BEST PLACES FOR URBAN CAMPING IN ISTANBUL
Istanbul is an international travel and business hub. It is a bustling city with almost 16 million inhabitants. The city is huge, always crowded, and packed with millions of tourists. Istanbul is not a perfect backpacker destination. At the same time, it has loads of attractions and historical places that attract tourists and travelers.
I have been to Istanbul numerous times. It is impossible to thoroughly explore the city in a short time. However, you can get a glimpse of the city even on short trips. If you are a hardcore backpacker who loves wild camping, urban camping, and wild sleeping, it might seem that Istanbul isn’t the best place for you to visit. It is true. Urban conditions leave no options for camping and tent sleeping.
Even though it is tremendously difficult and almost impossible to find a camping place in Istanbul, I know a couple of good locations where you can have free sleep, pinch a tent, and pay zero money in the center of the city.
If you have been following my blog, you already know that value independence while backpacking. I am assured that every city must have dedicated camping places for travelers and backpackers. When a city doesn’t have a place where backpackers can comfortably pinch a tent, we are free to find such places and use them for our convenience.
In this blog post, I will provide you with the best tips on how to urban camp in Istanbul, pinch a tent, have a good sleep, and pay no money for it.
Macka park is a recreational park in the center of Istanbul. The park is located approximately 15-20 walking minutes from Taksim square. This park is empty during winters, early spring, and late autumn. In summers, the park is packed with hundreds of young people. This is a party park which is always very noisy and crowded. You will rarely see a lonely visitor in the park. Most often, the park is frequented by groups of friends and couples.
You can reach the park from the eastern side of Taksim square. I am sure you will have a GPS, Google Maps, or any other navigational tools at hand. At last, you can always ask people about the location of the park.
GO TO MACKA PARK AT NIGHT
If your plan is to urban camp in Istanbul, then Macka park might be one of the available options. At the same time, you should keep in mind that camping and night sleeping in the park are almost non-existent. When I was there in summer, I haven’t seen even a single tent or person in a sleeping bag in the park. Thus, this park isn’t maintained for campers. City dwellers are the park’s usual visitors.
Camping in Macka Park is quite challenging but doable. Don’t attempt to build a tent during the afternoon or evening. The park security or even police will definitely interrupt you. Camping in the park is likely forbidden, but still doable.
My first advice for urban camping in Macka park is to go there at night. During this time, the lights will be off, and the visibility will be weak. In these conditions, you are more likely to find a place to either pinch your tent or sleep in your sleeping bag.
FIND A HIGHER PLACE
When you enter Macka park in Istanbul, you will see that it has a hilly construction. There are roads surrounded by hills. People sit on these hills. Some of them sit near the road, and other park visitors prefer spending their time at elevation.
If you choose to pinch your tent or sleep at the lower points of the hills, you will be immediately busted by park security. I also saw police cars patrolling the park. If the police catch you while you are sleeping in the park, you might get problems. Park security, on the other hand, will just prevent you from camping there.
Thus, the only way to camp in Macka Park is to climb a higher point of the park. Just climb the hills and find a remote place hidden from onlookers. You can either pinch your tent or just sleep in your sleeping bag.
SAFETY IN MACKA PARK
Urban camping in Macka park should be your last reserve. I would advise sleeping in a hotel or a hostel. However, if you principally insist on free urban camping in Istanbul, then it can be doable in Macka park.
Pay attention to your safety. You will be camping in Istanbul which is a huge megapolis. All cities have different types of inhabitants. Criminals, murderers, robbers, gangsters, homeless thugs, and other shady individuals are among them. Thus, you should stay cautious. It is better to have a partner and a knife in your pocket. Anything can happen during a night in a big city park.
BEWARE OF PARK SECURITY GUARDS
Macka park has security guards who observe the park. During nights, they aren’t in the park. However, early in the morning, they will start patrolling the park. For you, it is better to pack your tent and leave the park early in the morning. Otherwise, you will get unwanted questions and attention from the park guards.
URBAN CAMPING IN YILDIZ PARK
Yildiz park is one of the largest public parks in Istanbul. This park is located in the Beşiktaş district in Istanbul. The park is very large and more beautiful than any other park in Istanbul.
Getting there and finding the entrance to the park is quite challenging. It isn’t far away, but it can be challenging to find the entrance. I had to waste some time and walk some empty miles before I finally found the entrance to Yildiz park. You won’t get lost if you use Google Maps or Maps Me.
HIDE AND PINCH YOUR TENT AFTER THE GUARDS ARE GONE
You can come to Yildiz park as early as you want. However, make sure not to pinch a tent during the daytime. The park security guards will spot you and you will be forced to leave the park.
Come to the park, walk around it, enjoy its beauty, and look like a simple visitor who has no intentions of sleeping there. When it starts darkening, climb a hill and hide until all the guards are gone. You will hear the guards moving park visitors and announcing the closure of the park. Don’t get noticed. When they are gone, you can start pinching your tent.
Yildiz park is very big. There is little chance that you will get noticed. Even if you are noticed, there won’t be any consequences. Turkish people are very mild and merciful.
These are the best places for urban stealth camping in Istanbul. Of course, there are loads of beaches where you can pinch a tent more comfortably. However, most of them are far away from the city. If you want to explore Istanbul and camp inside the city (preferably in the city center), Macka and Yildiz park are the most convenient spots where you can stealthily sleep at night.
If you are familiar with more places for urban stealth camping in Istanbul, please, inform us in the comments below.
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