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Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace: Our most recommended tours and activities

Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

1. 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).

Istanbul: Topkapi, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern Tour

2. Istanbul: Topkapi, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern Tour

Join a guided tour to discover Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. Benefit from priority admission at the museum ticket offices to skip the long lines and head in faster. Meet your guide in the Sultanahmet neighborhood at an easy spot and check out Istanbul's greatest monuments on a walking tour. Start with the Basilica Cistern, wander around the “Subterranean Palace” and learn about its history. See the underground pillars and learn about Byzantine architecture. Walk on the wooden walkways over the water until the famous upside-down Medusa heads. Next, visit the Hagia Sophia and witness the most significant site of the Greek Orthodox religion in Istanbul and learn how it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Explore the stunning monument with elements of a mosque and a church standing next to each other. Admire the basilica’s stunning dome and minarets, and countless mosaics, paintings, and Roman columns. Learn how the impressive İznik tiles were added over time in the Mosque, how the stunning Virgin Mary mosaic was made, and why the Ottomans chose to bury their sultans in the courtyard. Continue to Topkapi Palace to explore the splendor 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 & Harem Ticket, Tour & Audio Guide

3. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Ticket, Tour & Audio Guide

Get skip-the-line entry to the glorious Topkapi Palace of Istanbul. Explore the museum with a guide, then take the time to discover the treasures at your own pace with an audio guide. Learn all about the palace's opulent pavilions, jewel-filled Treasury, and sprawling Harem. Meet your guide in front of the museum and go directly to the entrance. Save 2 to 3 hours by skipping the line. Following security checks, discover the council hall, arms and armory section, and holy relics with your guide. Learn about the palace's colorful history. Then, enjoy the palace at your own pace with an audio guide. Take a long coffee break while enjoying a spectacular view of the Bosphorus. You can see all of the palace in an hour, or you can choose to stay inside for several hours to explore fully at your leisure.

Istanbul: Bosphorus and Golden Horn Cruise with Audio Guide

4. Istanbul: Bosphorus and Golden Horn Cruise with Audio Guide

Hop on a sightseeing cruise to tour the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. Get a fresh look at Istanbul on this boat tour with an audio guide to tell you all the top tales as you glide by Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Maiden's Tower, and Galata Tower. Sail as far south to see the Bosphorus Bridge. Meet your host on the other side of Hagia Sophia and walk down to the pier behind the grand mosque. Jump on board to discover the Golden Horn, considered to be the world’s largest natural harbor. Sail through the magnificent Bosphorus strait forming the continental boundary between Asia and Europe. On your way, come across cultural and historical emblems of Istanbul like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Maiden's Tower, and Galata Tower. Learn about the city’s rich heritage with an audio guide. Admire the Bosphorus coastline on the European side from the cruise, and see a string of villages, each with its own individual character and attractions. Glide past Dolmabahçe Palace, Ciragan Palace, Ortaköy Mosque, and the Bosphorus Bridge, among others. Be sure to keep an eye out for ancient castles, famous parks, and spectacular seaside residences from different centuries. Capture stunning pictures of the vibrant city of Istanbul along the water on this scenic cruise.

Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket

5. 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 how 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.

İstanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Historian Guide

6. İstanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Historian Guide

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.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi, and Basilica Combo Tour

7. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi, and Basilica Combo Tour

Be free to visit the Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, and Hagia Sophia at any time for three consecutive days. Skip the ticket lines and browse through the fascinating museums at your own pace. Uncover the secrets of each location with the help of an informative audioguide. 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 English-speaking tour guide.

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.

İstanbul Welcome Card

9. İstanbul Welcome Card

When you arrive in Istanbul your welcome package will be waiting at Istanbul Airport. 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: 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

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What people are saying about Topkapi Palace

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 5,233 reviews

Thank you for the amazing guide for Topkapi palace. I sure learn a lot of stuffs with our guide,Ahmet. He was very nice e and knowledgeable about the palace. The tour was long and it was a good things because we were presented many things from ottoman stories, the history of the palace. He also went to great lengths to explain the harem which I think most people want to see. He also gave us time to take pictures after the tour.

Booked a combo in Jan, 4 pax, hoping to avoid peak season. Booking process was very easy and intuitive, confirmations came right away, containing a lot of useful details. The guides are very helpful, prepared and available for questions, extra details, etc. All in all a very nice experience, congrats for a job well done!

Very well-organized tour. Started on time. Staff were quite polite and the tour guide very knowledgeable about the history and details about the palace. The palace is worth the visit: majestic, impressive. It is a trip back in time!

The guide we had was amazing! He was knowledgeable, gave us thorough historical information, was very friendly. He was exceptionally considerate to my mother who had difficulty walking. Hakan is the best guide I’ve ever had!

Great tour which was great value and had a good amount of free time for photos at each stop.