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Where to Go for Sports in Istanbul

While Istanbul is known for its many historic sights and exotic shopping, sports enthusiasts will also find it's a great city for them. Istanbul residents are ardent sports fans, and there are many venues offering opportunities to both watch and participate in sports.


When people talk about football in Turkey, they are referring to what Americans call "soccer." Soccer is the most popular sport throughout much of Europe, so to really feel like a true European, you may enjoy taking in a football match while you're in Istanbul.

Many bars play football matches on TV for their patrons, and the games are hotly debated by loyal fans. You may also want to take in a live match at an Istanbul stadium. Either way, our concierge service can help you find the right spot and arrange for tickets and transportation.

In addition to the Atatürk Olympic Stadium (Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı), football matches are played at the Türk Telekom Arena, home of the Galatasaray football club, and the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, home of the Fenerbahçe club.

The Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe clubs have a long-standing rivalry, and when they play each other, you know the action will be exciting! The Başakşehir Stadi, the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Stadium and the Zeytinburnu Stadium also host local matches.


Tennis is also a very popular sport in Istanbul, and the pleasant climate makes it easy to play much of the year. Please ask our concierge about gaining access to tennis clubs to play during your stay in Istanbul.

If you would like to watch professional tennis, the Istanbul Open, known officially as the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open, is a major event on the men's world tour. It is held on outdoor clay courts at the Koza World of Sports facility, one of the world's largest tennis academies. The stadium has a retractable roof and seats nearly 10,000 spectators! The event takes place during the end of April and the beginning of May.


If you enjoy swimming, you will be thrilled to visit Istanbul. The area features many fine beaches that make a wonderful day drip for taking a dip in the ocean. There are also several swim clubs with Olympic-size pools in Istanbul, and of course for a bit of refreshment at the end of the day, the pool at Hotel Büyük Keban is always at your disposal.

To watch some of the most energetic swimmers in the world, try visiting Istanbul during the month of July, when every year Istanbul hosts the Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race organized by the International Olympic Committee.

The race begins on the Asian side of Istanbul and finishes on the European side, a distance of 6.5 kilometers (4 miles). Fifteen hundred swimmers from around the world gather each year for the event that closes the Bosphorus strait to commercial traffic.

Some swimmers in the race perform the backstroke throughout to take in the amazing view of palaces, mosques and historic buildings along the route. The current in the turquoise waters of the Bosphorus makes the race trickier than it looks. While many racers participate for charities and tradition, it's also an ideal event for those training for a triathlon. There are rowing and sailing races too as part of the day's festivities.

If all these sporting activities inspire you to improve your own athletic performance, head to our gym to take advantage of all the workout gear there or schedule a post-workout spa session for a massage, sauna or traditional Turkish bath in our hammam.

Contact Hotel Büyük Keban today to reserve a room with us, and we'll help you find all the perfect sporting events during your stay in Istanbul. From basketball to fencing to internationally acclaimed events, Istanbul has it all!

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