Everything to Know Before Attending a Besiktas Game in Istanbul – Turkish Football

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Plan your unforgettable experience at a Besiktas game in Istanbul with our comprehensive guide covering everything from tickets to stadium tips.

Join us as we take you through our experience attending a Besiktas game in Istanbul, a first for us. As a couple always on the lookout for unique and memorable experiences, attending a football game in Turkey, a country known for its passionate sports culture, was a thrilling new adventure. With Besiktas JK being one of the most loved teams in Turkey, there is a ton to know before you attend a game. 

This comprehensive guide will give you an insider’s look at everything you need to know about attending a Besiktas game, from getting tickets to the unforgettable atmosphere inside the stadium.

We’ll cover everything you should know before attending a Besiktas Game, how to understand the Besiktas game schedule, football in Turkey, if Besiktas games are safe, and more!

besiktas game

This post is all about everything to know before attending a Besiktas Game!

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Football in Turkey

The Süper Lig is the top level of football in Turkey. Nineteen teams from all over the country compete in the league. Turkey’s football season runs from August to May, so you’ll most likely be able to catch a game when you visit Turkey. Also, if you are visiting in May, the season will be ending, and games might be more intense and quicker to sell. Games happen over the weekend, with most on Sundays and each team playing regularly at once per week.

Istanbul Teams

Although Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey, it is the most populous and hosts the most successful teams. You can find The Big Three all based in Istanbul. They are Beşiktaş, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe. With only six teams winning the title in Super Lig, they are half of that. Each has its own stadium and section of the city. From my understanding, Galatasaray is the oldest and most successful team, Fenerbahçe has the biggest budget, and Beşiktaş is the underdog with a hugely loyal fan base.

Beşiktaş Game

Beşiktaş Game Schedule

besiktas game schedule

Screenshot Courtesy of Google

You can easily find their schedule online. Just Google “Besiktas schedule” and you can use the Google Sports chart. If you click on a game, you can see at the bottom, the location of the game. Beşiktaş’ home stadium is Tüpraş Stadium. The home team is listed first for the game matchup for the Turkish Super Lig. For example, on March 3, 2024, the matchup was Beşiktaş vs. Galatasaray, and Beşiktaş was home at Tüpraş Stadium. I only say this because, in the US, the team listed second is usually the home team.

Beşiktaş Game tickets

Once you decide to go to a Beşiktaş game (trust me, you really should), you’ll need to get tickets. Getting tickets to a Turkish football match is a bit of a process, but you can do it! For any game in the Super Lig in Turkey, you must have a Passolig Card. We’ll cover the whole registration process and how to get tickets.

Passolig Card

passolig card how to

The Passolig card is an ID card that holds your game tickets and works as a debit card for purchases. Once you register, you can use that same card for any game in the league.

You must register for the Passolig card before you can purchase tickets. It costs 250 TL ($7.60) per person. Everyone attending the game, including children, will need a separate Passolig card.

To register for the Passolig card, you must provide your full name, passport number, mobile phone number, photo, and date of birth. This is to prevent any anonymous crimes from happening at the games, and it has helped a ton!

Passolig Registration

Registration can be done online or at the stadium. If you register online, you might need to translate the page as you go. The website did not work for me in Safari, only Google Chrome. We found MasterCard credit cards were the easiest to use for online payments.

You will apply for a Passolig Card and then log into your Passo account to purchase tickets online. After a few days, you can pick up your official Passolig card (with your photo and team logo). If it’s not ready before the game, they will give you a temporary card on the day of the game. You can also use the Passolig application (Apple Store App | Google Play App) and its QR code. However, I recommend the paper copies. 

To register at the stadium, be sure to go before the day of the game since tickets can sell out. You will receive your official Passolig card or a temporary card if unavailable. You will also be able to purchase your game tickets at the ticket office.

Overall, the process is fairly straightforward. We signed up for Passolig and booked our tickets online a few days before the game. Two hours before the game, we went to the ticket office to pick up our temporary Passolig cards (with our tickets electronically attached). You’ll then need to keep that card on you during the game.

Game Tickets

Once you register for Passolig, you can purchase your tickets. The home stadium for Besiktas is Tüpraş Stadium, which is also known as Besiktas Park. 

They sell tickets by section, with each section having a specific price. Depending on the location of the seats and the game you are attending, this ranges from 425 TL to 13,000 TL ($13-400). We paid for category 7 seats and sat right behind the home team’s goal during the second half. It cost us 450 TL ($14) + 250 TL ($7) for the Passolig card for each person. 

Our seats were right in the heart of the action. It wasn’t too rowdy as we were closer to the corner than the center. We sat close to our assigned seats, but not directly in them. Everyone was standing the whole time anyway, so it didn’t totally matter.

To enter the game, you will need a physical copy of your Passolig card (the temporary copy is okay) or the Passolig application with internet access. As a tourist, I recommend the physical copy since backup battery chargers are not allowed in the stadium.

What to Wear to Besiktas Game

turkey football match
besiktas jk

You’ll want to dress appropriately for the weather since it is an outdoor stadium. That said, there are a lot of people all in one place, so it’ll likely be a bit warmer inside. This also depends on where you sit. We sat at field level and attended a game in November. It was cold outside, but I wore a sweater and jeans to the game and was fine. I brought a jacket for before and after and left it on my seat during the game. 

You’ll also want to be sure to wear Besiktas colors. Their team colors are black and white, so you should easily have something to wear. Black-and-white stripes are even better if you have them. Their accent color is red. 

It is a sporting event, and the majority of the attendees are males who are excited about their team. That said, it can get dirty. Don’t wear anything too nice, and be prepared to step in something sticky or get a drink spilled on you. It can happen. Especially since there are no bottle caps allowed inside. 

Getting There

You can easily take public transportation to the stadium. The Tüpraş Stadium is located along the water by the Dolmabahçe Palace. If you want to join the pre-game festivities, head to Besiktas Square. From there, you will walk the 1.2 km (0.75 miles) to the stadium with the crowds. It’s a 15 minute walk and is part of the festivities. 

We took the T1 tram from the Old Town area to the stadium (stop: Kabataş Tramvay istasyonu/end of the line). It costs 17 TL ($0.53) per person one-way. We used our MasterCard for contactless payment. The trams were definitely full of fans the closer you got to game time. You can spot all the fans with their black and white stripes!

The games last about two hours, so depending on when they end, you may want to take a different method of transportation home. You can call an Uber or hail a taxi. If it’s late at night, I recommend that.

Pre-Game

Most people arrive to the stadium 30 minutes to an hour before the game to get through the multiple layers of security with enough time to get to their seats. More on that below.

We arrived two hours before kick-off to explore the stadium before entering. We visited the massive Beşiktaş fan store. And I got my face painted for XX TL ($XX). Afterward, we learned that there was a mass movement to the stadium from Beşiktaş Square before the game. This is an 1.2 km (0.75 miles) walk from the stadium. From my understanding, there is street food, face painting, drinking, and cheering.

Security at a Besiktas Game

There is a TON of security at a Besiktas game with multiple checkpoints to enter the stadiumWe went through two separate metal detectors and three different security points before getting to our seats. This made us feel extremely safe, as we were assured that no hooliganism would pose a danger to us while attending the game.

The first security check point is to enter the area immediately surrounding the stadium. You don’t need tickets to enter. They check your bags and you walk through a metal detector. This is super busy at the half hour before kick off. It’s separated into men and women lines. The far left was the one security line for women and the rest were for men. Here they often take food and drink and any obvious weapons or projectiles.

The next layer of security was to enter our gate to the stadium. They checked our tickets to ensure we entered the correct gate. We went through another metal detector, were patted down, and had bags checked. Here they took our cameras, backup battery chargers, and microphones. Basically, any electronics besides cell phones. They have male and female officers to pat down their prospective genders.

Side note: we were attempting to film a YouTube video of our experience hence all the equipment. We ended up bringing all our banned gear back to our hotel and returned to the stadium before kick-off. Good thing we got there early!

From there, we scanned our tickets and entered the non-passable gates. On the other side, we went through our final round of security. We got patted down one last time and I had my purse checked. They had me open everything and I even had to dump my coins. They had a box on the floor with a bunch of money since they are potentially projectiles that people could throw on the field. Crazy.

Random note: all personnel will pause working during the Turkish National Anthem. This includes the food service workers, security guards, and ticket scanners. Just don’t be surprised if that happens!

Restricted Items

This is an incomplete list of the items that are not allowed in the stadium. This list is purely from experience as to what was taken from us.

My recommendation would be to pack as light as possible. Bring your phone and a small wallet with cash (not coins), credit card (MasterCard preferred), your Passolig card, and your hotel key. Anything more than that, is risking it. They will take it and put it in a box and I’m not sure what happens to everything after the game. I highly doubt you’ll be able to get it back. And they have no lockers outside the stadium for your things.

  • Large bags or backpacks
  • Food and drinks
  • Electronics (besides cell phones)
    • Including: cameras, back up battery packs, cords, etc.
  • Projectiles
    • Including: Balls, bottle caps, coins, etc.
  • Weapons; or anything that could be used as a weapon
    • Including: Umbrellas, selfie-sticks, nail clippers, etc.

Tüpraş Stadium

besiktas stadium

Tüpraş Stadium holds 43,000 fans. While it’s not the biggest stadium we have been to, it’s also not a rinky-dink stadium. Outside the gates (but inside security), there is a large team shop, a small cafe, and plenty of vendors.

The team shop is two levels and has a mock locker room for photos. It’s located at the front of the stadium. They sell anything and everything you could think of with the Besiktas brand on it from rally towels and jerseys to duvet covers and bed sheets.

The cafe, Black Cup Coffee, is also located at the front by gate G-5. They sell simple snacks, ice cream, and drinks (no alcohol). It’s definitely not a place for a full meal.

Vendors will have water or sodas, face painting, and various “Besiktas” merchandise. You will need cash if you plan on buying from them.

You can take photos with the Besiktas sign out front. There is also a large eagle statue at the front of the stadium. The Besiktas pose is to lift your hand like their eagle claws (photo below – crazy mouth, not necessary). 

besiktas game

Food in the Stadium

Once you are past all the various layers of security, you can explore a bit on the inside. Although, there is not much to see.

There are a handful of different concession stands but it seems like they all serve the same things – various snacks and fried foods. We ordered shwarma wraps, chips, water, and a lemonade. It cost 650 TL ($21). We were able to use a credit card. Look for the sign that says “kredi kardi.”

I would recommend eating before the game. And then get to the game a little bit early so you can grab a drink or a snack to have during the game, if you want. Once you get to your seat, you won’t be able to easily get out again unless you are on an aisle. But with a football game, the action is always going, so you won’t even want to get up. And halftime is super busy for both bathrooms and food and drink.

During the Game

is it safe besiktas

Once kick-off happens, the game will be in full force until half-time. That’s forty-five minutes of intense game play and cheering. The Besiktas fans have tons of chants, songs, and cheers. They are all in Turkish, so we never understood any of them. 

There is one that you can easily do, even if you don’t know Turkish. It’s used at the beginning and end of games for most teams in the league now but it started with Besiktas. You’ll recognize it by the clapping and it’s a really fun one to join in with! It goes:

  • BİR (one), İKİ (two), ÜÇ (three)
  • clap clap clap
  • BEŞİKTAŞ
  • clap clap clap
  • BEŞİKTAŞ
  • lay lay lay lay lay lay lay lay laaaaaaay oooooooo Beşiktaaaaaaaaaş
  • lay lay lay lay lay lay lay lay laaaaaaay oooooooo Beşiktaaaaaaaaaş

There are various areas around the stadium with fan “conductors” leading the chants. We sat behind the second half home team goal and had some of the largest cheering section. This meant we stood the whole game, there was always some cheer going on, and people in our area were very passionate about the game. This might look like yelling at the refs or players, standing on chairs, and even some sort of firework going off in the area. Also, people smoke like chimneys inside the stadium. There’s no getting around it.

You’ll also notice in the upper corner of the stadium is essentially a cage. These are the away team fans. They have a separate entrance and seating area that is protected by the cage so no fighting happens. You’ll notice a lot of middle fingers, yelling, and potentially swearing (if you know Turkish it’s probably pretty bad) from the Besiktas fans towards this cage area and I’m guessing right back at them.

Is it safe to go to a besiktas game?

So, is going to a Besiktas game safe? While it was definitely intense and overwhelming at times, we never felt unsafe. There are so many layers of security and a ton of police force throughout the stadium, I don’t think anything truly bad could happen.

There are a few things you can do to ensure you stay safe though. Number one, don’t get stuck in large crowded areas. While we sat with the biggest crowd behind the goal, we stayed on the outskirts of that crowd. We we near an aisle with even a few seats of space around us. There was also a family sitting in front of us and behind us, so that made us feel at ease. It was inevitable to be in a large crowd when leaving the stadium, but we tried to stay toward the edge and hold our ground if needed.

Second, do not wear the opposing teams colors. We usually try to stay neutral with the teams colors so we don’t draw attention. With Besiktas, you can easily wear black and or white to blend in. You don’t want to wear the opposing teams colors because well, they have a cage for the opposing team’s fans to keep them safe…

After the Game

football in turkey

The game will come to an end usually around two hours after kick-off. You’ll see the riot police start to circle the pitch to ensure that the fans don’t storm the field. Once the game is over, people will start leaving en masse. We waited around a bit to avoid the largest of the crowds, but it was still slow to shuffle our way out of the stadium. Hopefully Besiktas wins so that everyone will be in a good mood and you’ll still get lots of cheering as you leave.

Once you are outside the gates of the stadium, you’ll notice most of the crowd heading back toward Besiktas Square. There are tons of vendors selling sandwiches and meat on the sidewalk on the way. This is a great spot to grab a bite to eat. We ended up on Süleyman Seba street. It was busy and a bit expensive here so we grabbed a celebratory beer and then headed home. We didn’t notice any particular place that people were gathering, but maybe it’s different with different games.

This post was all about everything you should know about attending a Besiktas Game. Go, Besiktas!

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We’re Alicia & Nate, a couple that traveled full-time for 3 years straight. We are now living in a cozy little apartment in Albania. We have a passion for exploring new places and trying new foods.

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