Çamlıca Hill (Büyük Çamlıca Tepesi) is a non-touristic place that will give you one of the best views of Istanbul.
Istanbul is a city that never stops amazing me. I have spent quite a lot of time here, but I still have the feeling I have barely scratched the surface! And seriously, now that I live here, I find new spots that take my breath away almost every week.
Last Sunday, I took my camera to explore Üsküdar, a beautiful and underrated district in the Asian side. Guess what? I found another Istanbul hidden gem! If you are interested in visiting a non-touristic place in Istanbul that will give you one of the best views of the city, then you should not miss Çamlıca Hill (in Turkish: Büyük Çamlıca Tepesi). Read on to discover all you need to know about this place and how to get there.
Çamlıca Hill, Istanbul
Situated in the district of Üsküdar in the Asian part of the city, Büyük Çamlıca Tepesi (aka Çamlıca Hill) is one of the seven hills of Istanbul and the highest point in the entire city. At 268 m above sea level, Çamlıca Hill offers a panoramic view of Istanbul including both shores of the Bosphorus and the two bridges that connect Asia with Europe. On clear days, it is even possible to see the Golden Horn and Sultanahmet!
For the best visibility, I recommend visiting on a clear day around sunset. This is for sure one of the best places for sunset in Istanbul. But overall, even on foggy and rainy days, Çamlıca Hill offers you amazing views of Istanbul!
Çamlıca Sosyal Tesisleri
Besides the amazing views, in Çamlıca Hill you will find a nice park perfect for hanging out like a local, and a pleasant tea garden (Çamlıca Sosyal Tesisleri) where you can sit, and enjoy Turkish food (such as kumpir, gözleme, dönner, etc.) at reasonable prices. It is really a wonderful place to spend a couple of lazy hours, eat or just drink a Turkish tea while enjoying gorgeous view!
I observed that Çamlıca Hill is a beloved place for local people in Istanbul who (especially on weekends) come here to relax, take tons of pictures, enjoy a family picnic, or simply have a snack at the Çamlıca tea garden. The day I was there, I had the feeling I was the only “yabanci“ (foreigner).
How to Get to Çamlıca Hill
If coming from Taksim, the easiest way to access Çamlıca Hill is taking the bus 129T and get off at the Kısıklı bus stop. After that, be prepared for a 15-20 minute steep walk up the hill… Sorry!
A more scenic way to get to Çamlıca from Taksim is taking the funicular from Taksim to Kabatas and then a ferry to Kadiköy. From Kadiköy, you can take any of the following buses: 14, 14F, or 14R and get off at the Kural stop. After a 10 minute walk up the hill, you will be in Çamlıca!
If coming from Üsküdar, you can take any of these buses: 9üd, 11E, 11L, 11K, 11Y, 11A, 11üs, 11M, 11ST, or 320 and get off at the Kısıklı station. Once in Kısıklı, if you don’t want to face the walk up the steep hill, you can always take a taxi! It should not cost more than 10-15 TL.
Most of Istanbul visitors go only to touristic places like Sultanahmet, Hagia Sophia, etc. However, if you are going to spend more than a couple of days in Istanbul, I highly recommend going off the beaten path as well and visiting places such as Çamlıca Hill and Büyük Valide Han! These are the kind of places you won’t probably find in your guidebook but will really surprise you. Only from Çamlıca Hill will you realize the true size and force of this 17 million city.