Topkapi Palace

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Topkapi Palace: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line

1. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line

Skip the line and visit the most important museum of Turkey and the Balkan Peninsula. Discover how the Topkapi Palace was built between 1466 - 1478 and served for over 400 years as the residency and administrative headquarter of the Ottoman Sultans. The guide will explain to you the entire story of the Palace during a one hour tour. Marvel at the great architectural beauty of this important monument of the Ottoman Empire.

Istanbul: Official Museum Pass

2. Istanbul: Official Museum Pass

Travel around İstanbul and see some of its wonderful landmarks. Save money with the official Istanbul Museum Pass and visit the museums within 5 days of activation. During your stay, choose to visit any of these great attractions, Topkapi Palace with the Harem Section, Hagia Irene, Galata Tower Museum, Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, The Great Palace Mosaics Museum, Turbes Museum, Rumeli Hisari Fortress Museum, Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam, and Galata Museum of Culture and Whirling Dervishes. After booking, receive the museum pass in your email and use it to enter each landmark one time within 5 days from first-pass activation. Show your MuseumPass QR Kod, and get your Audio Guide Device in Topkapı Place from the Audio Guide Box Office.

Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket

3. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket

Discover the Topkapi Palace on a guided tour. Learn about Ottoman history in the Palace and the life of the Sultan's family in the harem.  Meet your dedicated guide at a hot spot for traditional Turkish delicacies, where there are restroom facilities and you can purchase water or snacks. Then let your guide take you to Topkapi Palace. Explore the splendor of Topkapi Palace, the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Discover the complex of buildings, pavilions, and courtyards was a self-contained city, which most inhabitants rarely left. Explore the outer-terraced gardens and admire the view over the Golden Horn. Visit the harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded domestic and political power. The harem housed hundreds of women and family members as well as hundreds of eunuchs, who performed a wide range of duties. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. The tour ends with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.

Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket & Audio Guide

4. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket & Audio Guide

Take the shortest way into the glorious Topkapi Palace of Istanbul. Choose the time that suits you best, meet your host in front of the museum, and go directly to the entrance. You can save up to 2 or 3 hours by not standing in the famous lines. Following security checks, receive a brief introduction as to what to see inside, including the council hall, arms and armory section, or holy relics. Afterward, enjoy the palace at your own pace. You can enjoy a long coffee break in-between looking over a spectacular view of the Bosphorus. It is possible to see all of the palace within one hour, or you can choose to stay inside for several hours at your leisure. After your 30 minute-tour with your guide, you can stay inside the museum as long as you would like.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia & Topkapi Palace Combo Ticket

5. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia & Topkapi Palace Combo Ticket

Visiting Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace requires standing in 2 lines: one for the ticket, and one for the security check. With this combo ticket, you skip the ticket lines and enter the Topkapi Palace as fast as possible, giving you more time to spend inside these museums. To use your voucher, meet your local host at the entrance of Hürrem Sultan Hamam. They are available at the time selected during the booking process at a very visible meeting point. Your host will then take you through the skip the ticket line gate to enter the museums. With this combo ticket, you can visit each museum one time. You can visit both museums in one day or you can visit each museum on different days. It is recommended to visit the museums either before 10:00 AM or after 2:00 PM since it will be less crowded inside.

Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

6. Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

Discover Istanbul's most iconic sights on a van tour. Listen to your guide recount tales of the city's colorful past as you pass by landmarks such as the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, and Hippodrome. Round off the experience with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. Start your tour at the Hippodrome of Constantinople, which was the sports and social center of the old city. Discover major artworks including the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the fountain of Willhelm II. Then, continue to the Blue Mosque, whose 6 minarets adorn Istanbul’s skyline. Next up is the Topkapi Palace, which was home to Ottoman emperors between the 15th and 19th centuries. Marvel at the jewel-stuffed treasury, the Ottoman Empire's imperial collections, and priceless displays of Oriental porcelain. If the Topkapi Palace is closed on your trip date, you'll visit the Nakkas Cistern instead. Continue to the Hagia Sophia Mosque, a monument of equal significance to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Behold the dome and stunning mosaics of this architectural gem as your guide recounts its turbulent history. Then, enter the Grand Bazaar with over 3,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry to ceramics and leather goods. Take a stroll around the Spice Bazaar and soak in the aroma of different spices, dried fruits, nuts, sweets, and lokum (Turkish Delights).

İstanbul Welcome Card

7. İstanbul Welcome Card

When you arrive in Istanbul your welcome package will be waiting at your hotel. Inside the package, find your card loaded with 10 rides for public transportation and vouchers to join the Bosphorus Cruise, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, and Topkapi Palace tours. Skip the lines and explore the Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, and the Topkapi Palace with a historian guide. Have fun on a cruise along the Bosphorus and witness breathtaking views over the shimmering waters of Istanbul's magnificent river. See bridges, palaces, fortresses, seaside residences and, many other historical places. Travel around the city with 10 transportation tickets including metro, tram, ferry, funicular, bus, and metrobus. Take advantage of numerous discounts at many top attractions across the city and discover museums with the included audio guides at your own pace.

Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise with Audio App

8. Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise with Audio App

Enjoy a Bosphorus cruise in Istanbul and admire the cosmopolitan city from a completely different perspective while enjoying the beautiful views of the Orient and the Occident at the same time. The Bosphorus is 32km long, separates Europe from Asia, and connects the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea. Cruise along the strait between Asia and Europe and discover Istanbul tourist attractions, magnificent palaces, ancient castles, and other historical sites, as well as fine seaside residences and the Bosphorus bridge. Admire the views of Galata Tower, Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, and Blue Mosque. Furthermore, you will have a glance at the spectacular pieces of authentic civic architecture on the European and Asian coasts.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi & Basilica Combo Ticket

9. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi & Basilica Combo Ticket

After signing up for this experience, your name will be on the list for each of the monuments for 3 days. Be free to visit at the available times, gathering at the meeting points in front of the museums to skip the line with an authorized host. You can choose to visit all 3 museums in 1 day, or the three of them separately on different days. Once inside the museums, get tips on how to discover the museums in the best way. Afterward, you can stroll through the museums at your own pace as you listen to your audio guide app and explore for as long as you like. If you have any questions about the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, the Cisterna Basilica, or Istanbul in general, please do not hesitate to ask your host.

Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

10. Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

Discover the best of Istanbul on this 1, 2, or 3-day private tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. A few of the possible attraction you'll visit on your tour include: The Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul's in London, St. Peter's in Rome, and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Blue Mosque, more officially known as the "Sultanahmet" Mosque has striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop in to the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. The Hippodrome is the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handcraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name — in Turkish, Dolma means "filled" or "stuffed," and bahce means "garden". Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars, and from there, it's an interesting and scenic 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area. See this and more depending on which length tour option you select. Possible Itinerary for each day of the tour: Day 1: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hippodrome Day 2: Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal, Galata Tower Day 3: Suleymaniye Mosque, Chora Church, Fener/Balat Districts, Pierre Loti Hill

Planning Your Visit

  • Obey the Dress Code

    You’ll get denied entrance to the Sacred Relics Department if you’re showing some skin. No shorts, short skirts or sleeveless shirts are permitted. It is the holiest section of Topkapi Palace, Turkey.

  • Orient yourself

    Along with the harem section, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul houses four courtyards or “avlu.” Shade or eateries for resting aren’t too hard to find. There’s a café and a restaurant in the first courtyard, a second café in the third courtyard, and a second restaurant in the fourth.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Open Wednesday through Monday. October 26 - April 15, 9:00AM to 4:45PM. April 15 - October 26, 9:00AM to 6:45PM.
  • Is it expensive?
    Museum tickets start at 30TL (about $11), Harem tickets start at 15TL (about $5) and continue up with perks and tours.
  • Will I need a guide?
    A guide will definitely add to the experience! Audio guides are also available for rent at the palace.
  • How to get there
    Take the tram to the Gülhane or Sultanahmet stations, or the Marmaray to the Sirkeci Station. It's a short walk from any station.
  • Additional information

    • Cloths can be provided by onsite staff if you need to cover up during your visit to the Sacred Relics Department.

    • Stroller and photography are not permitted inside, so please plan ahead.

Other Sightseeing Options in Topkapi Palace

Want to discover all there is to do in Topkapi Palace? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Topkapi Palace

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 3,913 reviews

Friendly service. Upon boarding, you will get a complimentary drink of water/coffee/tea. On board itself, if you take any drinks/sandwiches/snacks, you must pay (the old man doesn’t speak English at all but really friendly).

My guide was entertaining and easy to get along with. He did an outstanding job explaining the history and cultural aspects of Istanbul.

was very informative..hazal was our guide.she is so friendly we felt like we were with family member.was very nice experience

great and interesting guide to know about the history of the historical Istanbul

Great value for money! The audio guide on the app is great