A street art tour of Istanbul

One thing that pleasantly surprised me about Istanbul was the amount of street art we found.

Rather than go on about it a whole lot, as I am certainly no art critic, I will just take you on a little tour through my camera lens.

Istanbul street art tour photography travel

On our fist day, we headed out into the little back streets behind our hotel in Karaköy. I had no idea when we booked, but apparently it’s the hipster district of Istanbul. So of course we felt right at home… (Note: sarcasm).

We did however keep stumbling across really cool street art, so I thought I’d take a record of it.

First we found this alley way that had been strung up with multicoloured umbrellas. If you follow me on Instagram you may have already seen this from another view (shameless plug)

It was very fitting, given it was overcast and rainy our first day. I also love the incongruous location, right above a Honda spares and repairs outlet.

Soon enough, we were stumbling across various slogans. Some hinted at existential crises.

Some provided helpful reminders.

And others, free life coaching. Possibly what your mother would say if you did call her after all.

There were of course the tourist pleasing murals, but done in a far more charming fashion than I’ve seen elsewhere.

And then there were the things which I just…. Any ideas?

Living things were generally well represented, though.

And in fact real living things weren’t safe, either.

Some art was absolutely adorable, whilst others was frankly downright terrifying. Here we have both of the above, next to each other. That face haunted my dreams I swear.

Speaking of scary, I found this girl hanging out in the Topkapi Palace gardens. She is definitely a candidate for the next series of Doctor Who. Horrifying.

Moving swiftly along, we apparently found the rainbow staircase district. First up was this wheeze-inducing climb,

Shortly followed by its slightly smarter neighbour. Perhaps the rainbows are supposed to distract you from your burning legs?

Night time is no exception either, with trees coming alight with all manner of decorations.

And finally, I leave you with my favourite wall in all of Istanbul. It’s just madness and I love it.

How did you enjoy your street art tour of Istanbul? Where’s your favourite street art destination?


P.S. Want more Istanbul? Try herehere or here.



  1. 4th April 2016 / 18:51

    I love street art so much! Those umbrellas are so cool, and that child has probably scarred me for life now! I don’t know if the colors would have been able to distract me from my burning legs, but those stairs are so beautiful!

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:22

      I really enjoyed your posts about the street art in Houston, so I had a feeling you might like this! It was awesome just discovering it all over the city. That girl haunts my dreams, honestly. Who thought that was a good idea??

  2. 5th April 2016 / 09:00

    Whoa! You found some really amazing street art. I love those rainbow stairs…. I wonder how come I didn’t see it! The alleyway of umbrella is always really cool!

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:23

      We really just stumbled across it! I’m sure there was heaps we missed. And I didn’t even post all my pictures either! The stairs were in kind of a random place, we saw them as we walked along the Bosphorus to get the ferry. Maybe I should make a map. The umbrellas were my favourite 🙂

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:23

      Me too! But I would not love climbing them. I’m glad we weren’t staying at the top!

  3. Joanna - Me-And-My-Itchy-Feet
    5th April 2016 / 12:21

    That little girl (Dr Who reference is great, by the way) is going to haunt my dreams now!

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:24

      Yep, you and me both! And the weirdest part was how she was just right in the middle of the park, no other statues or anything near. Like she was a real girl that had been petrified mid-play. I’m not helping here, am I?!

  4. Kerri Taylor
    5th April 2016 / 13:49

    seriously breathtaking! the umbrellas. the panda – i just LOVE street art.

    xoxo cheshire kat

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:26

      It was so cool, and the best part was we didn’t even go looking for it, it just kept surprising us. The panda was cute, S took a a picture of me next to it but I DO NOT look cute so that one will not be seeing the Internet.

  5. 5th April 2016 / 13:50

    Thanks for the tour! Loved the upside down umbrellas and night time lanterns. I must admit – those stairs scare me! How far up do they expect you to climb?

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:27

      The umbrellas were my favourite 🙂 and they were the first things we saw too, so started the whole thing off for me! As for the rainbow stairs, I dread to think. Maybe you count in rainbow sections? Like, 2 Roy G Biv’s and you’re good?

  6. 5th April 2016 / 16:48

    urban street art is one of my favorite things! i LOVE all the umbrellas, and the bright colors of the stairs. The panda melts my heart, and “don’t forget to call your mother” made me laugh out loud. 🙂

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:28

      Haha, yeah I thought that was some conscientious graffiti! It was all so much fun, and so different. It wasn’t at all on my radar before we stumbled across the umbrellas but I’m so glad it kept finding us!

  7. 5th April 2016 / 18:02

    How lovely! I love looking at street art and the umbrellas were a nice touch. I think my favorite was the call your mother one! Found you on the travel Tuesday link up.

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:29

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I loved the umbrellas the most. And now I think I need to go and call my mother 🙂 thanks for finding me!

  8. Jen
    5th April 2016 / 18:12

    This is so cool! I love stuff like this.

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:30

      I had no idea, but turns out I love it too! I’m now a street art convert and will be looking out for it wherever I go.

  9. 5th April 2016 / 19:23

    oh my goodness. that doctor who girl, and the scary nightmare face, and then the thing with the mostly blue and the animal like what. i can’t even use words to describe it haha. love the umbrellas and the reminder to call your mother. this is seriously fabulous, would not have expected this from istanbul.

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:32

      Yeah you summed up my thought process pretty well! It just kept getting weirder. I had no idea I was going to find such cool stuff, and I’m so glad I did. Well except for the doctor who girl. I wish I hadn’t found her.

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:33

      I think it might just! I’m glad I persuaded you to go to Istanbul, let me know if you make it. And if you can, look for the hand rolled Turkish delight. It’s a whole different ball game to the super sweet squares.

  10. 5th April 2016 / 21:14

    Lovely finds! My favourites are the colourful steps and the tree decorations, so pretty! As if I didn’t already really want to go to Istanbul… swoon!

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:34

      I do love a decorated tree. Maybe it’s the connection to Christmas trees? I don’t know, they had some pretty stuff though. I do recommend Istanbul very highly, I hope you’re able to make it when you’re over next!

  11. LydiaCLee
    5th April 2016 / 21:53

    Love the steps and the lights – just beautiful. And did you call your mother? 😉

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:35

      Err… Must go and do that now! Perhaps I should print that one off and hang it on my wall?!

      Glad you liked the steps and the lights. Everything was so pretty!

  12. 6th April 2016 / 01:36

    I love the umbrellas, and the rainbow stairs are so pretty!

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:35

      They are very pretty, I’m just glad I don’t have to climb them :O

  13. 6th April 2016 / 07:53

    Love the umbrella installation! 🙂 You certainly saw some great artwork. It reminds me of Melbourne, everywhere you turn there’s something awesome on a wall there. Although my bestie has great success finding interesting graffiti in Sydney too. Don’t see much of it in Brisbane sadly!

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • 6th April 2016 / 21:37

      Yes I’ve heard the street art in Melbourne is next level. I’ve never actually been but now I’m keen to go and check it out. I haven’t seen too much in Sydney but it’s not something I’ve really looked out for before. Not anymore!

  14. 6th April 2016 / 09:41

    Such interesting photographs! I have never been to Istanbul but it looks like a very quirky place to visit. I like the artistic touches dotted around everywhere.

    Lovely post.

    Laura xo


    • 6th April 2016 / 21:38

      Thank you! It really was quirky, and I wasn’t expecting that at all. Honestly I had the best time, I was constantly surprised by all the things we found.

  15. 8th April 2016 / 23:00

    How awesome!! Street art can be beautiful, ugly, and sometimes, downright bizarre! Love the quotes, in particular. Thanks for linking up with us – and hopefully, you’ll be co-hosting with us next week?!

  16. 9th April 2016 / 19:16

    I loved “remember to call your mother” and the joker reference on the statue pictures. Also the staircase is surreal. Thanks for the info, I would like to stay in a neighborhood like this when I go! (hopefully soon!)

    • 18th April 2016 / 10:59

      The statue is so creepy! I do hope you get to visit soon, and if you do I highly recommend staying in Karaköy. It’s brilliant. Let me know if you make it!

  17. Samina
    11th December 2016 / 19:54

    Eeeek!! Love this post! Stumbled upon it while trying to find the umbrella street as I’m going in Jan and want to put it in my own blog (insta @PakistaniDiaries) and now I need to find al these other cool street arts! So glad I found your blog can’t wait for my trip! X

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