Things to do in Istanbul

6 best Topkapi Palace guided tour options

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Step into the Topkapi Palace and get whisked away into the truly king-size world of Sultans!

Nearly thirty Sultans have ruled from the Topkapi Palace for almost 400 years! The Palace functioned as the administrative center of the Ottoman empire and has even served as the residence of the Imperial Ottoman Court. The Topkapi Palace opened its doors in 1924-one year after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.

The Topkapi Palace has now been converted into a museum, which houses Imperial collections of the Ottoman empire and even boasts an extensive collection of books and manuscripts in its historic library. To make the most of your visit, we recommend that you go for the Topkapi Palace guided tour.

Advantages of a Topkapi Palace Guided Tour

Skip The Line at the Topkapi Palace

One of the greatest advantages of a Topkapi Palace guided tour is that you can skip the line and gain priority entry into the Palace! Not only will this make your visit hassle-free, but it will also give you more time to explore the different areas and exhibits in the Topkapi Palace. With an expert guide by your side, your Topkapi Palace tour is bound to be interesting and informative.

Expert Guides who are Historians

Take a trip into the Ottoman empire-courtesy of your expert guide, who doubles up as a historian as well! Your expert guide cum historian will take you on a fun and educational Topkapi Palace tour. Your English-speaking guide will help you explore all the wonderful exhibits on display and even give you an insight into the lavish lifestyle of all the Sultans who reigned from the Topkapi Palace!

Topkapi Palace Tour Options

Multilingual Audio Guides

If you want to wander around the Topkapi Palace and explore it on your own, you can use your multilingual audio guide. The audio guide comes in nine different languages. These are English, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, and Chinese. There is no better way to make your Topkapi Palace guided tour educational and enjoyable at the same time!

Convert your Topkapi Palace Tour into a Whole Day Tour

By converting your Topkapi Palace tour into a whole day tour, you will be getting the best of everything that Istanbul has to offer! The whole day tour will cover all the attractions that Istanbul is known for-be it the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, or the Topkapi Palace, you can skip the line at all these attractions! But, the best is yet to come. You get to top off your glorious whole-day tour of Istanbul with a gorgeous sunset cruise on the Bosphorus river.

Topkapi Palace Tour Options

The Best Topkapi Palace Guided Tours

Guided Tours

Combo Guided Tours

Choosing the Best Topkapi Palace Guided Tour

To make an informed decision about the right Topkapi Palace guided tour for you, take a look at all these ticket options.

1Skip the Line with Guided Tour

With your skip-the-line Topkapi Palace guided tour tickets, you can get priority admission to the Palace. You will be accompanied by a local guide who will take you through the interiors of the Topkapi Palace and give you an overview of the artifacts housed in the Palace. This Topkapi Palace guided tour covers only the main residence inside the Palace and the administrative headquarters.

Topkapi Palace Tour Options

2Guided VIP Ticket with Access to the Harem

Your guided VIP ticket for the Topkapi Palace tour will give you priority entry into the Palace. You literally waltz into the Topkapi Palace with these tickets! An English-speaking guide will give you an introductory tour of the Topkapi Palace for ninety minutes. Armed with your audio guide, you will have the freedom to explore the Palace and its exhibits at your choice and convenience.

Topkapi Palace Tour Options

3Skip the Line with a Self-Guided Audio Tour

Skip the line on the day of your tour with these Topkapi Palace tickets! Equipped with your audio guide, you can take yourself on a tour of the Topkapi Palace and its exhibits. You have the freedom to explore the Topkapi Palace complex and the various collections that it houses. These include collections of the Imperial jewels, the Imperial wardrobe, and the armory. You also get the opportunity to explore the pavilions and the kitchens of the Topkapi Palace at your own pace.

Topkapi Palace Tour Options

4Istanbul Full Day Tour

Visit famous attractions such as the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar with a single ticket! These full-day tour tickets will fast-track your entry to all the attractions that you visit. Your expert English-speaking guide will always be by your side as you spend the day exploring everything that Istanbul has to offer. The tour ticket also includes a sumptuous lunch at a local restaurant. You will end your full-day tour with a relaxing 2.5 hours sunset cruise, in a private yacht, on the Bosphorus strait. You can even munch on baklava and quench your thirst with the seasonal drinks and soft drinks that will be offered to you as you sail along the Bosphorus river. You can cancel these tickets 24 hours before your guided tour to get a full refund.

Topkapi Palace Tour Options

Topkapi Palace Tours Deconstructed-A Typical Guided Tour Experience

Topkapi Palace Tour Options

A Palace as gorgeous as the Topkapi Palace has to have an equally gorgeous location! The Topkapi Palace is located on Sarayburnu or Seraglio Point and overlooks the stunning blue waters of the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus strait.

On your Topkapi Palace guided tour, you will be able to experience the Palace in all its luxury and glory. Here are a few places that you should definitely not miss when visiting the Topkapi Palace.

First Courtyard

As you pass through the Imperial Gate on your Topkapi Palace tour, you will enter the First Courtyard which is also referred to as the ‘Court of Janissaries’ or the Parade Court. In fact, if you look around, you will be able to see some surviving traces of the workshops of artists, carpenters, tailors, calligraphers, and other guilds. The architectural styles and decorations found in the First Courtyard set the stage for the styles and decorations found throughout the Palace.

Second Courtyard

The Middle Gate leads to the Second Courtyard or the ‘Divan Square’. This courtyard was the administrative center of the Ottoman empire. With its park-like setting, the Second Courtyard is surrounded by the kitchen and the confectioneries on the right. The confectionaries currently house the collection of Chinese celadon porcelain that the Sultan adored for two reasons-first its beauty and second its ability to change color when poisoned. To the left of the courtyard are the ornate Imperial Council Chambers where matters of the state were discussed. The room to the right of the Council Chambers houses the clocks from the Palace collection and to the north of the chamber lies the external armory, which showcases Ottoman and European arms and armory.

Topkapi Palace Tour Options


The Harem’s entrance is located beneath the Tower of Justice. If you want to get a glimpse of the lavish lifestyle of the Sultan and his family members do visit this area. The Harem housed the living quarters of the Sultan's family and in the 16th century, the Sultan’s private headquarters were shifted here as well. Some of the areas worth visiting in the Harem are The Dome with Cupboards, the Hall with a Fountain, the Salon of the Valide Sultan or the Queen Mother, the Privy Chamber of Murat III, and the Twin Apartments of the Crown Prince.

Third Courtyard

The Canopied Gate of Felicity leads to the Third Courtyard or the innermost courtyard of the Topkapi Palace complex. Before shifting his chambers to the Harem in the 16th century, the Sultan had his private residence in the third courtyard. This area has various exhibits. The Chamber of Holy Relics is a repository for Islamic relics and contains the mantle, sword, and bow of Prophet Mohammad. Portraits of past Sultans adorn the walls in the Dormitory of Privy Chambers and the Dormitory of Campaigners showcases the clothes worn during the Ottoman empire. The Pavilion of Conqueror houses the Imperial jewels. The Spoonmaker’s Diamond-one of the largest cut diamonds in the world is displayed here. An Emerald Topkapi Dagger is another must-see jewel here. In fact, if there is one area in the Topkapi Palace that showcases the wealth of the Ottoman Empire in all its glory, it is the Third Courtyard!

Fourth Courtyard

The Third courtyard extends into the fourth courtyard, which contains pleasure pavilions and terraced gardens. The lovely tulips in the gardens here wave majestically in the air as they draw you in with their beautiful fragrance, as you explore the area. The fourth courtyard is home to the Iftariye Kameriyesi-a quaint, gilt-bronzed Iftar pergola that was used by the Sultans to break their Ramzan fast during the summers. Other pavilions that cover the Fourth Courtyard of the Topkapi Palace are the Circumcision Chamber, Yerevan Pavilion, and the Baghdad Pavilion.

Are Topkapi Palace Guided Tours Really Worth It?

Yes! The Topkapi Palace Guided Tours are definitely worth it! All the different places inside the Palace complex have a story to tell. The exhibits showcase some of the most amazing artifacts from the Ottoman empire, which should definitely not be missed. With the Topkapi Palace tour tickets, you will be able to see all this and learn so much about the Imperial Ottoman empire. The skip-the-line option, which is available with your tour tickets, will let you jump right to the front of the queue at the Palace. Not only will this save you from the incessantly long queues at the entrance, but it will also give you more time to explore the Topkapi Palace.

Topkapi Palace Practical Information

Opening Hours

During the summers, from 1st April to 1st October, the Topkapi Palace remains open from 9am-6pm. The Topkapi Palace follows the same timings during the winters as well.

The Palace is open every day of the week, but remains closed on Tuesdays; so plan your Topkapi Palace guided tour accordingly.

Getting to Topkapi Palace

  • By Bus:Take the bus 28T, 30D, 46Ç, 47E, 99A, BN1 or EM1 and get down at either the Akbıyık or Sarayburnu stations. Akbıyık is an 11-minute walk to the Place and Sarayburnu is a 20-minute walk.
  • By Car: You can travel to the Topkapi Palace in your private car. However, there is no parking facility in the Topkapi Palace Complex. You can park your car at the Sports Car Park or Otopark-both of which are a 10-minute walk from the Palace.
  • By Tram: The Public Transportation system T1 or Tram 1 is the most convenient way to get to the Topkapi Palace. The Gülhane istasyonu and Sultanahmet are the nearest tram stations. Gülhane istasyonu is a 9-minute walk from the Palace whereas the Sultanahmet station is an 11-minute walk.
  • By Train: The closest train station to the Topkapi Palace is the Marmaray Sirkeci İstasyonu, which is a 15-minute walk from the Palace. Trains running on the Marmaray or Atakoy-Pendik line will take you to Topkapi Palace.
  • By Taxi: You can directly take a taxi to the Topkapi Palace.

Insider Tips

Make a note of these insider tips before embarking on your Topkapi Palace guided tour

  • The Topkapi Palace is accessible to people with reduced mobility. However, wheelchairs are not available at the Palace.
  • Children below 6 years of age get free entry into the Topkapi Palace.
  • Disabled visitors and their companion, who has to be first-degree relative, are also granted free entry into the Palace.
  • Audio guides or personal guides are recommended when visiting the Topkapi Palace.
  • No photography is allowed inside any of the halls of the Palace.
  • Since you will be walking a lot, make sure that you wear comfortable footwear for your Topkapi Palace guided tour.
  • When you visit the Topkapi Palace, make sure that you wear clothes that cover your shoulders and your knees.
  • Visitors wearing shorts, skirts, sleeveless clothes or strapless clothes will not be allowed inside the Chamber of Holy Relics in the Fourth Courtyard.
Royal Palace Madrid Guided Tours


Can I visit the Harem during my Topkapi Palace guided tour?

The Harem is a six-floored complex, but only one floor of the Harem is open for visitors. Some tour tickets include access to the Harem, but some tickets do not. If you wish to visit the Harem on your Topkapi Palace guided tour, you can easily purchase the tickets from the ticket booth located in front of the Harem. 

What will I see on my Topkapi Palace Guided Tour?

You will see the First Courtyard, Second Courtyard, Harem, Third Courtyard and the Fourth Courtyard on your Topkapi Palace guided tour. These attractions have various rooms that have exhibits that showcase artifacts such as palace clocks, the Imperial wardrobe, and the Imperial jewels.

Should I pre-book my tour tickets for the Topkapi Palace guided tour?

We do recommend that you pre-book your tickets for the Topkapi Palace guided tour. Most tour tickets offer skip-the-line entry, which gives you priority entry into the Topkapi Palace. However, to visit the Harem, you will need to purchase another ticket from the ticket booth located outside the Harem.

Can I click pictures on my Topkapi Palace guided tour?

Unfortunately, photography is prohibited in all the halls of the Topkapi Palace, so you will not be able to click any pictures on your guided tour.

Are audio guides available for the Topkapi Palace guided tour?

Yes, audio guides are available for the Topkapi Palace guided tour. The audio guides come in nine different languages; these are English, Polish, Spanish, German, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish, Russian, and Italian.

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