10 Great Movies Filmed in Istanbul

With it’s deep history, unique culture and fantastic architecture; Istanbul has always been a cinematic city. Fabulous atmosphere in the city has inspired many artists throughout the history and it continues to do so.

Since the earliest days of cinema, many great movies has been filmed in Istanbul. In this article we listed 10 great movies which are either set in Istanbul or some part of the movie is filmed in Istanbul. These movies will not only give you a couple of hours of entertainment but they will also  take you on a journey through time.

1) Tintin and the Golden Fleece (1961)

Tintin and the Golden Fleece - Tintin movie set in Istanbul
Tintin and Captain Haddock are cruising on a ship in Bosphorus

Based on the comic book series “The Adventures of Tintin” written by Belgian writer-artist Hergé, Tintin and the Golden Fleece (Tintin et le Mystère de La Toison d’or) is a live-action movie first released in 1961. The movie was filmed in Turkey and Greece with the main characters of Tintin and Captain Haddock, who are searching for treasure after inheriting a worthless ship called the “Golden Fleece”.

The movie was the first live-action addaptation of The Adventures of Tintin series. We found a short but high quality video on YouTube which was compiled of the Istanbul scenes of the movie. Unfortunately, the video only has Turkish subtitles but watching the beautiful Istanbul from the perspective of 60 years back is priceless.

2) From Russia With Love (1963)

 Daniela Bianchi and Sean Connery in the movie set of James Bond movie: ‘From Russia With Love’
Daniela Bianchi and Sean Connery in the movie set of ‘From Russia With Love’

In this 1963 movie, Legendary MI6 agent 007, or James Bonds, visits Istanbul in search of a stolen encryption device.

The movie starring famous actor Sean Connery as James Bond was mostly filmed in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and the Sirkeci railway station are some of the locations where the movie was filmed.

In this 1 hour and 55 minutes long of movie, beautiful Italian actress Daniela Bianchi accompanies agent 007 as Tatiana Romanova, a Soviet consulate clerk in Istanbul. Many 007 fans and cinema critics frequently considered “From Russia with Love” as the best movie of the James Bond film series.

3) Topkapi (1964)

DVD Cover photo of the movie "Topkapi"The movie “Topkapi” is based on the British author Eric Ambler’s novel “The Light of Day” and it tells the story of a conman who gets mixed up with a group of international theft gang who plan to rob the Topkapı Museum in Istanbul to steal a jewelled dagger.

The movie was filmed in the summer of 1963 and released in 1964. You can watch the high quality video below to see the Istanbul scenes of the movie.The video features sceneries from Istanbul and an oil wrestling scene filmed in Edirne province of Turkey which is famous for it’s traditional oil wrestling tournament.

4) Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Movie Poster of the 1974 Murder on the Orient Express
Movie Poster of the 1974 Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express is a movie which is based on the same name novel written by Agatha Christie. The movie tells a story which took place in the 1930s and depicts a murder occured on the famous Orient Express train which runs between the Istanbul-Paris route. 

The film was commercially successfull and received good comments from the critics, as well as receiving six nominations at the 47th Academy Awards. Ingrid Bergman won her third Oscar for her performance in “Murder on the Orient Express”.

Another film adaptation of the story was released on 3 November 2017; featuring a cast of famous actors and actresses such as; Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz and Dame Judi Dench.

5) The World Is Not Enough (1999)

007 James Bond the World Is Not Enough original film poster
“The World Is Not Enough” original film poster

The second Jamed Bond movie in our list is “The World is Not Enough” starring famous actor Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. It’s the 19th movie in the James Bond series and 3rd one that is featuring Pierce Brosnan.

In this movie, which is filmed in France, Spain, Azerbaijan, UK and Turkey, James Bond is assigned to proctect the daughter of an oil tycoon while trying to uncover a nuclear plot. In the Istanbul scenes of the movie, Maiden’s Tower and Küçüksu Palace are shown.

6) The Accidental Spy (2001)

The Accidental Spy is a Jackie Chan movie released in 2001. The movie was filmed in Hong Kong, Seoul, Istanbul and Cappadocia. The movie tells the story of a salesman from Hong Kong who finds himself as an accidental spy, chasing a narcotic gang in the exotic locations of Turkey and Seoul.

7) Skyfall (2012)

James Bond movie Skyfall posterSkyfall is the 3rd James Bond movie in our list. In this twenty-third movie of the James Bond series, agent 007 investigates an attack on MI6 which forces the agency to relocate. The filming of the movie took place in 2012. Istanbul, Adana and Fethiye provinces were the main filming locations where the scenes in Turkey filmed.

In Istanbul scenes; The Spice Bazaar, New Mosque, the Grand Post Office, Sultanahmet Square and the Grand Bazaar were shown. The movie also features the famous motobike chase scene across the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar, which was critized for allegedly damaging historic buildings while filming.

8) Taken II (2012)

Liam Neeson movie Taken 2 Istanbul poster

Taken 2 is the second movie in the Taken triology. The movie follows the story of a retired CIA agent Bryan Mills who takes his family to a trip to Istanbul and kidnapped by the leader of a gang who seeks revenge for the death of his son.

Taken 2, starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen was filmed in late 2011 and early 2012. Istanbul scenes of the movie were filmed in November 2011.

9) Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)

Until now, our list was full of action and adventure movies which would make you think that Istanbul is full of action and adrenaline. Who knows, maybe because of the mysterious and sometimes chaotic atmosphere of Istanbul, many directors and producers have thought that Istanbul is the best spot to film their movies full of action. However, there also many other movies which are looking into Istanbul from a romantic perspective. Dil Dhadakne Do is one of them.

This Indian romantic comedy tells the story of the Mehra family, who invite their family and friends on a cruise trip to Mediterranean to celebrate the parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. The movie starring famous Indian actors and actresses such as; Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar. The movie also features voiceover performance of Amir Khan as the family dog Pluto who narrates the story.

Dil Dhadakne Do (which literally means “Let (your) Heart Beat” in Hindi) was filmed in several Mediterranean countries including Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Spain. It was released on 2 May 2015. Turkey scenes of the movie were filmed in Antalya, Cappadocia and Istanbul.

10) Inferno (2016)

Inferno is an American thriller based on Dan Brown’s novel of same name and it’s the sequel to The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels & Demons (2009) movies.


In this movie, Harvard University professor Robert Langdon (portrayed by Tom Hanks) teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks (portrayed by Felicity Jones) to prevent a massive biological attack, which would unleash a deadly virus and wipe out half of the world’s population. Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern were the main filming locations of scenes filmed in Turkey.

NOTABLE MENTIONS:

We included notable mentions to our list. These movies also features scenes which were filmed in different parts of Istanbul. On your next Netflix and Chill sessions, don’t forget to watch one of these 14 movies if you alredy haven’t watched them yet. If you would like to add a new movie to our list, don’t be shy to comment below :))

Hitman (2007)

International (2009)

The Two Faces of January (2014)

The Water Diviner (2014)

Why Istanbul is the Best Muslim Friendly Tourist Destination in the World?

Travelling around the world and seeing it’s wonders is a dream for everyone. People are travelling to foreign countries more than ever and global tourism industy is booming. However, for the muslim community making a travel plan might be a lot harder than you think sometimes. Not all the destinations in the world are offering services for the different expectations and needs of the muslim travellers such as halal food and prayer locations. Also, there is the ugly truth of increasing xenophobia and Islamaophia in some countries which obviously gives goosebumps to muslim community.

Istanbul on the other hand is one of the best options for the muslim travellers and families who would like experience an unforgettable holiday. With it’s unique culture, history, climate, cuisine, nature and archtitecture; Istanbul attracts millions of Muslims and non-Muslims every year. In this article we made a list of reasons about Why Istanbul is the Best Muslim Friendly Tourist Destination in the World?

By the way, if you are planning to visit Turkey for your honeymoon and you need suggestions about things to do and places to visit in Turkey; you may visit the “asiahoneymoonguide.com” website. In one of their article, they shared very useful information about things to in Turkey on honeymoon.

1) Muslim tourists feel safe and free in Istanbul

muslim tourist women in istanbul hagia sophia

Istanbul is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world where the most of the population is muslim. The city is a melting pot of people from different religions, cultures and lifestyles. Turkey is a secular country. Unlike many other muslim countries, people can wear whatever they want in public places and wouldn’t draw attention or feel uncomfortable.

It’s highly unlikely for a muslim tourist to experience an islamophobic bullying in Istanbul. Unfortunately, in many popular destinations in Europe, muslim women are more likely to experience anti-Muslim sentiment, particularly if they are wearing a headscarf, hijab or burka. Likewise, for those muslims who would like to enjoy a little bit more free lifestyle than the ones  in their homecountry, Istanbul is a free zone full of adult entertainment venues and bustling nightlife .

Last but not least, as the most develepod city of the Republic of Turkey, Istanbul has a very good public safety infrastructure and low crime rates which helps tourists feel safer and relaxed during their vacation.

2) Religious services are available across Istanbul

ortaköy mosque in istanbul
Ortaköy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye Camii)

There are mosques in almost every corner in Istanbul which makes life a lot easier for muslim tourists. Muslim tourists can hear the calming sound of Adhan (Azan / Call to Prayer) five times a day. Almost all of the mosques nearby touristic areas in Istanbul offers a designated wudu and praying area for woman.

3) Istanbul has a deep-rooted history and culture

Jesus Christ Mosaic in Hagia Sophia

There are some cities in the world which stand out with it’s unique culture. Istanbul is definetely one of those cities. Istanbul served as the imperial capital for Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman empires for almost 16 centuries. Legacies of these empires can be seen in every corner of Istanbul. The city is full or architectural gems. Thanks to it’s geographic location, Istanbul naturally embraces both the East and the West. The city  In 2010, all this beauty was as the European Capital of Culture by the European Union. Today, Istanbul continues it’s reputation as the cultural capital of Turkey with it’s thriving art scene that attracts millions around the world in spite of the rapid social and political changes.

4) Istanbul is Very Affordable

Al-Istanbul: How Turkey’s largest city became a hub for Arab tourists

Compared to other European tourism capitals in Europe, Istanbul has always been an affordable tourist destination for those on a budget. However, due to the rapid decrease of Turkish lira within the last 3 years, the city has become even more affordable than ever before. In August 2018, The Turkish lira has slumped to record low of 7.24 against the US Dollar. Currently it’s been traded around 5.90 USD. This devaluation makes everything extremely cheap for those who earn and spend foreign currencies.

You can find plenty of 3-4 star hotels in Istanbul for 50-100$ per night. Depending on the season and availabilty, you can even find a room in 5 star hotel with a Bosphorus view for 350-400$ per night. Dining out and night life is also very affordable in Istanbul. You can enjoy a dinner table full of mezes, kebabs and drinks which will only cost you around 10-20$ per person. You can expect to pay the same for a Traditional Turkish Breakfast. Cheaper or more expensive alternatives can always be found in the city depending on your budget.

Tickets for transportation, museums, historic sites and entertainment venues are so cheap that it will encourage you to go out and explore.

5) World Famous Cuisine Which is Halal

dinner table full of turkish food and turkish kebabs

You have probably heard a few things about the richness of the Turkish Cuisine by now. It is an undisputable fact that the Turkish Cuisine is one of the best in the world which appeals to everyone’s taste. Baklava, kebab, ice cream, döner and Turkish Delight are the first ones that comes in to mind but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Delicious foods are available for every budget and taste in Istanbul. You can either snack on the cheap yet delicious street food or you can reserve a table in an upscale restaurant by the breathtaking view of the Bosphorus. Best examples of the unique cuisines of Turkey’s geographic regions are all represented very well in Istanbul’s bustling dining scene. The best part of this situation for the muslim tourists is that 99,9% of the restaurants in Istanbul serve halal food.

6) Istanbul Has Plenty of Shopping Venues

istinye park shopping mall in istanbul
İstinye Park Shopping Mall in Istanbul

From hundred years old bazaars to upscale shopping malls full of high-end fashion brands, Istanbul has limitless alternatives for those who are looking for great deals. Thanks to the decreasing value of Turkish Lira and modern infrastructure of the shopping venues, Istanbul continues to maintain it’s ages old reputation as the shopping hub of the region. Istanbul is home to the worlds oldest shopping center; the Grand Bazaar which is a covered market with more than 4000 shops and was built in the 15th century to make the city a capital of commerce. However, if you want to hit the streets, Istiklal Avenue is the must go place with dozens of shops, restaurants, cafes, street musicians and performers.

On both Asian and European side of Istanbul, there are lot’s of shopping malls with different themes and concepts which. Some shopping malls are positioned to attract high-end fashion customers whereas some of them are positioned to offer endless selection and bargain sales all year round. Almost all of these shopping malls are accessible by public transportation.

7) Reaching to Istanbul and Navigating the City is Easy

turkish airlines connecting flights

Istanbul is a destination that is very easy to reach. From its main base Istanbul, Turkish Airlines has direct flights to more than 300 destinations. Many other airline companies also has direct flights from major cities around the world. Thanks to the recently opened new Istanbul Airport, number of destinations with directs flights is expected to increace within coming years.

Getting around in Istanbul is also very easy. Istanbul has a highly developed public transportation infrastructure even though the city has been divided by the Bosphorus Strait. You can cross the Bosphorus by using the metro, ferry or one of the 3 bridges spanning between Asia and Europe. Public transportation cards are available at more than 2000 authorized dealers throughout Istanbul. In addition, you can purchase 1-Pass and 2-pass cards from nearly 1000 Biletmatik machines (Ticketmatic – Automatic Filling Machines).

8) Climate is Very Pleasant

Although the best time to visit Istanbul is spring or autumn, the city has a nice climate all year round. Istanbul experiences all four seasons but both in winter and summer, climate is acceptable and extreme tempratures are not common. In fact, many tourists from the Middle East and Nort Africa are visiting Istanbul in summer to get away from the extreme heat in their countries.

9) Modern Tourism Infrastructure

Shangri-La Bosphorus Istanbul Hotel Entrance
Shangri-La Bosphorus Istanbul

In 2018 nearly 40 million tourists visited Turkey. As a touristic destination, popularity of Turkey is increasing after a tough a few years and tourism industry is booming again. Thanks to this recovery and growth expectation, investments in tourism industry is also rising. New hotels and entertainment venues are opening every day in an effort satisfy the needs of tourists flocking to Istanbul and other major cities in Turkey. If you are planning a visit to Istanbul, chances are you are going to see lot’s of modern and newly opened facilities whereever you go. These newly opened facilities are offering both comfort and luxury in order to stay competitive in the ever changing tourism market.

10) Health & Aesthetic Clinics in Istanbul are Modern and Affordable

Istanbul is a rising medical tourism center. It attracts thousands of visitors every year from Europe and Middle East who wants to heal while they are on vacation. The reason why Istanbul become a health tourism hub is because it has state of the art clinics which are accredited by international organizations and offers health and aesthetic services. The medical staff in Turkey is highly trained and facilities are very modern. These modern yet affordable facilities provide services in dentistry, orthopedics, oncology, aesthetic medicine and more. Unfortunately, these services are either very expensive or provided in a not so modern facilities both in Europe and Middle East. Turkish Goverment subsidizes the medical tourism sector and encourages private sector to open new clinics.