Rooftop Sunset over Istanbul | Most Instagrammable Spot in Istanbul

Whenever I search for pictures of Istanbul the first photos that usually appears is of an amazingly beautiful rooftop view, at sunset, overlooking Istanbul. Sometimes there were seagulls or doves flying above and it looked so surreal. There was no way I would miss this opportunity on my trip to Istanbul. I wanted this Rooftop Sunset View of Istanbul.

Istanbul Rooftop Terrace Sunset - Nova Santiye Cafe

I searched online and actually had a hard time finding exactly what I was looking for. Istanbul is full of lovely rooftop restaurants (every corner seems to have another amazing rooftop), but I was looking for something very particular – the beautiful, picturesque setting with traditional Turkish rugs and blankets, Turkish tea, overlooking the water.

Turkish Tea Istanbul Rooftop Terrace Sunset - Nova Santiye Cafe

After lots of searching, I found the perfect spot. Nova Santiye Cafe. So after a long busy day of sightseeing, (Check out this post for more amazing things to do in Istanbul: 2 DAYS IN ISTANBUL? HERE ARE THE TOP 7 THINGS TO SEE AND DO! ) we rushed to this cafe.

How to Get to the Best Sunset Rooftop in Istanbul

Nova Santiye Cafe is located very centrally. It was about a 15-20 minute walk from our hotel in the Sultanhamet neighborhood of Istanbul. If you are staying in this area to visit the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, or other such places, it’s right nearby.

But don’t worry, even if you are staying in another area of Istanbul, it’s very easily accessible by taxi. Here is the exact google map location of the restaurant.

Nova Santiye Cafe – Sunset Terrace

Istanbul Rooftop Terrace Sunset - Nova Santiye Cafe

One of Istanbul’s many (somewhat aggressive) store owners was outside waiting for us when we arrived. We did not make a reservation and as we passed, he tried to convince us to enter his restaurant. Little did he know that his restaurant was just the place we were looking for.

Climbing up what seemed to be a million stairs to get to the rooftop of the restaurant, we finally made it to a spectacular view of Istanbul as the sun was just beginning to set.

We were so excited to see that there was a beautiful little set up in a separate area from the restaurant where you can sit and have tea and take pictures.

However, what we were NOT so happy about was that we were asked to pay a fee to enter the little area that they have set aside. In the past this activity used to be free, but the Turkish people realized how popular it was becoming with tourists and decided to make a bit of a profit. The fee was 50 Tl (about $6-$7USD) per person, but it does include the tea and as much time as you want at the sunset spot! We decided to look at it just as very expensive tea, but it was so worth it for the experience.

Istanbul Rooftop Terrace Sunset - Nova Santiye Cafe

They brought us fresh Turkish tea, took a million pictures for us, and brought us each a dove to let loose into the pink and purple sunset sky. We enjoyed our tea slowly and quietly as we watched the sun set over the Bosphorus Strait and the city. Sipping our tea we watched the sun completely disappear and the city become covered in sparkly lights. The perfect end to an amazing day.

After our tea in the sunset spot, we went to the restaurant for a proper dinner, and enjoyed Istanbul’s beautiful night views.


  • Weather – Even in the summer, it can get chilly in Istanbul at night. The restaurants provide blankets to their diners, but I would bring a shawl or sweater as the wind can be quite cold.
  • Go Early – We visited Istanbul when there were very very few tourists in the city, so we were lucky enough to have no lines (anywhere in the city), but this place can get very busy under normal circumstances. If you don’t want to miss the sunset, arrive a bit early!
  • Be Warned! – There is a good chance that the birds will poop on you! The more birds, the bigger the risk. With just two doves between the two of us, my boyfriend unfortunately had one of them pop on his shirt!
  • Cost – Although it is unfortunate that there is a cost for this activity, there may still be some rooftops where it is free, however they won’t have the beautiful set up like this restaurant did!
  • Where to Stay – In order to see all the best tourist places in Istanbul, it is recommended to stay in the Sultanhamet neighborhood. All the most famous tourist sites are within walking distance! Here is where we stayed, a very affordable boutique hotel right in the heart of the Sultanhamet. The staff were very helpful and friendly and the place was beautiful. It even has a view of the ocean!
Istanbul Rooftop Terrace Sunset - Nova Santiye Cafe

Istanbul’s most Istangrammable Spot! Some of my favorite photos from my Turkey trip were taken here! Don’t miss this amazing spot on your trip to Turkey!

Don’t forget your travel essentials!

Last but not least, don’t forget to bring a water bottle, hat and sunscreen! Here are some of our favorite essentials that we bring on every trip:

Every Day Bucket Hat – Everyone needs to bring along a hat while traveling…. it’s perfect to offer protection from the sun and also to hide bad hair days! Our favorite bucket hat also comes in tons of different colors.

Amazing Everyday Water Bottle – We literally don’t go anywhere without this water bottle. Perfect for hikes and also everyday! We can’t even describe how delightful it is to take a sip of water from this perfectly made bottle. Also available in multiple different sizes.

Timeless Vintage Backpack – What could be better than lots of different pockets to store all the little goodies that you bring along with you on your journeys? This backpack is comfortable, convenient, and a classic. A stylish backpack perfect for every environment.

Mini Tripod – Who doesn’t want to get the perfect photo while traveling? Not everyone is lucky enough to have a personal photographer with them at all times to capture the special moments, so that is where this portable tripod comes in handy. Adjustable, with a selfie stick handle, and a wireless control make it the perfect combo.

Rogue Fishing Co. The Protector Phone Tether – Adventurous journeys call for a little more caution when it comes to our electronics. This phone tether has saved us more than once on kayaking trips, rappelling, and hiking. The compact leash is small enough to stay out of your way, but stretches enough to help you get the perfect picture.

Lots of Love and Safe Travels,

Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters

Join the discussion

  1. Chocoviv

    It’s beautiful!

  2. Pingback: 2 Days in Istanbul? Top 7 Things to See Before you Leave | Turkey Travel

  3. leightontravels

    We made a note of this place. Great info, we know what to expect.

  4. Rishika Kakar

    Istanbul has been on my bucket list for so long! This is a great post. ✨❀️

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thanks so much!!! I hope you make it there one day! It’s amazing 😍

  5. carmen

    WOW!! What a fabulous view! Beautiful white outfit! 😘


    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you sk much love 😍 it was an amazing experience to say the least

    • Colorful Sisters

      The view really is incredible! And thanks so much! The pants I actually handmade a while ago 😍


    Truly a beautiful view from the top! Do drop by travelwithliaa.com for some tips and other amazing places to visit in Istanbul ❀

    • Colorful Sisters

      It really is a very beautiful view! I’ll check it out. Thanks for the tip πŸ™‚

  7. Magaidh Bryan

    How beautiful!

  8. writinstuff

    Those photos are incredible! Can’t wait to see it for myself.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you so much!!! I’m happy you enjoyed and I hope you can visit someday soon!

  9. Jack S Cohen

    Beautiful! But currently dangerous. Be careful.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you! I was there in July so it was very safe then!!

  10. Chinma Eke

    Beautiful! Added to my travel list.

  11. maristravels

    I;d happily pay for the privilege of sitting there and looking over Istanbul. After all, why shouldn’t the owner make money from this amazing asset? He has to live and if he finds something to sell to tourists who want to be photographed there, then I’m on his side (but I won’t buy a carpet from his cousin/uncle/or brother!)

    • Colorful Sisters

      Hahahaha yes I totally agree! Was worth the price… And for sure why not make some money off of it! A little bit expensive though considering the normal prices of things in turkey (superrrrr low prices) but definitely worth the experience 😊

  12. brm7

    Thank you for the like and follow , blessings

  13. jwatrel

    Dear Brooke and Danielle,

    I love the blog and you make me jealous of the travelling. I miss the International traveling pre-COVID and that view is just breathtaking. I hope to experience it one day.

    You both should check out my blog, MywalkinManhattan.com where I explore the complexity of Manhattan and the surrounding areas.

    Happy and Safe Travelling !!



    • Colorful Sisters

      Hi Justin! We’ll definelty check it out your blog πŸ™‚ It sounds interesting as we never really explored much of New York despite growing up a few hours outside of the city. I also miss the traveling freedom before covid. Hopefully it will return soon. If you’re looking to travel to Turkey though they are accepting tourists (they desperately need tourists to keep their economy alive) I visited this year and the locals were so grateful as just having a few tourists enabled them to put food on their tables!

      • jwatrel

        I have not been to Turkey since my trip to visit Emphasis when touring the Turkish Coastline in 2008 on a trip to Greece. It is a beautiful country with very friendly people. You brought back a lot of good memories.

        Stay safe!

  14. flahertylandscape

    I liked the map and photos–but I wonder if you visited the Pierre Loti Cafe?

  15. Chitra Sundaram


  16. CarolCooks2

    Stunning images and backdrop …Thank you for following CarolCooks2

  17. tinthia

    Thank you for liking my recent blog post, Dear Cancer. Knowing there are other women out there who support my musings is helpful to continue my journey. Blessed be, Tinthia Clemant

  18. Peace and unity in our lives


  19. cielotech

    Absolutely beautiful web site AND beautiful rooftop digitals. I loved it. Thank you so much for taking a look at my latest post. I certainly will become a follower. Take care. B

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you so very much! I’m happy you enjoyed πŸ™‚

  20. judyhaiven

    Lovely photos, from Judy haiven and thanks for looking at Another Ruined Dinner Party
    see judyhaiven.ca

  21. robertwmonk

    Thanks for the likes and follows. Great photos on here!

  22. Faiz


  23. Cristina


  24. Karima Hoisan

    Beautiful photos of such an incredible spot!

  25. Equipping For Eternity Website

    Thanks for following my site;you are very kind.

  26. viewfromoverthehill

    Gorgeous photos! So glad you shared them. I don’t think I’ll ever get to Istanbul, so I particularly enjoyed this post.
    Thank you for the honour of choosing to follow my blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I’ll also look forward to seeing what you are up to. Cheers.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Hi my dear πŸ™‚ So happy we found your blog and I did enjoy reading several of your posts. Loved the down to earth content. Can’t wait to see what else you write πŸ™‚

  27. kanchansingh7k

    Good photography! Great post!

  28. hamnabilal20


  29. salooper57

    Seeing Istanbul brings back good memories – thanks! Thanks too for stopping at shaynelooper.com and taking the trouble to like. Best to you both.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you as well! Istanbul certainly is a place where wonderful memories are made πŸ™‚

  30. Bryan Thompson

    Hello Colorful Sisters! Love these posts on Istanbul and Turkey. My wife and I were just over there last month. You followed our (old) blog on WordPress (storycaster.wordpress.com) and liked a couple of posts. If you would like to see what we’re up to and where we’ve been these past couple of years we are now at https://notquitehomeless.us

    • Colorful Sisters

      Hope you guys enjoyed Turkey!! It’s a lovely place πŸ™‚ We’ll definitely check out your new blog! πŸ™‚

  31. sharonahue

    The colorful rugs set the scene…the view is just a bonus.

  32. estherhecht

    Great pix! Best of luck.

  33. Steve

    I don’t know, I think that’s a pretty reasonable cost for tea and use of the space. Looks wonderful, thanks for sharing!

    • Colorful Sisters

      It certainly wasn’t very much but compared to the prices of Turkey (extremely low) it was very expensive. It’s all perspective haha

  34. kaitiscotland

    The only day I was in Istanbul it poured. Great to see it in better weather.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Oh hopefully! It’s such a bummer when it rains during trips, especially if it prevents you from fully exploring!

  35. agwilderman

    Beautiful photos. I was in Istanbul a very long time ago. Great travel memories.

  36. hfatboy55

    That is a great view !
    We missed that one when we were there !
    We like to snap our Harley with backdrops like that – could we get it up the stairs ? (Joke !)
    D+L x

    • Colorful Sisters

      Hahahahah I guess you could give it a try next time πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  37. Nancy Gardner

    What a gorgeous reminder of the beauty of Istanbul. My husband and I visited years ago and loved it.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Ooo yesss it really is such a special city!! Loved it so much πŸ™‚

  38. garyhorvitz

    Great blog. Youse got style!!

  39. james bruce mcnaughton

    Fun post! Thank you for following my blog.

  40. craig lock

    Hi “colourful” Brooke and Danielle
    Thanks for all; the follows
    Happy blogging
    “waking up early-bird sleepy-head” c

  41. Terence Kuch - Memorable Fancies

    Istanbul is one of the most beautiful, and interesting, cities I’ve ever visited. Thank you for the photos !

    • Colorful Sisters

      I have to agree!!! Truly an incredible and unique experience there πŸ™‚

  42. Cheryl Jensen

    I loved Istanbul! Although I didn’t do this spectacular dinner option, I did have dinner on a hired boat on the Bosphorus, which was pretty sweet, too.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Ahh amazing!! We also wanted to take a boat on the Bosphorus but we, unfortunately, didn’t have enough time! Something to do for next time at least!

  43. imran257

    That’s really good info. Thanks for sharing. and beautiful photos too! πŸ™‚

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thanks so much! I’m happy that you found it useful πŸ™‚

  44. neredenasilgidilir

    Thank you so much for the detailed itinerary!! I visit Istanbul in a week and your blog just made everything so much easier. God bless you and happy travels :)) Gezilecekyerler.com

    • Colorful Sisters

      You’re so welcome! I’m so happy that you found it useful and I hope that you enjoy Istanbul as much as I did! πŸ™‚

  45. Ha T

    Thank you so much!! I was looking for a particular view too just like you stated. Not just an ordinary rooftop and I was surprised it was difficult to find outside of photography studios. I cannot wait to try this place out when I go soon!

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