places to visit in istanbul

Top 10 Aerial Views of Istanbul – Best Places to See Istanbul from Above

#1 Galata Tower

Places to see in Istanbul

Built in 1348 by the Genoese in Istanbul approximately a century before the Conquest of Constantinople, Galata Tower is without a doubt one of the most iconic landmarks in Istanbul. Not only has one of the fantastic aerial city views of Istanbul from above, but it is also located in an extremely central location, right below Turkey’s biggest pedestrian avenue, the Istiklal Avenue, and the surrounding neighborhood, Galata neighborhood is already a hit with its beautiful boutique cafes, colorful little streets, art galleries, bars, old churches and synagogs, and countless music instrument shops. Galata Tower thankfully has elevators inside, so you don’t have to climb all 9 floors, however, you do have to climb the last two floors as the elevator only goes up to the 7th floor. The view from the top of Galata Tower is hands-down top 3 in all of Istanbul.

Why you should visit the Galata Tower?

Book a walking tour on the Istiklal Avenue with Galata Tower entrance ticket

#2 Topkapı Palace’s terrace

aerial views of istanbul

My personal favorite is the aerial view of Istanbul from the terrace of Topkapi Palace. Topkapi Palace is located at the corner of the historical peninsula on top of a natural hill, so it is on a geographically perfect location to see the city from above, and it is one of the very few places where you can see both the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus from the same terrace (from different sides but eventually the same place). From one side you see the Golden Horn, Galata Tower, Karaköy, Galataport and Süleymaniye Mosque, from the other side you see the Bosphorus, both sides of Istanbul, the European and the Asian side, Çamlıça, Çamlıça hill, mosque and tower, Üsküdar, Kadıköy, the opening of the Bosphorus, Princes’ Islands, Maiden Tower, the Bosphorus Bridge.. It is breathtaking, and at the perfect height – too high it would be too small, too low you wouldn’t be able to see as much, but this view, is just the right amount of high. Absolute perfection.

Why You Should Visit the Topkapi Palace

Read the Top 5 Topkapi Palace Tips article

Book a guided tour to Topkapi Palace

#3 Seven Hills Restaurant

Seven Hills Restaurant has one of the most visually stunning and pleasing views of Istanbul, located right in the middle of Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque and just at the right distance to see them both at their perfect glory in all detail, just at the right distance to pay attention to every single curve and line, while still being able to admire the overall aerial view of the historical old city, it is just an amazing feel. On the other hand, you turn your back and wow, the Asian side, the Bosphorus, the Marmara Sea, Islands.. All there, right in front of you like a painting.. Mindblowing..

Best part? You don’t even need to eat there to go up and see the view, and take pictures.

Open address of Seven Hills

#4 Çamlıca Hill and Çamlıca Mosque

aerial views of istanbul

Located in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul on the Asian side of town, Çamlıca Hill is one of the highest points in Istanbul with 268m from sea level, and has one of the broadest views of Istanbul as a city. It is so broad that you can see almost the entire Bosphorus from above while still being able to pay attention to important landmarks on the European side. Çamlıca Hill is a public park, free for all, and also has a nice restaurant and café inside the park, and plenty of picture spots and binoculars for a closer focus.

Address on the map

How do I go to Çamlıca Hill?

#5 Çamlıca Tower

Completed in 2020, Çamlıca Tower currently holds the title of the tallest building in all of Turkey and has the broadest and biggest aerial view of Istanbul without comparison. With a total height of 587m from sea level, Çamlıca Tower has 49 floors, and the building height without its antenna is 369m. This tower was built as a telecommunications tower, however is accessible to the public, has a restaurant and other facilities, and charges a ticket to go up to see its panoramic view.

aerial views of istanbul

Address on the map

How do I go to Çamlıca Tower?

#6 Nakkaştepe Millet Park

aerial views of istanbul

My personal favorite on the Asian side of Istanbul, Nakkaştepe is a beautiful public park located in the Üsküdar district close to the Bosphorus bridge and it is built on a natural hill. The park has plenty of areas to chill, and walk, it has cafes, an activity area, and even a zipline for crazy selfies over the Bosphorus while gliding down the zip line. If you don’t want that much action, you can also simply go to its panoramic terrace and take incredible aerial photos of the Bosphorus with big green trees casting just the right amount of shadow to the perfect picture and providing a necessary touch of nature to your aerial photo session.

#7 Ulus Park

Located right by the Bosphorus bridge but inside the Bosphorus on the European side, Ulus park is one of the best aerial views of Istanbul and has one of the most fantastic and focused views of the Bosphorus. Since it is located inside the Bosphorus between the

first and the second bridge, you get a more focused and detailed view of the Bosphorus from an ideal spot. Definitely a must-visit.

#8 Rumeli Fortress

aerial views of istanbul

Similar to Ulus Park, Rumeli Fortress is also located in between the two bridges in the heart of the Bosphorus, but this time, the historical walls and bastions of the fortress add a very nice historical contrast to the modern city behind and set an epic theme to your view. It is definitely in my top 3 aerial views of Istanbul.

#9 Pierre Loti

aerial views of istanbul

Located on a small hill by the end of Golden Horn, Pierre Loti offers an alternative view of Istanbul: Golden Horn aerial view. With plenty of locations offering a Bosphorus view, Pierre Loti one of the best aerial views of Istanbul and strikes a bit differently, as the Golden Horn is a lot more narrow and the aerial view is a lot closer than it is in the Bosphorus. The Golden Horn, where the oldest neighborhoods of Istanbul emerged around, is full of history, and the view from Pierre Loti gives a much more historical vibe. Also going up to Pierre Loti with cable car over the old cemetery is quite an interesting experience. Pierre Loti also has plenty of cafes with aerial view.

#10 Princes’ Islands – Aya Yorgi Church

aerial views of istanbul

The last place on our list is a bit different, as it is the only option on our list that looks at the city from outside the city. Well technically the Princes’ Islands are a part of Istanbul, however, they are located on the Marmara Sea and are not connected to the mainland, so the view from the Princes’ Islands, more specifically from Büyükada, and more specifically from the Aya Yorgi Church located in Büyükada, is one of a kind and has a totally different feel to it. It’s one of the best aerial views to truly admire the beauty of Istanbul from afar.