The Most Instagrammable Places in Istanbul

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We all know Istanbul is a unique and colorful city. A vibrant place, full of life, with different cultures intervening and combining to each other. It’s a harmonious mix of East and West, a bridge between Asia and Europe and a perfect place for photography lovers. This blend of contrasts is what makes Istanbul a great Instagram travel destination.

We have visited Istanbul five times and we can’t get enough of it. With so many layers of history and its mix of culture and people, Istanbul is one of our favorite cities in the world to snap cool photos. The main attractions are the usual suspects but we’ve added a few personal favorites.

Read here: Guide to Istanbul: what to do, where to stay and eat!

To help you to find the best Instagram spots in Istanbul we added the locations of our photos. Click on the Google Map link and save these spots on your travel map, then you only need to work on a nice pose and snap the perfect Instagram shot in Istanbul.


Blue Mosque

Also known as Sultan Ahmed’s Mosque, this massive building is impressive both inside and out. It got its name because of the recognizable bluish tiles that can be seen in the mosque. It was built in early 17th century and much of the details on it are hand-made. The mosque is fully functioning and you can enter it only out of the prayers’ time, but the waiting it totally worth it. The interior is so grandiose, with stained glass windows, calligraphy details, and over 20,000 ceramic tiles. The admission is free, but the whole mosque is not available for wandering around; however, it is enough to take some amazing photos.

The interior of the mosque is beautiful, but don’t forget to walk around. The gardens are perfect for snapping that unique Instagram photo, especially during summer or spring time. But please, be respectful since it’s a worship place.

Instagram spot in Istanbul: Blue Mosque map



Another extraordinary and imposing building, and one of the most famous attractions in Istanbul. The history of this building is incredible, so colorful and interesting, treasuring the most amazing details that remind of its knotty past. Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral, to be later turned into a Roman Catholic cathedral and then into a mosque. At last, it became a museum in the mid 30’s and stayed until this very day a monument to the incredible mix of three different religions. Thanks to its turbulent history, this place is today a building worth admiring with a stunning interior full of mosaics, calligraphy, marbles and gold elements harmoniously merging together.

My photo advice is to climb the narrow stair and go to the second floor. The mezzanine gives you a whole new dimension of the building and with fewer people, you can get the perfect Instagram shot.

Instagram spot in Istanbul: Hagia Sophia map



Grand Bazaar

If you are looking for a vivid and colorful place to take pictures, Grand Bazaar is the place to visit. This world-famous covered market is one of the most popular places in Istanbul, often visited by both locals and tourists. It is the oldest market of its kind in the world and that is a reason enough to take a few shots at this iconic place of the city. Thousands of shops and salesmen offering all kind of items that you can imagine. Customers bargaining for a better deal are the main characteristic of this place, showing a part of the authentic Turkish culture that you can catch in amazing photos.

Don’t be shy, it’s ok to take photos of the windows and the products. If they offer you a snack or a tea, feel free to accept, but remember this is the moment they will try to sell you something. If you don’t want to be bothered with any negotiation just smile and be polite.

Instagram spot in Istanbul: Grand Bazaar map



One of the most astonishing spots to take great photos is the Basilica Cistern, an underground waterway hidden under the Sultanahmet Square. It was once used as a water reserve for the Great Palace and today stands as quite an interesting attraction and a monument to the past times. You might find it familiar, as a common sight from several movies, maybe best known from the James Bond movie “From Russia with Love”. The waterway has over 100 meters long and has more than 300 columns. The soft lights make it a perfect photo-shoot site. There is one catch, the place is usually very busy which makes difficult to get nice photos so try going there as soon it opens.

The cistern is impressive, and keep your eyes wide open to find the Medusa heads hidden under the columns. The legend says that if you look straight to the Medusa eyes she will turn you into a rock, would you dare?

Instagram spot in Istanbul: Basilica Cistern map



The Galata Bridge links Sultanhamed to Beyoğlu. It’s an important and busy connection that will give you plenty of photo opportunities. The boats crossing to the Bosphorus, the fishermen on the top of the bridge, the busy shops by the walkway under the bridge, the silhouette from the nearby mosques… One can spend the whole day only taking photos on and around the Galata bridge.

Early morning and sunsets are the best time to catch the busy life and some unique moments. You need to be fast, as the boats and seagulls move a lot, like in a synchronized ballet.

Instagram spot in Istanbul: Galata Bridge map


Galata Tower

The tower was built in the 14th century and is a perfect location for Instagram photos. From the top, you have a stunning view of Istanbul skyline. The bridges, the mosques, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, you can see and take photos of everything from there. I recommend to take with you wide and zoom lenses, so you can take all the photos from up there.

What I love about the Galata Tower is its impressive silhouette at night time. From the streets around you can take a nice photo of the illuminated tower contrasting with the dark blue sky. The possibilities of photos are endless. Use your imagination to create the best Istanbul Instagram photo.

Instagram spot in Istanbul: Galata Tower map



Istiklal Avenue

If you are into a street experience and love to catch the life buzzing up and down, then the Istiklal Avenue is the perfect place for you. The boulevards and squares close by Istiklal Avenue are the best places to get those kinds of urban photos. It is one of the most popular avenues in the city and a pedestrian area spreading on over 1 km where you can find shops, souvenir stores, libraries, boutiques, galleries and much more.

There you can watch people doing ordinary things, it is a great place to get some spontaneous photos of the everyday life of locals in Istanbul. At Istiklal, you can take that iconic photo from the red tram that runs all year long, but it’s during winter that it becomes really beautiful, all covered by snow. Walk through the Istiklal alleys to find small “shisha” cafes where you can relax, sip a “çay” and take more photos.

Instagram spot in Istanbul: Istiklal Avenue map




The Istanbul Bosphorus is a magic place. It divides East and West, Europe and Asia, but connects people and nature. There you can take stunning photos from the boats cruising, the seagulls catching a fresh meal, or the people rushing to get the ferries. It’s a place where all your senses will light up and I’m sure you gonna take nice shots.

There are many Instagrammable spots along the Bosphorus. Karaköy, Beşiktaş Pier, and Dolmabahçe Palace are some of our favorites, giving you endless opportunities for great photos. There are some hotels in Istanbul that have views of the Bosphorus, they are perfect for photos and to enjoy the stunning view.

Instagram spot in Istanbul:  Beşiktaş pier map



 Ortaköy Mosque 

Located by the Bosphorus, the Ortaköy Mosque is a great motif itself for taking some nice photos, but it is also an excellent spot for taking pictures of the surroundings. The Bosphorus bridge is nearby and during some holidays like New Year’s Eve and Republic Day, it gets lighten up making a beautiful sight for photography enthusiasts.

There is also a restaurant by the mosque from where you can get another perspective at the city and all that with a bite or two of delicious waffles that they serve. During night time it is a great spot for long exposure photos, the cars crossing the bridge and the boats navigating the Bosphorus will add a nice touch.

Instagram spot in Istanbul: Ortaköy Mosque map



Sunset in Üsküdar and the Maiden Tower

Now it’s time to cross the Bosphorus and explore the Asian side of Istanbul. The boat trip from Karaköy or Beşiktaş to Üsküdar is an amazing opportunity for photos. As soon as you board the boat walk to the rooftop for fresh air and unforgettable views. Once you arrive in the Üsküdar pier walk towards the Maiden Tower,  plan your trip to be there before sunset.

In my opinion this the best spot for a sunset photo in Istanbul. The light, the birds, the boats and the tea make the moment memorable and perfect for an Instagram photo.

Instagram spot in Istanbul: Üsküdar map 


These are our favorite Instagram spots in Istanbul. Landmarks and daily life spots where you can take thousands of photos. But of course, Istanbul is much more than these 10 Instagrammable places. The city offers to any traveler an overwhelming experience with architecture, mouthwatering food and cultural diversity. Enjoy them all!

While we were planning to visit Istanbul we encountered a digital guide app named SmartGuide. SmartGuide helped us to find some of the best-hidden gems of Istanbul and also helped us to save lots of money on tour guides. Check it out here.

Istanbul photo opportunities

A photo trip to Istanbul wouldn’t be complete with two more topics: Cats and Street Food! In Istanbul, they are everywhere, in each corner of the city you can witness their love for cats. The cats of Istanbul even have an Instagram account for themselves and they rock it.

The traditional dishes are delicious and most of the street vendors love to be in the photos. Sometimes they are really show off when it comes to preparing and serving the Turkish food, so take advantage of it. Take as many photos and videos as you can and turn your Instagram feed in a mouthwatering trip through Istanbul.

Are you ready for a photoshoot trip in Istanbul? As I said before, Istanbul has a piece of our heart, we love this city. So our travel tips to Istanbul and Turkey can’t end here. If you are planning your trip to Istanbul you must read our two other guides:

Now, after reading these posts you are ready to travel to Istanbul in Turkey. Enjoy!

Love this Istanbul photo guide? Pin it for later!

Istanbul is an Instagrammable city! Tips to find the most beautiful and unique Instagram spots in Istanbul. The mix of culture, the layers of history, the food and views make Istanbul in Turkey the perfect travel destination for photography enthusiasts.

8 thoughts on “The Most Instagrammable Places in Istanbul”

  1. I’ve been wanting to go to Istanbul for so long. Photography would be amazing there- as I can see from your post. 🙂 Amazing!

    • Hi Juno!
      Istanbul is one of our favorite cities in the world. It’s pretty, charming and the photography opportunities there are endless. I’m sure you gonna love it!
      Happy Travels,

  2. This is amazing article, thank you! I am little confused by your statemant about Hagia Sophia ( that first it was orthodox church and then roman catholic church). Until 1054. there was only one, unique church .


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