Book A Guided Tour of The Basilica Cistern: Skip-the-line [2021 Update]| Headout
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Basilica Cistern: Skip The Line Ticket With Guided Tour

Free Cancellation
Mobile Ticket
1 hr

Hidden beneath the streets of Istanbul lies the ancient Basilica Cistern. Skip the lines here and enjoy a guided tour of this sunken filming location. It is the largest (and most atmospheric) of the hundreds of old cisterns that exist under the city.


  • 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 local guide


  • Expert English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees


  • Food and drinks
  • Hotel transfers

super flexible cancellation policy

Get a full refund on canceling this ticket up to 24h before the schedule

your experience

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 when he was filming Dan Brown's thriller Inferno back in 2016. If that's not adventurous enough for you, you should know that 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.

The building itself was constructed all the way back in 532 AD. As you stroll along the raised platforms and take in its beautiful sights, think back to the history this place has experienced. Admire the 336 illuminated marble and granite columns, and get transported back to another era. The Byzantine architecture in the Basilica Cistern has stood the test of time (and many a tourist wave). Listen to your 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!

know before you go

Important Information

  • This tour involves a lot of walking. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes to cover long walking distances


  • Mon - 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM
  • Tue - 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM
  • Wed to Sun - 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:30 PM, 4:45 PM

Discounted Tickets

Ages 3-7yrs enjoy reduced ticket pricing (carry a valid photo ID)

my tickets

  • Your voucher will be emailed to you shortly
  • Please display your mobile voucher along with a valid photo ID to your guide
  • If you have purchased reduced-price tickets, please carry your valid photo ID proof for verification. Students must show their valid student IDs
  • Kindly ensure that you arrive 15 minutes before the start time of your tour to avoid any delays

Meeting Point

  • Meet your tour guide at the Big Bus stop in Sultanahmet, in front of the Hagia Sophia
  • Address: Cankurtaran, Atmeydanı Cd. No:5, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
  • The guide will be holding a white Istanbul Tourist Pass flag
  • To locate the meeting point on Google Maps, simply click on the link below
    Get Directions to the Meeting Point

Getting There

  • Tram: T1 to Sultanahmet


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