Traveling to Turkey

10 most beautiful viewpoints in Istanbul

Are you looking for the best viewpoints in Istanbul?

Then I have the answers for you if you are looking for beautiful viewpoints in Istanbul, right here!

Here you will find a list of the most beautiful viewpoints in Istanbul, together with pictures and a short guide on how to get there.

10 of the most amazing viewpoints in Istanbul

1. Galata Tower

I’ll begin with one of the classics in Istanbul, the 1,000-year-old or older Galata Tower in the Beyoglu district. The incredible 360-degree view from the Galata Tower extends to the old town Sultanahmet, the Golden Horn, Beyoglu, Sisli, Besiktas, the Bosporus, the Asian side of Istanbul and the Prince Islands 20 km away.

Getting there: take either the metro to Sishane station or the T1 tram to Karaköy station. Alternatively, take the Füniküler F2 to Beyoglu and walk to the tower. Entry currently costs 45TL.

2. Seven Hills Restaurant roof terrace

You will immediately notice the roof terrace of the Seven Hills Restaurant and Hotel between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. You can spot the roof terrace from everywhere and there is a large sign stating “best view of the old town” on it. The Seven Hills is my recommendation if you want to have a meal with a fantastic view after a day of sightseeing.

How to get there: walk from Hagia Sophia to the Seven Hills Hotel and take the elevator to the top floor.

3. Pierre Loti Hill

A short cable car leads up to the Pierre Loti hill, named in honour of the French writer. Once you reach the top, you will find a wonderful tea garden with a good view of the Golden Horn, Beyoglu and the old town of Fatih.

Getting there: Take Bus number 99 from the Galatabrücke to the Teleferik station. The cable car is right across the street. If you use the Istanbulkart, the trip up the hill costs 2.60TL in one direction.

4. “Kiz Kulesi” girls’ tower

The Maiden’s Tower, also Maiden’s Tower or Kiz Kulesi, stands on a small island near the entrance to the Bosporus from the Sea of ​​Marmara.

The tower is one of the landmarks of Istanbul, and it is included in the logo of the Istanbul Tourist Information. The ideal time to visit the Maiden’s Tower is just before sunset. The view from the tower, especially the cafe on the top floor,  is great!

Getting there: A boat travels back and forth between the girls’ tower and the Asian side of Istanbul every 15 minutes. Take the metro to Üsküdar station and walk down to the tower from there. Entry currently costs 30 TL.

5. Büyük Camlica hill

The Büyük “Great” Camlica is one of the most beautiful and,  is above all, the highest vantage point on Istanbul’s Asian side. From there, you can see the Bosporus and also get a feeling for what lies beyond the Camlica hills on the Asian side. The many high-rise areas on the Asian side are not normally seen from the other viewpoints in Istanbul. You should visit Büyük Camlica during the week if possible so that you can also find a place in the tea garden located on the top of the hill.

Getting there: take bus line 14 from Kadiköy to Kisikli station. In the future, the metro will also stop in Kisikli, and construction work on it is still ongoing. You can walk from Kisikli to the top of the hill in around 15 minutes.

6. Arcadia Blue Hotel roof terrace

The roof terrace of the Arcadia Blue Hotel (just behind the Blue Mosque) has also earned a place on my list. The easiest way to explain this is that is has a great view of the old town, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and the Bosporus. I also like the food in the restaurant, so it’s wise to pay a visit to the top floor of the hotel.

Getting there: just walk from the Blue Mosque to the hotel entrance and take the elevator to the top floor.

7. “The Secret Spot” – Büyük Valide Han and Sagin Han

“The Secret Spot” appeared as a profile picture for all emigrants, expats and Erasmus students in Istanbul within a very short time.

What does the “Secret Spot” mean? It is the roof of the 17th century Büyük Valide Han in the old town. The place is not that “secret”, and you can catch a glimpse of the roof in  the James Bond movie, Skyfall in Istanbul.  Til Schweiger also shot a scene on the roof for Tatort.

Unfortunately, the roof of the Büyük Valide Han collapsed in some places. That’s why you haven’t been allowed to go up since 2017. Mr. Mehdi, who used to always unlock the door to the roof, no longer works there, either.

I mention the “Secret Spot” here because the roof still shows up in so many travel guides.

There is an alternative not far away.

“The Secret Spot 2” is the roof of Sagir Han. I’ve listed it here as a recommendation since 2017.

The roof, which was previously freely accessible, has been rented since spring 2019. The tenant has given the roof the name Kubbe Istanbul Cultural Centre. In reality it is a café that is still being renovated. Believe it or not, entry to the roof costs 100 Turkish Lira for two people.

Nevertheless, everyone still goes to take pictures. Why?

It’s all about the picture with the carpets on the roof, tea, fruit and, to perfection, they still feed the seagulls (all-inclusive at a price of 100 Turkish Lira). The owner of the Kubbe Istanbul knows how to take pictures from the best angle.

Since they opened the Instagram account of Turkey Home, large Turkish and international accounts have shared pictures taken from the roof, and everyone has wanted to add their  picture.

Conditions: You can stay on the roof for as long as you want for the 100 Turkish Lira. There’s tea to drink. The staff will help you take pictures. Time on the corner carpet is limited to 15 minutes. For a higher price, you can also takes pictures with a drone (priced from 500 Turkish Lira).

How to get there: Google Maps will find the stairs to the Kubbe Istanbul using the address Sagir Han No. 38. You’ll walk up to the stairs from the Galata Bridge, it will take you about 10 to 15 minutes. The streets in between belong to the shops, craft shops and warehouses between the Egyptian and the Grand Bazaar.

8. Sapphire Tower Observation Deck

The Sapphire Tower is the Turkish version of the “Top of the Rock” in New York. When it was completed, the luxury residential and commercial tower was one of the tallest buildings in Europe; within Turkey, the 66-storey and 261m high tower is still tops. Its 1,200m high tower and observation deck of the tower can be found in Istanbul’s Levent financial district. Side note: The Sapphire Tower also includes one of the largest shopping malls in Istanbul.

9. Greek monastery on Buyukada

Büyükada is the largest of the nine Prince Islands in the Sea of ​​Marmara, which are also part of Istanbul.

A Greek Orthodox monastery stands on the highest point of the island. From there, you can see the Gulf of Izmet, the Asian side of Istanbul and of course the other Prince Islands. On nice days you can even see the coastline near the 3 million-resident city of Bursa.

Getting there: From Istanbul Kabatas, Kadiköy and Eminönü, there are regular ferries to the Prince Islands. A trip with the Istanbulkart costs around 4-5TL. From the ferry port of Büyükada, follow the horse-drawn carriages to reach the monastery and scenic viewpoint. Istanbul Welcome Card sells tickets for the ferry online in advance. I have negotiated a 5% discount for my readers (it will be deducted automatically).

10. Suleymaniye Mosque

The Suleymaniye Mosque is one of the most beautiful buildings in Istanbul, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and yet, only a handful of  travellers visit it. I also like the view from the northern wall of the Suleymaniye Mosque to the Golden Horn and the Bosporus.

How to get there: walk from the Galata Bridge or the Grand Bazaar to the mosque. Either option will take you only 15 minutes.

Future: Camlica Tower

A 365m high television and observation tower is currently being built on Camlica Hill. Including the hill, it is more than 568m high. That will probably make it one of the most extraordinary vantage points of Istanbul in the future.

The tower should be ready in the next 1 to 2 years. I’m already looking forward to taking pictures of Istanbul from the planned observation deck on the tower.

Of course there are many more interesting and beautiful viewpoints than “only” these 10. The Halic Café near the Suleymaniye Mosque or the many roof terraces of the hotels in Sultanahmet and Beyoglu also provide views worth mentioning.