Turkey is one of the most photogenic countries on the planet. Every destination we visited was spectacular and even the roads between areas had us constantly in awe. Turkey’s most famous locations for beautiful shots are Cappadocia and Istanbul, but we’ve added in a few of our other favourites here too.
If you’re dreaming of a trip to this fantastic country there’s never been a better time. Prices are much lower than when we visited seven years ago and crowds are only going to get more intense in areas like Cappadocia as its exposure increases. It’s time to book those flights!
Here’s a few of our favourite Turkey photography spots to inspire your next trip.
10 of the most Instagrammable Places in Turkey
This place has become so popular on Instagram in the last year and it’s easy to see why. It’s such a picturesque spot but also still nice and rustic making for an atmospheric photo.
There are several concrete mounds to sit on and there are two directions you can shoot in to take in two different mosques.
There are loads of cats in this area as people put out cat food on the mounds so you might be sharing your perch with a little kitty.
It’s a magical spot at sunset and happily it’s still fairly quiet so we found that we could take some photos and then enjoy the sunset on a rock without having to move for other people’s photos 😄
Up a small staircase just beside this area is the carpet cafe you’ll also have seen loads of times on Instagram, the one with all the seagulls (which are there because the owner feeds them chicken skin for your photos).
We chose not to shoot here because it was pretty expensive and we weren’t sure about feeding the gulls (50 lira per person - $9 USD) but we can’t deny it’s an amazing photo op!
Finding Kubbe can be pretty tricky, so check out our best things to do in Istanbul guide for instructions before you go.
Suleymaniye mosque, Istanbul
Far less visited by tourists than either the Blue Mosque or Hagia Sofia we thought this mosque was another beauty and a bit more peaceful due to less crowds.
Our photo is taken inside the main doorway and though there were some people around you don’t have to wait for more than a minute to get a clear shot.
If you have some extra time we’d highly recommend chatting to one of the mosque volunteers here, we had some fantastic chats and as a result had one of our favourite experiences in Turkey, being invited to an Iftar celebration.
Lamp shop, Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
The Grand Bazaar has to be one of the most atmospheric shopping experiences you can have and easily one of the best things to do in Istanbul!
The whole place is amazing and nowhere more so than the lamp shops, of which there are many.
Note that you have to make a purchase to take a photo which was ok for us because we were planning to buy a lamp anyway. The shops all have no photo signs for non customers although they might accept payment in return for a shot.
Some shops have way more beautiful displays than others so we’d recommend wandering around them all first before you pick.
The lamps are also wildly different in price so shop around and don’t forget to haggle!
Hagia Sofia, Istanbul
This has to be one of the most beautiful mosques in the world and despite it being our second visit we were still in awe. It’s also one of the most visited sites in the country and crowds and queues can be insane!
You’ll want to get in line just before opening time if you want a shot with no one in it, or be ready to photoshop people out.
The world is your oyster once inside so you can shoot anywhere, we loved the chandeliers. If you visit on an overcast day like us the photos will be very dark which isn’t ideal. if you have the chance to choose, go for a clear day.
We bought our ticket from a seller who was coming up and down the line so we got in all before all the tour groups (we thought it might be a scam at first but it wasn’t!).
If you want to guarantee skipping the line then check out Get Your Guide. The price includes a guide who will bring this incredible building to life, taking you through all the hidden details and history of one of the most significant places in European History.
Undoubtedly one of the most Instagrammable spots in Turkey, Pammukkale is a photographers dream. Although warning it’s not like you see it in the promo posters! Most of the pools are dry.
Nonetheless the thermal pools that are there make for some beautiful shots at sunrise or sunset (though sunset means crowds).
There are now only a few pools with water in that you can walk beside or take a dip in and you’ll find the lower pools less busy than the upper.
We’ve written a full guide on Pamukkale covering absolutely everything you need to know, including photos taken at both sunrise and sunset and the pros and cons of both.
Sunset Hill, Goreme
Easily one of the most memorable mornings of our entire travels was spent at Sunset Hill in Cappadocia. The sight of over 100 balloons going up in the air at sunrise was more beautiful than any photo could ever show.
We’d recommend arriving 45-60 minutes before sunrise to make sure you get a good spot.
Walk to the furtherest point along the ridge if you want to find the same spot as us. We then walked down a few metres from the ridge to a flat area where we could sit and relax and take in the show. Bringing your own carpet is optional 😂
Also a sunset chaser? Check out our guide to the most beautiful sunset spots in Cappadocia.
Galerie Ikman, Goreme
The carpet shop of your dreams can be found smack bang in the middle of Goreme town. We love Turkish carpets and have been in many shops before but nothing comes close to the display at Galerie Ikman.
It’s actually semi outdoors which you can’t see in the photo and backed by it’s own fairy chimney!
If you buy a carpet you can shoot for free but if not you need to pay 50 lira and you have 15 minutes to shoot, this is a working shop afterall! The owner also offers professional drone shots too.
Please don’t try and shoot without paying, this is a business and we heard way too many stories from the owner of people being disrespectful.
Cave hotel terraces, Goreme
Whilst our absolute favourite place to shoot the balloons was from Sunset Hill the cave terrace was a close second. There are many terraces around town with totally spectacular views and our photo is from the most famous of them all, Sultan Cave Suites.
You need to be a guest to use the terrace at sunrise and they check your room key so don’t try to sneak in! We thought the hotel was overpriced for what you get but the terrace is everything we hoped it would be.
This does bring crowds though and you will only get a few minutes to take photos before you have to let someone else take a turn. This made it feel a little bit rushed and stressful, the opposite of our experience at Sunset Hill.
Luckily there is plenty of seating on the terrace and no one uses it so you do have a lot of space to sit and chill with that amazing view after you take your photos.
Oh and that breakfast?, it’s not for you! Everyone uses the same one and it sits there for days! Shocking we know!
If you want an alternative hotel we’d recommend checking out nearby Koza or Mithra hotels. We could see Mithra from Sultan Cave Suites and it was so much more chilled!
Here’s a full guide to the best places to stay in Cappadocia.
Butterfly Valley Viewpoint, Olu Deniz
The viewpoint over Butterfly Valley is incredible. We’ve rarely if ever seen anywhere in the world where the cliffside is that steep and that makes for incredibly dramatic photos. To reach a spot where you can see the beach you’ll need to climb down some rocks for around five minutes.
Don’t go too far unless you are super confident in your scrambling skills as it is really exposed. The best time to visit is sunset when the light is spectacular.
There were a couple of other people here when we visited but most people stay just a few minutes so you’ll likely have it to yourself for the most part.
Finding the viewpoint at Butterfly Valley
The viewpoint for Butterfly Valley is 20 minutes south from Oludeniz and you’ll find a layby on the right side of the road. From here it’s a short but steep climb down to the spot we took this shot.
Blue Lagoon, Olu Deniz
The Turkish coastline is a real beauty and nowhere more so than the Blue Lagoon in Olu Deniz. The water is electric blue and backed by picturesque mountains.
It’s quite a large area and we actually preferred the section near the beach rather than the secluded area on the other side as the water was more of a green colour on the secluded side.
It’s a busy place and if you want total serenity you’ll need to arrive early. We visited a little before sunset and it was still packed. You’ll easily find a spot to take photos without anyone in it but it won’t be as peaceful.
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