Guided tour

İstanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Historian Guide

4.6 / 5

17 reviews

Activity provider: Istanbul Welcome Card
Guided tour

İstanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Historian Guide

Activity provider: Istanbul Welcome Card

From US$ 63.58 per person

Discover İstanbul's UNESCO listed Topkapi Palace and its ornately tiled Harem chambers with an expert guide. Enjoy fast track entry and explore the palace's history as the seat of the Ottoman court.

About this activity

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Duration 1.5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Skip the line through express security check
Live tour guide
English, German, Italian, French, Arabic, Spanish
Wheelchair accessible
Private or small groups available


  • Discover the private world of the Ottoman sultans
  • Explore a sprawling UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Learn about the fascinating history of the palace from an expert guide
  • Admire the elaborate mosaics and colorful windows of the Harem chambers
  • Avoid the long queues with fast track entry
Full description

Learn all about Istanbul’s Ottoman heritage, and visit one of the city’s top landmarks, on this small-group tour of the Topkapi Palace and the Harem chambers. Avoid the queues with fast track entry and explore the sprawling 15th Century palace and its expansive museum with an expert guide.

Explore the extensive complex that winds down towards the Bosphorus. The palace itself is a balance of huge courtyards, cavernous council chambers and winding secret passageways, which were built to ensure the Ottoman sultans and their families could enjoy maximum privacy and discretion.

A highlight of the tour is the Imperial Harem, comprising over 400 chambers in one of the sultan’s private apartments. The rooms are characterized by colorful mosaic floors and stained glass windows, and provide incredible insight into the private world of the Ottoman court.

  • Topkapi Palace & Harem tickets
  • Historian guide
  • Fast track entry
  • Pickup and dropoff
  • Food and drink

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Meeting point

Meet your guide at the Topkapi Cafe Meeting Hub just in front of the main gate of the palace on the left side (before the security line).

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Important information

Know before you go

  • The tour lasts 1.5 hours
  • It is wheelchair accessible
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.6 /5

based on 17 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Value for money
  • Service

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Topkapi palace is an essential on any visitors agenda and I was really glad I’d booked a guided tour given the ground to cover and the centuries of history to hear about. Emre our guide was very knowledgeable and took the time to explain what would happen on the tour and give an excellent overview of the palace history. He covered the purpose of each building in the palace and had a good sense of humour as well as being sensitive to the individual quirks of the group! It would be very easy to spend an entire day at the palace, absorbing the history, the artefacts, the gardens and stunning views from the terraces but I would definitely recommend a tour from someone who knows what they’re talking about as it makes he experience so much more beneficial and enjoyable.

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March 26, 2023

The group was quite big and sometimes it was difficult to hear everything. The guide was engaging but did keep answering phone calls in the first part of the tour and at the end asked for money ‘to help him rescue cats and as a tip for the tour’. Very uncomfortable because this your was pretty good expensive anyway, other guide certainly didn’t seem to expect a tip but this guy blatantly asked for money! There wasn’t a line to skip. Although I haven’t tried it, I would probably recommend the free audio guide instead- this wasn’t well advertised but many people seemed to take it. The relics had a 20minute queue after the tour- these weren’t well organised, and to me at least, not worth queuing for. It was a few swords and cups from prophets with no real meaning unless it’s a topic you know well I wouldn’t bother.

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March 26, 2023

Dan was very knowledgeable and courteous He made the tour enjoyable and fun We learned a lot about the history The first stop shopping before the tour in Bethlehem was too expensive and unnecessary and the lunch buffet restaurant was to expensive and not enticing

March 26, 2023

Product ID: 432221