Istanbul Museum Pass is a useful card for those who want to visit many museums in Istanbul. The most important feature of the card is that it saves you from waiting in line at museum entrances.
In this article you can find a list and map of places where you can get Museum Pass Istanbul. In addition, after the insider tips I will give you in the article, you will be able to decide whether the museum card is worth its price.
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Istanbul Museum Pass 2024
In the following lines, I answered the most frequently asked questions about Istanbul Museum Pass in 2024 under 12 headings. Since I am a tour guide living in Istanbul, I know the topics that foreign visitors are most curious about, and I wrote this article in detail to answer frequently asked questions.
If you cannot find what you are looking for in the article, you can write in the comments. I reply to comments within a reasonable timeframe. I should also note that questions asked about the information already in the article will remain unanswered.
1. Istanbul Museum Pass Worth It?
If you are going to visit Istanbul museums in detail, Istanbul Museum Pass is definitely worth the money. However, do not forget that you should visit at least 6 or 7 museums with all sections. Especially Topkapi Palace has three separate sections and Museum Pass is valid in all of them. Even in this museum alone, you get a significant part of your money back.
In my opinion, Museum Pass Istanbul is worth buying just to avoid waiting in line at ticket offices. Because waiting for a long time at museum entrances can ruin your day. For this reason, the museum card can be bought even for fast track advantage.
2. Istanbul Museum Pass Price (December 2023)
Museum Pass Istanbul price is 2500 Turkish Liras as of December 2023. The price was last revised on November 1, 2023. Since the Turkish Lira has lost value against the Euro and USD in recent years, the price of the Museum Card is relatively reasonable for foreign visitors.
The museums affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Istanbul are free for children under the age of 8. However you still need to get to ticket office to obtain free entry ticket. Passport copy is required as a proof of the children’s age. If you do not want to get stuck in the long lines in each museum, you may want to buy the pass for kids too.
There is also an easy way I can suggest you about this. However, I cannot guarantee it will work 100%. If the child’s age is obviously smaller than age of 8, the attendants let him/her pass with you from the museum entrances. Although this depends on the decision of the authority on the turnstile, it usually works in crowded museums such as Topkapi Palace.
3. How to Use the Museum Pass?
Once the card is activated, you can use the Museum Pass Istanbul for 5 days, or 120 hours. The museum card is valid in all Istanbul museums that I have listed below. However, there are some exceptions, so it may be useful to read the article until the end.
The museum card is a plastic tool just like a credit card and it’s very easy to carry. You can activate it in turnstiles at museum entrances. Additionally, those who purchase the museum card online can also enter the museums with a QR code.
4. What’s Included in Istanbul Museum Pass?
You can find the list of museums included in the Istanbul Museum Pass below. You can find much more detailed information about each of these museums by clicking the blue links.
Don’t be surprised when you don’t see Hagia Sophia in the list below. Because Hagia Sophia has been turned into a mosque since 2020 and there is no entrance fee. However, according to the latest news, Hagia Sophia entrance will be paid for foreign visitors as of January 15, 2024.
- Topkapi Palace Museum (including Hagia Irene Church and Harem)
- Istanbul Archaeological Museum (Inside Topkapi Palace Complex)
- Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum (Near Hippodrome)
- History of Islamic Science and Technology Museum (within Gulhane Park)
- Great Palace Mosaic Museum (Byzantine Palace Mosaics – Near Blue Mosque)
- Galata Tower (Near Taksim Square)
- Rumeli Hisarı Fortress (Citadel at the Bosphorus)
- Galata Mevlevi House Museum (Whirling Dervishes Museum – in Galata)
- Adam Mickiewicz Museum (In Beyoglu near Taksim Square)
5. How to Cover the Cost of The Card?
In previous years, when you visited a few popular museums in Istanbul, you were covering the money of the Museum Pass. However, with the last price regulation in August of 2023, this is not possible.
Currently, it is necessary to visit most of the museums covered by the card to get the price of the Museum Pass back. In the following lines, I will try to explain to you how you can get the most out of the card by visiting the popular places on the tourist map.
For example, Topkapi Palace is a complex consisting of multiple sections. The cheapest ticket to visit Topkapi Palace is 750 Turkish Liras. This ticket includes the 4 main courtyards of the palace and the Hagia Irene Church. You have to pay an extra 350 TL to visit the Harem Rooms and the combined ticket that includes all three costs 950 TL.
You have covered 950 TL of 2500 Liras so far. If you include Istanbul Archaeology Museums (340 TL) and Turkish Islamic Art Museum (390 TL) and Galata Tower (650 TL) in your itinerary, the total price will come to 2330 TL and you almost cover the cost of the card.
6. Three Alternative Museum Cards
There are three more museum cards offered by private companies in Istanbul as alternatives to the official museum pass. Their names are from old to new as Istanbul Tourist Pass and Istanbul Welcome Card and Istanbul E-Pass.
As far as I know, Istanbul Tourist Pass is the oldest and most well-known of the three. For this reason, it is the best-selling private museum pass in Istanbul. You can see guides taking groups around with the company’s flag in front of the museums. You can review the features of this card and purchase it via this link here.
Istanbul Welcome Card is the Istanbul version of a brand that provides services in Europe’s most popular cities and has a very widespread service network. The card is physically delivered to your hotel before you arrive. You can review the features of this card and purchase it through this link.
Istanbul E-Pass stands out as the youngest pass among these three and has a very practical system. If you buy one of the 2, 3, 5 or 7-day versions of the card, you will have access to more than 60 historical monuments, museums and attractions during the period. You can review the features of this card and purchase it by clicking this link.
The features of the cards are too detailed for me to fit into this article. However, if you wish, you can access another article comparing the options offered by four different cards via this link.
7. Be aware of the Security Queues!
The museum card saves you from waiting in line to buy tickets. However, this does not mean that you will enter the museum without waiting. In most museums, there is a security queue after passing the ticket offices. You leave your bag on the x ray machine before you scan your ticket and pass through the turnstiles. Security checks take time due to crowds during the tourist season, and even if you own a museum pass, you may have to wait here.
The photo above was taken when Hagia Sophia was still a museum. The long queue in front was to buy tickets. You could skip this queue with the museum card. However, the crowd after passing the gate was due to the security check. For this reason, I recommend you to take into account the loss of time when making sightseeing plans.
8. Fast Track Guided Tour Tickets
There are fast track guided tours for the most important tourist attractions you can visit in Istanbul. Skip-the-line guided tour tickets are slightly more expensive than standard entry fees but it provides easy access to the museum. With the reference number given to you, you will meet the guide at the entrance and enter with the group. You can buy these tickets by clicking the links below.
- Hagia Sophia skip-the-line ticket
- Topkapi Palace skip-the-line ticket
- Basilica Cistern skip-the-line ticket
- Dolmabahce Palace skip-the-line ticket
9. Plan Your Museum Visits in Istanbul
In order to plan your museum visits in Istanbul, you need to take into account the days the museums are closed. Istanbul museums are closed one day a week. In the list below I have noted the days when the most important attractions are closed.
- Galata Tower: Open Everyday
- Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum: Open Everyday
- Istanbul Archaeological Museum: Open Everyday
- Dolmabahce Palace: Closed on Monday
- Topkapi Palace: Closed on Tuesday
- Great Palace Mosaic Museum: Open Everyday
- Adam Mickiewicz Museum: Open Everyday
10. The Pass is not Valid in These Places
Unfortunately, Istanbul Museum Pass is not valid in some of Istanbul’s popular museums. Because those museums are operated by different government institutions. The Basilica Cistern, Dolmabahce Palace and Beylerbeyi Palace are among the museums where the museum card is not valid.
11. Where to Purchase the Museum Pass?
You can purchase the Istanbul Museum Pass from the museums listed below. You don’t need a passport when buying a card. However, do not forget to carry the passport copies of your little children with free entrance to the museums. Children under 8 years old can enter the museums free of charge. However, you will be asked to prove the kid’s age with the passport.
- Topkapi Palace Museum
- Great Palace Mosaic Museum
- Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
- Istanbul Archaeological Museums
The Istanbul Museum Pass can be also purchased online from the official website. If you want to buy the museum card online, you can access the official website from this link. The mobile version of the card can be purchased via this link. This way, you can enter museums by showing your QR code.
12. Istanbul Museum Pass Map
You can see the map showing the locations of the museums you can visit when you get the Museum Pass. I did not load it in full screen to avoid slowing down the page opening speed. In order to find the Istanbul Museum Pass map as a PDF file, you can check Istanbul Tourist Attractions Map blog post. In this article I recommend, you can find images and explanations about all the tourist places in Istanbul.
Istanbul Museum Pass Card 2024 by Serhat Engul