The Istanbul Museum Pass is a very useful card for those who come to the city for a cultural trip. Those who will visit several museums can easily cover the money they pay for the museum card. So is the Museum Pass Istanbul worth it? You can find insider tips about the museum card in this post.
The museums in Istanbul are very crowded between April and November, the city’s tourist season. Especially in the spring and autumn, there are long ticket queues in front of the museums. The biggest benefit of the Museum Pass is that it saves you from waiting in lines.
However, if you go to very crowded museums such as Topkapi Palace to get your museum card, you will still have to wait in line. Of course, waiting in line for the Museum Card can still save you time at other museums. But there are also much faster ways to purchase the card. In this article, I will tell you about these time-saving tips about Museum Pass Istanbul.
Useful Tips About Museum Pass Istanbul
Museum Pass Istanbul allows you to visit the best museums of Istanbul. It is valid in places such as Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, Istanbul Archeology Museum, which are among the most popular museums of the city.
However, there are some places where the museum card is not valid. Among them, we can count Dolmabahce Palace and Basilica Cistern. The Museum Pass is not valid as these two important museums are operated by other institutions.
1. How can I get the Museum Pass fast?
In order to get the Museum Pass quickly, you need to go to one of Istanbul’s relatively less popular museums. You can especially try the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, which is adjacent to the Blue Mosque and Hippodrome.
Today’s Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art was a palace belonging to a Grand Vizier (Prime Minister) during the Ottoman period. Easily distinguished from afar by its reddish shutters, this building is now a place where artifacts from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods are exhibited.
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is one of the places where the Museum Pass is sold in Istanbul and it is very quiet in the morning. You can get your Museum Pass from this museum, which is very close to the Sultanahmet Tram Station, and go to visit the Topkapi Palace and the adjacent Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
2. How do I get the Museum Pass Online?
In order to purchase the Museum Pass online, you can access the official website of the Turkish Ministry of Tourism from this link. After purchasing the museum card online, you must go to one of the museums in Istanbul that distributes the museum card and receive the card with your ID.
It may save time to go to a relatively less crowded museum to collect your card. Topkapi Palace is the most crowded museum in the Old City. Apart from this, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum or the Great Palace Mosaics Museum can be preferred.
2022 Update: QR Code application is active in Museum Pass. Although I haven’t confirmed it yet, when you purchase the Museum Pass online, it will be possible to enter the museums with the QR Code you will download to your phone.
3. What is Included in the Museum Pass Istanbul?
Below you can find a list of museums included in the Museum Pass Istanbul. All sections in these museums can be visited with the 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 (Near Blue Mosque)
- Galata Tower (Near Taksim Square)
- Rumeli Fortress (Citadel at the Bosphorus)
- Yildiz Palace (Located in Besiktas near Ortakoy)
- Galata Mevlevi House Museum (Whirling Dervishes Lodge near Galata Tower)
- Istanbul Fethiye Museum (Former Pammakaristos Church near Balat)
4. How much is the Museum Pass Istanbul in 2022?
Museum Pass Istanbul price is 700 Turkish Liras as of November 2022. The price was last revised on July 1, 2022. Since the Turkish Lira has lost value against the Euro and USD in recent years, the price of the Museum Card is quite reasonable for foreign visitors.
5. Is the Museum Pass Istanbul worth the price?
The Istanbul Museum Pass is definitely worth its money. In fact, even just visiting all parts of the Topkapi Palace can cover the cost of the Museum Pass. Because Topkapi Palace, its Harem Rooms, Hagia Irene Museum and Istanbul Archeology Museums are within the boundaries of the palace. If you buy a separate ticket for each of these museums, it will be more expensive than the Museum Pass.
In my opinion, Museum Pass Istanbul is worth buying just to avoid waiting in line at ticket offices. Because waiting for a long time at museum entrances can ruin your day. For this reason, the museum card can be bought even for fast track advantage.
6. In which museums is the card not valid?
Unfortunately, the Museum Pass Istanbul is not valid in all museums of Istanbul. Among the museums where the card is not valid are Basilica Cistern, Dolmabahce Palace and Beylerbeyi Palace, which are among the best places to visit in Istanbul.
Some of these museums are operated by the National Palaces Administration, while others are operated by the Istanbul Municipality. For this reason, the Museum Pass, a product of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, is not valid in them.
In order to conclude, the museum card is a must-have for those visiting Istanbul. Thanks to the Istanbul Museum Pass, you can visit state-affiliated museums in Istanbul without buying a ticket. In addition, there are discounts between 10% and 20% for the museum card in private museums.
The only thing to keep in mind about the card is that it is not valid in popular museums such as Basilica Cistern and Dolmabahce Palace. You need to buy tickets for these museums separately. However, you can still buy skip-the-line tickets to avoid waiting in line.
If you came to Istanbul for a few days and you are going to visit 3-4 museums, the museum card is definitely worth the money you pay. Moreover, getting rid of waiting in ticket queues in museums is another plus of having a museum pass.
Written by Serhat Engul