Istanbul Museum Pass is a useful card for those who want to visit museums in Istanbul. There are long queues in front of museums during Istanbul’s tourist season. Museum Pass Istanbul saves you from waiting in front of the ticket offices. In this article, you can find the price of the Istanbul Museum Pass as well as the list and map of the places included in the card.
2 Ways of Fast Entry to Istanbul Museums
The most crowded times of Istanbul Museums are April, May, June, September and October. If you are going to visit Istanbul during these months, you can either buy the Museum Pass OR choose the Skip-The-Line Guided Tour tickets, which are linked in the following lines.
These online tickets are a bit more expensive than the original ticket but it offers a guided group tour. If you buy these cheap guided tour tickets, you can return them with a full refund up to 24 hours before the activity.
- Hagia Sophia guided tour ticket
- Topkapi Palace skip-the-line ticket
- Basilica Cistern skip-the-line ticket
- Dolmabahce Palace skip-the-line ticket
Istanbul Museum Pass 2020
In the following lines, I answered the most frequently asked questions about Istanbul Museum Pass in 2020 under 12 headings. As I am a tourist guide, I know well what foreign tourists visiting Istanbul are curious about. 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.
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 4-5 museums with all sections. Especially Topkapı Palace has three separate sections and Museum Pass is valid in all of them. Even in this museum alone, you will get most of your money back.
In my opinion, Museum Pass Istanbul is worth buying even just not to wait in the queue in front of the ticket office. The pleasure of the trip disappears after hours of waiting at the ticket offices. In these cases, I recommend that you take the Istanbul Museum Card to benefit from fast access.
2. Istanbul Museum Pass Price 2020
Istanbul Museum Pass price is 325 Turkish Lira as of 2020. Children under the age of eight do not need it. Most of the museums in Istanbul are free for little kids.
Considerations for Children
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 long queue, perhaps you might want to buy the pass for kids too.
If the child’s age is obviously smaller than age of 8, the attendants let him/her pass with you from the museum entrances. (It works especially at the busy places like Topkapi Palace)
3. How to Use the Museum Card
Once the Istanbul Museum Pass is activated, you can use the card for 5 days, or 120 hours. The museum card is valid in all Istanbul museums that I have listed below. The museum card is a plastic card just like a credit card and it is very easy to carry. You can activate it in turnstiles at museum entrances.
4. What is Included in Istanbul Museum Pass
What is included in the Istanbul Museum Pass is one of the most frequently asked questions. Below you can find a list of places included in Istanbul with this museum card.
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. Thus, there is no need to use a card at the entrance.
- 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)
- Kariye Mosque (Chora Church) (Best Byzantine Mosaics – in Edirnekapi)
- Rumeli Hisarı Fortress (Citadel at the Bosphorus)
- Yildiz Palace (One of the Ottoman palaces in a park – in Besiktas)
- Galata Mevlevi House Museum (Whirling Dervishes Museum – in Galata)
- Istanbul Fethiye Museum (Former Pammakaristos Church – in Balat)
5. Museum Card vs Entrance Fees
Here I will describe how you will compensate the money you pay for the Istanbul Museum Pass in a day or two. The Museum Card gives you an advantage when compared to Istanbul museum entrance fees.
For example, Topkapı Palace is a complex consisting of three parts. A separate fee is charged for each section. The main building of Topkapı Palace is 100 Turkish Liras, the Harem is 70 TL and the Hagia Irene Church is 60 TL. You will visit these three sections on the same day, and most of the money you will pay for the museum card will be covered.
You have received 230 TL of 325 liras so far. If you would add Istanbul Archaeology Museums (50 TL) and Turkish Islamic Art Museum (50 TL) to your itinerary that would cover the price of the museum pass. Total cost of these three museums will be 330 Turkish Lira which is more expensive than the museum card itself.
6. Additional Discounts for the Card
Istanbul Museum Card provides you additional discounts at other museums and attractions. They are listed below. I recommend you to check the advantages from the museums’ official websites.
- Museum of Innocence (Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk’s museum)
- Istanbul Military Museum (Located in Besiktas area by Bosphorus)
- Pera Museum (Located next to Istiklal Street At Beyoglu)
- Rahmi Koc Museum (Located in Golden Horn shores)
- Sakip Sabanci Museum (Located at the Bosphorus at Emirgan)
- Sadberk Hanim Museum (Located further up the Bosphorus at Sariyer)
7. Benefits of the Museum Card
Istanbul Museum Card allows you to avoid waiting in the ticket buying lines at each museum. However you are still obliged to wait for security-check line, so you will have to spend some time waiting in line (considerably shorter time). Do not forget this while you plan your visit to these sights.
8. 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 museums are closed.
- Hagia Sophia Mosque: Open Everyday
- Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum: Monday
- Grand Palace Mosaic Museum: Monday
- Topkapi Palace: Tuesday
- Kariye Museum (Chora Church): Wednesday
- Great Palace Mosaic Museum: Wednesday
- Fethiye Museum: Wednesday
9. Places Not Valid for Istanbul Museum Pass
Unfortunately, Istanbul Museum Pass is not valid in some of Istanbul’s popular museums. Because those museums are operated by different official institutions. The Basilica Cistern, Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace and Galata Tower are among the museums where Istanbul Museum Card is not valid.
10. 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
- Kariye Museum
- Istanbul Mosaic Museum
- Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
- Istanbul Archaeological Museums
11. Istanbul Museum Pass Online
Istanbul Museum Pass can be obtained online from the official site. You can access the link to original website by clicking here.
12. Istanbul Museum Pass Map
You can find 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. To reach the full resolution of the Istanbul Museum Pass map, you can click the link noted below the image and get a 4k image.
Istanbul Tourist Pass as an Alternative
You may also consider Istanbul Tourist Pass as an alternative product. The Tourist Pass Card has 3, 5 and 7 day options. It provides airport transfer, Bosphorus cruise, hop-on/hop-off Bus tickets and guided museum visits. You can check the details from this link.
Off The Beaten Path Istanbul: Fener Balat Walking Tour
Written by Serhat Engul
Licensed Tour Guide in Istanbul, Turkey