Real Turkish Bath Experience in Istanbul

A trip to Istabul is never complete without a Turkish Bath experience. Even though many civiliziations in history had public bathing culture, none of them have become as popular as Turkish Baths. This is due to the fact the Turkish Bath experience has some unique rituals and it plays an important role in Turkish culture. In the old times, all the neighbourhoods had their own hamams which served as a meeting place for locals to partake in conversation along with bathing and massage experience.

Today, the Hamams are not used very often by the public as they were used to be. They have become some kind of health centers where you can go to relax your mind and body. Turkish Bath experience is a very popular touristic activity for many tourists who come to Turkey. In this article, we listed the best Turkish Baths in Istanbul where you can experience the relaxing effects of a hamam and get over your jet lag.

1) The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam

As you may guess from it’s name, The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam is located next to the famous Hagia Sophia. It was designed and built by the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire, Mimar Sinan in the year 1556 by the order of Hürrem Sultan, the wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. With over 450 years of history, the building itself is a tourist attraction. Thanks to it’s location, The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam is one of the most popular Turkish Baths among tourists visiting Istanbul.

The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam offers a luxurious hamam experience in a very clean environment. Specially produced soaps, top quality towels and gold coated bath bowls are provided by the establisment. The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam has both men and women sections which are located seperately. They offer different package options from a classic body scrubbing and bubble wash on the marble stone to full body and aromatherapy massages. You can follow this link to see their price list and find out the location of the hamam.

2) Cağaloğlu Hamam

The Cagaloglu Hamam is located in the historic peninsula of Istanbul, within the Fatih district. The hamam building was built in the year 1741 and it’s very close to the Sultanahmet area. It’s one of the famous and oldest hamams in the city which is still operating. Throughout the history, Cağaloğlu Hamam hosted many leaders, famous businessman and celebrities including; Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Harrison Ford, Cameron Diaz, Oprah Winfrey, Chevy Chase, Kate Moss and George Soros. The Cağaloğlu Hamam building has  been used as a filming location for many movies as well.

The Cağaloğlu Hamam offers different packages from self service bathing to full body Ottoman massage and skin therapy. Visitors can refresh themselves with special shampoos, hair creams, body lotions and olive oil soaps with exotic scents. After a refreshing hamam session, they can enjoy a warm cup of Turkish tea or a cold homemade sherbet together with delicious Turkish delights. You can follow this link to find out more about Cagaloglu Hamam.

3) Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam

Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam was constructed in between 1578-1583, by the order of famous Ottoman Admiral Kılıç Ali Paşa, in order to serve the marine forces in the Ottoman navy. The Hamam is part of a building complex which also includes a mosque and a school.

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Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam is located in the Tophane quarter in Beyoğlu district of Istanbul. It’s very close to the famous Karaköy quarter and the seaport where cruise ships dock.

In addition to the standart hamam ritual with bubble wash, they offer additional services such as: full body massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, partial-body massage, foot and lower leg massage. To check out ther price list and other useful information, you can follow this link.

4) Çemberlitaş Hamam

The Çemberlitaş Hamam is located on Çemberlitaş Square in Fatih district of Istanbul, where it’s named after. It was built next to the famous monumental column “Çemberlitaş Obelisk”. It is a 57 meters high column which was unearthed from the Apollo Temple in Rome and brought to Constantinople by the Byzantine Emperor Constantin I.

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Çemberlitaş Hamam was built by the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire, Mimar Sinan in the year 1584, by the order of Nurbanu Sultan, wife of Selim II and mother of Murat III. The purpose of building the Çemberlitaş hamam was to crete an income source for the Atik Valide Mosque and the charity complex attached to it.

Çemberlitaş Hamam consist of 2 identical building facilities which are being used as man and women baths. Visitors can enjoy self service bath near the marble basins after a relaxing lay down on the marble stone. Additional services and packages are also offered by the Çemberlitaş Hamam such as; scrubbing, bubble bath, sultan’s bath, aromatherapy oil massage and clay mask. To find our more information about their services performed by expert attendants, you can follow this link.

5) Süleymaniye Hamam

Süleymaniye Hamam is another Turkish Bath in our list which was built by Mimar Sinan. Sülaymaniye Hamam is part of the Süleymaniye Mosque complex which is one of the most visited touristic sites in Istanbul. It was opened in 1557 and still in use.

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Unlike many other hamams in Istanbul, Süleymaniye Hamam serves both man and women visitors at the same time without seperate sections. Only couples are accepted to the Süleymaniye Hamam and therefore most of the customers are tourists.

The entire hamam experience in Süleymaniye Hamam takes about 60 to 90 minutes. They offer washing, peeling and massage services. The place is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m to  10 p.m. but the last entrance is at 8 p.m. If you would like to find out more about Süleymaniye Hamam, click here to see their website.

6) Ağa Hamam

Ağa Hamam (Ağa Hamamı in Turkish) is the oldest Turkish Bath in Istanbul, which was built in 1454, after the conquest of Istanbul. Although most of the Turkish Baths in Istanbul were built as public buildings, Ağa Hamam was one of the Hamams which served only to Sultans and their families. Mehmed the Conqueror built this building near Beyoğlu as a hunting house, together with it’s Turkish bath. The Ağa Hamam was used by the Ottoman Sultans until the last years of the Empire. In 1844, during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecid, the Hamam underwent a major renovation.

Today, the Ağa Hamam is in service of only the tourists who would like to experience an authentic Turkish Bath. It is a mixed Hamam, which means that couples can enjoy a relaxing session together. Ağa Hamam offers 3 different packages; traditional package, massage package and massage package with face mask. All three of them includes bubble wash and scrubbing services. To check out their price list, you can click here to reach their website.

7) Galatasaray Hamam

Galatasaray Hamam was built as part of the Galatasaray Külliye together with the several other buildings in the complex in 1481. The hamam is located behind the famous Galatasaray Lycee on the İstiklal Avenue.

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Thanks to it’s unique atmosphere, it has been used as a filming location for many movies and song clips. Like other Turkish Baths in our list, Galatasaray Hamam offers different services to it’s visitors. It has both man and women sections located seperately. To find out more about the Galatasaray Hamam, you can follow this link.

8) Historic Vezneciler Hamam

Vezneciler Hamam Lobby and Interior
The lobby and the interior of the Historic Vezneciler Hamam

The Historic Vezneciler Hamam was built in 1481 by the Ottoman Sultan Beyazid II. It is the first and only Hamam that was built on the second floor. It’s located in the Fatih District of Istanbul, which is inside the historic peninsula. It’s believed that the healing water in the bath and sauna, is good for jaundice.

Like the Süleymaniye Hamam and Ağa Hamam, Vezneciler Hamam is also operating as a mixed hamam, serving man and women visitors at the same time. There are 3 different packages offered in Vezneciler Hamam. The bathing experience takes about 60 to 110 minutes depending on the package you choose. You can click here to find out more about their services and prices.

10 Great Movies Filmed in Istanbul

With it’s deep history, unique culture and fantastic architecture; Istanbul has always been a cinematic city. Fabulous atmosphere in the city has inspired many artists throughout the history and it continues to do so.

Since the earliest days of cinema, many great movies has been filmed in Istanbul. In this article we listed 10 great movies which are either set in Istanbul or some part of the movie is filmed in Istanbul. These movies will not only give you a couple of hours of entertainment but they will also  take you on a journey through time.

1) Tintin and the Golden Fleece (1961)

Tintin and the Golden Fleece - Tintin movie set in Istanbul
Tintin and Captain Haddock are cruising on a ship in Bosphorus

Based on the comic book series “The Adventures of Tintin” written by Belgian writer-artist Hergé, Tintin and the Golden Fleece (Tintin et le Mystère de La Toison d’or) is a live-action movie first released in 1961. The movie was filmed in Turkey and Greece with the main characters of Tintin and Captain Haddock, who are searching for treasure after inheriting a worthless ship called the “Golden Fleece”.

The movie was the first live-action addaptation of The Adventures of Tintin series. We found a short but high quality video on YouTube which was compiled of the Istanbul scenes of the movie. Unfortunately, the video only has Turkish subtitles but watching the beautiful Istanbul from the perspective of 60 years back is priceless.

2) From Russia With Love (1963)

 Daniela Bianchi and Sean Connery in the movie set of James Bond movie: ‘From Russia With Love’
Daniela Bianchi and Sean Connery in the movie set of ‘From Russia With Love’

In this 1963 movie, Legendary MI6 agent 007, or James Bonds, visits Istanbul in search of a stolen encryption device.

The movie starring famous actor Sean Connery as James Bond was mostly filmed in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and the Sirkeci railway station are some of the locations where the movie was filmed.

In this 1 hour and 55 minutes long of movie, beautiful Italian actress Daniela Bianchi accompanies agent 007 as Tatiana Romanova, a Soviet consulate clerk in Istanbul. Many 007 fans and cinema critics frequently considered “From Russia with Love” as the best movie of the James Bond film series.

3) Topkapi (1964)

DVD Cover photo of the movie "Topkapi"The movie “Topkapi” is based on the British author Eric Ambler’s novel “The Light of Day” and it tells the story of a conman who gets mixed up with a group of international theft gang who plan to rob the Topkapı Museum in Istanbul to steal a jewelled dagger.

The movie was filmed in the summer of 1963 and released in 1964. You can watch the high quality video below to see the Istanbul scenes of the movie.The video features sceneries from Istanbul and an oil wrestling scene filmed in Edirne province of Turkey which is famous for it’s traditional oil wrestling tournament.

4) Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Movie Poster of the 1974 Murder on the Orient Express
Movie Poster of the 1974 Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express is a movie which is based on the same name novel written by Agatha Christie. The movie tells a story which took place in the 1930s and depicts a murder occured on the famous Orient Express train which runs between the Istanbul-Paris route. 

The film was commercially successfull and received good comments from the critics, as well as receiving six nominations at the 47th Academy Awards. Ingrid Bergman won her third Oscar for her performance in “Murder on the Orient Express”.

Another film adaptation of the story was released on 3 November 2017; featuring a cast of famous actors and actresses such as; Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz and Dame Judi Dench.

5) The World Is Not Enough (1999)

007 James Bond the World Is Not Enough original film poster
“The World Is Not Enough” original film poster

The second Jamed Bond movie in our list is “The World is Not Enough” starring famous actor Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. It’s the 19th movie in the James Bond series and 3rd one that is featuring Pierce Brosnan.

In this movie, which is filmed in France, Spain, Azerbaijan, UK and Turkey, James Bond is assigned to proctect the daughter of an oil tycoon while trying to uncover a nuclear plot. In the Istanbul scenes of the movie, Maiden’s Tower and Küçüksu Palace are shown.

6) The Accidental Spy (2001)

The Accidental Spy is a Jackie Chan movie released in 2001. The movie was filmed in Hong Kong, Seoul, Istanbul and Cappadocia. The movie tells the story of a salesman from Hong Kong who finds himself as an accidental spy, chasing a narcotic gang in the exotic locations of Turkey and Seoul.

7) Skyfall (2012)

James Bond movie Skyfall posterSkyfall is the 3rd James Bond movie in our list. In this twenty-third movie of the James Bond series, agent 007 investigates an attack on MI6 which forces the agency to relocate. The filming of the movie took place in 2012. Istanbul, Adana and Fethiye provinces were the main filming locations where the scenes in Turkey filmed.

In Istanbul scenes; The Spice Bazaar, New Mosque, the Grand Post Office, Sultanahmet Square and the Grand Bazaar were shown. The movie also features the famous motobike chase scene across the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar, which was critized for allegedly damaging historic buildings while filming.

8) Taken II (2012)

Liam Neeson movie Taken 2 Istanbul poster

Taken 2 is the second movie in the Taken triology. The movie follows the story of a retired CIA agent Bryan Mills who takes his family to a trip to Istanbul and kidnapped by the leader of a gang who seeks revenge for the death of his son.

Taken 2, starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen was filmed in late 2011 and early 2012. Istanbul scenes of the movie were filmed in November 2011.

9) Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)

Until now, our list was full of action and adventure movies which would make you think that Istanbul is full of action and adrenaline. Who knows, maybe because of the mysterious and sometimes chaotic atmosphere of Istanbul, many directors and producers have thought that Istanbul is the best spot to film their movies full of action. However, there also many other movies which are looking into Istanbul from a romantic perspective. Dil Dhadakne Do is one of them.

This Indian romantic comedy tells the story of the Mehra family, who invite their family and friends on a cruise trip to Mediterranean to celebrate the parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. The movie starring famous Indian actors and actresses such as; Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar. The movie also features voiceover performance of Amir Khan as the family dog Pluto who narrates the story.

Dil Dhadakne Do (which literally means “Let (your) Heart Beat” in Hindi) was filmed in several Mediterranean countries including Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Spain. It was released on 2 May 2015. Turkey scenes of the movie were filmed in Antalya, Cappadocia and Istanbul.

10) Inferno (2016)

Inferno is an American thriller based on Dan Brown’s novel of same name and it’s the sequel to The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels & Demons (2009) movies.

In this movie, Harvard University professor Robert Langdon (portrayed by Tom Hanks) teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks (portrayed by Felicity Jones) to prevent a massive biological attack, which would unleash a deadly virus and wipe out half of the world’s population. Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern were the main filming locations of scenes filmed in Turkey.


We included notable mentions to our list. These movies also features scenes which were filmed in different parts of Istanbul. On your next Netflix and Chill sessions, don’t forget to watch one of these 14 movies if you alredy haven’t watched them yet. If you would like to add a new movie to our list, don’t be shy to comment below :))

Hitman (2007)

International (2009)

The Two Faces of January (2014)

The Water Diviner (2014)