7 PLACES TO WATCH THE SUNSET IN ISTANBUL YOU SIMPLY CAN'T MISS
If you’re looking for a beautiful, intriguing city that is the perfect place to see the sunset, Istanbul is for you.
Turkey has long held a unique place in the imaginations of Europeans. It’s a cosmopolitan, bustling mix of old and new, and the bridge between familiar Europe and exotic Asia. It’s a country with a lot of history, and its most populous city - Istanbul - is a great place to explore this.
Whether you come to immerse yourself in the culture or just to sample food and drink at some world-class restaurants and bars, there are many opportunities to enjoy the amazing views as the sun goes down.
Read on for some of our favourite places to watch the sunset in Istanbul...
Our 7 FAVOURITE PLACES TO WATCH THE SUNSET IN ISTANBUL
1) Maiden’s Tower
For centuries, Turkey was the centre of the powerful Ottoman Empire. This small site on an islet off the coast of Uskudar was originally constructed as a watchtower to help protect the city, then called Constantinople.
Today it’s home to a cafe and restaurant, meaning you can enjoy great food and drink as you watch the sun go down over the water. As with many places on this list, it perfectly captures Istanbul’s development over time.
Of course, if you’d rather get the tower in your sunset pictures, you need to find a good spot on the mainland. Luckily, Salacak is one of the best, as its location in the Uskudar district makes it the perfect place to catch a view of the tower.
While the area boasts a variety of good tea houses overlooking the water, perhaps the best is Bufe Taner, which sits exactly opposite the islet. Settle down with something to drink and some snacks, and get ready for a picture perfect sunset.
Though Karakoy is enormously popular among tourists, this charming part of town is also renowned by locals who flock to the area for its huge range of great cafes. All this lends it a busy, exciting vibe, and it’s genuinely a great place to spend time.
Though there are some bigger-name places here that are often recommended, the best way to experience the area is to explore the narrow side streets. Once you’ve got your bearings, you’re likely to find a few places that are perfect for watching the sunset.
Top Tip: Turkey has a unique and intricate coffee culture. In fact, the practice has even been listed by UNESCO as an item of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Make sure to get the most out of this delicious drink by learning about it before you go.
4) Camlica Hill
When it began as the Ancient Greek colony of Byzantium, Istanbul was a small settlement on a single hill at the edges of the Bosphorus. It was already expanding when the Romans arrived several hundred years later, and they built it up on seven hills in a tribute to Rome.
Of course it’s not the desire to be closer to Rome that explains the continued attraction of the seven hills. No, they earn their mentions in songs, poems and more for their astonishing natural beauty.
It’s worth visiting any of them, but Camlica bears special mention on this list as it’s the tallest, meaning it has among the most amazing views in the whole area. If you want to see the sprawl of Istanbul bathed in the amber light of dusk, there are few places better.
Another great cafe and restaurant, this one is located on the small island of Burgazada, offering yet another chance to see the sun go down over the calm waters that surround the city.
It’s out of the way location helps it seem a lot more tranquil than some of the more central options on this list, but Kalpazankaya itself is rightly popular. Many are drawn by the amazing views, so make sure you book ahead of time.
For the best experience here, come with a group and tuck in to a sharing platter of the excellent mezze while you watch night fall.
6) Pierre Loti Hill
Overlooking the Golden Horn, the waterway that runs off the Bosphorus and through the city, Pierre Loti Hill is another great place to see the sunset in Istanbul. It offers an amazing view out over the city from an elevated angle.
The best reason to come here is the famous Pierre Loti Cafe. Named after a nineteenth-century French writer who loved to come here for inspiration and a beautiful spot to write, the cafe has been popular for over 100 years, and it’s a great place to visit to this day.
7) Galata Tower
We opened with one tower, so it’s only fitting that we finish with another. One of the city’s best known landmarks, Galata Tower, deserves a spot on any list of the best things to see and do in Istanbul - but it has earned a special mention here for being an excellent spot to see the sun set.
Built in the medieval period to replace an older tower from the Byzantine era, it was constructed as a vantage point, perfect for keeping watch over the whole city. It’s nearly 67 metres tall and features an unmistakable conical top, making it an iconic part of the skyline to this day. It’s also now home to an excellent restaurant with an amazing 360-degree panorama view of the city, letting you see the buildings, waters and more in all directions.
Even better, if you come here at dusk, you can stay and party into the night, with traditional Turkish music lending a lively and unique atmosphere to an already excellent venue.
Of course, all the descriptions on this list can only suggest the beauty of watching the sunset in Istanbul - the best way to experience it is to see it for yourself. If reading our blog post has gotten you excited to see amazing views here, get in touch with our team and we can help you start planning where you’ll spend sundown.