The Galata Tower was for a long time the tallest building in Istanbul at more than 65m. The Genoese built the circular tower in 1348 as part of their fortifications in Galata, just across the Golden Horn from the heart of Constantinople. It was built in the medieval style, capped with a conical roof. The Ottomans used it as a watchtower to spot fires. The cone on top collapsed in 1875, but was restored during renovations in the 1960s.
Today the tower is a popular tourist attraction. The elevator only reaches the seventh floor, so you will need to walk up the last two. The upper floors are occupied by a restaurant, cafe, and night club. The observation deck, 50m up and on top of a 140m tall hill, offers stunning panoramas of Old Istanbul and the Bosphorus.
The queues are often quite long, but they move quickly. The views from the restaurant are amazing, but it's awfully expensive for such ordinary food. The cafe offers coffee at a reasonable price, though, if you're in the mood for a cup. This is a good place to visit early on in your trip in order to get your bearings. Be warned that the tower is at the top of a steep hill, so prepare for a tough walk.
Location: Bereketzade Mh., Galata
Hours: Balcony opened daily 09:00-17:00 (19:00 in the summer)