Looking for where to enjoy the best views of Istanbul? From architectural wonders to green spaces, here are the best viewpoints in Istanbul.
Istanbul is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world. From its impressive architecture, and delicious food, to the diverse culture where East meets West, there is so much to see in Istanbul.
And while there are so many things to do in Istanbul, one of the things not to miss out on is to take in its stunning beauty from various vantage points.
Whether you’re admiring the architecture, enjoying a delicious meal, or taking in the views from atop a hill or monument, there are plenty of excellent vantage points to take it all in.
Still not sure where to go? Here are 7of the coolest locations to enjoy the best views of Istanbul.
Psst… If you’re visiting Istanbul for the first time, make sure that you avoid these common Istanbul mistakes and also check out this post to learn some of the best ways to travel to Istanbul on a budget if you’re on a restricted budget.
How To Plan Your Visit: Practical Quick Tips
– Book your accommodation in advance. For the best stay, I suggest staying at Royal Suites Sultanahmet (9.0/10) if you’re on a budget, Meroddi Galata Mansion (8.7/10) if you’re on a mid-range budget, or the Galataport Hotel (8.6/10) for a luxurious stay. If you’d rather book an apartment, this is the apartment rental I recommend.
– Don’t miss out on popular tours and activities in Istanbul. Some of my favorites are; the Whirling Dervishes Show, this 3-hour Bosphorus cruise dinner, this Hagia Sophia guided tour, and this Topkapi palace guided tour.
– Don’t forget to take Travel Insurance. Request a free quote from my favorite insurance, World Nomads.
– To get the most out of your visit, I recommend buying this Istanbul pass. It will give you free access to popular attractions in the city, free public transportation, and a cruise on the Bosphorus.
– Plan your trip to Istanbul extensively with this Lonely Planet Istanbul guidebook.
Psst… Before traveling to Istanbul or Turkey in general, make sure that you have Travel Insurance! I always use World Nomads on all my trips and I am happy to recommend it to you. You can easily request a quote from World Nomads from here for FREE!
Places to Enjoy the Best Views of Istanbul
In no particular order, here are the best viewpoints in Istanbul to take in the beauty of the city from a different dimension.
1. Maiden’s Tower
This small, picturesque tower is located on an island in the middle of the Bosporus Strait.
It’s one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Istanbul and has been featured in many films and TV shows.
The best part? The views from the top are simply breathtaking, as one can see for miles in every direction.
Maiden’s Tower is also a great place to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while taking in the views. There is a restaurant and bar in the tower, with a panned view of the city, making it ideal for sightseers.
- Location: Salacak, 34668 Üsküdar/İstanbul, Turkey
- Entry Fee: 30 TL
- Visiting Hours: 09:15 am – 11:59 pm
2. Topkapi Palace
For a dose of history with some of the best views in Istanbul, Topkapi Palace is a must-visit.
The sprawling complex was once the home of the Ottoman Sultans and their harems, but it’s now one of the largest museums in Istanbul and houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts.
You can admire views of the Bosporus Strait, The Golden Horn, the Sea of Marmara, and the city skyline from the palace grounds.
On top of the views, be sure to step inside and admire the art collection. You can go on an independent visit by booking this skip-the-line ticket but I recommend booking this guided tour that comes with a knowledgeable tour guide to tell you all the history of this grand place.
- Location: Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
- Entry Fee: 200 TL per person
- Visiting Hours: 09:00 am – 06:00 pm
Related post: Best Things to do in Istanbul at Night
3. Galata Tower
One of the most iconic landmarks in the city, the Galata Tower offers Istanbul’s best views from its observation deck.
On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Bosporus Strait and beyond. At the time of sunset, the views are even more breathtaking as the city lights up.
The tower was constructed by the Genoese in 1348 and is one of Istanbul’s most popular tourist attractions.
Head to the top of the tower at sunset for a breathtaking view of Istanbul’s cityscape.
The place is an excellent spot for travelers looking to explore the sights and sounds of Istanbul from a different perspective.
- Location: Bereketzade, Galata Kulesi, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
- Entry Fee:100 TL (Free for children below the age of 7)
- Visiting Hours: 08:30 am – 12:00 pm
4. Camlica Hill
Camlica Hill is famous for its magnificent sunset views and serenity. It is the finest vantage point in Istanbul from where almost the entire Bosphorus Strait, as well as the Istanbul city view and landmarks is a feast to the eyes.
It’s also a famous local picnic spot and a wedding venue with an open-air restaurant.
With its calmness, pure air, and pavilions, it is a great place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature.
What’s notable about this hill is that one can see almost all of Istanbul because it has magnificent views of both the European and Asian sides of the Bosphorus.
The best part is that you don’t need to pay to access it since it’s one of the free things to do in Istanbul.
- Location: Üsküdar, Istanbul
- Entry Fee: Free
- Visiting Hours: 09:00 am – 11:00 pm
Related post: Important Things to Know Before Traveling to Turkey
5. Pierre Loti Hill
Named after the famous French writer who was captivated by Istanbul, the Pierre Loti Hill is located in Eyüp on the Golden Horn.
It’s a great spot to enjoy some of the best views of Istanbul while sipping on Turkish coffee or tea since it’s home to one of the best cafes in Istanbul, Pierre Loti Hill Café.
There are two options for ascending the hill. One is to take the cable car or climb the steps, but either way, you’ll be left speechless when you reach the top.
Furthermore, the hill is a popular location for capturing stunning photographs of Istanbul’s panoramic view.
- Location: Eyüp Merkez, Karyağdı Sk. No:20, 34050 Eyüp Sultan/İstanbul, Turkey
- Entry Fee: 4 TL if you take the cable car.
- Visiting Hours: Open 24 hours
6. Büyük Valide Han
Büyük Valide Han is a hidden treasure that boasts a beautiful old façade from which you can see into the distant and current eras.
To capture the beautiful essence of Istanbul, you must visit this hidden rooftop of Buyuk Valide Han.
This 17th-century Ottoman caravanserai was once a stopover point for traders and travelers passing through Istanbul.
Today, it’s been restored and turned into a beautiful boutique hotel. Head to the rooftop terrace to enjoy the best Istanbul views, including the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Galata Tower, and the Bosphorus, which is a photographer’s dream.
- Location: Mercan, Büyük Valide Han Mercan, Çakmakçılar Ykş. no: 31, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
- Entry Fee: Unknown
- Visiting Hours: 06:00am – 08:00pm (Sunday closed)
Related post: Best places to visit in Turkey
7. Sapphire Observation Deck
Visitors can now enjoy breathtaking views in Istanbul from this newest location, the Sapphire Observation Deck.
Located on the top floor inside one of Turkey’s tallest buildings, Sapphire, the 360-degree panoramic views are nothing short of spectacular.
It looks like one is standing on top of the entire city of Istanbul. It’s also a lovely location to watch the sun rise or set over Istanbul.
- Location: Emniyetevleri, Eski Büyükdere Cd. No:1, 34415 Kâğıthane/İstanbul, Turkey
- Entry Fee: 50 TL
- Visiting Hours: 10:00am – 10:00pm (Last admission to the observation deck is at 09:30pm)
Final Thoughts on the Places to Enjoy the Best Istanbul Views
Istanbul is a city of mesmerizing beauty and stunning views.
Whether you are looking for an awe-inspiring panorama of the Bosphorus or Golden Horn, a view of the lively streets below, or an interesting architectural perspective, there are plenty of places in this city to enjoy the best views of Istanbul.
There’s no need to get lost when you’re looking for a great spot with an excellent view because these top seven locations have all been carefully selected to give your trip that extra wow factor.
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