Best Photography Spots in İstanbul

From Anadoluhisarı (Anatolian Castle) to its sister structure from across the Bosphorus, Rumelihisarı (Rumelian Castle); from Emirgan Korusu (Emirgan Park) in the Sarıyer district to Yıldız Park which adorns Beşiktaş; from the districts that embellishes the shores of the İstanbul Strait, such as Arnavutköy and Bebek, to an array of architectural marvels that testify to the city’s Ottoman past and beyond, the city of İstanbul is crammed full of picture-perfect spots. 

We’ve collected for you some of these photography spots and tried to make sure we’ve included a scene to suit any dream and occasion. So, please continue to read if you want to learn more about where in İstanbul you could capture the most splendid land and seascapes.

Anadoluhisarı, which is also known as Güzelce Hisar (the Beauteous Castle) is a medieval fortress located in İstanbul, Türkiye, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. The locals of İstanbul call the Asian part of the country “Anadolu,” which gives its name to the fortress. It’s the oldest surviving structure in İstanbul, and it was first built as a watchtower under the commission of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, as part of his preparations to siege the Byzantine city of Constantinople (now İstanbul). 

Whether you want a street view, or just a photograph taken from the heart of the Bosphorus, the fortress will never fail to impress you as a photography spot and neither will its sister structure: Rumelihisarı. Facing Anadoluhisarı from across the Bosphorus, Rumelihisarı was built under the commission of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, designed so as to work in tandem with its older sister. Also called Boğazkesen Castle (Strait-Blocker), it’s as majestic as any architectural structure could ever be. Parts of İstanbul may allow you to snap it with Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in the background. 

Some of the seaside districts, like Beykoz, present the best places to get a Bosphorus view, and they surround these two fortresses (or are surrounded by it). These districts offer the most picturesque views of the two bridges: the Bosphorus Bridge (known officially as the 15 July Martyrs Bridge) and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.

The Çengelköy district of İstanbul, located in the Asian side, is steeped in the hearts of photographers with its Bosphorus view. Its shore accommodates plenty of cafes and restaurants, and their verandas offer picture-perfect Bosphorus sceneries. Many other villas and mansions decorate the shores of İstanbul, waiting to be discovered and captured. 

The town is also famed with its wooden houses, which reflect the Ottoman style of architecture, as well as Kuleli Military High School (now a museum), a building with a history stretching back to 1845.

On the European side, an array of historical buildings offers the warmest welcomes to photographers with their unequaled architectural features coupled with the most beautiful natural landscapes. 

Beyoğlu should probably be a photographer’s first haunt with its heritage streetcar, Galata Tower, and streets that showcase a history that is nowhere to be found outside İstanbul. The most renowned one of these streets is İstiklal Street. The streetcar, in addition to its importance as a transportation means, presents an aesthetic function with its history, shape and red color. Once the highest structure in the city, the tower of Galata offers a 360-degree panoramic view of İstanbul.

Beyoğlu is also renowned for its arcades that reflect varieties of fashions, shedding light on the history of the area.

We advise you, furthermore, not to miss the opportunity to see rainbow stairs and Kamondo Stairs that are located nearby, presenting a splendid opportunity to get an unmatched Instagrammable sight. Legend has it that a banker named Kamondo had the stairs built so that his grandchildren could take a shortcut on their way to school. No matter what his purpose was, the stairs contribute greatly to the urban fabric of the city - and particularly to that of the Karaköy district.

Nearby, in Beşiktaş, a former imperial Ottoman summer pavilion welcomes people who would like to take photographs or get their own photographs taken: Ihlamur Kasrı. Constructed during the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid I (1839-1860), the pavilion now offers one of the most elegant examples of 19th-century Ottoman buildings, characterized by architectural features bearing the traces of the Neo-Baroque movement.

If you want to get a greener view, here’s a brief list of the most picture-perfect parks and forests of İstanbul: Yıldız Park, Maçka Democracy Park, Gülhane Park, Atatürk Arboretum, and Belgrade Forest. They are just one or two stops away from the most central parts of the city if you want to breathe in some fresh air and satisfy your need to take beautiful İstanbul pictures.

Taking a ferry from the Asian side to the European would also be a good idea: The sight of the seagulls wandering above you to get a piece of simit (Turkish bagels) are the most photogenic animals you will ever see.

Among the most renowned mosques of İstanbul are cited Süleymaniye, Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque, and Ortaköy Mosque all of which offer a lace-like interior and an ornamented exterior that can steal the spotlight from any other architectural wonder.

Their religious significance endows these masterpieces with such an aura that you’ll never feel you’ve taken enough photographs to capture their beauty. There are many rooftops located near and around these mosques where it’s easy to capture an aerial view of the mosques coupled with the best seascapes.

Right behind the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque, at the far end of the old hippodrome in the Fatih district, you can see Topkapı Palace, which served as the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans for centuries. It captures a large history and begs to be captured itself by you. Tiled Kiosk is also nearby, set within the outer walls of the Topkapı Palace. It contains many examples of İznik tiles and Seljuk poetry, always a great treasury for photographers. 

Take the tram to Baharatçılar Çarşısı (Spicer Bazaar), Kapalı Çarşı (The Grand Bazaar), and the secondary bazaars leading to them to capture local delicacies, handcrafts and Ottoman architecture, three ultimate things that define İstanbul. Mısır Çarşısı used to sell in its Ottoman past spices that were imported from Egypt, and that’s why it’s sometimes called the Egyptian Bazaar, too.

If you haven’t yet satisfied the photograph artist in you, good. We still have plenty of spots in stock to suggest to you. Go to Haliç (also called the Golden Horn) and see the narrow, colorful streets of the Balat district, a cultural mosaic ornamented with an array of Jewish and Greek heritages. Venture further into the district of Eyüp, which is home to Pierre Loti Tepesi (Pierre Loti Hill), a usual meeting point offering a panoramic view of the Golden Horn and serving Turkish coffee cooked on hot sand. The hill takes its name from the French novelist Pierre Loti who moved to İstanbul at some point in his life and regularly visited it.

Thought you were done with İstanbul? Don’t, because İstanbul’s never done with photographers! The Prince Islands, officially just Adalar, are officially part of İstanbul, and are just off the coast of İstanbul. They consist of Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Kınalıada. You can access them all by the same boat. We recommend you get off in Büyükada, the biggest one of all, and enjoy its historical buildings and unspoilt nature.

Click here to learn more about İstanbul.


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