Rooftop views abound in Istanbul’s historic peninsula. Order tea, coffee, wine, raki, or a full meal, then relax and take in the sights and sounds. Or grab your camera and a tripod to capture the best light with the morning and evening calls to prayer. Remember to bracket a few sets of images to experiment with in HDR when you return home.
The easiest place to start is to ask if your hotel has a rooftop patio or restaurant. From our hotel (Armagrandi Spina Hotel), we could see at least three other rooftop bars and restaurants within walking distance with comparable views of Aya Sofya, the Blue Mosque and the Sea of Marmara. Other views on the peninsula to take your breath away: Hamdi Restaurant, Adamar Hotel, and the Four Seasons Hotel. Discover your own rooftop favorite or hire a certified local guide, like Istanbulite.com, to seek out unique vistas.
Accessibility: Of the places mentioned above, none had easy rooftop access for the mobility-impaired. In most cases, you must climb one floor up a spiral staircase. That’s not to say that handicap access to phenomenal views doesn’t exist. For example, Hamdi Restaurant and the Adamar Hotel have (narrow) elevators leading to dining areas with sweeping vistas even on a cold winter’s day. Ask around. It’s a great excuse to connect and discover.