Istanbul is an entirely Instagram-friendly city. The best photo spots in Istanbul can be found on every street corner, near hundreds of years old mosques, in bazaars packed with products, on the streets, on the Bosphorus, everywhere.
But, if you only have a few days to spend in the city, you need this guide of the most Instagramable places in Istanbul. Places you can easily visit in just 5 days in Istanbul.
From towers to minarets, from pastel buildings to sumptuous palaces, from parks and gardens to bridges and gates, these are the best photo locations in Istanbul:
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Where to stay in Istanbul:
Knowing that Istanbul is one of the best places to take pictures in Turkey, it is clear that we need to spend at least a few days here for that. So, these are the hotels I recommend when you visit the city.
- budget: Taksim Terrace Hotel – located in the heart of the fair and with a sensational panorama of the Bosphorus, room service, delicious breakfast
- mid-range: Saba Sultan Hotel – located in the mosque area, superb view, rooms with unique design, free parking, delicious breakfast
- luxury: Hotel Arcadia Blue Istanbul – situated in the mosque area, splendid view, ultra-modern rooms, bar, wifi, room service, restaurant
Best photo spots in Istanbul – Instagrammable places in Istanbul
1. Ortakoy Mosque
I must admit that the Ortakoy Mosque is not by chance in the first position of Instagrammable places in Istanbul and even the best Instagram spots in Turkey.
It’s my favorite from this list, and I consider it the perfect place to have an amazing photoshoot on the shores of the Bosphorus. It’s also one of the top tourist spots in Istanbul, so expect to be crowded.
The two minarets that frame the large dome of the mosque, together with the water and the Bosphorus bridge in the background, make up one of the most recognizable images of Istanbul Turkey.
Add a few pigeons that will gather around you and get the perfect photo spots in Istanbul.
The Ortakoy Mosque was built between 1835 and 1855 by the famous architect Nigogos Balyan, who also designed the Dolmabahce Palace in neo-baroque style.
We certainly owe him that we can admire so many pretty places in Istanbul nowadays.
Address: Mecidiye Mahallesi, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sk. 1/1, 34347 Beşiktaş
What I use every time I travel:
- To book hotels: Booking.com
- To book tours: GetYourGuide.com
2. Galata Tower, one of the top tourist spots in Istanbul
Built in the 14th century to 63 meters, Galata Tower was the tallest building in the city for several hundred years.
It offers a 360-degree view of the city and is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions and also a perfect place to take pictures of Istanbul Turkey.
So when you come here, you have to be patient. The good part is that the tower offers two perspectives for beautiful photos of Istanbul.
The first is with the tower itself, and the second is with the views over the city from the tower.
Galata Tower is one of the most famous places in Istanbul and a spot from where you will have one of the best views in Istanbul.
⇒ Book your Galata Tower walking tour
Address: Bereketzade, Galata Kulesi, 34421
Entrance: 130 TL
3. Topkapi Palace | Instagrammable places in Istanbul
Topkapi Palace is not only a great photo location in Istanbul but also an essential part of the history of the Ottoman Empire.
Built in 1478, Topkapi Palace was the political center of the Empire for about four centuries.
Inside, you can admire an impressive collection of precious jewelry, including an 86-carat diamond.
The former administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans also has a huge harem with 400 rooms, opulent pavilions, and beautifully decorated inner courtyards.
It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985 and is a must-see on the list of Instagrammable places in Istanbul.
⇒ Book your Topkapi Palace guided tour
Address: Cankurtaran, 34122
Entrance: 200 TL
4. The Spice Bazaar, one of the most famous places in Istanbul | Istanbul Instagram spots
If the fascinating architecture of the Egyptian Bazaar is not a good enough reason for you to come here, let me give you a list of many other reasons for which you must add this place to your Istanbul photo diary.
Saffron, cardamom, paprika, mint, thyme, curry, baklava, Turkish shit, homemade chocolate, dried fruit, halva, and many other traditional Turkish delicacies are inside the bazaar.
The sellers are always ready to offer you a piece of the goodies lying on the stalls of this top tourist spot in Istanbul. The Egyptian Bazaar is a fragrant and colorful place you must visit at least once.
I personally prefer the Egyptian Bazaar to the Grand Bazaar, but I think you should visit both for a complete experience in the city. They are also both great places to take the best pictures of Istanbul.
Address: Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi
READ ALSO: 4 Days in Antalya – Best Antalya itinerary
5. Basilica Cistern | Most beautiful places in Istanbul
If the beauty of Istanbul is obvious on the surface, the underground will also surprise you with one of the best spots for photography in Istanbul.
And I’m not referring to the subway, but to the Cistern Basilica, a sunken Palace with 336 columns, diffused lights, and thousands of fish swarming in the pools here. And probably the best place in Istanbul underground.
The Cistern Basilica was built to supply water to the imperial palace and surrounding buildings and dates back to the 6th century.
It’s 140 meters long and 70 wide, and the main elements that attract tourists like a magnet are the two Medusa heads that support the columns.
Basilica Cistern is definitely one of the best places for photos in Istanbul.
⇒ Book your Basilica Cistern guided tour
Address: Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turcia
Entrance: 190 TL
6. Galata Bridge | best photo spots in Istanbul
In the same area where the Galata Tower is located, we find another symbol of the city and one of the best places for photography in Istanbul, the Galata Bridge.
With a length of almost half a kilometer, Galata Bridge stretches over the Bosphorus and connects the Sultanahmet and Karakoy neighborhoods.
One of the symbolic images of this bridge is that moment of the day when all the fishermen gather to throw their fishing rods in the Bosphorus.
Here you can take some gorgeous pictures of Istanbul since you have a great perspective of the city.
The bridge has two levels. The upper level is for the traffic, while on the lower level you will find many restaurants. If you get here, quench your hunger between photo sessions with Istanbul with a famous fish sandwich.
Remember that your Galata Bridge photos may look better early in the morning or at sunset.
7. Istiklal Street and the red tram | Istanbul photo spots
One place you will definitely want to take pictures of Istanbul when you arrive in the city is Istiklal Street in Taksim. It’s probably the most famous street in Istanbul and certainly the busiest. It’s like New York’s 5th Avenue.
Both tourists and locals come here, looking for the coolest shops and the most Instagrammable cafes in Istanbul.
And the main element for the best Instagrammable photos here is the famous red tram. You can’t leave Istanbul without adding the tram to your Istanbul photography guide!
8. The views of the Bosphorus | Photography in Istanbul
Without the Bosphorus, one of the most picturesque places in Istanbul, the city would not have the same charm.
Therefore, once you arrive in the city on two continents, you must have this experience. Especially since it’s the fastest way to move from the European side to the Asian side and vice versa.
You don’t have to go on an expensive sunset cruise if you don’t want it or if you have a specific budget for visiting Istanbul and want to stick to it. You can opt for a ferry trip that costs as little as 2 or 3 Turkish lira.
Some of the best photos of Istanbul are taken from the Bosphorus. You can view the mosques, the famous bridges, the Galata Tower, and the Dolmabahce Palace, all accompanied by noisy seagulls.
The Bosphorus offers endless opportunities for unique Istanbul photography, so you would not want to miss it. It’s also a great Istanbul sunrise spot.
⇒ Book your Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise
9. Sultanahmet Square | Instagrammable places in Istanbul
Some of the best Istanbul photo spots are the two famous mosques in the old city, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square.
It is the No. 1 top tourist spot in Istanbul for sure. For this reason, you should try to get here early in the morning and avoid weekends as much as possible.
As spectacular as they are on the outside, as beautiful is their interior. So, if time allows, visit the two world-famous mosques. But make sure that your clothing is adequate and follows the standards of religion.
Sultanahmet Square, the former Hippodrome of Constantinople, is a space where you’ll find all kinds of important monuments in the city’s history.
The most significant are the Serpentine Column, the Egyptian Obelisk, the Walled Obelisk, and the German Fountain.
It is an open-air museum and one of the best photography spots in Istanbul. The best time of year to come here is between April and June when the park alleys are full of flowering trees.
Unless you want to visit Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet Square is one of the free things to do in the city and one of the best Istanbul Instagram spots.
Therefore, you won’t need to spend money to take Istanbul best photos, but you will need to reserve almost a full day to spend here on your Istanbul itinerary.
⇒ Book your Hagia Sophia guided tour
Sultan Ahmed Mosque – free
Sultanahmet Square – free
Hagia Sofia – free
10. Dolmabahçe Palace | Most Instagrammable places in Istanbul
Everyone who visits Dolmabahçe Palace falls in love, without exception, with the most opulent building on the shores of the Bosphorus.
The gigantic construction with 285 rooms, majestic chandeliers, and big gates carefully decorated is a true architectural splendor that quickly became one of the best places for photography in Istanbul.
One of the most Instagramable photos in Istanbul is one of the Bosphorus Gate, which has a direct opening to the waves in the straits.
For an overview of Dolmabahçe Palace, go to Miniaturk Park, where you can admire all the architectural details at a 1:25 scale.
Dolmabahçe Palace is considered one of the best photography spots in Istanbul, visited annually by almost one million tourists.
⇒ Book your Dolmabahçe guided tour
Address: Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş
Entrance: 300 TL
11. Balat | Istanbul Instagram spots
Becoming one of the best Istanbul Instagram spots, the Balat neighborhood is one of the most colorful and picturesque areas in Istanbul.
The houses in bright and pastel colors, especially those on Kiremit Street, are a real magnet for those who stop in the Turkish metropolis.
The predominant color of the buildings in Istanbul is gray, so for the houses on Kiremit Street, it was easy to stand out in the city landscape and reach the top of the most Instagrammable places in Istanbul.
12. Miniaturk | Most Instagrammable places in Istanbul
Often ignored by Istanbul’s travel guides, Miniaturk Park might be one of the most Instagrammable places in Turkey.
A place where you can take beautiful pictures in Istanbul and which I have not seen at all mentioned so far in the photo guides dedicated to the city, although is one of the pretty places in Istanbul where you can admire a miniature Turkey.
All models are made on a 1:25 scale, so you can leisurely admire the architectural details of the most important tourist attractions in Istanbul.
You will feel like a drone or like Gulliver in the land of dwarves. It’s a place appreciated by both adults and all children.
There are 134 models, from the mini stadium and mini airport to the mosques, palaces, the Bosphorus bridge, and even Pamukkale or the relief of Cappadocia. Tell me this isn’t one of the best photo spots in Istanbul!
Address: Örnektepe, İmrahor Cd. No:7, 34445 Beyoğlu
Entrance: 90 TL
⇒ Book a tour at Miniaturk Park
13. Gülhane Park | Best places to take photos in Istanbul
Another underrated place, if you ask me when it comes to Instagrammable places in Istanbul, is Gülhane Park. In Turkish, this would translate into the house of roses.
Located quite close to Sultanahmet Square, Gülhane Park is the oldest and largest park in Istanbul, but also a beautiful one, a perfect Istanbul Instagram spot.
Especially in the spring months, when all the flowers in the park bloom, next to the secular oaks. And if you want to catch the tulip festival, you have to get here in the last 3 weeks of April.
Take advantage of the fact that Gülhane Park is not a very touristy spot and go there to take some beautiful pictures of Istanbul. Thank me later! 🙂
14. Rooftops with views of the Bosphorus and the Galata Bridge | Best photo spots in Istanbul
If you want to avoid the queue formed in front of the Galata Tower to see Istanbul from a height, you can always go to a rooftop bar and have a similar experience. You have to go here and have dinner or smoke a hookah in the evening.
There are many in the Sirkeci area and offer spectacular views over the Bosphorus, the bridges, and illuminated minarets.
As I mentioned in another article dedicated to Istanbul, I recommend Ala Café, but there are many other rooftops in this area.
The rooftops with views of the Bosphorus are undoubtedly some of the best Instagram spots in Istanbul. Go grab a coffee and start your Istanbul rooftop photoshoot.
Other Instagrammable places in Istanbul:
- Chora Church
- Rainbow Stairs
- Rooftop of Kubbe
- Umbrella Street (Caferağa Mahallesi, No, Piri Çvş. Sk No:13, 34714 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey)
- Çiçek Passage
READ MORE about TURKEY:
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→ 21 Best things to do in Istanbul
→ Beautiful hotel in Cappadocia – Sofa Hotel Review