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Dolmabahce Palace

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Dolmabahce Palace: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht

1. Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht

A sunset on the water is an amazing way to end your cruise experience and an equally amazing way to start your evening. Whether it is to impress that special someone with a picture-perfect moment or just to appreciate a great time with great friends, a sunset cruise is something everyone will remember.  Few places in the world are as mesmerizing as Istanbul in the setting sun. Aboard an elegant yacht, drinking traditional Turkish drinks, and nibbling on canapés and fruit from tastefully arranged platters, glide by palaces and minarets as you sail along the Bosphorus. When dusk sets in, a soothing breeze arrives from the Sea of Marmara and the sky over the city puts on a colorful show, tinted with shades of orange and rose. The muezzin calls from a towering minaret. Majestic palaces and villas standstill along the strait’s banks, as if nothing has changed over a millennium. Breathe in the legacy of ancient Byzantium, Constantinople, and mighty Ottoman Empire with each breath of fresh salty air. Kick back and ride gentle waves on the comfort of a yacht. Watch the city and its iconic landmarks pass by, which is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. The tour starts at Kabatas Pier and ends at Karakoy Pier.

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Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace Admission and Guided Tour

2. Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace Admission and Guided Tour

Explore Dolmabahçe Palace - the biggest royal residence of the sultans and the imperial family of the Ottoman Empire. Meet your licensed English-speaking guide outside the monument and enter with your skip-the-line admission ticket. Begin a guided tour of the stunning interiors. Learn about how the palace was built by the orders of Sultan Abdülmecid I and opened in 1856. Admire the greatest collection of Baccarat and Bohemian chandeliers on the planet, including the biggest Bohemian chandelier ever. Marvel at the vast collection gold inside, specifically on the ornate ceilings.  As you continue the tour, learn about the distinct differences between the Dolmabahçe Palace and the Topkapı Palace - for example, the architectural style and the way that the furniture was used. Find out about how the Dolmabahçe Palace was the last headquarter of the empire and was served until 1922.

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Istanbul: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

3. Istanbul: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

See all the sights of Istanbul on this hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. Choose between flexible Classic and Premium tickets. Save money with a family ticket and take the kids to child-friendly sites such as the Dolphinarium or the Miniatürk model village, where Turkey’s most important monuments are recreated in miniature. You will have access to 2 routes. Buses come regularly and frequently on both routes. Informative recorded commentary is available in 8 different languages, including English, Turkish, Arabic, Russian, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Complimentary earphones are provided. Jump off at any of the stops on the Red Route and see architecture from the Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Cross the Bosphorus Bridge to Asia to see the Beylerbeyi Palace and watch all the activity of the Bosphorus Straits. Marvel at the old city wall of Constantinople and the Roman Aqueduct on the Golden Horn/Blue Route, which also includes the iconic Blue Mosque. The City Tour (Red) Route: • Sultanahmet Square • Galata Bridge • Tophane • Port • Dolmabahçe • Naval Museum • Beylerbeyi Palace • Akaretler / W Hotel • Taksim Square • Egyptian Spice Bazaar Golden Horn/Blue Route: • Sultanahmet Square • Galata Bridge • Patriarchate • Cable Car • Dolphinarium • Miniatürk • Transport Museum / Rahmi Koç Museum • Egyptian Spice Bazaar

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Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

4. Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

Day 1 – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hipporome, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this private full-day walking tour that covers the major attractions, from the Hagia Sophia Museum, to the iconic Blue Mosque, to the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, to the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. The 8-hour excursion starts with a pick-up from your Istanbul hotel and a walk through the lively streets of Turkey’s largest city to visit the dramatic former basilica of 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. Move on to the Blue Mosque, more officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque. The mosque’s 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. Continue to 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. You will also visit the Hippodrome, 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. You will also pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. Your day won’t be complete, however, without a visit to the Grand Bazaar, 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. Day 2 – Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Istiklal Street, Taksim 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. From there, it is a 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area.

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Istanbul: New Year's Party Cruise with Buffet and Drinks

5. Istanbul: New Year's Party Cruise with Buffet and Drinks

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with an unforgettable cruise on the Istanbul Bosphorus. Experience Istanbul at its most romantic. Eat and drink your fill and watch live performances as you drift across the Bosphorus Strait. Be picked up from you hotel and board your boat. Kick off the night with a cocktail, then dance on deck as you enjoy stunning views of palaces, bridges, and mansions that line the water’s edge. Watch performances by traditional dancers and relax over a sumptuous buffet dinner with unlimited drinks. See the stars come out over the city and watch a midnight firework display. Gaze in wonder at Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge which connects Asia to Europe. Dine on traditional Turkish appetizers, spring rolls with cheese, fresh seasonal salad, roasted turkey with rice, mixed fruits, and dessert.

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Dolmabahce Palace: Skip-the-Line Ticket and Audio Guide

6. Dolmabahce Palace: Skip-the-Line Ticket and Audio Guide

Meet your guide at the main entrance of the Dolmbahce Palace, skip the long ticket lines and enter the world's most luxurious Palace the shortest way. Save up to 2 hours by not standing in the famous ticket lines. Follow your guide through a 10-minute tour inside the garden of Dolmbahce Palace. Learn about the highlights inside the Dolmabahce Palace and find out where the best spots are to capture the most amazing pictures. Afterwards, receive your audio guide so you can explore the inside of the Palace at your own pace. Spend the whole day inside or just have a quick glance at its impressive beauty. Gaze in awe at the palace's beautiful location on the Bosphorus and its more than $1.5 billion worth of luxury decoration.

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Bosphorus Cruise and Dolmabahçe Palace Tour Full Day

7. Bosphorus Cruise and Dolmabahçe Palace Tour Full Day

Embark on a journey of historical discovery with this one-day tour of Bosphorus and Dolmabahce Place. Experience the majesty of one of the grandest palaces on earth, as well as first-hand history and culture of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. Start your tour with a narrated walk through the Spice Bazaar of Istanbul. Then take a leisurely 90-minute cruise, fully narrated by a professional tour guide. From here you can see the city from the unique point of view of the Bosphorus and get perfect photo opportunities with such landmarks as Leanders Tower and Rumell Hisari Fortress. After a relaxing lunch, you will move on to Dolmabahce Palace. With 285 rooms, 6 baths (hamam), 68 toilets and a ceiling made of 14 tons of gold, this is truly a sight to behold. With strong French influences as well as the richness of the East, this is a must-see on any tour. Expert guides will take you through the most fascinating aspects of the palace, and answer any questions you may have on 19th century Ottoman history. Enjoy a journey of discovery through the stories, myths and great works of art related to this special place. Including religious sites such as Dolmabahce Mosque, this one day tour covers the full range of culture, history, and art of Istanbul in a relaxed, informative environment.

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Istanbul: Bus and Boat City Tour

8. Istanbul: Bus and Boat City Tour

Discover the best of Istanbul with a combination package that includes a panoramic city tour and a boat tour from the Bosphorus. This ticket is valid for 1 day, during which you can join the tours as often as you’d like at the available times. You are free to join the tours on the same day within the ticket time limit. Istanbul Panoramic City Tour:On the 90-minute sightseeing tour, you will witness stunning panoramic views of the city as you pass Galata Bridge, where you can see the iconic Galata Tower and the majestic Dolmabahce Palace. During the tour, listen to fascinating stories from your live guide on Byzantine and Ottoman times when you pass by Taksim Square, Golden Horn, the Historical Peninsula, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and much more. Bosphorus Boat Tour:Sit back and relax as the 90-minute boat tour takes you to the Asian and European shores. Enjoy the beautiful skyline as you pass historical sites, palaces, fortresses, and the Bosphorus bridges, becoming fully enchanted by the scenery. Witness famous sights of Istanbul from the historical waterway and cruise along the famous Bosphorus, which separates Europe and Asia.

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

9. Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Istanbul Tour

Explore Istanbul according to your own interests on a tailor-made sightseeing tour. A licensed guide will meet you in your hotel or port and work with you to create an itinerary that suits you best, leaving you satisfied that you have seen all of Istanbul. Marvel at monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, such as Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern on the first day. On day two, take the public ferry to Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides. From here, visit Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street and the spice market. Day three takes you on a walk through the streets of Fener-Balat neighboorhood. Enjoy a cable car ride and soak up views of Pierre Loti Hill, then visit Chora Church to see the mosaics and frescoes.

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Istanbul Highlights: Two Continents Half-Day Tour

10. Istanbul Highlights: Two Continents Half-Day Tour

Tell your friends you’ve been to Asia and Europe in one day by joining us on a guided tour of Istanbul’s most historic sites. Led by an expert guide, you’ll visit the impressive Dolmabahçe Palace, the official home of Ottoman Sultans. Built by two famous Ottoman architects, the palace houses a museum-worthy collection of European furniture, art and antiquities. Then it’s off to the Bosphorus Bridge, which straddles the narrow waterway that separates Europe and Asia. Once you’ve crossed the bridge it’s time to head to Camlica HIll, which offers dramatic, panoramic views of the city from almost 300 meters above sea level. Please note, on Mondays and Thursdays the palace is closed, so the tour will make three different stops: Eyüp Sultan Mosque and Tomb, Pierre Loti Coffee House and Miniatürk park.

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Planning Your Visit

  • Bosphorus Bridge

    If you plan to drive across the bridge, bear in mind that there's a toll to cross from Europe to Asia, but not vice versa

  • October Marathon

    If you want to walk between the continents, there's a chance to do that once a year during the marathon!

  • Sun protection

    In the southern European heat, staying adequately protected from the sun is essential! Make sure you stay in the shade around midday, and reapply sunscreen.

  • Visa

    To enter Turkey as a US passport holder, you need to pay $30 for a 90-day visa. You can pay on arrival or easily purchase it online before your trip. Other nationalities may need to check beforehand for entry conditions.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Open 9:00AM - 4:00PM. Ticket office might close early if maximum number of daily visitors is reached.
  • Is it expensive?
    Adult general admission starts at 30 lira. Harem entrance is additional 10 lira.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Individuals are not allowed to explore without a guide. Many guided tours, also in English, are led throughout the day.
  • How to get there
    Located just short walk from Kabatas tram stop.
  • Additional information

    • Please note that within the Palace you are not allowed to take pictures but can still capture the impressive views and gardens surrounding the palace to share with friends and family.

    • The changing of the guard outside the palace is a sight in itself! Pick a spot and wait to see this ancient tradition.

Other Sightseeing Options in Dolmabahce Palace

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What people are saying about Dolmabahce Palace

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 1,524 reviews

We really enjoyed our trip together with Ahmet, our tour guide. He is very knowledgeable of the sites and the history behind these sites. I personally became really interested about the Ottoman empire because of his stories. He also recommended a nice place to eat - the food is very delicious. This activity is highly recommended :).

Outstanding 3 days with Semih as my guide to Istanbul, saw all the major sites, but also lots of places that I probably wouldn't have got to without a guide. Semih's had lots of information on each site, and I came away with a much better understanding of the history of the city. This was the best way to get to learn about the city

Spent a great day with a wonderful and informative guide named Furkan. Took a cruise along the incredible Bosphorus and tried some traditional dishes on the Asian side. Then finished up with a palace tour to see how the Sultans lived in the 19th century.

Fantastic day with Çağlar in Italian. Tour at Aya Sofia and Sulejmani mosque with interesting explanations and anecdotes. Saw the Grand Bazaar It helped us a lot to orient ourselves and what to do in Istanbul. Optimal!

Great place to visit! Such a pitty that pictures inside are not allowed.