Museum Pass for Istanbul
Istanbul Museum Pass Worth it? Where to buy and use?
Turkey is the 6th largest tourism country in the World. (Source: telegraph.co.uk) Turkey is situated in the Anatolian Peninsula, where many different civilizations had lived. Some of the civilisations that settled down in Anatolia are Ancient Greeks, Hittites, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans.
There is a very rich culture especially in Istanbul and Turkey due to the heritage of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Each and every city of Turkey worth to visit but the most popular places are Istanbul, Ephesus and Cappadocia. These three places are considered as the Golden-Triangle of Turkey. There are several types of Museum Pass Cards to use in these regions.
In this article I would like to introduce you the Istanbul Museum Pass tourist card.
Hire A Tour Guide in Istanbul!
There are two ways to skip the long lines in Istanbul: You can either buy an Istanbul Museum Pass or hire a Private Tour Guide in Istanbul. If you are interested in the latter, you may kindly check what I can offer to you: Half Day Tour of Istanbul Old City.
What Is Istanbul Museum Pass?
Istanbul Museum Pass is practical tourist card provided by Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry. It’s a very practical tool in order not to wait in the long lines. The price of the card was perfectly balanced during the 2016 & 2017 tourism seasons. However Istanbul Museum Pass’ price is 185 TL by October, 2018. You need to consider some things before you buy it. So let’s review them!
Museum Pass Istanbul Turkey 2019
Istanbul Museum Pass PROS & CONS
PROS: Fast track advantage, convenient for 2-3 days visit, saves your time, easy to get. Besides it provides some discount in private museums (Koc Museum, Istanbul Modern, Pera Museum) and some activities.
CONS: It can not be used for Dolmabahce Palace, Basilica Cistern, Galata Tower. It might not be suitable for daily visits & layovers. You need to visit at least 3 museums to cover the cost of the card.
Istanbul Museum Pass Worth It?
If you have only one day in Istanbul and planning to see only Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia budget-wise it’s not recommended. Because Hagia Sophia entrance fee is 60 TL and Topkapi Palace entrance fee is also 60 TL. Visiting these major pillars of Istanbul Old City costs 120 TL. So what to do next?
Here is how to cover the cost of Museum Pass in a day
Paying a standart visit to Topkapi Palace takes approximately 2 hours. If you have some more time to visit Topkapi Palace’s extentions (Harem, Archaeology Museum, Hagia Eirene Church) you can cover the cost.
You may visit the Harem Rooms which would cost extra 35 Lira, the price is rounded up to 155 TL, still below the cost of Istanbul Museum Pass.
If you have some more time to visit the Istanbul Archaeology Museums (located in Topkapi Palace complex) which costs 30 TL, then the card covers its cost. (cost 185 TL so far)
You may also visit the Hagia Eirene Church which is located in the first courtyard of Topkapi Palace. It costs additional 30 TL. Now the ticket price comes up to 215 TL which is obviously more expensive than the Museum Pass itself.
It means that you can get your money back in one single day, as long as you have long hours to spend in Topkapi Palace complex.
If you’ll have some more energy, you may visit the Turkish Islamic Arts Museum (35 TL) which is located next to the Blue Mosque. The cost of these visits will be 250 TL in a single day!
You may consider CHEAP Skip-The-Line tours
What is Skip-The-Line Tour? The price of these tours a bit more expensive than the museum tickets but they offer you fast track guided tour.
- 75 minutes Topkapi Palace skip the line tour
- 60 minutes Hagia Sophia skip the line tour
- 30 minutes Basilica Cistern skip the line tour
- 4 Hours Dolmabahce Palace priority access tour
PS: You can consider Dolmabahce Palace skip-the-line tour seriously since there is no way to obtain fast track in there even if you would purchase the Museum Pass. (Museum Pass is not valid there)
Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, Turkey
High Season & Low Season Comparisons
High Season: If you are visiting the Istanbul in Spring or Autumn, there might be long lines in front of museums. Especially April, May, June, September and October considered as the peak of the high season.
I would recommend you to buy the card even if you don’t think it’s worth the money. When you see hundreds of people waiting in the lines, you would understand what I’m saying.
Low Season: If you will visit Istanbul during the winter (December, January, October) or when it’s too hot (July, August) then you will less likely to see long lines in front of museums. However there are exceptions like Christmas, Easter or Islamic holidays.
Where To Buy Istanbul Museum Pass?
The Museum Pass Istanbul is sold at museums listed below. You may simply go to the ticket offices and ask for your personal museum pass. You need a copy of your passport or your id card for registration. The card is registered under your name and can be used by the owner only!
- Topkapi Palace Museum
- Hagia Sophia Museum
- Chora Museum
- Istanbul Mosaic Museum
- Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
- Istanbul Archaeological Museums
Map of Tourist Attractions in Istanbul
Where To Use Museum Pass Istanbul?
- Hagia Sophia Museum
- Topkapı Palace Museum (including Hagia Eirene Church and Harem)
- Archeology Museums of Istanbul (Next to Topkapi Palace Complex)
- Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum (Near Blue Mosque)
- Grand Palace Mosaic Museum (Byzantine Palace Mosaics – Near Blue Mosque)
- Kariye Museum (Also known as Chora Church)
- Rumeli Hisari Fortress (Castle Next To 2nd Bridge of Bosphorus)
- Yildiz Palace (Ottoman Palace complex within Yildiz Park, Besiktas)
- Galata Mevlevihanesi (Whirling Dervishes Museum – Near Galata Tower)
- Fethiye Museum (Former Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Church)
Turkish Islamic Arts Museum: Ancient Rugs Exhibition
Museum Pass for Dolmabahce, Cistern or Galata Tower?
Museum pass is not valid for Dolmabahce Palace, Basilica Cistern and Galata Tower. Dolmabahce Palace entrance fee is 60 TL, Galata Tower entry fee is 25 TL, Basilica Cistern ticket price is 20 TL.
Written by Serhat Engul