Cruising spots and gay meeting points in Istanbul

Istanbul Gay Beach


Gay Friendly Meeting Points

Around Taksim Square, there are several venues that serve as meeting spots for gay men during the daytime and early evenings. Many gay men frequent these places before heading to gay bars and clubs. Some also come here to connect with others. It’s important to note that the managers and staff at these venues may not be particularly LGBTQ-friendly. Additionally, you might encounter rent boys and well-known hustlers from the Taksim district in and around these locations, so exercise caution when meeting new people. Below, we’ve listed the most popular meeting points from recent years.

Coffee Shop EspressoLab Taksim
Address Istiklal Avenue, No: 15, Taksim, Istanbul.
It is the Taksim branch of a coffee house chain located on Istiklal Avenue close to Taksim square. You can see several gay men sitting at the tables facing Istiklal Avenue, but the terrace floor is especially full of many gays. Despite it not a gay venue, the terrace floor may be overwhelmingly gay during weekend nights. There are usually trendy, younger Turkish gay men. It has a safe environment in general.

Coffee Shop Simit Sarayi Taksim
Address Tarlabası Bulvari No: 6  Taksim Square, Istanbul.
It is the Taksim branch of a well known Turkish-owned “tea house” chain. There are many guys from the community hanging around on the upper floor of the venue facing the Taksim Square, mostly straight acting gay men, bears as well as a considerable number of Taksim's resident rent-boys. There is another Simit Sarayi branch on the other side of the Taksim Square so we’d use map links on our website to make sure you go to the right one.

Coffee Shop Taksim Park Beltur Cafe
Address Taksim Park, Beyoğlu, Istanbul.
Beltur Cafe is located at the back corner, on the Bosphorus side of Taksim Park. It is possible to come across a few gay people around here, usually in the afternoons and evenings. It should be noted that it is mainly an open-air place serving to general public and gays are just a small minority there. It is self-service and the drink prices are fairly cheap. Closes at 10 in the evening. It also has a small closed section.

Coffee Shop Burger King Taksim
Address Istiklal Caddesi No:1  Taksim, Istanbul
It is perfectly located facing Taksim square and right at the start of the bustling Istiklal Avenue. It is a quick meeting point for gay and lesbian people but there is no visible gay-scene, since the venue attracts everyone because of its location.

Coffee Shop Istiklal Shopping Mall
Address Istiklal Caddesi, Beyoglu, Istanbul.
This shopping mall is situated in the heart of the renowned Istiklal Avenue. Particularly on the terrace and top floors, you’ll find fast-food restaurants and coffee shops where you might occasionally encounter local gay men. During unfavorable winter weather, it serves as a refuge

Gay Cruising Areas in Istanbul

Unfortunately, gay cruising places are not as busy as they used to be since the widespread use of the internet and cell phones, especially after gay mobile applications were launched. As in other big cities around the world, cruising areas, especially isolated parks, are where people should be a little cautious with the people they come across. It’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety. We recommend that you do not carry your valuable things on you when you go to outdoor cruising places, just in case.

Gay Bar  Please also read our main page for general safety warnings


Gay Bar Taksim Park
Also known as Gezi Park, this well-known park is situated near Taksim Square. The section of the park closer to the sea-side is where ‘cruising’ is more likely to occur, especially after dark. It tends to be busier on Sundays during the day and on Saturday evenings. However, we advise caution for foreign visitors and newcomers who are unfamiliar with the local gay culture.

Gay Bar Taksim Square  
People sitting on the fences around the monument at the very center of the square might be gay or bi-curious guys interested in meeting gay men, but remember it is also a gathering place for some tourist hustlers and rent-boys.

Gay Bar Istiklal Caddesi
Istiklal Avenue, a bustling pedestrian street stretching approximately 2 kilometers, begins at Taksim Square, gently winds through the Galatasaray district, and culminates at Tunel. This lively street serves as a vital link between Taksim Square and numerous gay venues tucked away in the surrounding backstreets. As you stroll along Istiklal, keep your ‘gaydar’ alert—you’re likely to encounter gay, bisexual, and bi-curious individuals. However, it’s essential to note that this isn’t a cruising spot by design.

Gay Bar Muratpasa Park, Aksaray
Muratpasa Park is a cruising and gathering spot for bears and other gay men. Unlike other cruising parks this is a busy park with straight people normally with many cafe houses in the vicinity, but mostly straight acting, bear gay man are also always around, usually sitting on benches around the pool.

Gay Bar Fatih Saraçhane Park  
Saraçhane Park lies in close proximity to Aksaray, adjacent to the administrative building of Istanbul Municipality. Interestingly, there are several parks on both sides of the street. The cruising activity primarily centers around the parks near the remnants of the Roman church known as Polyeuktos. If you’re arriving from Taksim, alight at the Sarachane bus stop (located under the street), just before reaching Aksaray, and ascend the steps. Notably, its popularity has waned since 2016 due to the removal of benches by the municipality and increased lighting in the vicinity. Additionally, the advent of mobile apps has led to a general decline in cruising spots.

Gay Bar Sarayburnu
Sarayburnu (Seraglio Point) is coastal area behind Topkapi Palace with respect to Sultanahmet. It is a waterfront by the coastal road, covered with big rocks and concrete waterfront. There is no visible gay scene here also. There are single people or groups of guys drinking and young ghetto boys swimming and lying on the rocks in summer time. Some local gay men hang out here frequently in Summer. If your hotel is in Sultanahmet, you can try this place for a couple of hours in early evenings, at least to get a little sun tan. Do not stay long after dark.

Gay Bar Kadikoy Park
Kadikoy is the major residential district on the Asian part of Istanbul. The coastal area, the parks near Kadikoy-Besiktas Iskelesi (the older ferry pier in Kadikoy), the breakwater (the one with light house) are well-known gay cruising areas. These places usually get cruisy in the evening. There is no obvious gay atmosphere at day time. In summer time the breakwater can be more busy during the day, especially on weekends, when you can see people sitting on the breakwater's wall, lying on the rocks, fishing or drinking beer. You can get to Kadikoy from Eminonu, Kabatas and Karakoy piers by ferryboats, journey lasting about 20-30 minutes. Unless you are only into outdoor cruising, this is not the place worth spending time for tourists who visit the city for a few days. You can try once if you stay long enough in Istanbul, after seeing all the rest. It may also be a good excuse the visit the Asian side Istanbul. 

Select Your Language Check out our Online LGBT Map for exact locations of gay cruising spots in Istanbul

Gay Mobile Applications in Turkey

Istanbul Gay Beach

The most popular dating app in Turkey is Hornet among Turkish LGBTQ people since Grindr was banned for not filtering pornographic content. Nowadays, almost every Turkish gay men, as well as many transgender people, rent-boys and bisexual men are there on Hornet. A less popular mobile dating application especially among Turkish gay bears is Growlr as expectedly. Naturally, you should be a little careful if you date someone via gay dating applications, just like anywhere else in the world. You can also come across many rent-boys on these dating applications.

Cruising Cinemas & Blue Movies

There are no gay movie cinemas or movie theaters in Istanbul, unfortunately. Previously, there were about a dozen erotic movie cinemas frequented by men in Istanbul, which were all closed down one after the other in the mid-2010s. This was mostly because the internet and the smartphone era have affected these venues negatively, and the owners turned them into regular movie theaters.



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