Istanbul, Turkey

Historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium, Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey and the country’s economic, cultural, and historic center. Istanbul straddles the Bosphorus strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, and features seven hills, each topped by imperial mosques. Our guide to running in Istanbul has routes in the commercial and historical center on the European side, and on the Asian side, where 1/3 of the population lives. It’s the 7th largest city in the world and the 5th largest tourist destination. Note that this is a dense and crowded city, with some pollution, so you’ll have to pick your spots. Running is not as commonplace as some other European cities.

The best places to run in Istanbul are along the water, featuring the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Highlights are around Sarayburnu, near the Old City (Sultanahmet), between Kuruçeşme and Bebek, and along the Dalyan-Pendik Coast. For hills, head up to Camlica Hill, and for woods and trails, head to the expansive Belgrade Forest, 15 km north. A great ‘destination’ run is Büyükada, reachable by ferry, featuring a 7 km loop around the island.

Istanbul has a good and continually improving transport system, with trams, buses, rail, and a subway system. The 0-1 is the inner ring road, the 0-2 is the outer ring road; and there are three Bosphorus Bridges and the new, dual-deck Eurasia Tunnel under the Bosphorus strait also provides road crossings for motor vehicles between the Asian and European sides of Turkey.

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Istanbul has a combination Mediterranean, humid subtropical climate, and oceanic climate, with quite a bit of variation depending on location, influenced by water and the hilly topography. The northern half of the city, as well as the Bosporus coastline, is more humid, while the southern sections of the city is warmer and drier. The south coast is typically a few degrees warmer than the north coast.

Summers are warm and humid, with high temperatures in the 26-27C range (80F), with warm nights. Winters are cloudy, cool, and damp but not cold, with average highs around 5C and lows hovering around freezing. Snow and ice are occasional. Precipitation is more frequent in winter, and sunny days are prevalent are summer.



This is one of the most visited cities in Europe, so there is a large selection of hotels of varying budget range. If you’re staying anywhere in the Sultanahmet area, or to the east of Atatürk Blv., you’ll be within range of a good run. Try to stay as close to the water as possible, as there are good running spots along European and Asian side featuring the Bosphorus, Golden Horn, and Sea of Marmara.  There are also lots of hotels in contemporary Istanbul in the Taksim Square area, which provides access to good running in Maçka Park. There are fewer hotels in Üsküdar area, but if staying there, try to be close to water in Dalyan for the best running.


There is a growing running scene in Istanbul, evidenced by the opening of new running stores in recent years. There are stores operated by the major shoe brands: Reebok, Puma, Asics, Nike, Converse, Salomon, and New Balance. See our map for location of stores and group runs.

For additional information on running groups in Istanbul, click here.

Group Runs

Nike Run Club. Frequent events on the European and Asian side.

Istanbul Koşu Kuvvetleri  Events Tuesday and Thursday

Bu Kızlar Nereye Koşuyor.

Team Istrunbul One of the more intense running clubs,