Every visitor to Istanbul should experience a traditional Turkish bath house at least once, as it’s an ideal way to relax and unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. Here’s what you need to know about Istanbul’s hammams, or hamams.
What is a Turkish Bath?
The Turkish Bath, or hammam, rose to prominence in the Ottoman Empire, and it remains a popular tradition—considered a social event as much as it is a spa treatment—to this day. A typical hamam features separate areas for men and women, with a steam room, washroom with heated marble slabs, and plunge pool. The standard treatment is a scrub and soap massage to slough off dead skin, but many baths offer extras such as oil massages, facemasks, and hair treatments.
- Treat yourself to a full Turkish bath experience, including a sauna, foam bath, and body scrub, followed by a rejuvenating oil massage.
- Enjoy a luxurious hammam at the Cagaloglu Hamami, an 18th-century bath house, lavishly decorated with high-domed ceilings, white marble fountains, and tulip tiles.
- Marvel at the 16th-century Cemberlitas hamam, the masterwork of Ottoman architect Sinan.
- Choose an all-inclusive tour with hotel pickup and drop-off included.