Galataport, the Istanbul Cruise Port, was redesigned as a wonderful shopping and activity center after many years of restoration. There are many things to do around Galataport, which is located in one of the most beautiful spots in the city.
There are branches of Istanbul’s best restaurants, cafes and Turkish dessert shops inside Galataport. In this way, Galataport functions as a showcase promoting a city famous for its food.
Inside Galataport is the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, one of the city’s most important art centers. In addition, there is another museum where the painting and sculpture collection of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University is exhibited.
With all these features, Galataport has become an important stop among the places to visit in Istanbul. It can take a whole day to see the museums and squares of Galataport and visit the historical monuments around it.
Istanbul Cruise Port (Galataport) Map
As you can see from the Galataport map, Istanbul Cruise Port is located in one of the most central areas of the city. I created the image by processing Google Maps. Although it is primitive, it will give you an idea about the location of Galataport.
The borders of Galataport start from Karakoy, which is the transportation hub of Beyoglu (southwest part of the blue line). The Galaport complex, which continues along the Tophane district, ends before arriving at the Findikli Tram Station (northeast part of blue line).
The part where the light blue extends in the form of a thin and long line includes Galataport’s seaside buildings and walking track. There are hotels, shopping places and the Istanbul Modern Museum on this long line.
On the other hand, in the main part marked with a square, there is the passenger terminal of the Istanbul Cruise Port. In addition, restaurants and cafes of Galataport are located around the terminal.
You can easily find most of the places to visit around Galataport by looking at this map. In the following lines of the article, you can find a list of tourist attractions located around Istanbul Cruise Port (Galataport).
Things to Do in Galataport 2023
Things to do in Galataport include seeing century-old mosques, visiting art galleries, shopping from famous brands and eating at Istanbul’s most famous restaurants.
1. Istanbul Modern Art Museum
Istanbul Modern Art Museum was opened in the early 2000s by transforming an old warehouse by the sea with modern architecture. The most striking work in the museum’s early period was Richard Wentworth‘s design called False Ceiling.
Although Modern Art has a short history in Turkey, it quickly increased its audience and became popular. IKSV (Cultural Foundation) organized many exhibitions to introduce modern art to Istanbulites.
Later, it was decided to rebuild the museum and place it in the center of the Istanbul Cruise Port. The design of the new museum was created by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
Istanbul Modern has been serving at its temporary location on Mesrutiyet Street for several years. However, when the construction of the new museum inside Galataport is completed, the artifacts will also be transferred here.
2. Painting and Sculpture Museum
The Painting and Sculpture Museum is affiliated with the Fine Arts Faculty of Mimar Sinan University. The museum has a large collection starting from the last period of the Ottoman Empire to the end of the 20th century (Republican era).
The museum occupies a building designed by award-winning architects. If you look at the Istanbul Cruise Port from afar, you can easily choose this elegant building with contemporary architecture.
3. Ara Guler Photography Exhibition
Ara Guler Photography Exhibition is a small art gallery that you will come across while wandering the streets of Galataport. This painting exhibition inside a cafe features the works of Turkey’s most important photographer.
Ara Guler gained worldwide fame in the 20th century and became one of the Magnum Photographers. Guler immortalized the 50s and 60s of Istanbul with his black and white photographs.
Ara Guler Photography Museum, dedicated to the artist, is located in Sisli, one of today’s modern districts. However, some paintings from his “Istanbul Harbor” collection can be seen in this small gallery.
4. Nusretiye Mosque
Nusretiye Mosque is an ostentatious 18th century structure that you can see when you look towards the square with the sea behind you. The mosque is the most prominent building in Galataport’s square.
Nusretiye has the sharpest baroque lines among the mosques in Istanbul. The reason for this is that it was made by Mahmud II, who made great reforms in the Ottoman Empire and reorganized the army in the Western order.
Mahmud II realized that the Ottoman Empire was far behind the West in terms of technology and military in the 1700s, and he embarked on a major reorganization. The traces of this westernization can be seen in the architecture of the mosque he had built.
5. Tophane Clock Tower
Tophane Clock Tower is one of the first historical monuments to be seen by those arriving by cruise ship in Istanbul. This Ottoman tower from 1905 adorns the square of Galataport today.
The Clock Tower is one of the works in the large square on the land side of Galataport, and there is the Nusretiye Mosque on one side of the tower, and the Kilic Ali Pasha Mosque on the other.
6. Tophane Fountain
Tophane Fountain is one of the most eye-catching public fountains from the Ottoman period. Back then, those who wanted to do charity work would build fountains in the squares.
Tophane Fountain is located on the southwest side of Galataport Square and is adjacent to Tophane Station of Tram T1, the closest public transportation vehicle to cruise passengers.
7. Kilic Ali Pasha Mosque
Kilic Ali Pasha Mosque is located right next to previous Tophane Fountain. The mosque was built for Ali Pasha, one of the admirals in the peak years of the Ottoman Empire. Ali Pasha, who is of Italian origin, received the title of “Kilic” (sword) because of his boldness.
The most distinctive feature of Kilic Ali Pasha Mosque is that it has the most similar interior to a Byzantine church in Ottoman architecture. The reason for this is that the admiral who built the mosque was a fan of Hagia Sophia.
8. Kilic Ali Pasha Hammam
Kilic Ali Pasha Hammam is the closest historical Turkish bath to the Istanbul Cruise Port. You can walk here in just a few minutes from Galataport Cruise Ship Terminal.
Kilic Ali Pasha Hammam has recently undergone a major restoration and is considered one of the best hammams in Istanbul. Taking a Turkish bath here will refresh you after sightseeing.
9. Shopping in Galataport
Galataport was designed as a shopping center as well as being a cruise port in Istanbul. In this way, there are many domestic and foreign luxury brands’ stores for shopping in Galataport.
Galataport has everything an average shopper would need. However, if you still want to experience the other shopping streets of Istanbul, you can try Istiklal Street, which is close to Taksim Square.
10. Restaurants in Galataport
The restaurants in Galataport are like a showcase of Istanbul’s food culture. Istanbul, which has a cosmopolitan structure, is mostly known for its kebab varieties and dessert shops.
In this sense, you can try Gunaydin Restaurant for kebab varieties in Galataport. Sekerci Cafer Erol, Hafiz Mustafa and Balyan, the most famous dessert shops of the city, have branches here.
In addition, you may be interested in Nusr-et, the most famous steakhouse restaurant in Istanbul, or Mezzaluna, a representative of Mediterranean cuisine. Finally, the new generation restaurants Happy Moon’s and Kirpi are also popular.
Places to Visit around Galataport 2023
Among the places to visit around Galataport are the most important historical monuments of Istanbul, the most popular districts and shopping streets.
1. Dolmabahce Palace (from Galataport)
Dolmabahce Palace is one of the most important historical places in Istanbul and is located within walking distance of Galataport. If you exit the door of Istanbul Cruise Port in the direction of Besiktas, you can easily reach here.
In the early Ottoman period, the sultans lived in the traditional Topkapi Palace in Sultanahmet. In the 19th century, they moved to the Dolmabahce Palace on the shore of the Bosphorus, which has a European architecture.
When you leave Galataport and head to the northeast, you will first see the Findikli Tram Station. After that, there is Kabatas Tram Station, which is the last stop of Tram T1. Dolmabahce Palace is 5 minutes’ walk from Kabatas.
2. Vodafone Arena
Vodafone Arena is the stadium of Besiktas FC, one of the three big football teams of Istanbul. The stadium is adjacent to Dolmabahce Palace and very close to Kabatas Tram Station.
In addition to the matches of Besiktas, there can be international concerts and events at the Vodafone Arena stadium. There is also a museum of Besiktas FC in the stadium.
3. Besiktas District
Besiktas District is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Istanbul. Here you can find many things about Istanbul’s daily life, street food and shopping.
You can use a bus or taxi to go from Galataport to Besiktas. The district also hosts museums such as Istanbul Naval Museum and Yildiz Palace.
4. Taksim Square (from Galataport)
Taksim Square is the place where the heart of Istanbul beats. It is possible to reach Istiklal Street, the most popular walking street of the city, or Galata Tower, one of the most popular museums, from here.
In order to go from Galataport to Taksim Square, you can first reach Kabatas Tram Station. From there, you can take the Funicular F1, a one-stop public transportation vehicle, to Taksim Square.
5. Istiklal Street
Istiklal Street is an ideal place for those who want to shop in Istanbul. There are shops of dozens of local and foreign clothing brands, as well as shopping centers such as Demiroren AVM.
Near Istiklal Street, there are museums such as Madame Tussauds, Pera Museum and Galata Tower. The two best restaurants in Istanbul, 360 Istanbul and Mikla, are also located here.
6. Galata Tower (from Galataport)
Galata Tower is among the most iconic structures of Istanbul. Built by the Genoese in the 14th century, the tower and its square are today one of the city’s most vibrant tourist destinations.
To get to Galata Tower from Galataport, you can proceed in the southwest direction and reach Karakoy district. You can walk from Karakoy Square to Galata Tower or take the Funicular F2, a one-stop underground vehicle.
7. Karakoy Square
Karakoy Square is one of the most energetic places in the city and can be reached on foot from Galataport. You can easily walk to Karakoy from the Museum Square in Istanbul Cruise Port.
In Karakoy Square, there are shops that sell products of famous outdoor brands such as North Face, Jack Wolfskin and Columbia at outlet prices. The district also has iconic restaurants such as “Karakoy Lokantasi”.
Karakoy Square also has Murat Muhallebicisi, one of the best dessert shops in Istanbul. As you wander the side streets of Karakoy, you can discover great boutique cafes and local restaurants.
8. Galata Bridge
Galata Bridge is a connection road between Karakoy (Beyoglu) and Eminonu (Old City). Galata Bridge is also located at the junction of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. Bosphorus cruise boats also depart from here.
Thanks to the bridge, you can cross from Karakoy to Eminonu on foot. These two districts are famous for their street food and local restaurants in Istanbul. When you cross Eminonu, Spice Bazaar will be right in front of you.
9. Spice Bazaar (from Galataport)
Spice Bazaar can be reached within a 20-minute walk from Galataport. Spice Bazaar is one of the most famous historical shopping places in Istanbul and is 350 years old.
In a classic Spice Bazaar shop, you can find Turkish delight, tea leaves, local nuts, dried fruits, saffron and, of course, spices. Also, shopping in the streets surrounding Spice Bazaar is a true local experience.
10. Sultanahmet (from Galataport)
Sultanahmet is unquestionably the most touristic place in Istanbul. Here are the most famous historical buildings of the city such as Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace.
Tram T1 is the most practical way to go from Galataport to Sultanahmet. If you take the tram going in the direction of “Bagcilar” either from Findikli or Tophane, you can reach Sultanahmet Tram Station in 15 minutes.
Galataport is located in Beyoglu, one of the most important districts of Istanbul. For this reason, it is very close to Karakoy, Cihangir, Galata, Istiklal Street and Taksim Square, which are the districts of Beyoglu.
It is possible to reach Besiktas (Ortakoy and Bebek), which includes the most beautiful places on the shores of the Bosphorus, by going north from Galataport. On the other hand, you can reach the Historical Peninsula (Sultanahmet and its surroundings) by going south from Galataport.
Tram T1, Istanbul’s most tourist-friendly means of transportation, passes right in front of Galataport. In this way, it is very easy to go to the touristic places of the city from the Istanbul Cruise Port by public transportation.
Istanbul is one of the most important routes of Mediterranean Cruise Ships, and if you are going to participate in this trip, it means you will be on your way to Galataport in Istanbul. You can be sure that you will have a good time here.
Written by Serhat Engul
Lisa jones says
Hello if we were to book you for a day to tour Istanbul how much would you charge? Would you meet us at the cruise terminal?
Serhat Engül says
Hello, yes I can meet my guests coming to the cruise port there. If the tour will cover Sultanahmet (Old City), we can meet at Galataport and go to the starting point of the tour with the tram.
I do private guided tours in Istanbul. You can review the tour options along with the prices in this article.