Istanbul
Castle & Palace Tours

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Our most recommended Istanbul Castle & Palace Tours

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: Bosphorus Cruise with Stopover On The Asian Side

2. Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise with Stopover On The Asian Side

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in central Istanbul, and then go to Eminonu Pier to embark on a boat trip along the Bosphorus Strait. Explore the sights of the European side of the city for around 1 hour, passing historical monuments such as Galata Tower, Dolmabahçe Palace, Çırağan Palace, the Ortaköy Mosque and the fortress of Rumelihisarı, built by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in the 15th century. Continue to the second bridge to head to the Asian side of Istanbul. Visit Küçüksu Palace, built in the 19th century as a hunting lodge for the Ottoman sultans. Make your way back to the city center, following the Asian coast, and get a look at the Anatolian Fortress (Anadoluhisarı) and Turkey's oldest military school at Kuleli Military High School. Admire the elaborate Beylerbeyi Palace, built as a summer residence for the Ottoman rulers in the1860s, and see the Maiden’s Tower guarding the entrance to the Bosphorus Strait as you get ready to disembark.

Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line

3. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line

Skip the line and visit the most important museum of Turkey and the Balkan Peninsula. Discover how the Topkapi Palace was built between 1466 - 1478 and served for over 400 years as the residency and administrative headquarter of the Ottoman Sultans. The guide will explain to you the entire story of the Palace during a one hour tour. Marvel at the great architectural beauty of this important monument of the Ottoman Empire.

Topkapi Palace and Harem: Guided Tour with Admission Ticket

4. Topkapi Palace and Harem: Guided Tour with Admission Ticket

Immerse yourself in Istanbul’s best sight on this exceptionally well-led guided tour. Discover Ottoman history in the Palace and the life of 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. Enjoy a 3-hour tour of Topkapi Palace, the heart of the Ottoman Empire. The complex of low 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 tortoise shell 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 Skip-the-Line Ticket & Audio Guide

5. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket & Audio Guide

Take the shortest way into the glorious Topkapi Palace of Istanbul. Choose the time that suits you best, meet your host in front of the museum, and go directly to the entrance. You can save up to 2 or 3 hours by not standing in the famous lines. Following security checks, receive a brief introduction as to what to see inside, including the council hall, arms and armory section, or holy relics. Afterward, enjoy the palace at your own pace. You can enjoy a long coffee break in-between looking over a spectacular view of the Bosphorus. It is possible to see all of the palace within one hour, or you can choose to stay inside for several hours at your leisure. After your 30 minute-tour with your guide, you can stay inside the museum as long as you would like.

Istanbul: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour

6. Istanbul: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour

After finishing your busy day of sightseeing around Istanbul, you can relax on this 2-hour Golden Horn and Bosphoros cruise. You will meet your guide across from the Hagia Sophia, from where you will go together down to the pier behind the building. From there you will discover the Golden Horn, including the 32-kilometer-long Bosphorus which separates Europe and Asia. You will be able to see Istanbul’s main attractions, including magnificent palaces, ancient castles, and famous hills and parks, as well as spectacular seaside residences from different centuries. All of this sightseeing will of course include your passing under Istanbul's many famous bridges. You will pass by Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Ortaköy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Fortress and Beylerbeyi Palace. You will also get to see some historical landmarks from a distance, such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Maiden Tower, and Galata Tower. 

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

7. 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

8. 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.

Istanbul Combo: Classic City Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

9. Istanbul Combo: Classic City Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

Meet your guide at your hotel or port and start the tour with the highlights of Istanbul. See the beautiful Hagia Sophia, admire the great blend of Christian and Islamic influences with beautiful interior of mosaics and significant history. Marvel at the Blue Mosque, a great monument of oriental architecture which houses 27,000 pieces of handmade blue tiles. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are two colorful indoor bazaars and have lots of shops offering a variety of spices, rugs, purses, flavored teas, jackets, Turkish delight, nuts, as well as ceramics and small souvenirs. At the end of your tour, why not opt to take a cruise along the Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides, Galata Tower, Dolmabahce Palace, the Rumelian Fortress, old Ottoman villas, Bosphorus bridges, and mosques. Tickets can be bought on the spot and the cruise will take place in a public ferry (unless you book the Private Yacht option).

Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Walking Tour

10. Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Walking Tour

This private experience is the perfect introduction to Istanbul for first-time visitors. Enjoy a guided full-day tour to discover the best of the city. The tour can be fully customized to suit your needs, simply tell your guide what interests you the most.  Visit the historic Hippodrome, the exquisite Blue Mosque and the iconic Hagia Sophia. Experience the lavish lifestyles of the Ottoman Sultans with a tour of Topkapi Palace, or browse the colorful stalls of the Grand Bazaar. The choice is yours. Benefit from pickup and drop-off at your centrally-located hotel. With your private guide you’ll enjoy priority entrance to all the sights, so standing you won’t waste time standing in queues.

Frequently asked questions about Istanbul Castle & Palace Tours

What are other things to do than Castle & Palace Tours that are worth visiting in Istanbul?

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What people are saying about Istanbul

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 519 reviews

Kenan was helpful, knowledgeable and professional. Nice sense of humor as well, my husband and I had a nice experience overall and felt we were able to squeeze a lot in one day, and Kenan was flexible enough to adapt to our wants and needs… It was amazing how he seems to know the Grand Bazaar like the palm of his hand! I wanted to see fabrics and he took me to three exquisite small stores, had tea with the owners, made me feel like a local, not a tourist. At Topkapi he knew so much about the architecture, the time frames, and very interesting anecdotes and folk legends… and hey I am an Art Historian! Recommend

Highly recommend this tour! I feel like you definitely need a tour guide to help you fully appreciate the Topkapi Palace and the Harem. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about life in the palace and he was happy to answer all of our questions. I’m so glad we signed up for this tour!

Our tour guide, Kenan, took us through Istanbul's top sights with impeccable German and excellent knowledge. He always responded to our special requests and gave us an unforgettable day in Istanbul in his friendly way. It was an absolute stroke of luck to have him assigned as a guide.

Wonderful guide, informative, English was perfect and knew his way around the busy old town area.

Excelent, friendly, supportive and knowledgeable guides. Thanks Emir and Can.