Last updated on July 17th, 2022; Published on January 24th, 2022
While planning to visit Turkey, I fell in love with pictures of captivating views from rooftops in Istanbul. I wanted to experience these views for myself, so I included opportunities to do so in our itinerary. We spent 5 days in Istanbul and during that time, we could visit several places with amazing views of the city.
After scouring the internet and google maps for suggestions, and finally visiting some myself, I have come up with this list. However, it is not exhaustive as there are several rooftops in Istanbul with great views of the city and mosques.
New places are also sure to pop up (or close down) now and then. So, if you find yourself in Istanbul, here are some of the gorgeous rooftops to check out for a great view and stunning photos too!
PS: All locations are available on Google Maps
Rooftops in Istanbul
1. Büyük Valide Han
The ultimate Cappadocia holiday photo is on a rooftop overlooking the city with balloons flying around. In Istanbul, it’s more or less the same but instead of balloons, you have seagulls. Kubbe Istanbul (probably the most popular Istanbul rooftop with birds) closed down a few years ago however, the remnants of the once most instagrammable rooftop remain a great place to watch the sunrise and sunset and capture the lovely views on camera.
PS: Kubbe Istanbul is set to reopen soon. Their Instagram page contains more information.
2. Taht Istanbul
Because of their growing popularity on Instagram, most rooftops in Istanbul now charge a fee in exchange for a few minutes to capture the perfect photo. With the closure of Kubbe Istanbul, Taht is receiving all the love but this comes at a steep price (compared to other rooftops).
The service is fairly organized and you can either pay for a session with them to skip the line and have your photo taken by a professional or wait in line to take one yourself. In addition to their rooftop setting, Taht Istanbul also has a few other studios for visitors to get their Instagram-worthy shots.
3. Studio Istanbul
Studio Istanbul is an alternative to Taht, with the latter being the more popular and expensive alternative. The views are pretty similar, so it’s a good option where you’re not willing to wait in line at Taht or pay the entrance fees there.
Studio Istanbul is part of the Nova Santiye Cafe, which is also a great Istanbul rooftop restaurant to check out.
4. The Stay, Ortaköy
If you’re looking for a hotel with a lovely view of the Ortakoy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge and the Marmara Sea, The Stay offers all of that. The Stay’s House restaurant also offers some stunning views of the mosque.
5. Selfie Bosphorus, Ortakoy
This is another rooftop in Istanbul that resembles Taht Istanbul and Studio Istanbul locations. The view here is also of the Ortakoy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge and the Marmara Sea.
6. Henna Hotel Istanbul
There are several hotels around Sultanahmet and Istanbul at large that offer quite stunning views of the city. One such place is the Henna Hotel – where we stayed.
I can certainly recommend staying at this hotel, not just for the beautiful views of Istanbul but also for its prime location and great service.
The hotel is within a few minutes’ walk of Sultanahmet square- where the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia are located. It also has a terrace that offers views of the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus.
Rooftops in Istanbul: Restaurants and Cafes
7. Seven Hills Restaurant
The Seven Hills Restaurant is probably the most popular hotel with a view in Istanbul. Here you have a stunning view of the Hagia Sophia and on a good day, you have the seagulls flying around to give you the perfect rooftop in Istanbul photo.
PS: Seven Hills Restaurant is a seafood-only restaurant. I found the meal to be quite good but not outstanding. I would probably come back for breakfast if I’m ever in Istanbul again but I would skip having lunch or dinner here.
8. Ay’a Rooftop Lounge (Four Seasons hotel)
The Ay’a Rooftop Lounge was one rooftop I was looking forward to visiting during our stay in Istanbul. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovations during our visit. According to the Four Seasons hotel’s website, it has now been reopened. So if you find yourself in Istanbul then, this is a great place to check out.
9. Mimar Sinan Teras Cafe
There are several restaurants and cafes around the Suleymaniye Mosque to check out after visiting the mosque. The mosque itself also offers great views of the city from its backyard. I had hoped to stop at the Mimar Sinan Teras Cafe for tea but there are only so many rooftops in Istanbul one can fit into 5 days 🙂
10. Nova Santiye Cafe
Finally, on our last day in Istanbul, we had lunch at Nova Santiye Cafe. Our meal and the service were great and of course, the views from the restaurant were stunning!
It is important to note that several restaurants in Istanbul serve delicious meals without a rooftop location. So, by all means, do not limit your visit to the ones that do.
Have you visited Istanbul? What are some of your favourite rooftops or locations with great views of the city? Please share them with me in the comment section below. And if you haven’t visited, are there any places you’re looking forward to checking out?