Instagram Stops on the European Side
The Bosphorus is considered the 30-kilometer line between the Rumeli and İnciburnu Lighthouses, and the European side offers numerous places for viewing. In particular, the Historical Peninsula overlooks both the Golden Horn-Galata line and the Bosphorus.
We list the places on the European side with magnificent views of the Bosphorus.
Gülhane Park – Topkapı Palace Mecidiye Mansion Terrace
The Fatih district has many magical views of the Bosphorus. Gulhane Park, the largest park on the European side, offers wonderful views amid lush greenery.
Next to Gülhane Park is the Topkapı Palace Museum. In its fourth courtyard is the terrace of the Mecidiye Mansion, famous for its legendary Bosphorus view. The Mansion was built by renowned architect Sarkis Balyan; it was commissioned by Sultan Abdülmecid and is known as the last sultan’s mansion in Topkapı Palace.
If you want to gaze at the Bosphorus from the unique location of Sarayburnu, both Gülhane Park and Mecidiye Mansion terrace feature stunning views.
As a symbol of Istanbul and Turkey, the Galata Tower continues to defy time, with its history of 1,500 years. The Tower was built of wood by the Byzantines in 528, and rebuilt with masonry stones by the Genoese in 1348, after a fire. In every century since, the Tower has undergone restorations. Included in the World Heritage Tentative List by UNESCO in 2013, the 70-meter-high Galata Tower offers a unique view of the Historical Peninsula and the Bosphorus – undoubtedly one of the best Instagram stops on the European side for a perfect view.
Süleymaniye – Caulking Yard
The Süleymaniye Mosque and the Caulking Yard, both built by architect Mimar Sinan, are part of the Süleymaniye Social Complex.
While the Süleymaniye Social Complex is less elevated than some locations, the upper part of the Süleymaniye Mosque and the terraces around it offer a wonderful view. Especially, the area between the Golden Horn and Galata is picturesque and has beautiful views over the Bosphorus, Üsküdar, Çamlıca Hill and the Maiden’s Tower. The Hagia Sophia and Hagia Irene are also visible from the Suleymaniye-Caulking Yard.
Büyük Valide Han
Büyük Valide Han – also known as Valide Han – is located between Çakmakçılar Slope and Fincancılar Slope in Eminönü Mahmutpaşa. This inn, built by Kösem Sultan in the 17th century, is one of the largest inns in Istanbul.
Büyük Valide Han, which has three courtyards, offers a wide viewing area, especially from the domes. The Galata, Golden Horn and Bosphorus views of Büyük Valide Han are magnificent. However, part of the roof collapsed in 2016: countless years of visitors hopping on the domes to take photographs took a toll on the structure. If you visit Büyük Valide Han, please act responsibly and help preserve our common heritage and these historical artifacts.
If the Bosphorus is one of Turkey’s most iconic geographical treasures, then the Ortaköy coast is certainly one of Istanbul’s! We encourage all first-time visitors to Turkey to spend some time in Ortaköy – not only is the view magnificent, but the area has plenty of excellent cafes and restaurants.
The Great Mecidiye Mosque (better known as Ortaköy Mosque), located just below the 15th of July Martyrs Bridge, completes the view of the Ortaköy coast. This elegant Baroque-style mosque was built for Sultan Abdülmecid by architect Nigoğos Balyan, and is featured in most of the photographs taken in Ortaköy.
The Ortaköy coast, with views of Üsküdar, Kuzguncuk, Beylerbeyi and Çengelköy on the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus, is definitely one of the most beautiful Instagram stops.
For panoramic Bosphorus views on the European side, head to the hilltop Ulus Park.
Set in Beşiktaş Ulus, Ulus Park features lush trees in addition to wonderful views of the Bosphorus Bridge, Topkapı Palace and Üsküdar. Do keep in mind that the park can get crowded on weekends.
Located in the Sarıyer district, the 30-decare Rumeli Fortress is one of Istanbul’s most important historical structures. Erected by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1452, one year before the Conquest of Istanbul, the Fortress was built in just 90 days.
Rumeli Fortress is located just opposite the Anadolu Fortress on the Anatolian side: this channel is the narrowest part of the Bosphorus and, thus, Rumeli Fortress is an ideal location for views of the palaces, groves and pavilions of the Anatolian side, as well as the area from the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge to Çengelköy.
Instagram Stops of the Asian Side
The Anatolian side of the Bosphorus offers a beautiful view of a long coastal road and a vast forest. At almost every point from Üsküdar to the Anadolu Fortress, you’ll want to stop and just observe. To save you some time, we have listed the most beautiful views on the Anatolian side.
The 265-meter-high Çamlıca Hill, located in Üsküdar, overlooks both the Bosphorus and the Historical Peninsula and is one of the most beautiful places in Istanbul. Featuring picnic areas and a variety of trees, Çamlıca Hill has breath-taking panoramic views.
Interested in bird watching? Çamlıca Hill is also a terrific observation point – especially during the migrating season in September and October. That is, of course, if you can tear your gaze away from the majestic beauty of the Bosphorus!
North of Üsküdar, Beylerbeyi and Kuzguncuk, Çengelköy is a charming village with narrow streets, centuries-old plane trees and picturesque historical mansions. From Çengelköy Beach, lined with fish restaurants, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view reaching from Ortaköy to Sarıyer.
When in Çengelköy, stop by its famous beachfront tea garden, which was featured in the 90’s TV series, Super Baba.
Set within the borders of Üsküdar, Salacak is between Şemsipaşa and Harem and across from the Maiden’s Tower, an icon of Istanbul.
The Salacak coast offers a view extending from the Historical Peninsula to Beşiktaş. In addition, the small building on the beach – which used to be a ferry pier – is now a cafe with a magnificent view. Gazing at the Bosphorus and the Maiden’s Tower is a fine way to spend an afternoon in Salacak!
Otag Hill – Fatih Grove
Otag Hill and Fatih Grove, located at the exit of the Anatolian side of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, are among the most beautiful places in Beykoz. Following a 1997 arrangement made with the partnership of TEMA Foundation and Koç Holding, Fatih Grove became the Fatih Grove Natural Culture Center.
Fatih Grove and Otag hill offer a fascinating view of the Bosphorus reaching from the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge to the 15 July Martyrs Bridge. While Fatih Grove is relatively unknown, it has become more popular as a photography spot. However, the Grove closes early; its proximity to the Bridge is an issue due to the flashes used in nighttime photography. Do check entrance and exit times before visiting Fatih Grove.
After passing the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, Mihrabat Grove is a little behind Kanlıca in the north. There is Fatih Grove on one side of the bridge and Mihrabat Grove on the other.
In the last period of the Ottoman Empire, Mihrabat Grove was given to Rukiye Hanım by her mother, the Egyptian Abbas Halim Pasha, as a wedding gift. Today, visitors can stroll under pine trees and luxuriate in gorgeous views of the Bosphorus, as well as the mansions and groves on the European side of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.
The Fethipaşa Grove, which offers a beautiful view of the Bosphorus and the Historical Peninsula from Sarayburnu to Ortaköy, is located between Sultantepe and Kuzguncuk in Üsküdar. Walking along the coastal road to the Grove, which is about a kilometer from the Üsküdar Ferry Port, is as enjoyable as visiting the Grove itself!
Fethipaşa Grove is especially known for its aromatic redbud trees.
The Fethipaşa Social Facilities building was once the home of the renowned writer and philosopher Cemil Meriç. History, views and a delightful nature walk – Fethipaşa Grove has it all.
A district of Üsküdar set between Beylerbeyi and Kuzguncuk, Nakkaştepe is located at the exit of the Anatolian side of the July 15 Martyrs Bridge.
Nakkaştepe is one of the most beautiful places to watch the Bosphorus, with a 50,000-square meter park and views of Ortaköy and Beşiktaş.
For an Instagrammable moment close to the city, Nakkaştepe is a good choice!
Sevda Hill – Anadolu Fortress
Sevda Hill, near Anadolu Fortress, features a Bosphorus view that includes two bridges. The hill is famous for its 300-year-old trees in the grove of the Cypriot Mansion. For more information on the “Pearls of the Bosphorus”, the Bosphorus mansions, please click here.
According to rumor, Sevda Hill got its name in the 1920s. A military school student known as Valentino Vahit – due to his resemblance to the famous Rudolph Valentino – and Belkıs, a student at the American Academy for Girls, on the opposite shore of the Bosphorus, fell in love. The family of Belkis was opposed to their marriage so the couple met at the place called Sevda Hill today and committed suicide together. The hill was named Sevda (Love) Hill after this tragedy.
Sevda Hill offers a unique Instagram subject: magnificent views from the setting of a tragic love story.
Yoros Castle, dating from the Eastern Roman Period, is located north of Anadolu Kavağı. The Castle is among the important historical works on the Bosphorus, featuring well-preserved towers and inscriptions.
Because of its elevation and setting, Yoros Castle has expansive views of the Bosphorus reaching from the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge in the north to the Sarıyer ridges in the south. Yoros Castle also offers wonderful views of Rumeli Kavağı, on the opposite side of the Bosphorus.
We must also inform you that, if you happen to be at Yoros Castle early in the morning, you can enjoy a wonderful breakfast with the wonderful view.
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