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.
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.
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
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.
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’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!
Lots of Love and Safe Travels,
Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters