10 Best Instagrammable Spots in Istanbul

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Istanbul’s Aesthetic Beauty

best instagrammable spots in istanbul

Istanbul, a city that straddles two continents, is a mosaic of cultures, histories, and breathtaking sights. The seamless blend of ancient and modern, East and West, makes it a treasure trove for photographers and travel enthusiasts. With its rich heritage and vibrant culture, Istanbul offers countless spots that are perfect for capturing memories and sharing them on Instagram. Here are the ten best instagrammable spots in Istanbul that offer the best views in Istanbul and highlight the city’s unique sights.

Here are the top 10 instagrammable spots in Istanbul:

1. Hagia Sophia


Hagia Sophia, with its colossal dome and exquisite mosaics, is one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks. Originally a cathedral, later an imperial mosque, a museum, and a mosque again, it encapsulates the city’s historical depth. The vast interiors, adorned with intricate gold mosaics and colossal marble pillars, provide endless opportunities for striking photos.

  • For the best shots, visit early in the morning to avoid crowds and capture the soft, golden light filtering through the ancient windows.
  • Whether you’re capturing the grandeur of the main hall or the detailed artistry of the mosaics, Hagia Sophia stands as one of the best instagrammable spots in Istanbul.
  • Don’t forget to step outside and photograph the magnificent exterior against the backdrop of a clear sky, showcasing one of the most unique sights in Istanbul.

2. Blue Mosque

visit the blue mosque in istanbul

Facing Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque is another architectural masterpiece. Officially known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, its nickname comes from the stunning blue tiles that adorn its interior. The mosque’s six minarets and cascading domes make for a dramatic and picturesque skyline.

The best time to visit the Blue Mosque is during the early morning or late afternoon when the light bathes the exterior in a warm glow, highlighting the intricate designs. Inside, the soft blue and white patterns create a serene and photogenic environment.

Capture the mosque from different angles to get the best views in Istanbul, and don’t miss the courtyard for a balanced shot of the mosque’s grandeur.

3. Topkapi Palace

visit topkapi palace in istanbul
aerial view of topkapi palace in istanbul.

Topkapi Palace, the grand residence of Ottoman sultans for over 400 years, offers a glimpse into the opulence and splendor of the past. With its lavish rooms, extensive gardens, and panoramic views of the Bosphorus, it’s a photographer’s paradise.

The best instagrammable spots in Istanbul within Topkapi Palace include the Harem with its exquisite tiles and stained glass, the Imperial Treasury with its dazzling jewels, and the palace courtyards with stunning views of the city.

Each corner of the palace tells a story, providing endless opportunities for capturing the unique sights in Istanbul.

4. Galata Tower

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The Galata Tower, a medieval stone tower, offers one of the best views in Istanbul. Standing tall over the Karak√∂y district, it provides a 360-degree panorama of the city’s skyline, including the Bosphorus, Golden Horn, and historical peninsula.

For the most stunning photos, head to the tower during sunset when the city is bathed in golden hues. The views from the top are unparalleled, making it one of the best instagrammable spots in Istanbul.

Capture the bustling city below, the boats gliding on the Bosphorus, and the iconic landmarks in the distance. The spiral staircase inside the tower also offers unique photo opportunities with its rustic charm.

5. Basilica Cistern

Hidden beneath the streets of Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern is a subterranean marvel. This ancient underground reservoir, with its forest of marble columns, creates an otherworldly atmosphere perfect for photography.

The dim lighting and reflections in the water give the cistern a mystical quality. The Medusa head columns are particularly intriguing and make for compelling subjects.

For the best shots, use a slow shutter speed to capture the tranquil beauty of the space. The Basilica Cistern is undoubtedly one of the unique sights in Istanbul and offers some of the best instagrammable spots in Istanbul, away from the hustle and bustle above ground.

6. The Grand Bazaar

visit the grand bazaar in istanbul

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, brimming with vibrant colors, exotic goods, and bustling activity. It’s a haven for capturing the essence of Istanbul’s commercial heart and cultural diversity.

Wander through the labyrinthine alleys and you’ll find countless photo opportunities. From the vibrant textiles and intricate jewelry to the aromatic spices and handcrafted ceramics, every stall offers a visual feast.

For the best views in Istanbul within the bazaar, climb to one of the upper galleries where you can capture the chaotic beauty from above.

7. Ortaköy Mosque

best instagrammable spots in istanbul

Situated by the Bosphorus, the Ortaköy Mosque is a stunning example of Baroque architecture. Its picturesque location, with the Bosphorus Bridge in the background, makes it one of the best instagrammable spots in Istanbul.

The best time to visit is at sunset when the mosque and bridge are bathed in a golden glow, reflecting beautifully on the water. Capture the mosque from the adjacent square for a full view that includes the iconic bridge.

The vibrant cafes and bustling atmosphere around the mosque add to the charm, providing a lively and colorful backdrop for your photos.

8. Balat

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Balat Quarter

Balat, with its colorful houses and narrow streets, offers a more bohemian and artistic vibe. This historic neighborhood, once home to Istanbul’s Jewish community, is now a vibrant area filled with charming cafes, antique shops, and street art.

Stroll through the cobbled streets and you’ll find endless instagrammable spots. The pastel-colored houses with their vintage facades are perfect for capturing the unique sights in Istanbul.

Each corner of Balat offers a new perspective, from the quaint balconies to the artistic graffiti, making it one of the best views in Istanbul for street photography and capturing the city’s eclectic spirit.

9. The Bosphorus

best instagrammable spots in istanbul

No visit to Istanbul is complete without experiencing the Bosphorus, the strait that separates Europe and Asia. A boat cruise along the Bosphorus offers some of the best views in Istanbul, showcasing the city’s skyline, palaces, and historic fortresses.

For the most instagrammable shots, opt for a sunset or evening cruise. The city lights reflecting on the water create a magical ambiance, highlighting the unique sights in Istanbul.

Capture the silhouettes of iconic landmarks like the Maiden’s Tower and Rumeli Fortress against the backdrop of the setting sun. Whether you’re on a public ferry or a private yacht, the Bosphorus provides an ever-changing panorama that epitomizes the beauty of Istanbul.

10. Istiklal Avenue and Taksim Square

visit istiklal street istanbul

Istiklal Avenue, one of Istanbul’s most famous streets, is a bustling thoroughfare that stretches from Taksim Square to Galata Tower. This vibrant avenue, lined with 19th-century buildings, modern shops, cafes, and historic sites, offers a unique blend of the old and new.

For the best instagrammable spots in Istanbul along Istiklal Avenue, start at Taksim Square. This central hub is perfect for capturing the energy and diversity of the city.

One of the most unique sights in Istanbul is the historic red tram that runs along Istiklal Avenue. Capture it as it makes its way through the crowds, a charming symbol of the city’s past.

FAQ about Istanbul Photography

Is street photography legal in Turkey?

Yes, street photography is generally legal in Turkey. However, it is important to respect people’s privacy and be mindful of local customs. In public spaces, you can take photos freely, but always ask for permission if you are focusing on individuals, especially in conservative areas.

Can you take photos in Hagia Sophia?

Yes, you can take photos in Hagia Sophia. Photography is allowed inside the museum, but the use of tripods and professional lighting is usually restricted. Be respectful of the space, especially considering its religious significance and the presence of other visitors.

Where is the best place to take pictures in the Hagia Sophia?

The best place to take pictures in Hagia Sophia is from the upper galleries. These vantage points offer a stunning view of the vast interior, including the impressive dome and intricate mosaics. Additionally, capturing the main hall from the entrance also provides a grand perspective of the architectural marvel.

Can you take photos in Topkapi?

Yes, you can take photos in Topkapi Palace, but there are some restrictions. Photography is generally allowed in the palace courtyards and gardens. However, in certain areas like the Harem and some of the museum sections, photography might be restricted to preserve the artifacts and the historical ambiance. Always look for signs or ask the staff if you’re unsure.

Are you allowed to take pictures in a mosque?

Yes, you are generally allowed to take pictures in a mosque, but it is important to be respectful. Avoid taking photos during prayer times and of people who are praying. Some mosques may have specific areas where photography is not allowed, so always check for signs or ask the staff. Be mindful of dress codes and behave respectfully while taking photos inside religious sites.

So pack your camera and embark on a visual journey through one of the most photogenic cities in the world. The 10 Best Instagrammable Spots in Istanbul await!

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