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Balat Istanbul Guide. The Colourful Houses in Balat & More!

by TheWanderingQuinn

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Balat is a neighbourhood in Istanbul which is most well known for its colourful houses. I thought that the Balat Istanbul location of these colourful houses in Istanbul was close to the major Istanbul tourist attractions but this isn’t the case, you have to take a bus or taxi to Balat, or Fener Istanbul as the area is also called.

However, once there, not only will you be able to see the famous Istanbul colourful houses, you will also see street art, cool cafes, a local neighbourhood and some interesting historic buildings.

So let me give you my Balat Istanbul travel guide on how to visit Balat in Istanbul, what to do in Balat, the best time to visit Balat and of course the Balat Istanbul location for the Balat colourful houses!

Balat Istanbul

Balat Istanbul
Keep Reading for a Guide to Balat Istanbul and the Balat Colourful Houses!

Balat Istanbul Location

Balat is on the European side of Istanbul and on the same side as the popular tourist attractions in Istanbul like Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque and Topkapi Palace, however from these top things to do in Istanbul it is not in walking distance and it is also in the area of Fener Istanbul so keep this in mind when planning how to get to Balat.

Balat Istanbul Map

Here is a Balat Istanbul Map to help you work out where Fener Bus Station is, where are the colourful houses in Balat, cafes in Balat and what to do in Balat:

How to get to Balat, Istanbul

Taxies are very cheap in Istanbul and on the meter, so far since living in Istanbul I’ve not had a taxi driver increase the price because I’m foreign so if you are a tourist on a tight timeframe in Istanbul, you might prefer to get a taxi to Balat.

You can get the Bus to Balat Istanbul. I suggest using Google Maps to help plan out your route. There is a bus that goes directly from Eminonu Otobus Duragi which is right next to the Galata Bridge and takes just 10 minutes. The key thing to note when working out how to get to Balat Istanbul is that the bus stop is called Fener, not Balat, and Fener will show on the bus display screen so you know when to get off.

If you are visiting Balat from the Asian side of Istanbul, the best way to get to Balat is by boat to Fener Ferry Terminal.

Remember to take the bus, metro and boats in Istanbul you will need an Istanbulkart which you can purchase from many ticket machines near stations or from small shops.

How to Find Colourful Houses in Balat

Ok, let’s get straight into it, you most probably want to visit Balat to see the colourful houses. Once you get to Balat, either by taxi, bus or boat, you need to go to Kiremit Street, or Kiremit Caddesi as it’s said in Turkish and on Google Maps!

If you start your day in Balat near the cafes at the bottom of the hill you’ll have to walk uphill to find Kiremit Caddesi and then keep walking a bit until you see the Balat colourful houses.

Balat Istanbul Colourful Houses
Sign for Kiremit Caddesi where the Balat Colourful Houses are.
Balat Istanbul Colourful Houses
Colourful Houses in Balat

Above are the colourful houses in Balat, there are just a few houses in a row and it’s worth noting that the whole neighbourhood is not like this. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit, there’s so much more to this neighbourhood and worth going, but if you are going JUST for an Istanbul Colourful Houses Instagram photo, be aware this is all there is.

When taking photos of these houses and outside them remember that they are peoples houses and be respectful of where you stand and what you take photos of.

Balat Istanbul Colourful Houses
I love the angle of this photo where you can see the colourful houses in Balat and the other houses!

Best Time To Visit Balat, Istanbul

The best time to visit Balat is in the morning before the area gets too busy. Going early will also mean that you should get a better photograph of the Balat Colourful houses as there will be fewer tourists also doing the same. Weekends are considerably busier so keep this in mind.

What To Do in Balat, Istanbul

Visiting Balat is about visiting the whole neighbourhood, wandering its pretty streets, its old streets, its abandoned streets and seeing what you come across. Visiting Balat is much more than just getting an Instagram photo although it is good for that too!

Below though are some things to do in Balat to help you work out what to do in Balat. Add the places I’ve highlighted below to your Google Maps as points to head to and once you get there you’ll soon find your own hidden gems in Balat!

Balat Colourful Houses

You have the colourful houses in Balat that I showed you above, these are the Istanbul colourful houses on Insatgram you’ll most likely see.

However, so much more of Balat is colourful too! More colourful houses in Balat on Yildirim Caddesi / Yildirim Street. I love the balconies that pop out of the 1st floor on these houses and the array of colours!

Balat Istanbul Colourful Houses Yildirim Caddesi
Here are the Balat Colourful houses on Yildirim Caddesi!

Cafes in Balat

The best time to go to Balat is in the morning and make sure you leave your morning coffee until you get there, and leave room for lunch, because there are so many cool cafes in Balat!

What I love most is that along Vodina Street you have really colourful and quite hipster type cafes like Fida Cafe and Shehrengizs Cafe one side but further up the road you have cafes in Balat that are more local and more traditional Turkish especially near Tahta Minare Cami.

To find the best cafes in Balat, save the above highlighted places in your Google Maps and once you get to Balat you’ll see more than enough Balat cafes for a coffee or tea!

Balat Istanbul, Balat Cafes
Fida Cafe in Balat in the more tourist and hipster part.
Balat Istanbul, mosque
Cafes in Balat next to Tahta Minare Mosque which are more local and Turkish.

Street Art in Balat

I told you this area is colourful and the street art really adds to that. Keep a look out for Rainbow steps, Umbrellas coving the street and many street art pieces!

Balat Istanbul, Street Art

Shopping in Balat

Vintage shopping in Istanbul is great and Balat as some of the best vintage shops in Istanbul! Whether you want clothes, accessories or you like growing large vintage items you’ll find vintage shops in Balat for that purpose.

Aside from this, there are many tourist souvenir shops too.

Balat Istanbul, vintage shopping in Balat
Vintage shops in Balat, one of the things to do in Balat

Local Streets of Balat

One of my favourite things to do in Balat was walking around the streets and finding these really local streets. If you head towards Surp Hresdagabet Church which I’ve noted below as what to do in Balat, you’ll see plenty of streets like this with locals sipping tea outside and shops with cheap, local food!

Balat Istanbul Local streets

Abandoned Buildings in Balat

Something I didn’t expect to see in Balat is all of the abandoned buildings and they were fascinating to see. These buildings and the many different types of buildings really give an insight into the Balat Istanbul history and just how old this city is!

Balat Istanbul Abandoned buildings
I love the contrast of these colourful Balat buildings and abandoned ones.

Surp Hresdagabet Church

From the outside, it doesn’t look like a church, it looks like a few flats but if you go through the gateway you’ll come across a small courtyard and the church which you can go inside.

Even if you aren’t interested in the church, this is one of the good things to do in Balat Istanbul to add to you Google Maps to head towards as I loved the local streets around here!

Balat Istanbul, Church
Surp Hresdagabet Church, one of the things to do in Balat.

Greek Orthodox College

You won’t be able to miss the Phaner Greek Othodox College sat right up on the hill. This impressive building is now on a secondary school and although you can’t go in so it’s not an idea of what to do in Balat in that way, it is impressive to see up close and from afar!

Balat Istanbul, Phanar Greek Othodox College
The Phanar Greek Othodox College on the hill

That’s my Balat Istanbul Travel Guide with the best things to do in Balat, how to get to Balat, the Balat Istanbul Location and the how to find the colourful houses in Balat!

Enjoy your day there!


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