Gölyazi in Bursa

Maşukiye, a beautiful village shining in Kartepe

Kartepe is approximately 110 km far from Istanbul and is for Kocaeli province. Although it is a district, it has a touch of a village. Kartepe means “Ice peak,” which stems from the fact that it is a mountain town famous for its heavy snow and is the most beautiful place near Istanbul for snow skiing. 

Maşukiye, a beautiful village shining in Kartepe

Greeks settled it, and Its old inhabitants were originally nomadic shepherds, but nowadays, its major population consists of Muslims. It is also famous for its Balaban cherry, berries, pomegranate, and summer resorts. You can visit there using a train, bus, taxi, or car from Istanbul. 

1-1) Maşukiye is a village in Kartepe and has a 127 km distance from Istanbul. Its name comes from an Arabic word called “Maşuk,” which means “love” or “the person who loves and adores others.” Maşukiye waterfalls and dense forests provide incredible scenery for nature lovers, and the fish and seafood are worth trying.

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Fascinating villages in Şile

Şile district offers three beautiful villages around Istanbul: Ağva, Kabakoz, and Hacıllı.

Şile has 84 km away from Istanbul, is on the Black sea coast, and extends at the entire coastal strip. It has famous beaches like Şile Sahil, Şile Plajları, Şile aqua beach and offers tourists many attractions such as rocky islands, historical monuments, and magical landscapes.

2-1) Ağva is located 112 km far from Istanbul and benefits from enlivening breezes of the Black Sea. It is located between two streams and has a hidden lake where romantic tourists can take a boat ride with their lovers.

Ağva has beautiful scenery, a natural lake, and a harbor for fishing. In summer, you can enjoy relaxing on the beach or swimming in the Black Sea. While you are in Ağva, we suggest visiting the Friday Market to get souvenirs. You can go to Ağva from Istanbul by train, taxi, bus, or car.

2-2) Kabakoz is 92 km far from Istanbul and is one of the oldest villages of Şile. It is also located on the coastline and has magnificent beaches. Kabakoz holds the Şile seed exchange festival, in which the villagers bring their seeds and locally produced products, such as chestnut and honey that they are famous for, to exchange them with similar products of villagers from other parts of Şile. 

This festival usually occurs in mid-November. Kabakoz is also famous for its century-old sycamore tree. You can use a car, bus, taxi, train, or even a ferry to visit Kabakoz.

2-3) Last but not least, the beautiful Hacıllı is located at a 104 km distance from Istanbul, and its breathtaking scenery attracts many tourists every year. Hacıllı has a camping area near Koca stream and is highly recommended for tourists to visit.

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Beykoz and its three dreamy villages

Beykoz is another district in the Asian part that offers tourists three beautiful villages:

3-1) Riva has a 54 km distance from Istanbul, which you can pass through using a train, taxi, car, or ferry. Riva is by the Kariyazy river leading to the Black Sea, and its beautiful landscapes offer a lot to visit either for families with children or for individuals who enjoy nature.

Beykoz and its three dreamy villages

Elmas Burun National Park is Riva’s most famous tourist attraction.

3-2) Polenezköy is a beautiful village within 38 km of Istanbul. Its name comes from the fact that it was a Polish colony back in Ottoman time and its inhabitants are originally Polish. It has charming cafes where you can enjoy the real taste of Turkish coffee and a five-kilometer walking path through the forest. 

Attractions that may amaze tourists are:

  • Historical monuments.
  • Horse riding.
  • Picture exhibitions about the history of this beautiful village near Istanbul.
  • Traditional cherry festivals alongside folkloric performances.

Travel options to Polenezköy include ferry, metro, taxi, train, and car.

3-3) Kanlica is 36 km from Istanbul and is a small village by Bosphorus. It gets fame from its beautiful nostalgic scenery and Kanalica yogurt, a creamy thick Turkish yogurt with powder sugar served in its cafes. As a tourist, you should not miss visiting Iskele square, which is home to local tea and pastry shops. You can go there using a taxi, train, ferry, or car.

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Çekmeköy’s lovely village, Reşadiye

Reşadiye is a slightly less famous beautiful village around Istanbul known among locals for its cherries and holds a cherry festival annually. It has a 42 km distance from Istanbul, and you can take the bus to get there.

Amusing villages in Sakarya

Sakarya province offers Taraklı and Sapanca that with no doubt will fascinate a tourist:

5-1) Taraklı is in northwestern Turkey and is a pretty historic lovely village. Aside from its waterfalls, amazing scenery, and bushy forests that you can explore, the village is filled with Ottoman houses that have survived for over 300 years. So, it is safe to say that the village’s main tourist attraction is these quaint historical buildings, mainly made from wood. 

The wooden houses are now officially protected and under reconstruction. I think you can now guess that Taraklı’s importance for Ottoman Empire was based on its woodcraft production. Nowadays, the main activity center of the village is the kurşunlu mosque which belongs to the 16th century.

Another interesting fact about this beautiful village near Istanbul is that it has a 700-year-old tree still living and growing! Who wouldn’t want to visit such a rich culture and hear about its fairytales?!

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5-2) Sapanca, on the other hand, is a place for pleasure and tranquility. It is 138 km from Istanbul and is full of tourists, especially in summer, mostly because of its famous Sapanca lake. In spring, you can enjoy the fragrance of Lily and Jasmine in the air, and you can always visit Gölpark, which in addition to its fantastic view, offers groups of migratory birds, wild animals, and rare plants to watch. 

Amusing villages in Sakarya

Üsküdar beautiful village, Çengelköy

Üsküdar district, which is located on Asian Bosphorus shores, has a fascinating village called Çengelköy.

Çengelköy has a 15 km distance from Istanbul and is so close to Istanbul that it will only take 2 hours to go there on foot! Other transportation options include bus, ferry, taxi, shuttle, and car. By the way, there is a nostalgic old car museum in Çengelköy that attracts visitors. 

Other fascinating places to visit in Çengelköy are mansions that were built during the Ottoman rule that one of the most beautiful of them is the red Sadullah Pasha Mansion which stands along the sea and was built in the 1770s during the reign of Sultan Selim the 3rd. 

Bursa and its historic village, Gölyazi

Bursa is a province that fascinates tourists of its beautiful village Gölyazi. Gölyazi is an ancient Turkish village in 181 km from Istanbul that visitors need to take a boat tour around the Peninsula of Bursa to get to. Gölyazi has a famous Crying Plane Tree that is more than 700 years old. 

It also has a lake in which you can both swim and fish. Although its restaurants serving homemade meals and Turkish coffee can be a distraction, you should never forget to visit the Roman houses.

There are still more than 500 Roman houses in the village that standstill for over 450 years. Also, the old Turkish fortress located in the middle of the village is still active and lovely to visit.  


In this article, we have tried to cover the most beautiful villages near Istanbul, but we are sure there are still many to discover. Although Istanbul itself has fascinating places to visit, if you have time, pick one of these beautiful villages in Turkey near Istanbul that suits you best and try to make the most out of your travel to Istanbul. 

Have fun, and I look forward to hearing about our upcoming articles!

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