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.


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)

8 Best Luxury Hotels in Istanbul

If you would like to experience Istanbul at the height of luxury, you can find plenty of accommodation options to choose. Some of the old palaces and historic mansions along the Bosphorus, which were once home to the Ottoman elite and royalty, are now serving as 5 star hotels to travelers from across the world. Here is te list of 8 of the best luxury hotels in Istanbul which will make your stay unforgettable.

Çırağan Palace Kempinski

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Situated in the European shores of the captivating Bosphorus, Çırağan Palace Kempinski İstanbul offers the glamor and luxury of an Ottoman palace.

Çırağan Palace Kempinski İstanbul has a total of 310 rooms, including 279 rooms and 20 suites in the main hotel section and 11 suites in the imperial palace section.

You can taste unique tastes of world cuisines prepared by award-winning chefs on the Bosphorus view balconies of The Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul.

Çırağan Palace is a city symbol and hosts the most prestigious events, meetings and weddings in the city. With its very romantic and spacious wedding terrace and the Çırağan Ballroom overlooking the Bosphorus, it offers the best wedding venue and the most romantic honeymoon options to its guests from all over the world.

Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul is the only hotel in Istanbul accessible by car, yacht and helicopter.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul At The Bosphorus

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus is another hotel which converted from an old Ottoman palace. The hotel is standing on the shores of the scenic Bosphorus, in Beşiktaş district of Istanbul which is very close to many of the historic sites, museums and shopping areas.

Four Seasons Bosphorus is one of the most popular event venues in Istanbul which hosts weddings and meetings with a banquet capacity of 700.

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The hotel amenities include heated outdoor pool, indoor pool with underwater speakers, fitness centre, Turkish Bath (Hammam) and more.

Shangri-La Bosphorus

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Located on the European side of Istanbul, Shangri-La Bosphorus is located between Istanbul Dolmabahce Palace and the Naval Museum. The hotel caters to both tourists and business travelers thanks to its central location at the heart of Istanbul.

IST TOO, the all-day dining restaurant, presents the most beloved tastes of Turkish and international cuisine to your liking, as A la Carte with original presentations.

The hotel offers lots of different amenities for guests to relax such as the Turkish bath, indoor swimming pool, special therapy suites, sauna and spa.

Turkish Bath of the 5 Star Hotel Shangri-La Bosphorus İstanbul

The grand ballroom of Shangri-La Bosphorus Istanbul, which has a height of 6 meters, serves up to a thousand people in prestigious events such as meetings, weddings and celebrations.

The Ritz-Carlton İstanbul

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The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul is a 5 star hotel designed for both business and leisure travel. Just like the city itself; The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul is the meeting point of the impressive balance between Istanbul’s unique Eastern traditions and stylish European culture.

The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul features redesigned accommodation, an outdoor spa, nearly 26,000 sq ft of event space and three restaurants and bars, all with Bosphorus views.

Thanks to its central location in Şişli district of Istanbul, The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul offers easy access to Istanbul’s must-see destinations such as the Istiklal Avenue, Taksim Square, Dolmabahçe Palace and more.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

The Four Seasons Istanbul Hotel, with its traces of 20th century neoclassical Ottoman architecture, was used as a prison in this period, and then opened to service and transformed into a luxury hotel with a large courtyard with 65 rooms.

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The hotel is within walking distance of Sultanahmet, Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, Mosaic museum and Grand Bazaar. It has a 24-hour business center and offers a sauna, a gym, a restaurant, a bar and a full-service spa.

All guestrooms at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul Sultanahmet are non-smoking. Rooms with separate bathtub and shower, private bathroom, bathroom television and specially designed toiletries are available at the hotel. 24-hour room service and dry cleaning are also available. In addition to the Express check-in service, the multilingual staff at the hotel makes their guests feel unique with the privileged service they offer.

Raffles Istanbul

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The Raffles experience is now in Istanbul. Raffles Istanbul, the new lighthouse of the Bosphorus, is a timeless combination of contemporary architecture, charming luxury, creative gastronomy and real elegance: a completely different world, overlooking a bird’s eye view of the most colorful, exciting city in the world.

Raffles Istanbul is located at one of the best intersection points of the Bosphorus. With its perfect location in Zorlu Center where fashion, show and art come together, Raffles Istanbul offers everything to experience this city beyond time. Raffles Istanbul is only 43 km away from the Istanbul International Airport and 30 km away from the Sabiha Gokcen International Airport.

The St. Regis Istanbul

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Located in Istanbul’s most vibrant neighborhood, Nisantasi district, The St. Regis features exceptional services and world-class facilities. The modernist Art Deco-influenced hotel forms a focal point for cosmopolitan Turkish and international society. The St. Regis Istanbul offers award winning guest rooms and signature suites uniting discreet luxury with timeless elegance.

You can enjoy distinguished dining experiences at Spago by master chef Wolfgang Puck or at St. Regis Brasserie, serving a contemporary World and Turkish inspired cuisine. Rejuvenate at Iridium Spa with exclusive treatments or explore the most exciting luxury fashion brands, the best art galleries, restaurants and Istanbul attractions, all mere minutes from the hotel.

Swissotel The Bosphorus

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Swissotel The Bosphorus, a member of the world’s leading hotel chain, is among the most exclusive hotels in Istanbul. Swissotel The Bosphorus is located in the center of the city on the European side and offers a living space close to the business and commercial centers.

Swissotel The Bosphorus, offers 497 spacious rooms, suites and loft suites with a high level of service and a private living space to meet the needs of its guests. Residence is part of the hotel, Swissotel Living, offers long or short-term accommodation with 63 luxury suites ranging from studios to three-bedroom suites.

The sauna, hydromassage bath and massage treatments in the Spa and wellness center give the guests a chance to get rid of the tiredness of the city and business life. There is a fully equipped fitness center for those who want to do sports and stay fit.

The Swissotel The Bosphorus restaurant serves an array of tastes from Turkish to international cuisines.

Istanbul is absolutely an amazing destination for a city honeymoon. Besides, it is the main hub of the Turkish Airlines which connects the city to the whole world as the flag carier airline of Turkey. If  you need suggestions about things to do or places to visit in Turkey on honeymoon; you may visit the “asiahoneymoonguide.com” website. They have a very informative blog post about things to in Turkey on honeymoon.