Istanbul Gay Guide
Turkey has a growing gay population and over the last 10 or so years, gay Turkish men have been interacting with other gays and lesbians around the globe.
Gay tour operators are popping up all over the world and now offer dedicated tours for gays to travel together the world over in small groups. Lesbian and gay tourists can now enjoy gay vacations to Turkey along with gay and lesbian singles, couples or groups.
Gay clubs and gay bars have started developing their own websites with English pages for gays visiting from other countries.
Turkey has a Muslim population, yet it has a very relaxed attitude compared to other Islamic nations towards gay and lesbian people. Turkey is highly western and progressive allowing gays and lesbians to have a freedom of expression as well as access to fulfilling careers and pursuing romantic intimacy.
Tour groups organizing gay vacations to Turkey welcome up to 15 people only and are perfect for travelers who are fun loving, flexible people who embrace new cultures and experiences with curiosity and adventure. Smaller tour groups offer a camaraderie and intimacy among tourists allowing them to bond and become good mates. If you are an adventurous person who likes to meet people whilst experiencing new sights, gay vacations to Turkey is the answer for you.
These upscale gay vacations to Turkey offer fine dining and luxury accommodation along with guided tours, led by professional tour guides, that focus either of easy adventure, party vibe or themes such as cultural and historical tours, cruises or safaris or nature and river trips.
Istanbul for Gays
Gay tour companies offer travel packages fashioned from insightful cultural sightseeing as well as outdoor activities. They take you places that are off the beaten track and you will also visit some exciting, well-trodden spots where you will see a unique subtlety that most tourists will never get to see.
Tour operators let you create your own customized tour with your own itinerary if you don’t find a package on their website that fits into your schedule. Use the normal tour and travel books to put together your own tour. Select from any of all the sights or add and remove places anywhere in Turkey. Private groups can enjoy Greek Islands (Mykonos is the most popular for gays) tours or Blue voyage cruises offered within Turkey.
When you plan your gay vacation to Turkey, it is good to know that the major tourist attractions and famous sights are all connected by reliable public bus transport, whether the destinations are long or short distance.
The railway system is not as comprehensive and is not most comfortable. Domestic flights are offered between Istanbul and all the other local and international airports. Charter flights are rare and available only during peak tourism seasons.
When planning your gay vacation to Turkey, be sure to book well in advance, especially if you want to go during peak season to avoid missing out on any important requirement for your flights and accommodation.
Gay Communication in Istanbul
Most of the gay people spend their time to socialize, around Taksim, Beyoglu. There are many gay-friendly bars in Istanbul located at Taksim. If you would like to contact with Turkish gays on the Internet you can visit their Facebook pages:
Kaos GL: https://www.facebook.com/KaosGL94
and their English page: http://kaosgl.org/home.php
Istanbul LGBTT: https://www.facebook.com/ist.lgbtt
Gabile is one of the most popular gay networks in Turkey. Unfortunately it’s only available in Turkish. But you can still Google Translate it: http://www.gabile.com/default.asp
Gay Activities in Istanbul
Istanbul pride is held annually by LGBT since 2003. In 2003, just 40 people joined the pride but reached 15.000 people in 2011. And in 2013 over 100.000 people joined or supported the pride!
Istanbul Gay pride is being organized in Beyoglu, Taksim Square every year last sunday of June or the first sunday of July.
Oil wrestling is one of the oldest sports in Turkish, Uzbek, Tatar and Persian culture. It’s not about being gay or straight but might be an interesting watch for gay people. By the way, I’m repeating – it’s not about being gay and going oil wrestling tournaments just because your gay thoughts is a serious mistake.
Oil wrestling tournaments are held in Edirne, Kirkpinar annually since 1346.
Gay Bars and Clubs in Istanbul
Open on Friday and Saturday nights. It was first opened near Taksim area in May 2009, X LARGE has become very popular weekend club where you can find the atmosphere of the big European gay clubs. It has moved to a new venue in May 2013, farther from Taksim and gay nightlife, but can be accessed easily by metro from Taksim square (metro station: Ataturk Oto Sanayi). Admission fee is required and higher than most other gay clubs in Istanbul but it is worth well for most people who want to be in a place offering very professional shows & great music in an upper scale environment.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/XlargeClub
This night club is located in Harbiye district, on the main avenue about 15-20 minutes walking distance to Taksim Square. It is better to take a taxi after midnight. An honest taxi ride should cost round 5 lira (2-3 Euros). It is open on Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday is the most busy night and there are some good shows usually. They are rigid about the admission fee on Saturday nights. The tickets are around 10-15 Euro but you will get 1 drink with it, which is a typical price and practice in similar clubs. If it is the first time you are going there it is hard to notice the venue at first sight. The entrance is on a very narrow street, down the steps from the main avenue. It is just round the corner of a linens shop called English Home, which is easier to notice with a big obtrusive sign-board. If you take taxi from Taksim tell the driver that you will get off at “Askeri Muze” / Military museum in Harbiye. The club is across the main street with respect to Askeri Muze building.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LoveDP
WWW Turkish: http://www.lovedp.net/
WWW English: http://www.lovedp.net/english/index.html
Beyoglu’s new place to be seen is: Frappe
In the heart of Beyoglu, one of Istanbul’s most colorful and historical districts, long a haunt of the discerning traveler, a brand new venue has opened: Frappe …
Frappe’s clients come from every profession: journalists, artists, students, business people. Why not join us to start your day with a leisurely breakfast, which we serve from 12.00pm. You can also sit for brunch, lunch and snack food during the day. We would however recommend a reservation for dinner as Frappe gets very busy later on where conversation in a friendly, chilled out atmosphere continues until the early hours of the morning. Visa and MasterCard brand credit cards are welcome. Parking is fully catered for.Frappe’s aim is to satisfy the discerning connoisseur and all dishes are prepared with great care by executive chef, Mr Melih. Hungry tummies come to Frappe!
Why not chose from our belly-busting dishes such as Çapkın and grilled vegetables, pastas and salads made with our well-guarded secret recipe sauces prepared by our own chef. If you’re less hungry, why not try our snack bar… As well as this, our menu also has some snack dishes and, for the less adventurous, our Frappe hamburger is also available. Music, Internet and a warm environment;We have a wide selection of music during the day including jazz, ethnic jazz, house and new age music. Wireless internet is always available, so why not bring your laptop and surf away or do business?
Frappe can also cater private celebrations, birthday parties and is a great place to meet for business lunches… and all at a price that won’t deter you!Frappe is Coffee-drinker Heaven Frappe is a paradise where all kinds of coffee are served for the serious coffee lover! We especially recommend our hot chocolate and caramel café frappe and our caffe latte. Why not take our coffee with some homemade chocolate cake, cheesecake or mosaic cake – some of our favorite desserts?
Previously straight cafe bar on a small street off the Istiklal avenue was undertaken by some gay people in April 2011 and they now want to turn it a gay venue, specifically declaring that they want to welcome straight acting gay men. The prices were cheaper when it was a straight bar and when they first started to serve gay men, but it was raised to standard club rates shortly after they got a little popular.
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