Are you craving some relaxing time after being out and about in Istanbul? With so much to see here, it goes without saying that you would want to rejuvenate a little from time to time so that you are fully ready to explore the city some more. And what better way to do so than to indulge in a soothing spa session! The city is home to over 60 traditional Turkish baths or hammams that offers a variety of services to refresh and reinvigorate you.
What are Hammams?
Inspired by the Roman baths, hammams or traditional Turkish baths came up around the end of the 15th century in the Ottoman Empire. They are a major part of Turkish culture and are essentially places of cleanliness as well as purification of the body and mind. They are usually divided into 3 rooms, each with temperatures getting progressively higher and a decent amount of steam which makes you sweat and subsequently rid yourself of bodily toxins. Hammam treatments usually last for about 45 minutes and include rinsing, traditional body scrubbing, a foam wash and a massage.
15 Spas and Hammams across Istanbul
1. Cağaloğlu Hamamı
Over 300 years old, Cağaloğlu Hamamı is one of Istanbul’s oldest hammams and also the last one to be built under the Ottoman Empire. It is a magnificent establishment that boasts of Baroque architecture and is divided into two separate areas for men and women. Their Sultan Mahmud the First package is a very popular 2 hour long treatment that comprises massages, baths, face masks, refreshments etc. Other services offered here include Elixir Of Cağaloğlu Hammam, The Ottoman Luxury Service, Cagaloglu Hammam, The Istanbul Dream, Detoxifying Organic Clay Mask and more.
Address: Alemdar, Prof. Kazım İsmail Gürkan Cd. No:24, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM (Monday to Thursday) 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM (Friday to Sunday) Cost: Starting at EUR 30
2. Çeşme Hamamı
Çeşme Hamamı was built in the 1720s and was mainly used as a public bath until a few years ago when it was restored to resemble its original architecture. It is known for its focus on the 300 year old tradition of water therapy and offers a wide variety of services such as the Fatma Sultan Hammam, a 50-minute treatment which consists of different massages, traditional rubbing, hair washing etc. Some of the other packages you can choose from include Keyf-i Ala, Zevk-i Sultan, The Cesme Hammam and Kaptan-i Derya. You can also enjoy some refreshments during your treatment.
Address: Azapkapı, Bankalar Cd. D:No 21, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM (Massages till 9:00 PM) Cost: Starting at EUR 50
3. Sanitas Spa
Located within Çırağan Palace Kempinski, Sanitas Spa is a well-known luxury spa founded on the principles of water therapy or Kneipp. Their Turkish spa attracts large crowds owing to its wonderful detoxifying treatments such as the VIP Hammam, Pasha Hammam, Schehrazade Hammam and Sultan Hammam which comprise peeling, massages, washing, traditional rubbing etc. Thai massages, physiotherapy, lymphedema, masks and body care are a few other treatments offered here. The spa also has other services like an indoor pool, jacuzzi room, steam rooms, sauna, skin and body care room, massage rooms, fitness centre etc.
Address: Yıldız Çırağan Cad. Çırağan Palace Kempinski İstanbul No:32, 34349 Beşiktaş, Turkey Timings: 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM Cost: Starting at EUR 50
4. Explore Spa
The Explore Spa at Istanbul’s Le Méridien is a must-visit for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. It is open to hotel guests and outsiders and you can choose between the traditional Hammam Ritual, various massage serves as well as body treatments. These consist of body scrubbing, foam massages, body wraps, facials, eye treatment, oil treatments, Ayurvedic treatment, washing etc. Moreover, their facilities also include a fitness centre, steam room, whirlpool, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, sauna and more. You need to book an appointment in advance.
Address: Le Méridien İstanbul Etiler Cengiz Topel Cad. No:39 Etiler, 34337 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM
5. Tarihi Galatasaray Hamamı
A historical hammam, the Tarihi Galatasaray Hamamı was established in 1481 and is located at a walking distance from Taksim Square. Over the years, the hammam has been frequented by prominent national and international figures and has also been renovated. It features glaze painted tiles, a marble fountain in the centre, concrete accents, chandeliers and other impressive decor. Their Hammam service is amongst the most popular ones followed by the Pasha service, scrubs, foam baths, facials, body wraps and oil massages, amongst others. There are separate treatment areas for men and women.
Address: Kuloğlu, Turnacıbaşı Cd. No:8, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM Cost: Starting at EUR 30
6. Çemberlitaş Hamam
The Çemberlitaş Hamam, located in the Istanbul’s Çemberlitaş neighbourhood, dates back to the 16th century and is quite a popular Turkish bath. It is divided into two sections for men and women and boasts of wonderful architectural features which include gold thuluth inscriptions and a dome with light pouring in through it. Their list of services consists of sweating in the hot room, scrubbing, bubble baths, aromatherapy oil massages, Indian head massages, clay masks and more.
Address: Mollafenari, Vezirhan Cd. No:8, 34440 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 6:00 AM - 12:00 AM Cost: Starting at EUR 20
7. Lavender Spa
The Lavender Spa at the Ritz-Carlton in Istanbul is largely inspired by the Turkish baths of the 16th century and has a hammam as its main facility. What’s so special about this spa is that it overlooks the magnificent Bosphorous which makes for an excellent view during treatments. Their Pure Hamma treatment featuring body scrubbing, soft steam, wrap and massage is very popular, as are others like the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, myotherapy and The Secrets of Argan. There are separate areas for men and women but there is also a couple’s suite. Other facilities available here include an infinity pool (open only during the summers), soaking tub, indoor pool, sauna, fitness room and steam room.
Address: Vişnezade, Süzer Plaza, Elmadağ, Asker Ocağı Cd. No:6 K:4, 34367 Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM (Treatments from 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM)
8. Ağa Hamamı
Built in the 15th century for use by the Sultan and his sons, the Ağa Hamamı is the first Turkish bath in Istanbul that ultimately opened to the public in the 1920s. It is known for its affordable spa and hammam packages that you can also customise as per your desire. Kese scrubs, foam baths, face masks, oil massages, peeling, head massages etc. are some of the treatments offered here.
Address: Kuloğlu, Turnacıbaşı Cd. No:48, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM (Entry not permitted post 8:30 PM) Cost: Packages starting at EUR 40
9. Çinili Hamam
A 17th century Turkish Bath, the Çinili Hamam derives it name from the beautiful painted İznik-style tiles that were used in its construction. Although these tiles did not survive over the years, the hammam has come to be one of the most well-known Turkish baths in Istanbul and has a wonderful architecture featuring domes, marble basins with reliefs, beautiful door ornaments, an antique heating system etc. Their list of soothing treatments include kese scrubs, bubble massages, oil massages specially for women. Keep in mind that the treatment timings for men and women are different.
Address: Çavuşdere Cad Çinili Hamam Sok No 6, 34664 Üsküdar/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM (Men), 8:00 AM - 7:30 PM (Women) Cost: Starting at EUR 20
10. Hürrem Sultan Hamamı
The Hürrem Sultan Hamamı is located close to the Hagia Sophia and is a 16th century Turkish bath that was built on the site of the ancient public baths of Zeuxippus. It is known for its unique architecture since the men’s and women’s sections are identical and mirror each other. You must try their hammam treatment which consists of sweating, scrubbing, foam massages, bathing etc. Their other massage services include aromatherapy massages, anti-stress massages, back massages and reflexology. Your entrance fee also includes the fee for borrowing spa essentials.
Address: Cankurtaran, Ayasofya Meydanı No:2, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM Cost: Starting at EUR 60
11. Süleymaniye Hamamı
Built in the mid 16th century, the Süleymaniye Hamamı is a must-visit Turkish bath for an unforgettably relaxing spa experience. The hammam is divided into three parts, for men, women and couples, and is popular for its beautiful architecture featuring domes, marble columns and geometrically aligned chimneys. They offer an all-inclusive hammam package which comprises a hot room resting session, full body peeling, washing, soap massage as well as refreshments.
Address: Süleymaniye, Mimar Sinan Cd. No:20, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM (Last entry at 9:00 PM) Cost: Starting at EUR 65
12. Scorpios Traditional Reflexology House
Located in Beyoglu, the Scorpios Traditional Reflexology House is the place to visit if you’re looking for a soothing massage that will rid you of all your stress! Their treatments last between 20 to 50 minutes and you can choose between full body or focalised ones. The Sultan Hand Rituel, Aromatherpi Massage, Ear Decolte Head Mask, Medical Back Massage and Feedy Sultan Foot Rituel are some of their most popular services.
Address: Kocatepe, Cumhuriyet Cd. No:29/7, 34437 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM (Tuesday to Sunday), Monday closed Cost: Starting at EUR 10
13. Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı
Overlooking the historical Tophane, the Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı is a 16th century Turkish bath that was originally constructed for the Ottoman navy’s marine forces. It is quite famous for its dome. They offer various revitalising services like the Hammam Ritual which includes sweating, body exfoliation with a kese and a bubble soap wash. The same service is also available for children. Moreover, they provide different massages too like deep tissue massages, sport massages, full body massages etc. Following your treatment, you can go to the camegah for some light snacks and beverages. Visit the Derya or the hammam boutique that is right next to it for spa goods like bathrobes, scrubs mitts, soaps, kirden, copper bowls and more.
Address: Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Hamam Sk. No:1, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM, last reservation at 2:30 PM (Women), 4:30 PM - 11:30 PM, Last reservation at 10:30 PM (Men) Cost: Starting at EUR 30
14. Çatma Mescit Hamam
The Çatma Mescit Hamam dates back to the 16th century and is a renowned Turkish bath that boasts of spectacular architecture. Its interiors feature stone walls, patterned floor tiles, a marble fountain, gold accents and much more. Their hammam services include the Sultan Hammam, Shahrazad Hammam, Pasha Hammam, Luxury Hammam etc. Furthermore, they also offer a variety of other calming services like traditional Bali massages, hot stone massages, reflexology, anti-stress massages, grape seed peeling, clay mask and rose peeling, amongst others. You must make a reservation before coming here.
Address: Çatma Mescit, Hayratçı Sk. No:1, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM Cost: Starting at EUR 40
15. Afiya Spa
A stunning spa within the AJWA Sultanahmet, Afiya Spa is known for its marble interiors, grey and beige walls as well as coloured tiles with intricate patterns. Their Turkish bath is undoubtedly their highlight and they provide a variety of services reminiscent of the Ottoman Era such as scrub and foam massages, massages with aromatic oils as well as 24-carat gold facial care, anti-aging eye care, AJWA Special Slimming Care, Afiya Spa Detox, deep tissue massages, Selamlık for men and much more. There is also a fitness centre here but it is open only to men.
Address: Emin Sinan, Piyer Loti Cd. No:30, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey Timings: 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM (Women) 3:30 PM - 10:00 PM (Men) 6:00 AM - 8:00 AM (Fitness centre)
What Should You Know Before Visiting A Hammam?
Although you can visit a hammam anytime during the year, visiting during the wintertime would be ideal since you would be warmed up while detoxifying.
If you feel too hot inside the hammam, you can always splash some cold water on yourself from your personal sink.
Hammams are open to both men and women but usually there are separate areas for their treatments. Make sure to check the timings before you go as specific hours of the day might be designated for them.
While some people might choose to go topless into a hammam, most wear a bathing suit or undergarments. The ideal choice would be a peştamal which is a traditional Turkish bathing towel made of natural fibres. It acts as a towel or a wrap.
Do bring a towel to dry yourself at the end too.
It is advisable to wear waterproof slippers. Many hammams might also provide them but it is better to bring your own.
You can also bring other items such as the kese which is a scrub, sünger which is a sponge and also your own shampoo and soap instead of buying it there.
Despite being such old establishments, hammams are just as popular in Istanbul and all of Turkey as they were before. They not only offer you the chance to fully cleanse yourself and rid yourself of all bodily toxins but also to immerse yourself in a local tradition while interacting with locals. When you take a trip to Istanbul, you simply must visit a hammam at least once so that you can experience the pure relaxation and rejuvenation that they offer.