10 Must-See Istanbul Instagram Spots

If you are thinking of taking a trip to Turkey anytime soon, Istanbul has to be high on your bucket list. It’s a fascinating city, with plenty of things to do, but also quite photogenic.

Here are 10 of the most Instagrammable places in Istanbul (and how to reach them) that you simply cannot miss when visiting the city.

kiremit street istanbul - instagrammable places in istanbul
I searched for this particular spot for a long time..

01. Balat neighborhood

Balat is one of the oldest and most interesting neighborhoods in Istanbul. Its narrow cobbled streets are dotted with historic buildings, often brightly colored.

While the whole district is worth a long walk, if you want to get to the exact location of the popular colorful houses pictured above and not have to look for it for about 30 minutes like me, then just go to the junction of Kiremit Cd. with Usturumca Sk.

How to get here: To reach Balat, you can take the metro as it’s quite close to the metro stop along the Golden Horn (M2 ‑ Haliç) and walk the remaining distance or simply grab an Uber/Taxi.

Rainbow stairs - Insta worthy spots in Istanbul

02. Rainbow stairs

In 2013, Hüseyin Çetinel decided to paint some dull‑looking stairs from his local neighborhood, in bright rainbow colors. He did it to make people smile.

Sadly, his gesture was misinterpreted by the authorities and the steps were re‑painted a boring grey. However, this did not make locals happy and they demanded the stairs be brought back, which eventually did happen.

Nowadays the steps are covered with rainbow-colored tiles (though unfortunately some of them fell) and they’re one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city.

How to get here: just search “Rainbow stairs” on Google Maps and it will take you there. There’s a bus stop a few meters away (Salıpazarı).

ortakoy mosque - instagrammable istanbul

03. Ortaköy Mosque

Ortaköy Mosque is situated on the waterside of the Ortaköy Pier square and is one of the most popular places on the Bosphorus shore for people to gather and simply hang around and talk.

Having the Bosphorus Bridge behind, it offers a beautiful view as well as a lovely photo opportunity. But do come here early in the morning if you want to have the place for yourself, as it can get pretty crowded during the day.

How to get here: The mosque is easily accessible by bus (Ortaköy stop is very close) or you can take an Uber/Taxi. While there’s no fee to enter, they do accept donations. Also be aware that during prayer time, visits are not permitted.

colorful lamps in grand baazar - instagrammable places in Istanbul
Lamp shop inside the Great Baazar

04. Great Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 62 covered streets and over 4000 shops.

My favorite were the ones that sold rugs and the ones with lamps as they were very colorful. And they are the perfect background for some cool photos. Don’t forget to bring your haggling skills with you to get the best price!

I was actually so bad at this that one shop owner started to negotiate by himself, gradually lowering the price of a tea set every time I tried to give them the money:)).

Since then I upped my game a bit though: in Bali for example, if I felt/knew the price was overly inflated in comparison with other shops, I’d simply walk away. And by doing this I usually obtained a price that matched the others at the very least.

Now, I didn’t look to get the cheapest deal, rather just a fair price. So if you think my haggling ability is still quite bad, I agree and I’m fine with it:).

How to get here: The tram is the most convenient way to reach Grand Bazaar, with the closest stop being Beyazid (T1).

Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul

05. Süleymaniye Mosque

The Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the best‑known sights of Istanbul and from its location on the Third Hill, it offers a beautiful panorama of the city around the Golden Horn.

The mosque was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent and for more than 400 years (up until 2019) it was the largest in the city.

How to get here: It is located near the historic Sultanahmet district, from which it can be reached on foot. However, from other areas, it is more convenient to get on the M2 metro station (Vezneciler) or tram T1 (stop Laleli ‑ Üniversite).

There’s no admission fee. But be aware that like other mosques, it is closed during prayer time. You’ll also need to take your shoes off before entering and cover your shoulders and knees. Women should also cover their heads – carry a scarf with you for this purpose.

Old tram, Istanbul, Turkey

06. The nostalgic tram lines

Istanbul has 2 nostalgic tram routes: one for the European side (Taksim-Tünel Nostalgia Tramway or T2 line) and one for the Asian one (Kadıköy-Moda Nostalgia Tramway or T3 line).

Taking the old tram is a great way to see the city and get the best photos for your Instagram account. Besides, the carriages are extremely pretty by themselves.

From where to board the tram: You can board at any of its stations, but Taksim might be the better option for the European side route.

Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul

07. Bosphorus Bridge (15 July Martyrs Bridge)

The Bosphorus Bridge is one of the most iconic structures in Istanbul. It’s now known formally as “the 15 July Martyrs” and it’s one of the three suspension bridges that connect the European and Asian continents.

The bridge is really beautiful at night when it lights up, so I’d recommend boarding a sunset Bosphorus cruise to see it in all its glory.

How to get here: If you don’t want to join a cruise, then you can take a bus to Ortakoy stop.

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
Inside Topkapi Palace

08. Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Istanbul. The palace was the home and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans and is now a museum that houses a collection of artifacts from the Ottoman Empire.

How to get here: The palace is located fairly close to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, so you can walk between the sights. But if you want to transfer by public transportation, you can take the metro to Gülhane station.

Spice Bazaar, Istanbul
Shop inside the Spice Bazaar

09. Spice Bazaar

Like the bigger Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar is also a popular tourist attraction in Istanbul (and can be even more crowded!).

It is a great place to buy spices (duh!), Turkish delight, dried fruits, nuts, and souvenirs. The colorful stands also look super nice in photos, just make sure the shop owners are ok with you taking pics.

How to get here: The Spice Bazaar is located not far from Galata Bridge. The closest bus stop is Eminonu.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

10. The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) is one of the most famous and visited landmarks in Istanbul.

The mosque was built in the early 1600s and is known for the blue tiles that cover its interior walls. It is still an active place of worship today, so it will be closed to tourists during prayer time.

How to get here: The Blue Mosque is located close to Hagia Sophia, so you will most likely walk around this area. As for public transportation, Sultanahmet tram station is the closest.


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