Instagrammable TravelIstanbul Photo Guide: 20 Instagrammable Locations & How to Find Them

Istanbul Photo Guide: 20 Instagrammable Locations & How to Find Them

For the shutterbugs and feed curators out there, Istanbul is a golden opportunity, quite literally. The vibrant domes, ancient alleys, panoramic bridges, and glittering waterways offer a backdrop so rich, it could make even the most mundane selfie look majestic.

Taking a perfect shot in Istanbul

While these locations promise spectacular views and backdrops, remember that the essence of great photography lies not in simply capturing a place but in capturing a moment. Mix your itinerary with spontaneous walks, try different angles, and always keep an eye out for the unexpected – sometimes, the most stunning shots are the most serendipitous ones.

1. The Rainbow Stairs

These aren’t just stairs; they’re your stairway to Instagram heaven.

Istanbul’s rainbow staircase is a well-guarded secret among locals and a surprise discovery for tourists. Located in Demirtaş Mahallesi, a mobile phone accessories store stands next to the vibrant steps that lead you straight to Instagram heaven.

There’s a pair of these staircases in differing shades — one close to Suleymaniye Mosque and another near the Istanbul Modern Museum. They’re the perfect way to brighten up your feed and potentially someone’s day. It takes a quick geotag search and a little bit of wander-savvy.

Take a Peek: Demirtaş Mahallesi, Arıcılar İş Hanı 24 Prof, Ord. Prof. Dr. Cemil Birsel Cd, 34611 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

Traveler pro-tip: Arrive early to beat the crowds for a shot that’s as wild as the colors beneath your feet.

2. Suleymaniye Mosque

An architectural marvel set against Istanbul’s azure skies. The Suleymaniye Mosque is not your average tourist haunt. It’s the place where serenity meets grandeur, and your camera meets its best day at work.

Luminous photography doesn’t end here, take a short trail up to Bab-i Ali Kahvesi’s terrace, where the panoramic view is served with a side of sumptuous Turkish breakfast. Trust me, the enchantment here is multi-layered.

Trace the Reverence: Süleymaniye Mah, Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Cd. No:1, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

A Café with a View: Demirtaş Mahallesi, Fetva Ykş. 16/A, 34134 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey

3. Çukurcuma Street

Antique vibes and vintage whips. If antique districts are your scene, then Çukurcuma Street is a photo op in every old-world nook. The emerald glory of vintage on wheels, perched against a lush ivy wall, welcomes your inner shutterbug.

The streets are lined with wooden Ottoman houses, some of which have now found their calling as a designer’s studio. The light ricochets off the storefronts, bathing the streets in a honeyed glow that begs you to capture itCruise down Çukurcuma Street for a dash of retro charm—and snap a pic by the ivy wall with that classic car. It’s a capture not just of a moment, but of a whole era!

  • How to get to Çukurcuma Street: Çukur Cuma Cd., Firuzağa Mahallesi, 34425 Beyoglu/Istanbul, Turkey

4. Ortaköy Mosque

The Ortakoy Mosque bridges the gap between the historical and the modern, with its Ottoman flair punctuating Istanbul’s skyline. Capture this cultural icon in conjunction with the Bridge of Martyrs for a lens-spanning legacy snap.

  • Mecidiye Mahallesi, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sk. 1/1, 34347 Besiktas/Istanbul, Türkiye

5. Umbrella Street

There’s something magical about strolling under a sky of color. You can capture the unique blend of shapes and hues that the hanging canopies offer against the city’s everyday elegance.And the umbrella street in Kadikoy on the Asian side is where Instagram magic truly happens.

  • Caferağa Mahallesi, Piri Çvş. Sk No:13, 34714 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey

6. Seven Hills Hotel

Hagia Sophia? Check. Blue Mosque? Double check.

Indulge in a luxury that’s light on your pocket but heavy on the impact of your feed. The Seven Hills Hotel offers a buffet of views with a side of the skyline, featuring the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque as your breakfast buddies. It’s perhaps the most Instagrammable place, and staying here is less a luxury and more a photo project necessity considering the unbeatable scene.

  • Cankurtaran Mah, Tevkifhane Sk. No:8, 34400 Fatih/Istanbul, Türkiye

7. Galata Tower

The monolith that marks the city’s skyline. Getting the perfect shot of the Galata Tower is a quest that’s oh so Instagram-worthy, don’t you think?

Cliche, but charming.

  • Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sk., 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

8. Balat

The colorful district of Balat in Fatih is a local’s treasure trove. Roaming here, you’ll find pigments in a rainbow riot, set against the intimate squeeze of traditional Ottoman structures. Peek around without a plan – you’re bound to stumble onto a scene straight from a painter’s vision.

Getting lost and loving it in Balat is the recipe for a picture that pops like nowhere else, trust your senses as you explore this colorful corner.

Head to Balat for the vibrant houses that are sure to put the ‘pop’ into your photos.

Location is part of the fun—explore Balat neighborhood for shots everyone will envy!

9. Arnavutkoy

Ottoman mansions line the Bosphorus bank, and Instagrammers line up for the perfect shot. Join the cue, it’s a feast for the feed.

  • Bebek Arnavutköy Cd, Arnavutköy Mahallesi, 34345 Besiktas/Istanbul, Turkey

10. Maiden’s Tower

A fairy-tale tower, a stone’s throw away from the city. The Maiden’s Tower is an Istanbul icon that’s more photogenic than Cinderella’s best shoe moment.

  • Salacak Mahallesi, Üsküdar Salacak Mevkii, 34668 Üsküdar/İstanbul, Turkey

11. Galata Bridge at Sunset

When the day turns into night, and the bridge turns into a beacon… that’s when you shoot. The Galata Bridge offers the perfect frame for Istanbul’s transition from day to night.

  • Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Galata Köprüsü, 34425 Beyoğlu, Turkey

12. Blue Mosque Courtyard

This courtyard at the Blue Mosque is the picture of serenity, complete with ceramic tiles and infinite arcs. It’s a haven for every shutterbug, albeit a crowded one at times. Beat the chaos by visiting at the crack of dawn for that perfect shot.

Dramatic dawn at the Blue:

Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

13. Dolmabahçe Palace

A royal residence set against a royal backdrop, the palatial vistas at Dolmabahçe are more than fitting for any Instagram feed. The outer gate with its commanding views of the Bosphorus is merely the start of the regal photo expedition.

Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey

14. Flower Passage (Çiçek Pasajı)

With its Parisian flair and Ottoman soul, the Flower Passage off Istiklal Caddesi isn’t just a feast for your feed; it’s also time travel in the city center. It’s an enduring legacy of Istanbul’s blend of cultures.

Hüseyinağa Mh., İstiklal Caddesi Saitpaşa Geçidi 176/6, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

15. Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia is a living legend, and its dome has soared into the skies since 537 AD. Capturing its grandeur may seem like the obvious shot, but the best photos often lie where you least expect.

Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

16. Spice Bazaar

A feast for the senses and a frenzy for the lens. The Spice Bazaar offers everything you could possibly want in a single, sensational shot. The Spice Bazaar offers an excellent opportunity to not only fill your camera roll but also sample and take home a taste of Istanbul.

  • Rüstem Pasha Mahallesi, Erzak Ambarı Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

17. Grand Bazaar

With its labyrinthine alleys and kaleidoscopic offerings, the Grand Bazaar is both a shopping haven and a photographer’s treasure trove. Hone your haggling skills and frame the perfect Instagram shot with a memento from every corner of the earth.

To capture the essence of the Grand Bazaar, blend in with the flow. Wide-angle lenses are fitting for the expansive bazaar scenery, but don’t overlook the candid details that narrate the market’s character. Shooting at a high ISO will ensure every smidgen of this electric atmosphere is not lost to the fleeting moment.

Beyazıt Mh., Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

18. Bosphorus Bridge (15th of July Martyrs’ Bridge)

A masterclass in engineering and a magnet for that perfect urban shot. While the Bosphorus Bridge connects two continents, it also connects the past and the future of Istanbul. Wait till dusk when the lights come on, and you have a winged masterpiece.

There are two sides to every strait, and the Bosphorus Bridge is there to tinder a tone for your taste. Wait till nightfall for a lighting display that’s an image sharer’s delight. Framing Istanbul’s busy waters and bewitching skyline, that Bosphorus shot is a testament to Turkey’s tech and tradition tango.

Best bridge shot? Stick to Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi and find your light beneath the bridge’s beacon.

Yavuz Sultan Selim Köprüsü, O-7, 34450 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey

19. Topkapi Palace

A fragment of the Ottoman Empire frozen in time. The Topkapi Palace isn’t just history; it’s a living, breathing photo op that’s all yours for the taking. An empire’s legacy doesn’t fit into a frame, but you can certainly try at Topkapi Palace. The intricate details, verdant gardens, and compelling history make for a heady composition.

Topkapi Sarayi – Sultanahmet Fatih/Istanbul, Türkiye

Seasonal Photo Spots That Reflect Istanbul’s Diversity

Istanbul morphs with the seasons, offering photo opportunities that change with the passing of time. Here are some of the best spots to capture the city’s transient beauty:

The Tulip Gardens

Every spring, Istanbul celebrates the Tulip Festival, adorning its parks and gardens with a kaleidoscope of tulips in bloom. The gardens of the Yildiz Park, particularly in April, provide unmissable bursts of color against the serene Bosphorus backdrop.
How to find: Yıldız, Çırağan Cd. No:48, 34349 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey

Snowy Istanbul

When Istanbul is blanketed in snow, its landscapes transform into a winter wonderland. The Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque covered in white are a stirring sight, as are the city’s parks and promenades. Snowfall is unpredictable, but adds a timeless quality to your photography.
How to find: Various locations in Istanbul during a snowfall.

Late Night Seaside

On warm summer evenings, Istanbul’s seaside comes alive with leisurely strolls and impromptu picnics. Capture the twinkling lights of the city against the Bosphorus for enchanting nocturnal cityscapes.
How to find: Üsküdar – Beşiktaş waterfront, various spots on the European and Asian sides

The Jewish Synagogue in Balat

Although photography rights may be restricted, the exterior of the historic Ahrida Synagogue in Balat showcases characteristic Jewish architectural elements in bright pastel hues. It provides a unique glimpse into Istanbul’s multi-religious roots and its changing urban fabric.
How to find: Kürkçü Çeşmesi Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

Coastal Sunsets

Istanbul is blessed with prime sunset spots along its coastal regions. Quiet coves, bustling harbors, and the city’s many piers offer a varied backdrop against the setting sun. The sky paints streaks of orange, pink, and purple, providing a dramatic setting for your photographs.
How to find: For the best sunset spots, head to Üsküdar, Bebek, or Ortakoy along the Bosphorus.

I believe that you can travel the world without quitting your job. I believe that you can experience all the magic, the foodies and the cultures of the world while having a normal life. And, perhaps, two dogs. This is exactly what I’ve been doing for 15 years. This is exactly what my blog is about. Love, Lilia

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