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Guided Tours

Guided Tour of Basilica Cistern with Skip-the-Line Tickets

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Hidden beneath the streets of Istanbul lies the ancient Basilica Cistern. Enjoy a guided tour of this sunken filming location. Upgrade to include a tour of Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque!

Highlights

  • Skip the winding queues at the ancient Basilica Cistern, one of Istanbul’s hidden underground reservoirs.

  • Admire the amazing Byzantine artworks, including the many illuminated columns and the Medusa heads.

  • Learn about the fascinating history of the cistern from your expert English-speaking local guide.

  • Enhance your experience with a guided tour of the iconic Hagia Sophia and the grand Blue Mosque.

  • Fun fact: Dan Brown’s Inferno and James Bond’s From Russia with Love were filmed here.

Inclusions

  • Expert English-speaking guide

  • Skip the line ticket to Basilica Cistern

  • Hagia Sophia guided tour (optional)

  • Blue Mosque guided tour (optional)

  • Audio guide app in 8 languages

Cancellation policy

You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.

Ratings & Reviews

4.3
751 Ratings
5/5
483
4/5
158
3/5
27
2/5
29
1/5
54
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Spain
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • Romania
  • France
  • South Africa
  • Greece
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Spain
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • Romania
  • France
  • South Africa
  • Greece
Guests from United States, United Kingdom, Australia and over 53 countries have loved this experience
Alicia Ines Bether

Alicia

4/5

May, 2024

It is worth a visit. The only problem was that I was told that the guide would bring a toja flag and he brought another one that I had a hard time identifying.
View original review in Spanish
Ronald Blackman

Ronald

3/5

May, 2024

The greatest virtue of the tour was the ability to skip the line and get in at a specified time without waiting. However,, I felt the extra cost of the tour over the entrance cost was worthwhile given the virtues I just noted.
Anne Elizabeth Vinning

Anne

4/5

May, 2024

The Cisterns themselves were stunning. Such ancient history under the modern city streets. It did not help though that your website is based in Berlin and this is not advised anywhere on the website. I had told ny debit card company that I was ony travelling in Germany. After this first purchase my debit card was blocked and I need to ring Austraia at significant cost to get it unblocked.
Nicholas Nyhof

Nicholas

5/5

May, 2024

The tour guide was very knowledgable and helpful in providing context that wouldn't be readily available otherwise. It's a cool sight to see, but with the historical context it becomes something completely different and you're able to appreciate it in a whole new way.
Chrizelda Davel

Chrizelda

5/5

May, 2024

Loved that we could book skip the line tickets online. The queue at the Basilica Cistern was extremely long but our guide got us in quickly and with no hassles. The Cistern it self was amazing and really is a must see in Istanbul.

Visit one of the largest surviving ancient cisterns in Istanbul

Legend has it that Medusa once used to protect this great building. In fact, you will still see two Medusa heads at the base of the columns here. Even today, the Basilica Cistern comes across as one of the most magical buildings in all of Istanbul.

Interestingly, this large underground water reservoir (one of several hundred hidden ones in the city) has been a filming location for several Hollywood blockbusters. Tom Hanks was here while filming Dan Brown's thriller Inferno in 2016, James Bond's From Russia with Love was also shot here. Clearly, Hollywood producers loved the intriguing atmosphere of the place, and you will too when you experience it for yourself.

Admire the 336 illuminated marble and granite columns, and get transported back to another era. Opt for your preferred language from the ticket options and listen to your local guide as they tell you about the different building materials used across different eras. You'll also get to see the carp that thrive in the shallow waters of the reservoir!

Enhance your experience with a guided tour of Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia

Upgrade your ticket to discover over 20,000 handcrafted blue ceramic tiles at the Blue Mosque, featuring a blend of traditional Islamic design and Byzantine elements. Explore the iconic Hagia Sophia with your English-speaking guide. Marvel at its massive dome, which was an engineering feat in its time. The vast interior space and the intricate design elements showcase a blend of Byzantine and Ottoman architectural styles.

Important Information

  • It's recommended to wear comfortable clothes along with non-slip shoes.

  • The following are allowed during the tour: Photography, outside food & drinks.

  • Your voucher will be emailed to you instantly.

  • Display the voucher on your mobile phone with a valid photo ID at the meeting point.

  • Please arrive at the meeting point 15 minutes before the scheduled time of your tour to avoid any delays.

Meeting Point

  • Please check your final voucher for the meeting point details and specific instructions.
Missing any information?

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