It’s lucky Istanbul’s urban sprawl is gifted with nature’s beauty. Just when the clutter of houses and chaos of traffic start to choke, it suddenly gives way to glistening, lapping waves of three wonderful waterways. At the crossroad of the city lie the Bosphorus, Golden Horn and Marmara Sea, blessing Istanbul with amazing scenery and panoramic views. As the sky changes from day to night, the glint of the sun’s water reflection is replaced by the glitter of a million twinkling lights. Istanbul’s views are sure to etch themselves in your memory. These a just a few favourite places to enjoy the million-lira view without the price tag.

The Bosphorus Bridge

The single span of the suspension bridge is the first thing to attract your attention as you cross it. And while there’s beauty in this architectural feat, it’s hard to ignore the gleaming sun off the blue Bosphorus waters far below. From the Bosphorus Bridge, or Boğaziçi Köprüsü, you can really feel the magnitude of Istanbul as it spreads out its beauty with pride. The famous Sultanahmet skyline and Marmara Sea rewards viewers in one direction, and Ottoman yali’s (waterside residences) stretch all the way to the Black Sea in the other. As you swivel your head from side to side, a feeling of awe overcomes. The only way to enjoy this view is by driving over it, so for the longest viewing time, its best to get stuck in the bridge’s infamous traffic jams.

Ulus Park

The upmarket residences that surround Ulus Park hide the best-kept secret of the area. From the top of this park, the panoramic views are dazzling. Time disappears as you watch cargo ships steam under the Bosphorus Bridge on their way to the Black Sea. The jewels of the treasure lie with the emerald greens of the park complimented by sapphire Bosphorus blues.

Çamlica Hill

Being the highest point in Istanbul, Çamlica Hill offers some of the best panoramic sceneries of the city and its three waterways. Çamlica is split into Küçük Çamlica (Little Pine) and Büyük Çamlica (Big Pine), so head for the big one to feel on top of Istanbul at 267m above sea level. Across the Bosphorus, skyscrapers from the financial districts of Levent and Maslak climb out of chaotic clutter. If the weather permits, visibility reaches almost as far as the Black Sea, the Princes Islands and even to the snowy ridges of Uludag. The famous skyline of Sultanahmet’s minarets and domes is silhouetted as the sun signal the end to another day. A perfect postcard panorama gives it a romantic atmosphere. Camlica can be reached by car or taxi, or you can attempt local transport from Kadıköy, Üsküdar (4kms) or Altunizade.

After a breath of fresh air and relaxing views, the love for Istanbul’s crazy vibe is reenergized once again.

posts by Casey