Galata Tower and a 360-Degree View of Istanbul

Exploring the bustling city of Istanbul is a great experience but to see it from up high is something completely different. In my opinion, the best place to do this is Galata tower, a landmark that dominates the skyline.

Skyline with the tower

Six years ago, I went to the tower to attend a Turkish show at nighttime. I could see lights from buildings, dotted across the horizon, and the lights of traffic moving, but that was it and I desperately wanted to return during the day.

A return visit to Istanbul last month, meant Galata tower was on my list of places to go.

Looking up at the tower

The View of Istanbul From Galata Tower

After standing in a queue for half an hour, I finally made it through the doors, paid my ticket money, and stood in another queue for the lifts.

I came out of the lifts, walked up a winding staircase, which passes the restaurant on the way. When I reached the top, I had in front of me, an unobstructed and 360-degree view of Istanbul.

Istanbul from Galata tower

Now – if you know me well, you will realize that seeing Istanbul from the top of Galata tower is an achievement as I have a big fear of heights.

I circled around the tower with my back firmly against the wall. The thought of peering over the guard rails and down to the streets below was just too much to bear.

tiltshift photo of the view

Note to the idiot who was at Galata tower on the same morning as me. Messing about at the top of a 66 meter tower with dodgy looking guardrails  and a half meter path full of tourists IS NOT FUNNY!!

Yes, if you happened to be up the tower on the same day as me, I was the freaky woman having palpitations, as well as suffering from a hang over which made me want to throw up.

Galata bridge

I hope you enjoy my photos; most taken with one hand because I refused to take my other hand off the wall.

View of Istanbul

Readers Questions on Galata Tower

Can you identify any well-known landmarks in the photos?

Have you been to the top of the tower as well?

Galata tower view


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Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an Internet addict with a passion for history. Read my story here or leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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  1. says

    Your photos turned out wonderful. I assure you that I wasn’t the idiot up there. We went to go up the Tower, but alas we arrived at 7:45pm only to find out that it closes at 7:30pm. We did not try again. Thanks for showing us the view, and good on ya for trying to conquer your fear.
    Pete wrote about..We Ate Turkey

  2. says

    I have been to the top of Galata Tower, also. It was one of my favorite attractions in Istanbul. The views were spectacular and we were lucky to be there on a day that didn’t see huge crowds trying to get to the top. We were in Istanbul during a religious holiday, so there were more calls to prayer each day than normal (so we were told). We happened to be at the top of the tower for one call to prayer and it was intense! The chanting was in stereo, sound coming from the mosques all around the tower. An unforgettable experience!
    Francesca wrote about..Where to go for the Big 4-0?

  3. says

    There are total 7 photos in this post.

    Everybody knows some mosque. Such as, Suleymaniye, Yeni (New), Fatih Camii.

    You can see Suleymaniye mosque 4th photo. Everybody knows this mosque with 4 minarets.

    you can see Fatih mosque 5th mosque with two minarets.

    You can see Yeni (New) mosqua and Spice Bazaar. Left side and center.

  4. says

    Merhaba Natalie,
    So great to see the Galata Tower!! What a great shot you took with the seagull – marti – in it!
    I love the view all round, especially the views of Bogazici, the Bosphorus, so inviting.
    The Galata Tower area changed so much over the years; a cup of cay (tea) by the skirts of the tower is a wonderful experience. They now have lots of neat Turkish restaurants, cafes all round there, enjoy for me too:)
    Ozlem’s Turkish Table wrote about..Baby Artichokes Poached in Olive Oil with Peas, Carrots and Almonds – Zeytinyagli Enginar

  5. phil + Di marina gateway says

    Fabulous pic’s Natalie and well done for getting up there im not good with hights myself the last thing you need when your afraid of something is some nutter messing around

  6. says

    Your pictures look so great! When we went up there, the weather was pretty bad, and as we walked around taking pictures it just kept getting worse and worse. Overcast and drizzly. Luckily we were done right before it really started raining. It was still a great view of Istanbul though!
    Ali wrote about..Saving Kiwis in Rotorua

  7. says

    As Ali said, we were fighting weather on our time up. Though I think we did pretty good. We did two rounds around the tower each with a different lens on the tower. What gets me is that even though there are signs and arrows and the path is really quite tiny, there were a lot of people that were walking the wrong way. Seriously? That was so annoying.
    Andrew wrote about..3 Things We Learned From 3 Months In Bavaria, Germany

    • says

      Andrew – That was the other thing that annoyed me and at times, people would expect me to go back when the path was jammed full of bodies. I stood my ground though
      Natalie wrote about..French Street in Istanbul

    • says

      Bret – Maybe it was the same press trip, I was meant to attend but it all fell through. Look forward to when you visit Turkey, I am headed to the black sea region in two days, which is all about eco tourism in a way. That would be some great subjects for you to focus on, will let you know how I get on.
      Natalie wrote about..Tourism In Turkey. Stats and Plans For The Future. Infographic

  8. Cole @ Four Jandals says

    I was petrified the whole time as well because the ground slopes towards the edge! So you are not the only one that freaks out with heights :)
    Cole @ Four Jandals wrote about..Live Blogging from Naples – #fjNAPLES

  9. says

    When I first drove through Istanbul I just loved the look of the city as a whole – all the sprawling buildings over the rolling hills dotted with minarets in the landscape. It looks awsome from a high place!
    Andrea wrote about..Summer Nights in Norway

    • says

      Jade – The photo with the bird was a total fluke. Right place at the right time and then a little bit of cropping. One of the pictures is also done in the miniature style, the fourth one. I thought about doing them all in tilt shift but felt it would be too much.
      Natalie wrote about..This Turkish Woman Is More Than 100 Years Old

  10. Youseef says

    our life is short but we can make our life very happy and most beautiful by tour nice places in the world!
    Thank you for sharing! really i enjoyed your photos it is alive and most adventure!

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