Dolmabahce Palace

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Dolmabahce Palace: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace Admission and Guided Tour

1. 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. At the end of your one hour tour, you can explore Imperial Harem on your own freely, without a guide.

Istanbul: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour with Commentary

2. Istanbul: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour with Commentary

Explore the beautiful city of Istanbul at your own pace with this hop-on-hop-off bus ticket including audio commentary in 8 languages. Your ticket is valid for 1 day and will let you spend more time discovering the highlights that most interest you. Jump aboard your double decker bus and enjoy a tour designed for those who want flexibility during their sightseeing exploration of Istanbul. With additional commentary from your audioguide, you will learn interesting facts about key sights whilst savoring delicious complimentary snacks on board. During the route you can stop at locations like Sultanahmet Square, Eminönü, Karaköy, Galataport, Dolmabahçe Palace, Naval Museum, Beylerbeyi Palace, Taksim Square, Beşiktaş Bazaar, Şişhane, and Egyptian Spice Bazaar.

Istanbul: Dinner Cruise & Entertainment with Private Table

3. Istanbul: Dinner Cruise & Entertainment with Private Table

Climb aboard a pleasure boat for a luxurious cruise along the Bosphorus Strait, while dining from a 3-course menu of Turkish meze and local drinks. Sail past some of Istanbul's greatest monuments, while watching traditional entertainment along the way. Following a pick-up from your hotel, transfer to the yacht for the start of your journey. Get a welcome cocktail on deck as you begin to sail as far as the Black Sea. Cruise between Europe and Asia, passing under the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge. See the summer palaces of the Ottoman sultans, such as Dolmabahçe Palace, Çırağan Palace, and Beylerbeyi Palace. Admire the grand Ottoman fortifications of Rumeli Castle and Anatolian Castle. Soak up some of Istanbul’s legendary nightlife as you pass famous nightclubs, such as Reina and Sortie. Marvel at the waterside mansions and villas that line the European and Asian coasts. As you feast on a meal of typical meze dishes and mains, watch live folk dances from different regions of Turkey. Be seduced by the sensual moves of a belly dancer, and relax to international music by the on-board DJ. Back on dry land, enjoy a free shuttle transfer back to your hotel.

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

4. 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

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

5. 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.

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

6. 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.

Istanbul Highlights: Two Continents Half-Day Tour

7. 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.

From Istanbul: 10-Day Small Group Tour of Turkey

8. From Istanbul: 10-Day Small Group Tour of Turkey

Arrive in Istanbul and transfer from the airport to Evsen Hotel. The next day, you will have a tour of the old city of Istanbul including the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Grand Bazaar. Overnight in Istanbul at Evsen Hotel. On day 3, embark on a Bosphorus boat trip and see the city walls, Dolmabahce Palace or Chora Church and tour the Spice Market. After your tour, you will transfer back to the airport and fly to Izmir. Arrive in Izmir and transfer from your airport to a hotel in Kusadasi. Overnight in Ilayda Avantgarde. Visit Ephesus, the Virgin Mary's House and the Temple of Artemis. Overnight in Kusadasi Ilayda Avantgarde. On day 5, tour Pamukkale and Hierapolis with an overnight stay at the same location. The next day, tour the Pergamon and Asklepion or Priene, Miletos and Didyma.  Transfer to Izmir Airport and fly to Cappadocia. Arrive in Cappadocia and transfer from the airport to your hotel and overnight stay in Elysee Cave House. Your tour of Cappadocia over the span of 2-days will include the following sights: Dervent Valley, Pasabag, Avanos, Göreme Open Air Museum, Derinkuyu Underground City, Pigeon Valley, Ihlara Valley and Selime Monastry. After the tour, transfer to the airport to fly to Istanbul. Arrive in Istanbul and transfer from the airport to your hotel with an overnight stay at Evsen Hotel. Finally, transfer the to airport for your return flight.

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.

Istanbul: Full-Day Tour with Dolmabahce & Bosphorus Cruise

10. Istanbul: Full-Day Tour with Dolmabahce & Bosphorus Cruise

Get a comprehensive overview of Istanbul on this full-day tour of the city by coach, boat, and cable car. Perfect for those who aim to get a sense of what makes Istanbul unique, this full-day exploration gives a varied tour of the city. It will reveal a mixture of Eastern and European influences that makes the city so unique. First, get picked up from your hotel by bus and driven along the length of the Golden Horn, the historic water that divides Istanbul. Take in the sites of the historic city center and the main port, dating back to the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. Then, travel to the top of Pierre Loti Hill by cable car, and admire panoramic views of the city as you drink coffee at the famous Pierre Loti Café, named after the French novelist who spent much of his time there.  Next, experience the splendor of Istanbul from the water. In the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Bosphorus and take in the grand spectacle of the city’s houses and palaces from the river. Finally, enjoy a tour of Dolmabahce Palace, home to the last of the Ottoman Sultans. Admire one of the most glamorous palaces in the world, once the administrative heart of the Ottoman Empire.

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

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

What people are saying about Dolmabahce Palace

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,867 reviews

We came to Istanbul for the first time. Fortunately, we choose 3-day city tours with an individual guide. We were lucky to find an excellent guide who showed us historical and modern Istanbul. We visited the city slowly, discovering new places. The sightseeing plan was flexible and adjusted to our needs, possibilities and weather conditions. Sightseeing with a guide providing us with knowledge about history, cultural differences and, above all, paying attention to details that we would not notice ourselves. We saw not only well-known and visited places, but also more minor, very beautiful and undiscovered by most tourists. Thanks to our guide, the museums and mosques visited became more interesting. The knowledge that the guide shared with us contained not only details as well as the historical civilization and political context. We wish every tourist the great pleasure and honour of visiting the city with Mr Kadir Kucukeren! Thank you very much! Justyna & Krzysztof

This was an amazing experience. Mev (apologies if I misspelt the name), our guide, was lovely and knowledgeable and made the tour that bit more exciting. We started the tour at the Pierre Loti hill where we had some nice views of the city and enjoyed a morning coffee. Then we went to see the Dolmabahce Palace which was impressive. After a delicious lunch, we took a cruise on the Bosphorus and saw the city from a different perspective.

Amazing entertainment, fancy yacht, well orginised transportation, great food and drinks. We enjoyed a lot! And very good service on the yacht!

Excellent experience . Shows were great. Great views of the Bosporus. Pick up and drop service was smooth . Highly recommended

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