One thing I enjoy about life when I travel, is getting to watch the sun setting. It is just as good as getting to watch it rise, except you don’t have to get up super early to see it, or stay up really late, either.
Watching as the day turns into night, and a city come alive, twinkling with lights is magical. A great way to spend the end of your day I find, is watching it get darker, and reflecting and appreciating the day you’ve just had.
I have sat up many times to watch the sun go down, and I aim to do this when I travel, as much as possible. There was no exception to this, when I was in Turkey recently, and most nights I wondered out to some great spots to watch it. In Goreme, Cappadocia – I watched it from sunset point cafe, and in Fethiye, from Calis beach area.
Istanbul has some amazing spots to watch the sun setting. One of the most known places is the Galata Tower. I had seen the Tower from a few different places in the city, and thought that rather than climbing it, in the day, I’d go a night and see the city, whilst watching the sun set. Unfortunatlely, I wasn’t the only one with this idea – it is quite a popular spot.
History of the Galata Tower
The Galata Tower, is also known as the Christea Turris, which means Tower of Christ, in Latin. It was built in 1348, it was the tallest building in the city at that time, standing at almost 67 metres high. In the past, the tower was used, as a means for spotting fires in the city.
Nowadays, it is mainly a tourist attraction, with the Tower being a great place to view the city, and the great Bosporous. There is also a restaurant on the top floor, which has good views from the windows (although, you may not see much, with the number of tourists in the way)
Şişhane is the nearest metro stop to the Galata tower, which has good links to Taksim Square, which is where I, and many people choose to stay. The Karakoy Tram is also now far from the Tower.
Cost of climbing the tower
When I visited the Tower in June 2015, the cost was 20 Turkish Lira (£4.85 or US $7.55)
In summer, the tower is open until 9pm, with the ticket office closing at 8.30pm. It is possible to purchase a ticket earlier in the day, and go up later, when you are ready.
The views over Istanbul were stunning, and you could see many landmarks, such as the Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia.
The only downside, was the number of people that were crammed up on the platform with me. It made it a little less special. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the views.
Tips for watching the sun setting from the Galata Tower
- In summer, get up to the top before 8pm. Find a spot and stick to it – if you move, someone will have your spot before you can blink!
- Stay after the sun has set, to listen to the Akşam call to prayer. This happens around 8.20pm in summer, and marks the beginning of a new day in the Islamic Calendar.
- Seriously – stop taking your selfie sticks with you – it is crammed enough up there. I lost my spot, and ended up in a small area, by a window, then to make matters worse, a guy stood right in front of me with a selfie stick and took a photo of himself and his daughter; like what?!
Experiences like this should be captured in some form, but often, it is just nice to stand and watch it. Do you want to remember something through photographs, or memories from what you’ve stood and watched with your own eyes?
I can’t light no more of your darkness
All my pictures seem to fade to black and white
I’m growing tired and time stands still before me
Frozen here on the ladder of my life
It’s much to late to save myself from falling
I took a chance and changed your way of fife
But you misread my meaning when i met you
Closed the door and left me blinded by the light
Don’t let the sun go down on me
Although i search myself, it’s always someone else i see
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
But losing everything is like the sun going down on me
Elton John – Don’t let the sun go down on me.