In our list of the top Instagram spots in Istanbul, you will not only find out where to go in Turkey’s biggest city, but also what makes these spots so unique. Instagram photos are about a lot more than blue skies, whether it is architecture, food, animals, or people. To be worthy of all those likes, an Instagram photo must tell a story, and Istanbul is the perfect canvas to do that.
The best part is in most cases; filters are not needed. Whether snapping away in night or day, a good photo and caption also provide memories for life. We will look at both the Asian and European sides of the city, and in sharing our best spots, will explain what to look for, so you can discover beauty on every street corner.
8 Stunning Instagram Spots in Istanbul
1: Istanbul’s Famous Blue Mosque
Turkey’s most famous mosque stands in the Sultanahmet district on the European side. The 17th-century building is open to visitors outside of prayer time if they are suitably dressed. Before snapping away, absorb the ambience. As a place of worship serving thousands of Muslims every week, unspoken peace and solitude linger in the air.
What makes the 17th century Blue Mosque in Istanbul stand out as an Instagram spot in Istanbul is the innate exterior and interior architecture. Enter from the Hippodrome entrance for an outstanding exterior picture and when inside, take notice of blue tiles adorning the sizeable domed ceiling.
2: The Glorious Hagia Sophia
If there was ever a building to make people gasp when they step over the threshold, it is the Hagia Sophia. Once the world’s largest domed building, its purpose as a church, mosque, and now museum garners admiration from people all over the world. Once again, the gorgeous architecture, a blend of Byzantine frescoes and Ottoman Islamic calligraphy, makes it one of Turkey’s unique Instagram shots. For exceptional shots, head up the upper galleries for a marvellous domed ceiling and hall view.
3: An Instagram Moment on Galata Bridge
Fusing both European districts, Galata Bridge stands over the Golden Horn, that is an excellent photo playground. Standing at the Eminonu side, take a moment to stand there and look around. What you will discover is locals living their normal daily life, whether catching a ferry, a bite to eat at the Eminonu fish boats or the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced workday.
Walking across Galata Bridge, on the lower level, restaurants serving delicious fish and seafood provide the best view, but we prefer the upper level, where rows of anglers mingle with hungry seagulls waiting for a catch. Once you reach the Galata side, turn around for a stunning horizon view and that perfect Instagram spot in Istanbul.
4: Galata Tower and the Golden Horn
The Golden Horn, an integral part of Istanbul, has played pivotal roles in the city’s history. Just as crucial as the Bosphorus straits, everything happens in and around it. To understand the hustle and bustle though, it is worth going up high.
The best place is the Galata Tower’s viewing platform. Reaching 61 metres above sea level, the top-floor restaurant leads out to a platform circling the domed cylinder building and from here, provides a panoramic picture. During summer, queues get long so arrive in good time and for an extra special moment, go up when the mosques perform their call to prayer. It vibrates across the city in unison.
5: Fener and Balat Neighbourhoods
What if you can visit one place with hundreds of Istanbul Instagram opportunities? Well, you can. Head to Fener and Balat to discover everything and anything on a one-day walking tour. The two neighbourhoods are famous for their colourful houses, and historical buildings like Yavuz Selim Mosque and the red brick Greek orthodox college.
However, it also bursts with moments depicting local culture, away from the touristic spots like street-side cafes, traditional barbers’ shops, or local eateries to watch your food made by hand. On every street corner, found something quirky and unusual to add to your profile.
6: Bridges and the Bosphorus Shoreline
From ancient castles to large Ottoman palaces, to quaint, traditional villages, the Bosphorus shorelines delivers thousands of Instagram spots in Istanbul to take photos. If time allows, stroll the streets of Arnavutkoy to discover old Ottoman mansions, or head to Ortakoy, a local hang out spot with a historical mosque.
If your visit is fleeting though, capture all the unique places and moments by doing what the locals do, with a ferry ride. Ferry transport is just as an integral part of Istanbul as the old landmarks are. Take a seat facing out to pass all the landmark buildings, and bridges making a unique skyline. This is a perfect opportunity to capture Istanbul from a different angle.
7: Worthy Spots on Istiklal Avenue
Get ready for hundreds of photo moments. Spend a day exploring Istiklal Avenue and the back streets for unique angles of buildings, local culture, people, and food. Sitting in European Istanbul, Istiklal avenue stretches for 1.6 kilometres long and is Turkey’s busiest street, hence the opportunities. Start at the northern side, where the independence Taksim monument is, then head downwards to discover local landmarks like Saint Anthony Padua Church and Flower Pasaj.
On the way, keep an eye out for the iconic red tram, a symbol of new Istanbul ambling up and down the street. Explore Cukurcuma back streets to discover quaint antique shops, and go off track to enjoy the strange architecture of French street. Along the way, keep an eye out for buskers, street art, street vendors and local eateries to capture moments of local life.
8: The Grand Bazaar
If ever there was an Instagram playground, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul would be it. This 15th-century nostalgic building filled to the brim with local vendors, small shops, eateries, and historical Hans makes for unique exploration. As you walk through the labyrinth of corridors making up one colossal maze, it is easy to get lost but this is when the best photos happen.
From shops selling traditional handmade carpets to souvenirs stalls with the famous lantern lights, also take time to admire the ancient architecture. In the past, it was possible to access the Grand Bazaar rooftop for even more spectacular views; however, health and safety reasons mean it is now banned.
Nice to Know: Sunsets in Istanbul
So that brings our list of top Instagram spots in Istanbul to an end, but a repeat moment that happens every day in this bustling city is vibrant orange sunsets. Admired the world over, locals often cite it as a favourite moment, and one glimpse of Istanbul’s hashtag on Instagram will prove its beauty.
For an extra scenic picture, take the image with the Golden Horn or Bosphorus in view and remember mosques provide a great backdrop to any skyline during sunset. For more pictures of Istanbul, and the rest of Turkey, follow us on Instagram.
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