Bebek is a very trendy village along the Bosphorus. It has a buzzing atmosphere and it is well-known for the nice cafés and shops that line the waterfront. Locals also praise Bebek for its nice seaside promenade, ideal for long strolls along the strait.
Bebek is located on the European shore of the Bosphorus. It has a nice deep and wide bay, which offers stunning views of the Bosphorus in both directions. Obviously, this attractive natural location didn’t go unnoticed. In the 19th century, Ottoman aristocrats picked Bebek’s ideal location to build their summer houses and palaces. Today it is still a popular residential area.
Unfortunately, not too many of these historical residences with their typical architecture withstood the test of time. The best remaining example is probably the Egyptian Consulate. This white art nouveau mansion (yalı) was commissioned by Abbas Hilmi II, the last Khedive of Egypt and completed at the end of the 19th century.
When and Why Visit Bebek
Locals love Bebek. Not because of the sightseeing spots. Except for the consulate mentioned above and a small brown stone mosque, there are no real historical sights.
People go to Bebek to absorb the great atmosphere. Typically they’ll enjoy an elaborated waterfront breakfast, a bit of shopping, and probably the best walk along the Bosphorus. For the night owls among you, Bebek also has some great bars, where you can often spot famous Istabulites.
Unfortunately, Bebek is also victim of its own success. You can only reach the town through the rather narrow seaside road. And certainly on the weekend streets become clogged and getting there may take much more time than you anticipated.
My Favorite Places
- Bebek Kahvesi — This café is a basic yet pleasant place for a typical Turkish breakfast, a tea or a coffee. It is located next to the ferry, adjacent to the cute Bebek park.
- Bebek Badem Ezmecisi — This is simply the place to be if you’re looking for the best marzipan in Istanbul. The shop has been selling marzipan, an almond paste sweet, since 1904.
- Midnight Express — a great concept store, founded because of the desire of an architect and a fashion designer to create a boutique that reflected their common interests. (midnightexpress.com.tr)
- Lucca — It is a small modern café-bistro-bar. Its convenient location, award-winning cocktails and wide variety of food served any time of the day make it one of Bebek’s favorite establishments. (luccastyle.com)
- Bosphorus Walk — Start in Bebek and walk all the way to the Europe Fortress (Rumeli Hisarı).