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Hookah Istanbul: Discover the 10 Best Shisha Spots

Istanbul is known as the city where East and West meet. Its lively culture and beautiful scenery bring people from all over the world. In Turkiye, hookah is a big part of everyday life. Hookah has been a part of Turkish culture for hundreds of years. There are both old-fashioned and new-fashioned hookah bars all over Istanbul that offer this exciting experience.

What is Hookah?

What is Hookah made of?

Originating in India and popular in the Middle East and Turkiye, hookah or shisha involves tobacco mixed with molasses or honey, filtered through water before inhalation. Hookah lounges Istanbul are a popular pastime in Istanbul, often enjoyed socially. While smoking shisha is deeply rooted in Turkish culture, you should be aware of health risks.

Hookah in Turkish Culture

Hookah smoking is deeply ingrained in Turkish culture and is often associated with socializing and relaxation. In Istanbul, there are numerous hookah places and shisha cafes where visitors can experience this aspect of local culture. The etiquette around hookah in Turkiye is also an important part of the tradition, such as passing the hose clockwise and not blowing smoke directly at others.

When visiting a shisha cafe or lounge, visitors can expect to experience an exotic and unique atmosphere. In many establishments, you will find traditional seating surrounds with colorful carpets and walls covered in ornate mosaics. During your visit, you may also enjoy delicious appetizers such as falafel or baklava while sipping on sweet tea or coffee. For those who want to get a little more active, there are often games like okey or backgammon available for play.

At the hookah in Istanbul, it’s not just about having shisha; it’s also about getting to know Turkey’s rich culture and traditions. It’s a great chance to make new friends, meet Turkish people, and learn more about how they live.

Hookahs’ Place in the Ottoman Empire

Hookahs, also known as shishas or waterpipes, were an integral part of social and cultural life during the Ottoman Empire. They symbolized hospitality, generosity, and social status and were used in coffeehouses, private residences, and public spaces. Hookah smoking fostered a sense of community and fellowship.

Hookahs were present at significant social events such as weddings and state ceremonies. Ottoman sultans smoked hookahs during court proceedings or diplomatic meetings. The design of hookahs was intricate and ornate with patterns reflecting the empire’s rich artistic heritage. They were made from various materials and often adorned with precious stones and metals.

Top Places for Hookah Istanbul

Istanbul is a great place that has a lot of hookah lounges and cafes. The most popular areas for hookah sessions are Sultanahmet and Fatih, both located in the historic old city, with Kuruçeşme, Kadıköy, and Ortaköy.


Huqqa Istanbul

Photo Credit: @huqqa

HUQQA is a must-visit hookah bar in the trendy Kurucesme neighborhood of Istanbul for a great experience. The upscale atmosphere, modern decor, and comfortable seating make HUQQA an ideal spot for a night out with friends. Offering a wide range of shisha flavors, including blends like rose and pistachio, the bar also serves mocktails and food.

With both indoor and outdoor seating options, HUQQA provides stunning views of the Bosphorus from its terrace. Don’t miss out on this fantastic experience while taking in the breathtaking surroundings of Istanbul. The place can be crowded on Saturday and Sunday.

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2. Çorlulu Ali Paşa Nargile Cafe


Çorlulu Ali Paşa Nargile Cafe is the perfect place to experience traditional Turkish culture. The cafe, located in a historic building, features ornate decorations that add to the ambiance. As you step inside, you’ll feel transported to another time and place. While the restaurant offers hookah, visitors can also enjoy Turkish meze and other delicious dishes.

Nearby attractions include the Grand Bazaar and the Blue Mosque. Additionally, the cafe offers traditional Turkish coffee and tea, as well as light snacks and desserts, making it an excellent spot for a relaxing evening with friends or family.

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3. Azure The Bosphorus

Azure the Bosphorus Istanbul Hookah

Located on the banks of the iconic Bosphorus, Azure The Bosphorus is one of the most stylish hookah lounges in Istanbul. Visitors may enjoy spectacular views of the sea while resting with friends because to its great position on the Bosphorus.

While hookah is available, the restaurant is best known for its modern Mediterranean cuisine, which includes fresh seafood and delectable mocktails. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating options, this lounge is an excellent place to relax and take in the spectacular views of the city skyline.

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4. Dürbün Cafe


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If you’re looking for a cozy and intimate experience in Istanbul-Fatih, Dürbün Cafe is the perfect spot. Tucked away in a quiet alley, this hidden gem offers a range of unique and exotic tastes that will tantalize your taste buds. The decor is simple yet elegant, with soft lighting that adds to the relaxing ambiance.

The cafe staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and happy to offer recommendations based on your preferences. While its focus is on its delicious food and coffee, the cafe also offers hookahs. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating options.

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5. Lulu Hookah Lounge

Lulu Hookah Istanbul

Located in the bustling neighborhood of Taksim, Lulu Hookah Lounge is a must-visit spot. With its chic decor and comfortable seating, it’s a popular spot among locals and tourists alike. Offering a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, the lounge has a different selection of shisha flavors, including traditional Turkish and unique blends.

In addition to the hookahs, Lulu Hookah Lounge serves delicious Turkish tea and coffee. The friendly staff at the lounge ensures that you have an enjoyable time while also hosting live music performances and other events, making it an ideal spot for a night out with friends.

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6. Harab’be

Harabbe Hookah Istanbul

Harab’be, located in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, is famous for its hospitable staff. Once inside, time flies by with their warm and friendly atmosphere. With classic Turkish music while savoring food from all over the world. You’ll leave feeling satisfied and eager to return.

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7. Loti Points

Loti Points Istanbul Hookah

Loti Points Lounge, located in Old Istanbul, is a famous hookah bar that’s open daily until 3 a.m. It’s a bar and restaurant that offers a beautiful view of the city. The lamb cage dish is their specialty, and they have a wide variety of hookah flavors. Most people choose to enjoy their Turkish coffee while trying a new dessert.

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8. Miran Nargile & Cafe


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This cafe has a unique design, situated on a narrow street. You can chat with friends in an authentic architectural setting with wooden tables on either side of the street. Along with its comfortable seating and lively ambiance, visitors can also enjoy delicious Turkish meze and other small plates.

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9. Rembetiko Cafe


Rembetiko Cafe, located in Kadıköy, Moda, Istanbul, is a renowned hookah cafe. They serve tea, herbal tea, and coffee with unique hookah flavors. The staff is friendly and helpful. Enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee or herbal tea with your friends and experience the uniqueness. Along with its hookah, visitors can enjoy delicious Turkish coffee and other refreshments. The Kadıköy neighborhood is also famous for its vibrant nightlife and live music scene.

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10. Serbethane Cafe

The café is located in the Sultanahmet area, which is one of the most beautiful areas of Istanbul. It offers a variety of shisha flavors and drinks as well as coffee, tea and fruit juices, but the best thing about this place is its staff. The cafe’s service is very hospitable and friendly to all its visitors.

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For more options to learn about the Turkish culture in Istanbul, make sure to check our blog on 10 days itinerary, Turkish towels and soaps and best Turkish baths to learn about more of it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference between hookah and shisha?

While hookah and shisha are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. Hookah typically refers to the device used for smoking flavored tobacco, while shisha refers to the tobacco itself. Both hookah and shisha have their origins in India and Persia and have become popular in many countries around the world.

How does it work?

Hookah, also known as shisha or waterpipe, works by heating up flavored tobacco and passing the smoke through water before it is inhaled. The tobacco is placed in a bowl at the top of the hookah, and a heated charcoal is placed on top of the tobacco. As the charcoal heats up the tobacco, the smoke is pulled through a hose and passed through water in the base of the hookah. This process cools down the smoke and removes some of its harmful chemicals before it is inhaled through the mouthpiece.

How much does a pack cost for this type of product, and what do I need to know about it before buying it online or in person?

The cost of a pack of hookah tobacco varies depending on the brand and location. Before purchasing, it's important to research the laws and regulations regarding hookah use in your area. When buying online, be sure to read reviews and only purchase from reputable websites. It's also crucial to follow proper safety precautions when using a hookah, such as not smoking indoors and properly cleaning the equipment.

Where can I get a hookah in Istanbul, and what is its cost?

Hookahs are widely available in Istanbul, particularly in areas like Taksim and Kadikoy. Prices can vary depending on quality and size, ranging from 30 to 150 Turkish Lira. Before purchasing and using a hookah in Istanbul, be sure to check the local laws and regulations.

Where did hookah originate?

The origins of shisha are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated in either India or Persia. Traditionally used for smoking tobacco and other herbs, hookahs were popularized in the Middle East during the Ottoman Empire. Today, hookah bars can be found all over the world, including in Istanbul. Despite its unclear history, hookah remains a popular social activity enjoyed by many.

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Başak Dağıstan

I am a long-life learner, a coffee addict who wants to be a star of a Disney movie someday. I like discovering new places, watching tv series, and fangirling about them. Having been a psychologist, I am still trying to find ways for my cat to let me pet him.
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