Muslim Solo Travel Guide to Istanbul, Turkiye (+ Safety Tips!)
Are you planning to visit Istanbul solo as a Muslimah traveler?
You’re in the right place!
Located right between the East and West, Asia and Europe, the Muslim-majority country is famous for all types of Muslim travelers — Muslimah Solo Travelers included!
Here are some things to know about Istanbul, Turkiye, from things to do, safety concerns, Halal food, prayer facilities, and more before you embark on your solo trip.
Disclaimer: Some of the links here are affiliate links. Muslim Solo Travel receives a small commission AT NO EXTRA cost to you if you use the links. Hope you find this guide helpful!
About Istanbul Turkiye
Formerly known as Constantinople in the ancient Byzantine Empire, Istanbul is Turkiye’s largest city and principal seaport.
This bustling metropolis straddling the Bosphorus Strait is the best of both worlds — East and West, Asia and Europe.
It is packed with monuments, mosques, heritage sites, and marketplaces that signify the Ottoman Empire’s glorious past and modern experiences, with efficient public transport perfect for Muslim women traveling alone.
Traveling Alone as a Muslim Woman in Istanbul [Safety Tips & What To Avoid]
If you’re wondering if “Is it safe to travel to Istanbul alone as a Muslim female?”
Traveling alone in Istanbul as a Muslim woman is considered very safe and trouble-free.
However, that doesn’t mean that crime and scams do not happen.
Scams and Crimes to be Aware of
Depending on your comfort level and personal experience, it can be moderately safe, as there have been past reports of:
- Crimes like pickpocketing in busy touristy areas like Istiklal Street, Taksim Square, Sultanahmet, and public transport
- Overcharging scams on taxis, tours, leather goods, and carpets.
- Your card getting charged in Euros, while you negotiated in Turkish Lira. Confirm twice on this before swiping.
Neighborhoods to Avoid
Like any other part of the world, and considering the size of Istanbul and its population size of more than 15 million residents of different backgrounds, it is inevitable that sketchy neighborhoods exist.
For the best solo traveling experience as a Muslim woman in Istanbul, avoid neighborhoods like Tarlabasi (nearby Istiklal Street), Gaziosmanpasa, Dolapdere (nearby Taksim Square), and Kustepe.
✈️ Share your solo travel experiences in Istanbul or Turkiye in the ? Community Facebook Group ? to help fellow Muslimah Solo Travelers in their future adventures!
Natural Disasters & Immediate Close Off
Sometimes, the bridges can be closed off at immediate notice. Make sure you’re alert to the latest local news while in Istanbul.
Get travel insurance from ? SafetyWing ✈️ so you can protect yourself from unseen travel complications and unwanted surprises.
Places to Visit in Istanbul as a Muslim Solo Traveler
Being the capital of the country, there are so many places for you to discover on your Muslim-friendly solo trip to Istanbul.
The historic, Old-City experiences in Sultanahmet are where UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Ayasofya, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, and Topkapi Palace are located.
There’s also the Galata Tower, a symbol of the Byzantine empire, which gives a panoramic vista look of Istanbul Old City Skyline in the Beyoglu area.
Speaking of shopping for souvenirs and the Turkish marketplace experience, Grand Bazaar is the place.
Check out this article for more ideas on what to do in Istanbul.
Finding Halal Food in Istanbul
Are you worried about dining alone in Istanbul?
It can be intimidating to dine in Istanbul as the restaurants mainly cater to patrons of two pax minimum. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat by yourself.
Just put your head high, and be confident, and they’ll still serve you regardless.
If you’re intimidated, there are parks and benches in the public area where you can eat at.
The best thing about traveling in Istanbul, and Turkiye in general for Muslims, is that things are Halal (Helal in Turkish).
There are no Halal signs outside of the premises, as it is generally understood that things are Halal in the country unless proven to be haram.
However, you can ask before eating. Regardless, here are some Turkiye-authorized Halal certifications that you should be aware of.
Some popular local Halal food in Turkiye that should not be missed out are doner kebab, pide (Turkish pizza), kumpir, and Ottoman Ice Cream.
Prayer Spaces in Istanbul
As a city with more than 3000 mosques, there is an abundance of mosques and prayer facilities around.
You’ll find them everywhere you go.
Just keep in mind that some of these mosques do not have prayer garments ready so bring yours with you.
Related ?? Best Mosques in Istanbul ?
Best Areas to Stay in Istanbul as a Muslimah Solo Traveler.
It can be overwhelming when searching for a place to stay in Istanbul, as you’ll find thousands of options.
How do you narrow the search?
Here are some best areas for Muslimah Solo Travelers to stay in Istanbul.
The Best Areas to Stay as a Muslim Solo Traveler in Istanbul are:
European side that faces the Golden Horn ⭐️
?? Old City – Sultanahmet – for access to historic parts of the city where landmarks like Ayasofya and Grand Bazaar are within walking distance. However, the prices of staying here can be costly.
?? Beyoğlu – Galata, and Karakoy are nearby many modern cafes, restaurants, and shopping districts like Taksim. There is easy access to other parts of Istanbul via public transport.
However, some parts of Beyoglu are rough, and certain areas in Karakoy and Istiklal turn into nightlife districts post 8 pm-ish. Regardless, if you know where to look and find, some areas can be cheaper, safe, and quiet than other parts of Istanbul.
Asian (Anatolian) side ⭐️
?? Uskudar – Known to be residential with lots of markets and local restaurants. However, the commute (via ferry or Metro) to the European side can take longer if you’re staying here.
?? At the end of it all, it is up to your preference, and your goals when it comes to visiting Istanbul alone.
Getting To and Around Istanbul, Turkiye
You can get to Istanbul via:
- Flight into Ataturk International Airport (ISL), Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW), and Istanbul International Airport (IST)
- Train/bus rides from Europe
Getting around Istanbul for the Muslimah Solo Traveler is moderately easy. There are lots of trams, bus, and taxis that take you around the capital.
All you need is the Istanbulkart card, which you can buy from the airport (in the basement near the bus bay) and everywhere else in the capital.
However, what can be difficult is negotiating with the taxi drivers and language barriers.
In terms of Uber or Taxi, go for the yellow taxi as they’re (1) everywhere, and (2) Uber would cost the same as a taxi either way, and you’d have to wait for them. Plus, most times, the app does not work.
If you have a late-night or early-morning flight, get a private ✈️ airport transfer for peace of mind and seamless transfers that are timed to meet your flight! ? Book here ->
Best Time To Visit Istanbul
The country experiences a temperate climate all year long.
The best time to visit Istanbul are:
- March-May (Spring)
- September – November (Autumn)
During these times, the weather is pleasant, and the humidity is bearable. Great for sightseeing and checking out the best of Istanbul.
Peak months are May through September, with long crowds and full tours. Always book two days in advance, at least if you come during this time!
July is the hottest month.
Visiting During Eid
Muslim holidays like Ramazan Bayram (or Eid Al Fitr) and Kurban Bayram (Eid Al Adha) are also busy times of the year. But it can be a delight for Muslimah Solo Travelers to experience while in Istanbul.
When do Eid Prayers Start in Turkiye?
If you’re visiting during Eid, and want to join congregational Eid prayers, keep in mind that Eid prayers start around 6:15 am, or 15 – 20 minutes after sunrise time in most cities — Istanbul included — in Turkiye.
December is its wettest period.
Snow falls during this time as well. December through February are not the best time to experience Istanbul, as only indoor experiences are available.
However, airfares, hotel stays, and activities are cheap during this time.
Recommended Itinerary for Muslim Solo Traveler in Istanbul (+ Travelog)
For the best Istanbul experience, three days would be enough for you to see pretty much everything in the city.
But if you have one day only, make sure you go to Sultanahmet.
Check out this 3D2N Travelog in Istanbul ?? to get a rough idea.
If you wish to extend to other parts of Turkiye like Bursa, Pamukkale, Konya, Trabzon or Cappadocia, then you’ll need extra days.
Guided or Organized Tours for Solo Muslimah Travelers
There are lots of tours that you can join as a Muslimah Solo Traveler in Istanbul.
It can be a tour to Ayasofya, a Bosphorus Cruise tour, or Day trips to nearby cities like Bursa, and Prince’s Islands.
Can you do Istanbul without a tour?
Absolutely! But make sure you plan ahead to maximize your time solo traveling in Istanbul.
Visiting Istanbul as a Muslimah Solo Traveler Practical Tips To Know
- Useful local phrases like Merhaba (hello), Teşekkür ederim (Thank you)
- Turkish Lira (TL)
- Euro (for tours mostly)
- Make sure you have TL coins so you can enter the public washroom easily. Most of them have turnstiles at the entry, so having coins are necessary.
- When it comes to safety and scams, check out our guide above in this post.
Must Haves in Istanbul
Visa ? Get your Istanbul Visa done quickly
Travel Insurance ? Protect yourself from unwanted scenarios with a Travel Insurance
Sim Card ? Get your sim card delivered to your Istanbul stay
Istanbul E-pass ? for huge savings on multiple attractions
Takeaway – Muslim Solo Travel Guide to Istanbul, Turkiye
There you have it!
A comprehensive travel guide for the Solo Muslim Female Traveler when in Istanbul, Turkiye.
You can continue your journey towards Bursa, once the Ottoman Capital, if you have extra time in Turkiye.
Otherwise, an onward solo trip to Egypt or Andalusia, Spain are good ideas from Istanbul!
If you have past solo travel experiences as a Muslim woman, in Istanbul, Turkiye in general, or other parts of the world that you’d like to share with fellow Muslim women, feel free to share them in the #MuslimahSoloTravelers Community Group. Your solo travel experience can help another Muslim woman greatly! See you in the group!