Best Places to Take Photos in Istanbul


If you are into making memories last forever, taking photos is a great joy for you! When it’s about taking photos, Istanbul is one of the best places that ever come to your mind. If you’re on your way to Istanbul but still have no idea about where, when and, how to take photos in this great city, you’ve come to the right place. Moreover, you will learn about the famous Istanbul photographers and will be inspired by their works while you’re taking your own pictures. Get ready to learn everything you need to know about Istanbul photos.

With its long history, natural beauties and worldwide famous places, Istanbul is a great corner of the whole world for you to take great photos. In Istanbul, with every step you take, you witness a whole history. Capturing moments from the pages of history will put you through time travel. If your camera is ready, press the record and we’re getting started! Here is a list of famous places in Istanbul to take the best photos.

  1. Galata Tower
  2. Bosphorus
  3. Pierre Loti
  4. Sultanahmet Square
  5. Topkapi Palace
  6. Istiklal Stret
  7. Belgrad Forest


Galata Tower

Galata Tower is one of the most significant symbols of Istanbul. As it is constantly associated with Istanbul itself, you might even recognize Galata Tower from the famous postcards of Istanbul.  When you visit Istanbul, don’t you want to take a great photo of the Galata Tower? If yes, here is everything you need to know about it. 

History

Galata Tower is formerly known as Isa Tower. It is said that the construction of the tower started in 500s A.D. However, the exact date is not clear. It was constructed as a result of the order of the Byzantine Emperor, Anastasius. What makes the tower that important and popular is the long history behind it. It is believed that Galata Tower is the oldest work of art in the region. Throughout history, the tower was used by various civilizations. These include the Ottoman Empire, Venetians, Romans, and more. The purpose of the use has shown a difference as time has passed. While it was used as a shelter by Christians, the Ottoman Emperor Murat III used the tower as an observatory. Later on, when it was finally owned by Turks, it was renovated. 


Galata Tower

Another interesting story about Galata Tower dates back to the 17th century. An aviator named Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi tried to fly with his own wings from the famous neighborhood of Istanbul, Uskudar to Dogancilar. With his wings made of wood, Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi chose Galata Tower as his starting point. It has been told for centuries that Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi managed to become the first person to fly with his own wings. This incident caught so much attention from all over the world. This might even be one of the reasons why the tower is one of the best landmarks in Istanbul.

Galata Tower is glamorous not only with its history and worldwide known incidents but also with its special features. While the height of the tower is 229 feet from the ground to the roof, the thickness of the walls is 12 feet. Under the deep holes, bones and skulls were found. Therefore, it is believed that the tower was also used as a dungeon in the past.

Legends About Galata Tower 

  1. According to the legend, If a boy and a girl get on the top of Galata Tower together for the first time, they will get married to each other. This legend comes from Roman times. Therefore, If Galata Tower is your first choice to take great photos in Istanbul, don’t forget to take your beloved one with you. 
  2. This legend is not only about Galata Tower. We also have another famous landmark, Maiden’s Tower. It is believed that Galata Tower and Maiden’s Tower are in love with each other but they can’t come together because they’re divided by Bosphorus. One day, Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi gets on the top of Galata Tower and takes the love letters written by Galata Tower with him and flies to Maiden’s Tower. Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi gives the letters to Maiden’s Tower, therefore Maiden’s Tower finally realizes that her love is not unrequited. From generation to generation, their love goes on and on. So just like in the legend, If you don’t want these two lovers to be separated, don’t forget to visit also Maiden’s Tower after taking great photos next to Galata Tower.

Maiden’s Tower

At any time of the year, Galata Tower is the best place to take photos in Istanbul. During summer and springtime, you can take great photos on the balcony and the beautiful sound of the birds will accompany you. Moreover, you will also have the chance to take great photos of old, historic buildings and Istanbul strait while you’re on the top of the Galata Tower.  

Location

Galata Tower is located in the Beyoglu district, Bereketzade Neighborhood and, Galata Tower Street in Istanbul. In case you need the exact address, here it is:

Bereketzade, Buyuk Hendek Street. Nu: 2, 34421 Beyoglu/Istanbul, Turkey

If you need to call for further information, there is also a phone number for you to make a phone call:
Phone Number: +90212 293 5707

Transportation

Beyoglu is one of the most famous districts in Istanbul. For that reason, you will have no difficulty in reaching the Galata Tower. The city offers you various alternatives for transportation. 

  1. If you use public transportation, you need to reach Taksim first. By walking for 15 minutes, you can reach the tower.
  2. If you’re coming from Kadikoy, you can take Karakoy ferry and after a 5-minute walk, you will reach the tower. 
  3. If you’re coming from Uskudar, you can take Karakoy ferry and after a 5-minute walk, you will reach the tower.

Fees and Charges

Galata Tower is open for its visitors from 9 am to 7 pm including weekends. The visit is not free but the fee is not too high. 

Turkish Visitors: 10 Turkish Liras (2 dollars)
Students: 5 Turkish Liras (0,7 cents)
Tourists: 25 Turkish Liras (4 dollars)
Free for children under 5 years old.

Bosphorus

It is no secret that Istanbul is always on the top 10 list with geographical location and importance. Istanbul Strait or in other words, Bosphorus has a huge function of connecting Asia and Europe to each other. This helps Bosphorus become even more important not only for Turkey but also for all the other countries. Throughout history, Istanbul Strait has always witnessed political, social, and commercial incidents. However, besides these important incidents, Bosphorus has a big contribution to social life. Both for local Istanbul people and foreign visitors, Bosphorus is always the best stop to spend quality time in Istanbul. But this time, we will talk about its just another huge function: A great landscape and is one of the best places to take great photos.



Either in the morning or at night, you can always take the best photos on Bosphorus. If you’re interested in nature photography, you can capture timeless moments, especially during sunsets and sunrises. If you want to get into this feeling more, don’t forget that you have a great chance to get closer to Istanbul Strait. Take ferry tours and capture the endlessness of the great blue water while you’re in the middle of the strait. You will also be accompanied by seagulls If you bring Turkish bagels which are called “simit” in Turkey. Just throw small pieces of bagels to seagulls from the ferry and enjoy witnessing this amazing moment and taking great photos of them while they’re eating enjoyable food. 

If taking an Istanbul Strait boat tour sounds like the best way to take great photos in Istanbul to you, then here are some options for you to enjoy a trip:

  1. You can start the trip from Eminonu to Kadikoy district:  You can find a new trip every 20 minutes on weekdays, weekends, and even on holidays. On weekdays, the first trip starts at 7 am and the last trip is at 9:10 pm. On weekends and holidays, the first trip starts at 7:10 am and the last trip is at 9 pm. 
  2. You can start the trip from Besiktas to Kadikoy district: You can find a new trip every 30 minutes on weekdays, weekends, and even on holidays. the first trip starts at 06:45 am and the last trip is at 11.45 pm every day of the week.
  3. You can start the trip from Uskudar to Eminonu district: You can find a new trip every 20 minutes on weekdays, weekends, and even on holidays. The first trip starts at 6:30 am and the last trip is at 10:30 pm every day of the week.
  4. You can start the trip from Karakoy to Kadikoy district: You can find a new trip every 10 minutes on weekdays, weekends, and even on holidays. On weekdays, the first trip starts at 6:10 am and the last trip is at 1 am. On weekends and holidays, the first trip starts at 7:10 am and the last trip is at 1 am.
  5. You can start the trip from Bostanci to Karakoy district: You can find a new trip every 50 minutes on weekdays, weekends, and even on holidays. The first trip starts at 6:55 am and the last trip is at 7:20 pm every day of the week.

Information 

For further information, you can also visit the website below or get in contact with the official call center. Moreover, there is even a number that you can send a text message and ask your questions.

Website: https://www.sehirhatlari.istanbul/en

Call Center: 153

For questions, send a text message to 1530.



Fees and Charges

These boat trips for Bosphorus are a part of public transportation in Istanbul. For that reason, you need to have a card called Istanbul Card to travel. In your Istanbul card, you need to have:

5,50 Turkish Liras (0,79 $) for Karakoy – Bostanci line
4 Turkish Liras (0, 57 $) for Karakoy – Kadikoy, Eminonu – Kadikoy, and Besiktas – Kadikoy lines.
3,65 Turkish Liras (0,52 $) for Uskudar – Eminonu line

Moreover, If you need more information about Istanbul Strait (Bosphorus) and traveling in Istanbul by ferry, check our other posts:
https://goodistanbulguide.com/istanbuls-strait/
https://goodistanbulguide.com/istanbul-by-ferry-vapur/

Pierre Loti

Pierre Loti is a famous hill in Istanbul where you can enjoy your time any time in a day. If the best landscape for your dream Istanbul photos is Golden Horn, you’ve come to the right place. Pierre Loti is famous for its cafe as you can not find a better place than this cafe to have a  better landscape. If you want to take the best pictures of Golden Horn, you can visit Pierre Loti and take great photos while enjoying your time and listening to the great silence of nature accompanied by the great landscape of Golden Horn.



History 

The hill takes its name from the famous French writer Pierre Loti. Pierre Loti is known for living in Istanbul for a long time and being a big Istanbul lover. His real name is Julien Viaud. According to the recorded information, the reason behind the fact that the cafe is very famous in Pierre Loti is actually related to the writer Pierre Loti. It is known that Pierre Lori was visiting this cafe very often. Back then, this cafe was called as “Rabia Kadin Kahvesi”. Moreover, there is also a street in Istanbul called Pierre Lori Street which shows us how important Pierre Loti is for Istanbul and Istanbul people.



Facilities

If spending a few hours sitting in Pierre Loti is not enough for you, there are some other facilities that it is served. These facilities include a place for accommodation, restaurants and some other cafes. 

  1. Turquhouse Hotel:  Located in Pierre Loti, this hotel will serve you a second home in Istanbul. You can feel and witness the atmosphere of Turkish houses in this famous hotel as the hotel is designed just like typical Turkish houses. Apart from its great landscape, the opportunity to reach the hotel by using the cableway will be just another unforgettable moment for you. In the morning or at night, you can take great photos in the cableway while you’re simply and comfortably on your way to your hotel.
  2. Aziyade Restaurant: Located in Pierre Loti, this restaurant is a great place for you to taste delicious foods from Turkish and Ottoman cuisine while enjoying the landscape at the same time. You have also the opportunity to have conferences,  weddings, or engagement parties at this amazing restaurant.
  3. Tarihi Kahve: What makes this cafe famous is the fact that famous writer Pierre Loti mentions this cafe in his novels. This cafe will be a great stop for you to spend some time, have some rest, and enjoy your time in Istanbul. You can also eat some Turkish food here like manti, gozleme (a food like a pancake).
  4. Nargile Evi: Especially during wintertime, you can enjoy smoking a hookah in this place.


Information

If you decide on Pierre Loti to spend your time and take unique photos, here is the information you need in order to reach the place, make reservations and further questions. 

Address: Pierre Loti Tepesi Turistik Tesisleri, Idris Kosku Street. 34050 Eyup / Istanbul

Phone Number: +90(212) 497 13 13

Email address: [email protected]

Website: http://www.pierrelotitepesi.com/index2.asp 

Sultanahmet Square

If you want your photos to witness the historical and religious places, Sultanahmet Square is the best place for you. If you visit Istanbul and don’t take photos of Sultanahmet Square, it will be a total waste of time. Sultanahmet Square is located in the Fatih district in Istanbul. You can take photos of famous mosques, historic palaces which were mostly used by famous pashas of the Ottoman Empire and fountains. If you want to know more about these famous places on Sultanahmet Square, keep reading!



  1. Palace of Pargali Ibrahim Pasha

If you visit Sultanahmet Square, don’t forget to visit the palace of Pargali Ibrahim Pasha. This enormous palace will put you in a time machine and take you to the old Istanbul in the 1500s. You will feel the atmosphere of the ancient Ottoman palaces and make this moment last forever by taking great historical photos.

History

Pargali Ibrahim Pasha was a famous pasha of the Ottoman Empire. He was also known for being the son-in-law of the emperor of the period, Suleiman The Magnificent. Ibrahim Pasha was married to the sister of the emperor. Ibrahim Pasha takes his name from the place he was born in, Parga. Parga is located in the Republic of Venice. Thus, that’s how Ibrahim Pasha takes his nickname. Pargali means “from Parga” in Turkish. So he’s simply called “Ibrahim Pasha from Parga”. Ibrahim Pasha is one of the most famous and successful pashas of the Ottoman Empire. He won various victories and he later became the second most important person for Ottoman Empire after the emperor. After getting married to the sister of the emperor, Suleiman the Magnificent, this palace, Pargali Ibrahim Pasha Palace was gifted to the newly married couple by Suleiman the Magnificent. Back then, the famous palace was known as At Meydani Sarayi which means At Square Palace in Turkish. Nowadays, the palace is used as a museum. 

Information

If your next stop to take historical pictures is Pargali Ibrahim Pasha Palace, here is all the information you need:

Address: Binbirdirek, Atmeydani Street. Nu:44, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey



2. Hagia Sophia

If you’re interested in different cultures, religions, and beliefs, Hagia Sophia will be your favorite place in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia is currently a museum and mosque. With its long historical background and spiritual atmosphere, Hagia Sophia is one of the oldest and most famous historical artifacts in the whole world. If you ever visit Istanbul, don’t leave without visiting Hagia Sophia and taking photos. 

History

The long history of Hagia Sophia dates back to the Byzantium period. When Istanbul was under the control of the Byzantine Empire, it was built in the order of the emperor of the period, Justinian I in 532 AD. Firstly, it was built as a cathedral. However, later on, after the Ottoman Emperor Mehmed II conquered Istanbul in 1453, he turned the cathedral into a mosque. Since 1935, Hagia Sophia has served as a museum. The name of the museum comes from the Greek language. In Greek, Hagia Sophia means “divine wisdom”. Moreover, there are some special privileges. They are:

  1.  Hagia Sophia is the oldest cathedral in the world.
  2.  Hagia Sophia is the only cathedral that was built in 5 years. There is no other cathedral that is built in a shorter time. 
  3. Hagia Sophia is the biggest cathedral of all. 

Information

If you want to visit Hagia Sophia, here you will find the necessary information.

Address: Cankurtaran Street., Ayasofya Avenue, Sultanahmet Square Nu:1, Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey
Phone Number: +90 212 522 17 50

If you want further information, check the website: 
https://muze.gov.tr/muze-detay?SectionId=AYS01&DistId=AYS

You can visit Hagia Sophia according to this timetable:

Summer Term:
April 1 – October 31:
Opening Hour: 9:00 am
Closing Hour: 7:00 pm

Winter Term:
October 31 – 1 April
Opening Hour: 9:00 am
Closing Hour: 6:00 pm

Note it down that the museum is not open on Mondays during the winter term. However, it is open to its visitors all week long during the summer term. Thus, plan your trip according to this information. 

Fees and Charges

As Hagia Sophia is a museum, there is a charge that you need to pay to visit. You need to pay 100 Turkish Liras (15 dollars) and you can get your tickets from the box office. Keep it in mind that the box office is closing at 6:00 pm during winter and at 7:00 pm during summer. 



Topkapi Palace

Istanbul is one of the most historic cities in the world. You can be sure that you come across a historical artifact no matter what direction you turn your head to. Topkapi Palace is just another famous, historical building that you need to see in Istanbul. Just like Pargali Ibrahim Pasha Palace, Topkapi Palace is also in Sultanahmet Square. We have already mentioned the Ibrahim Pasha Palace and its importance. This time, more importantly, we will talk about a palace that the Ottoman Empire emperors lived. If you want to know more about this great place that you can take many perfect photos, keep reading!

History 

Topkapi Palace was built in the order of the Ottoman Emperor, Mehmed II. It was built between the dates of 1460 – 1478. Until 1922, Topkapi Palace was the center of government and education. Moreover, it was served as a home to the Ottoman emperors. Later on, after the foundation of the Turkish Republic, in 1924 Topkapi Palace was turned into a museum by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. (Founder of the Turkish Republic) It is noted that the Ottoman Empire did not spend much money on the construction of Topkapi Palace so it is known as a “modest” palace. During the period, more money was spent on the construction of bridges, mosques, and caravansaries. 



Information

If you believe that you can not look into the future properly without knowing the past, Topkapi Palace will welcome you to the mysterious world of the past. There is no doubt that everyone would like to capture this amazing historical artifact so don’t forget to take great pictures. However, inside of the museum, you might not be allowed the take photos in some parts so be careful about following the rules. Here is the information you need for Topkapi Palace:

Address: Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey

Phone Number: +90 212 512 0480 

Visiting Hours: 

Winter Term:
October 2 – April 1:
Opening Hour: 9:00 am
Closing Hour: 5:00 pm

Summer Term:
April 1 – October 2:
Opening Hour: 9:00 am
Closing Hour: 7:00 pm

Don’t forget that Topkapi Palace is not open on Tuesdays. Plan your trip accordingly. 



Fees and Charges

Here you will find the number of fees and charges to take a trip inside the Topkapi Palace Museum.

Topkapi Palace Museum: 100 Turkish Liras (15 dollars)
Harem (the part of the palace where women lived in the Ottoman Empire): 70 Turkish Liras (10 dollars)
Hagia Irene Museum: It is also another church that was turned into a museum in Istanbul. It is inside the Topkapi Palace Museum. If you want, you can also visit the Hagia Irene Museum: 60 Turkish Liras (8 dollars)

You can get your tickets from the box office. Keep it in mind that the box office is closing at 6:00 pm during winter and at 7:00 pm during summer. 

Istiklal Street

Istiklal Street is a famous and very crowded street in Istanbul. It is so famous that when you watch a documentary about Istanbul, it is inevitable not to see or mention Istiklal Street. Being such a famous street makes Istiklal Street one of your highest possible best photo place.



History

Istiklal Street is located in one of the oldest districts of Istanbul: Beyoglu. This district includes 9 neighborhoods. Moreover, this street has a height of 242 feet. Just like other famous places in Istanbul, Istiklal Street also dates back to the Byzantine period. At first, there were people from other religions more than Muslims in this street but later on, the Muslim population has increased. In the 1960s, the street was open to car traffic but nowadays, no cars are allowed in the street. The most symbolic thing that belongs to Istiklal Street is the red tramway. On Istanbul postcards, you have a high chance to see Istiklal Street with a red tramway on it. However, after a while, this symbolic tramway became literally symbolic and stopped serving as a tramway. In the last years, even the symbolic tramway stopped working, unfortunately. But still, Istanbul Street is a great place not only for taking great photos but also for a lively nightlife.



Belgrad Forest

Although Istanbul is a great historical city, it is no secret that megacities like Istanbul sometimes lack green areas. If you like nature photography and want to spend your time among big, green trees, Belgrad Forest is the place that you’re looking for in Istanbul. This forest is located in Catalca Peninsula, Istanbul and it is preferred by people who like nature and want to spend some peaceful time when they get tired of the rush of the big city. If you want to take beautiful nature photos and spend some peaceful time and go on a picnic with your beloved ones, here is what you need to know about Belgrad Forest.



Back in time, the Ottoman Empire emperor Suleiman the Magnificient brought people from Belgrad to this place after his excursion of Serbia. Later on, many dams were furnished to supply the water needs of the empire. 

Today, Belgrad Forest is used as a picnic spot. You can get mesmerized by various types of trees such as pine trees, oak trees, poplar trees, and more. In Belgrad Forest, you can find restaurants, cafes, and sports fields. There is also a campground for those who love camping. During your camp, you can also see different types of animals and photograph these amazing animals in their habitat. 

Information

Although Belgrad Forest is a natural place, there is some information that you need to know for sure. Belgrad Forest is open all week long. You can visit any time you want 24/7. 

Address: Bahcekoy Yeni, 34473 Sariyer/Istanbul, Turkey

Phone Number: +90 212 226 13 14



Fees and Charges

According to your way of transportation, fees and charges might show some differences. Below, you can find the fees and charges.

If you’re coming by foot: It’s free. You will not need to pay any fee.
If you’re coming by car: You will need to pay 10 Turkish Liras (1,44 dollars)
If you’re coming by minibus:  You will need to pay 35 Turkish Liras (5 dollars)
If you’re coming by midibuses: You will need to pay 60 Turkish Liras (9 dollars)
If you’re coming by bus: You will need to pay 110 Turkish Liras (15 dollars)
If you’re coming by motorcycle: You will need to pay 8 Turkish Liras (1,15 dollars)

As it is stated above, you’ll be charge-free If you come on foot, however, don’t forget that you will need to walk for 1.2 miles from the entrance to the picnic spot. So it’s recommended for you to come using your car.

Famous Turkish Photographer

Ara Guler

Before taking your own photos, If you want to take a look at famous photography examples to get inspired, famous photographer Ara Guler and his photos will be your favorite. Ara Guler is a photographer who was born on August 16, 1928, in Istanbul. He is a worldwide known and prize-winning photographer. His photographs were published in different countries such as Germany and England. In 1994, his photograph book titled “Eski Istanbul Anilari” (Old Istanbul Memories) was published. Istanbul, famous places, and just random landscapes from the streets and people take a great part in his photography.

Consequently, you’ve read about some of the most popular, historical, and natural places that you can spend a good time visiting and taking photos in Istanbul. According to your understanding of great photos, you can find your own best place or places to take great photos in Istanbul. Whether you decide to take a natural photo in Belgrad Forest or a historical photo in Sultanahmet Square, it a fact that you will have the best photos ever either way because every single corner of this amazing city, Istanbul is the best place to take photos.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I love Istanbul. I have been to 10 different countries. Istanbul is in the top 3 cities. I like to play soccer too :)

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