IICS Sites & Social Networking


IICS Sites & Social Networking


In a city of more than 12 million people, obviously the selection of housing and neighborhood is abundant. There are some neighborhoods, however, that expatriate families tend to gravitate toward, primarily on the European side of Istanbul. The below list represents the areas most commonly chosen by the families at our school. For additional information, contact a relocator in Istanbul, like those in our resource section.

These urban areas offer closer access to a number of cultural attractions of Istanbul, quick access to public transport, and a sense of history on cobbled streets lined with turn of the century townhouses.


  • Nisantasi- high end boutiques and fashion design houses edge this neighborhood.
  • Cihangir- the quirky SoHo of Istanbul with antique shops, eclectic cafes, and specialty boutiques

These neighborhoods offer both residential neighborhoods as well as more convenient access to major roads, shopping centers, etc.

  • Etiler- residential compounds, detached houses, Akmerkez mall, many cafes and restaurants, nightlife, sports clubs.
  • Ulus- residential compounds with luxury villas, hilltop views of the bosphorus, Ulus Park.
  • Levent-situated between Etiler and the corporate district of Maslak, has a neighborhood of detached and semi-detached houses and villas, close to metro system, easy access to highway, near some of the top malls: Kanyon, Metrocity, Sapphire.
  • Akatlar-Akatlar’s most prominent feature is the Alkent compound with mature gardens, sports facilities, shops, and cinema. Located next to Sanatcilar Park.

These neighborhoods line the Bosphorus waterway and are known for their historical houses, restaurants, and “village” feel. You won’t find many compounds in these areas, but will find charming, original houses.

  • Ortakoy- is a quaint area with a bubbling waterfront area with cafes and restaurants and a cobbled stone harbor and one of the most famous views of Istanbul with the Ortakoy Mosque framed by the Bosphorus bridge. The neighborhood behind the waterfront has historic homes but also some new gated compounds with excellent facilities and nearby shopping.
  • Kurucesme- Kurucesme are cozy corners down the hill from Ulus, featuring historic homes and a quieter waterfront park than Bebek. Near the posh Les Ottomans hotel and the popular open air waterfront music venue, Kurucemse Arena, which features top international performers like Shakira, Sting, etc.
  • Arnavutkoy- Popular for its fish restaurants and cafes, the quaint district of Arnavutkoy, down the hill from Etiler, sports a row of waterfront “painted ladies” (historic wooden ‘yali’ houses), and a wide pedestrian pavement along the Bosphorus that continues through Bebek for waterside strolls or early morning jogging.
  • Bebek- Also down the hill from Etiler, Bebek is known for the high end crowd who frequent its cafes (Turkish A-listers) and a wooded waterfront park.
  • Rumeli Hisar- Located near IICS’ Hisar Campus. Named for the castle fortress in its midst, the more residential Rumeli Hisar neighborhood is a labrynth of historic homes. Like many neighborhoods in the area, the steep hills mean many homes are afforded a waterfront view.

North Shore

  • Istinye- Anchored by the popular Istinye Park Mall, the area is central for transportation, abuzz with activity, and still close to the waterfront-- just down the hill is Istinye harbor. 
  • Emirgan- Green, more densely treed, with larger gardens, luxury homes, and the Emirgan Korusu (nature preserve) at its center, Emirgan is the quieter end of the waterfront neighborhoods.
  • Yenikoy- Yenikoy is known for its stately waterfront mansions, luxury villas, and tree-lined main street dotted with cafes.
  • Zekeriyakoy- situated at the northern end of Istanbul’s European side near the mouth of the Black Sea approximately 40 kilometers from city center, Zekeriyakoy offers detached houses with large gardens.


  • Kemerburgaz- located approximately 20 kilometers from city center, Kemerburgaz has grown from a wooded retreat to a mini city in its own right. Its most attractive feature for families is perhaps the Kemer Golf and Country Club, providing sports, equestrian facilities, and more. A variety of homes available from villas to rustic-but-luxury log-cabin style houses in forested hills.

Istanbul is so massive that it is hard to think of any neighborhood as suburban, but there are places within the city limits that feel like a getaway from the hubub of downtown.

  • Alkent 2000- Fıve kilometers from IICS’ Marmara Campus, Alkent 2000 is a neighborhood of detached houses, large gardens, and mulitple sports facilities.
  • Bahcesehir- A suburb 25 minutes from IICS’ Marmara Campus, 30 minutes from the airport and about 45-60 minutes from downtown, is a newly constructed planned city suburb which has won several awards for its design.
  • Ardic Evleri- Near Bahcesehir, Ardic Evleri is a  compound of detached and semi-detached homes
  • Toscana Evleri- Styled in Tuscan-like architecture and landscaping, Toscana is down the road from Alkent 2000.



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