Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han

For the best photos of Istanbul, you have to go on this secret rooftop of Buyuk Valide Han. It’s a view totally made for Instagram, with sights to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Galata Tower, the Bosphorus. etc! Let us tell you how to get to this local gem!

Step 1: Find Büyük Valide Han on your Maps

Buyuk Valide Han is part of the Grand Bazaar with a splendid crazy rooftop view. Of course it’s tricky to find in real life, but we will make it easy for you, here is Büyük Valide Han in Google Maps. You can also walk from Eminonu, through the busy streets behind the spice bazaar. It won’t be easy to find the right stairways to get up, but firsts things first, get to the dot!

Step 2: Find the Courtyard Entrance

The street that the courtyard entrance is on is aWe walked on a very steep road to find the courtyard entrance. There will be a sign of Buyuk Valide Han quite faded.

Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han

Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han

Step 3: Walk up the stairs to your first left

After you go through the entrance, go up the first set of stairs to your left. Walk straight then right until you see an old locked door (right after you passed a wall painted in the colours of the Armenian flag). Apparently there is usually a man called Mr. Mehdi sitting out the front and asks for around a Lira or up to 5 Lira to unlock the door. But hey, that’s cheap for the views that you get! Unfortunately for us, we came quite early and he wasn’t there, although we asked the locals around and they rang him up to open the door for us! Language barrier is no problem, we pointed to the door and he knew we needed that door opened!

Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han

Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han
Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han

Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han

Step 4: Enjoy the most beautiful view of Istanbul!

After he let’s you through, go up one last set of stairs and there you are! Get there as early as possible to get the place all to yourself, because this place is not so much a secret anymore. Many tours bring their clients there and it can get crowded. We went during winter so it was quite slippery. Make sure to keep your safety in mind when walking around the rooftop as there are no railings and remember, it is not a maintained area. Be careful when standing on the slippery cold domes (winter) and some of them have holes in them!

Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han

Hans in Istanbul

“Hans” or “Caravanserais”, located all over Istanbul are buildings that in the past was offered as accommodation to the traveling merchants and their animals. It was also storage for the Oriental and European wares from the ships that arrived to the Golden Horn.

Hope you will find and enjoy the place. As you know, Mitch & I at AdventureFaktory prefer to show you cities’ secrets and take you off the beaten path. We will show you those corners and rooftops, just keep following us and encouraging us by following & subscribing!

  • Have you been to Istanbul before?
  • If yes what was the higlight of your trip?
  • Tell us more about your own experience!

If you like this article, follow our Adventures on Facebook, YouTubeTwitter, Instagram @adventurefaktory, Snapchat AFtravels, to keep up with new posts and updates!

Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han

Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han

Best view of Istanbul at the secret rooftop: Buyuk Valide Han

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  • This is such a great post!!! I LOVE a rooftop view and even cooler that it’s secret. Your photos are brilliant and your directions are so thorough! Thanks for sharing.

  • travellingslacker

    Loved these photographs. I have seen photos of the city before I guess you have ventured into some unseen corners and shot the city from some unconventional angles. Just a pleasure to go through them!

  • Marissa Abao

    The photos look amazing. It was good that you were able to have an access to this location. I have not seen a photo of Istanbul like these before. I also like the way you take photos and the quality too.

  • Wow! That seems to be a secret place with not many tourists knowing it and crowding there. Indeed great views!
    I am making a note of this. Somehow this reminded me of Milan’s cathedral roof top.

  • You are pretty brave to stand on those domes in the icy winter conditions! I can imagine they would be really slippery on those clear winter days. it’s funny that some man has claimed that door and seen an opportunity to make a bit of cash from the tourists. I’ve never been to Istanbul, but those views would make this trip pretty amazing.

    • Brave, or maybe a tad silly! Haha yes we were shocked he claimed the door but it was totally worth the fee for that view!

  • Jean

    What an awesome place! Love the guide. I’d have struggled to find it without such clear markers. Can’t wait to see it myself!

  • I will visit Istanbul this winter and after reading (and seeing) this I will check out Istanbul from the best viewpoint. I’m sure James Bond has been up here, as has Liam Neeson in Taken 2. Not only are your pictures from the top wonderful but also those getting to the top through the bazaar, they are unique too.

  • Anete Ilmete

    Your photos are awesome! Such a cool urban style. I wish I knew about this place when I visited Istanbul 2 years ago. I’d like to go back one day when things will go better over there and then I will visit this awesome roof top for sure.

  • This is a really cool post. I love coming across things that are not well known and which offer something different. And that view is absolutely fabulous. Great tip to get there early as well.

  • Reshma

    Wow! Loved your pictures, Buyuk Valide Han looks gorgeous. Had never heard of this before. A great place to add! Thanks for sharing the secret 🙂

  • Wow you guys got such an awesome view! Wish I would have gone with!! Unless this was one of those sunrise missions…lol 😉

    • Haha yes it sure was, like super early. It was after the night of a big party too so it was a super struggle 🙂

  • Susanna Kelly

    What a great little secret! Istanbul is one of my favorite countries and there are some amazing rooftop views, but this one look like one of the better ones!

  • Patricia Steffy

    This is so much fun — and you are right, this is the best view I’ve ever seen of Istanbul. I love that there is someone who is essentially in charge of opening the “secret” door. Thanks so much for laying out the journey!

  • I love super specific posts like this. There have been times where I will read directions on how to get somewhere and then when I am actually there it’s so hard to find! The view is absolutely stunning and I love your photos 🙂

  • Cori Carl

    I wish I’d know about this when I was in Istanbul! Luckily, we did manage to find some really spectacular city views. I was really surprised to not fall in love with Istanbul like I expected to, but I still had a really great time. Sometimes my expectations are just too high!

    • Sometimes when we travel we build things up, we totally understand what you mean! What places have met your expectations as a tourist place?

  • Wow, it is such a perfect Bird’s eye view standing on top of that rooftop. I can truly feel the feeling of seeing the beautiful City of Instanbul while having your favorite snacks. Your photos are really awesome like as if I’m scanning on a world class magazine. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Joseph Humphreys

    This looks so cool! I missed out on this when I was in Istanbul, but I guess when I was there it was probably still something of a secret. Would love to check it out next time – it’s an undeniably beautiful place, so to get a breathtaking panoramic view would be the icing on the cake.

  • Great post guys, I will surely keep it handy when I visit istanbul next! By the way, loved your pics…each of them is a beauty 🙂

  • Marry Savchenkova

    Wow this view is really cool! And i really like the style of your photos. That’s a pity i didn’t know about that secret view when i was in Istambul)

  • Love C and D

    Istanbul is on my bucket list to visit, a melting pot where east meets west. Stunning photographs in this post. We love finding ‘secret’ things although by the sounds of it this isn’t so secret anymore. Either way, the views look amazing so when we do make it to Turkey, we will definitely look out for this place. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow, what amazing views! i’ve been to Istanbul and had no idea this existed…all the views I got were from Galata Tower! I’m bookmarking this for the next time I go back to Turkey 🙂

  • Chantell Collins

    Istanbul is one place that I really want to visit but haven’t had the chance to go yet! I love finding out about the best places to see city views and take photos. Landscape and city views are one of my favorite things to take photos of. Thanks for sharing :).