Istanbul is one of the world’s most photogenic cities but because it’s hard to find a bad angle, many people end up shooting from the same one. You see a lot of pictures from the same rooftop restaurant in Sultanahmet (seagulls optional), Galata Bridge, and in front of the Blue Mosque. Not that these are bad pictures but if you want to explore Turkey’s largest city like a local while photographing its lesser seen sides, here are three places to head to.

You can see all the spots shown below, with directions on getting to them, in the video here.

1. Parking Roof in Besiktas (Best At Night)

I’m not going to spoil this one but here’s a day time look from this parking lot next to an apartment between Taksim Square and Besiktas. Around a 10-15 minute walk from the square, at night you’ll get some of the best photos of the Bosporus Bridges lit up.

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2. Boat Dock Near Ortakoy Mosque

A lot of people get obstructed views from this vantage point because the cafes, mosque, and people create limited shooting angles. You’ll get a better picture from the small docks for tour and ferry boats a few minutes walk down (through a easy-to-miss) pedestrian tunnel.


ortakoy mosque

3. Turn Right Here

Find this mosque (directions in the video above) and look right where you can see an unobstructed, close view of Galata Tower, with enough perspective to capture the seagulls circling above. I’m not spoiling you though – I want to see the pictures you get. Feel free to link them in the comments below.

istanbul mosque

4. Walk Down Uskudar

Considering how easy Uskudar is to reach with one of Istanbul’s famous ferries and how many amazing views it gives you of the European side of the city, not as many people as you would expect ever make it out here. Maiden’s Tower at sunset makes for iconic photos and all along the coast there are fantastic shots of Istanbul’s famous skyline.

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uskudar istanbul

All of these spots and the best photos you’ll take (I’m not showing you mine because the surprises are worth the wait) are walk-able with a ferry or two included. You can though take a taxi in Istanbul if that’s easier but by foot, you’ll get many more unique photo opportunities along the way.