Museums in Istanbul

Choose from a wide range of Thrillophilia’s handcrafted Turkey Tour Packages to learn some riveting tales about the rich history and vibrant culture of this fascinating country. Turkey is home to a fascinating collection of museums that attract many history buffs. If you are interested in knowing how this country has evolved through different rulers, museums are the best places to visit in Turkey.

If you are planning a romantic escapade, our Turkey honeymoon packages feature opportunities to witness the exquisite medieval palaces which are now turned into museums. Visit the Yildiz Palace to enjoy a casual stroll in its lovely gardens and pavilions, and you can also dedicate a day to paying homage to the Persian mystic Rumi at the Mevlana Museum and read some of his poems on divine love. 

You can explore a collection of many interesting artefacts and other historical and archaeological remains of a bygone era when you visit these museums. Visit the Hagia Sophia Museum to appreciate Byzantium art and architecture, and witness the magnificence of royal life during Ottoman rule by visiting the Topkapi Palace Museum. 

Admire some riveting works of contemporary artists at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. Find out the best museums in Turkey to enjoy a fun-filled day with family and friends to learn more about the culture and history of Turkey

Best Museums in Turkey

Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul: With a fascinating history that dates back to the 15th century, the Topkapi Palace Museum is one of the most amazing museums in Istanbul. Once the official residence of Ottoman sultans, it was turned into a museum in 1924 to showcase rare exhibits like the Topkapi Dagger and Spoonmaker’s Diamond. You can enjoy the collection of heirlooms, books, and manuscripts while on your trip to this place. Apart from providing insights into its magnificent history, Topkapi Palace Museum also offers a panoramic view of the Bosphorus Strait. 

Ephesus Archaeological Museum, Selçuk: Exhibiting many ancient artefacts to dazzle its visitors, the Ephesus Archeological Museum is one of the best museums in Turkey. It is well-known for having the statue of the Greek Goddess Artemis which was excavated from the Temple of Artemis in Turkey. When you visit the museum, don’t miss their 10-minute 3D simulation of how Ephesus looked in ancient times. You can also admire the collection of artefacts, coins, sculptures, and other ancient remnants here. 

Hagia Sophia Museum, Istanbul: Appreciate the architectural glory of the Byzantines at Hagia Sophia Museum. From being a cathedral to a mosque and now converted into a museum, this museum is a testimony to the evolution of history. The beautiful mosaics here resemble Biblical scenes like the birth and baptism of Jesus which are a delight for all the onlookers. The massive central dome is also a highlight of this place, exciting all architecture lovers. 

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art: Showcasing the creativity of several Turkish and international artworks in every corner, this is one of the best museums in Istanbul. It is the first museum of modern and contemporary art in Turkey and hosts many cultural activities and exhibitions. The museum also has a dedicated space for photography enthusiasts, a cinema, a souvenir store and a café. Apart from remarkable exhibitions like ‘Always Here’ and ‘Floating Islands’, it also has a wonderful library with more than 11500 books. 

Mevlana Museum, Konya: Dedicated to the Persian poet and mystic Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, this is one of the most popular museums in Turkey. It is famous for its stunning architecture which includes the eye-catching turquoise dome. Here, you can see rare books like Divan-i-Kebir (a collection of poems by Rumi), Qurans, and prayer carpets, along with metal and wooden artworks that were associated with Rumi. You can also explore different sections of the museum that are categorised as Outdoors, Dervish Cells, Yard, Library, Semhane, and Chant room. 

Dolmabahce Palace Museum, Istanbul: Witness the exquisite beauty and grandeur of Dolmabahce Palace Museum on your trip to Istanbul. In addition to being one of the biggest palaces in Turkey, it is a famous museum in Istanbul. The museum has more than hundreds of rooms which are well-known for their artistic and architectural wonders. You can also check out the aviary, glass factory, foundry, apartment of the Crown Prince, and the clock tower when you are here.

Göreme Open Air Museum, Nevşehir: Learn more about the Byzantine Empire at the Goreme Open Air Museum. It is renowned for its amazing rock-cut churches adorned with coloured frescoes in addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the prominent museums in Turkey, it promises an insight into the medieval ages with fascinating caves and murals in Cappadocia. Some of the popular attractions here are St Barbara Church, Apple Church, Dark Church, Snake Church, and Buckle Church. 

Yildiz Palace, Istanbul: Also famed for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Yildiz Palace was one of the last residences of Ottamman Sultans in Turkey. In the 19th century, it was home to Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II who used it as his official palace and residence. Often cited among the best museums in Istanbul, it promises the most gorgeous views of the Bosphorus Strait. You can explore the Şale (Chalet) ( the place where the Sultan lived) and Merasim Kosku (the ceremonial kiosk) and feel as if transported back into the times of the Ottoman era in Turkey. This gorgeous palace is also well-known for its huge complex area, gardens and courtyards. 

Troy Museum, Tevfikiye: Catch a glimpse of the ancient remnants from the city of Troy at this famous museum in Turkey, known as the Troy Museum. It depicts the stages of evolution of Troy from the Chalcolithic Age to the Iron Age, then to the Neolithic Age, and finally the Bronze Age. The museum also exhibits a great collection of coins, ornaments, gold pieces, bone objects, terracotta pottery and other inscriptions that once belonged to Troy.

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Istanbul Museums FAQs

Which are the best museums in Istanbul?

1. Topkapi Palace Museum- Also known as Topkapi Sarayi, this Ottoman and Baroque style architecture is one of the top Istanbul museums. It was once the seat of the Ottoman rulers for over 4,00 years. In the First Courtyard, find the Royal Armoury, which was earlier the Church of Hagia Eirene. Set out to explore the stunning Chinese and Japanese porcelain in the kitchen in the Second Courtyard. Don’t miss out on the Holy Relics Chamber, which exhibits various items related to Abrahamic figures like (Prophet) Muhammad, Abraham and John the Baptist.

Location - Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/?stanbul, Turkey
Timing - 10am to 4 pm everyday (closed on Tuesdays)
Price - around 200 Turkish Lira

2. Museum of Illusions, Istanbul- Visit the Museum of Illusions, one of the most craziest and fascinating Istanbul museums that'll confuse your senses like no other. At the Rotated Room, get a glimpse of how life would be like if everything got rotated by 90 degrees. Bewilder your senses in the Vortex Tunnel, where you’ll be illusions by the rotating cylinder, making you temporarily lose balance over your body. In the Ames Room, see your eyes widen in fascination as you see your friends grow into giants with the help of illusions.

Location -Emaar Square Mall, Unalan Mahallesi libadiye cad., NO B2/1/1, Istanbul Turkey
Timing -10:00 – 22:00 (Last Entrance: 21:15)
Price - Adult: 235 TL
Children: (5-18 years old): 185 TL
Children: (0-4 years old): FREE

3. Istanbul Archaeology Museum- The Istanbul Archaeology Museum is one of the most famous museums in Istanbul Turkey and admire numerous artefacts including the Love Poem tablet, Kadesh Peace Treaty tablets and the Bust of Alexander. It houses some of the greatest pieces of art and other structures found within the regions of the Ottoman Empire, ranging from different cultures and histories. Visit the Museum to come across the Sidamara Sarcophagus, one of the most stunning sarcophagus discovered till now with amazing depictions. Also explore the Sarcophagus of Alexander, which is thought to be built by his commander after the Issos War.

Location - Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/?stanbul, Turkey
Timing - 9am to 7pm
Price - 100 Turkish Liras

4. Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts- Listed among the most famous msueums in Istanbul Turkey, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is a must visit. It was constructed after a need was felt to safely house all the artefacts associated with Islam, as they were being subjected to theft and damage in other places. At the museum, explore some of the best pieces of art masterpieces, glassworks and other artefacts. Visit the most important section of the museum - the rugs collections, where you’ll find some of the most beautiful and oriental carpets, especially those of the Seljuks time.

Location -Binbirdirek Mah.Atmeydani Sok. Ibrahim Pasa Sarayi No:46 34122 Istanbul/Turkey
Timing - 9 am to 7:30 pm (winter upto 6:30 pm only)
Price - approx 100 Turkish Liras

5. Istanbul Museum of Modern Art- The first museum themed on contemporary and modern art, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art is one of the most famous museums in Istanbul Turkey. The collection majorly belongs to the Eczac?ba?? family, and include items like paintings and photograph collections. Admire the stunning and abstract photography collection, which houses some of the beast clocks by famous photographers. THe Museum also conducts a number of events all round, like the ‘In Pursuit of the Present’, ‘Selma Gurbuz’.

Location -K?l?çali Pa?a, Tophane ?skele Cd. No:1/1, 34433 Beyo?lu/?stanbul, Turkey
Timing - 10 am to 6pm (on sunday open from 11am)
Price - General ticket - 72 Lira
Students and Senior Citizens - 5 Lira

6. Pera Museum- The Pera Museum is one of the best private Istanbul museums, blending historical relics, artefacts, mediaeval art and even modern art. It regularly hosts a number of temporary exhibits that are a grand hit among its patrons and visitors. Visit one of the best museum in Istanbul to explore the Oriental Art collections, where you’ll find the works of some of the greatest orientalists who were influenced by Ottoman culture. Moreover, you can also explore the Kutya section, which houses the famous tiles and ceramic works from Kutahya region.

Location -Asmal? Mescit, Me?rutiyet Cd. No:65, 34430 Beyo?lu/?stanbul, Turkey
Timing - 10 am to 7pm (general timings)
Price - General - 50 Liras
Children, students and senior citizen - 25 Liras

7. Istanbul Mosaic Museum- Plan your visit to one of the best museum in Istanbul, the Istanbul Mosaic Museum which is home to the stunning mosaics which were unearthed during excavations at the Roman Grand Palace. The scenes depicted by these mosaics are also significant for consideration. These scenes depict daily life as it used to happen in the 1st century. There are more than 150 animal and human depictions, the most famous being the lizard eating the griffon and the fighting elephant and lion.

Location -
Kabasakal Cad. Arasta Çar??s? (Bazaar) No. 53, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul
Timings - 9 am to 7pm (general timings)
Prices - 60 Liras

8. The Museum of Innocence, Istanbul- The Museum of Innocence is present in a 19th century house and is among the most visited Istanbul museums. The museum is themed on Orhan Pamuk’s book, The Museum of Innocence and houses scores of artefacts, carpets, designs and other objects that are related to what was described in this novel. The Novel, set between the 1970s and 2000s, shows the life of two wealthy families and it was written alongside the construction of the museum.

Location - Firuza?a, Çukurcuma Caddesi, Dalg?ç Çk. No:2, 34425 Beyo?lu/?stanbul, Turkey
Timings - 10 am to 6pm
Prices - 65 liras for adults
40 liras for children

9. Istanbul Toy Museum- Get your tickets to one of the first Istanbul museums which is based on the theme of toys. Founded by the Turkish poet Sunay Akin in 2005, this toy museum currently houses more than 4,000 original toy pieces and miniatures. Right on the first floor, you will find the Eyup Toy Shop, an old toy shop which shut down in the mid-20th century. Moreover, a number of antique pieces and decorations can also be found here. The museum also provides an amazing educational experience in a fun way - like the first moon landing or the industrial revolution, making it one of the most famous museums in Istanbul Turkey.

Location -Göztepe, Dr. Zeki Zeren Sk No:17, 34730 Kad?köy/?stanbul, Turkey
Timings - 10 am to 6pm
Prices - 75 Liras

10. Naval Museum- The Naval Museum is one of the most interesting and best museum in Istanbul, established by the then Navy Minster Bozcadaali Hasan and is dedicated to the navy. Housing tens and thousands of naval artefacts related to the Ottoman Navy, this museum is a big hit among military-enthusiasts. Come across an amazing number of artefacts like ship models, naval maps, naval cannons and other weapons. You can also come across a number of statues of influential naval commanders like Captain Huseyin Rauf, Captain Pasha and a painting of Turgut Raes.

Location -Sinanpa?a, Be?ikta? Cd. No:6 D:1, 34353 Be?ikta?/?stanbul, Turkey
Timings - 9am to 5 pm (Saturday and Sunday - 10 am to 6pm)
Prices - 13 Lira

11. Madame Tussauds Istanbul- With a worldwide presence and popularity, the Madame Tussauds Museum has now entered Turkey to become one of the best museum in Istanbul. With a visit to this wax museum, get a chance to meet your favourite personalities like Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Arda Turan in the sport section. In the actors section, click multiple photos with your favorite actors like Marilyn Monre and Spider Man. Moreover, meet and greet famous singers like Michale jackson, Lady Gaga and Murat Boz in the Music Section.

Location -Hüseyina?a, Grand Pera, ?stiklal Cd. no: 56 D:58, 34440 Beyo?lu/?stanbul, Turkey
Timings - 11am to 8pm
Prices - 293 Liras

12. Pelit Chocolate Museum- Located adjacent to the Pelit Chocolate Factory, the Pelit Museum is the first-of-its-kind Istanbul museum dedicated to chocolate. A tour to the chocolate museum involves learning in an interactive way, the history and techniques of chocolate making. Explore the adorable chocolate replicas of famous Turkish attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Leander’s Tower and the Blue Mosque. You’ll also find the chocolate carvings of other attractions like the Statue of Liberty, Galata Tower and Noah's Ark.

Location -Koza Mahallesi 1678 Sk. No:19 Sanayi Mahallesi Evren Sanayi Sitesi Akbat? A.V.M. Arkas?, 34538 Esenyurt/?stanbul, Turkey
Timings - 10am to 5pm
Prices - 75 Liras for adults
60 Liras for kids

How much does it cost to visit Topkapi Palace?

The entry fee to the Topkapi Palace is around 200 Turkish Lira for adults, however, it is free for children below 12 years. In case you want to combine a visit to the Harem, you will have to pay an additional 100 liras.

Which is the most famous museum in Istanbul?

The Topkapi Palace Museum is one of the most famous museums in Istanbul, Turkey. With highly regal palace interiors, lavish staterooms and stunning artefacts on display, one must visit this museum, when in Istanbul.

How many days are enough to visit Istanbul?

In general 2 to 3 days are enough to explore the major Istanbul attractions like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace and the Topkapi Palace Museum. However, for a more leisurely tour and to explore the city at its finest, you can even extend your stay from 5 days to a week.

What is Istanbul famous for?

Istanbul is famous for its rich history, diversity, art and architecture. It is and has been the major centre for political activities, from the Byzantine era to the Ottomans and even till today. The city is marked by urban sprawl, with marvels like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the other famous museums in Istanbul Turkey.

How to reach Istanbul?

1. By Air : The Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST) is the main and the busiest airports of the city, facilitating both national and international flights. You can easily board flights from all major countries across Europe and other parts of the world.

2. By Road: Buses are available from all regions of Turkey and also from cities in neighbouring countries, such as Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Republic of Macedonia. One can also plan a road trip to Istanbul and drive from Bulgaria, Italy, or Greece to Turkey.

3. By Train - There are two main connected railway terminals - Sirkeci and Hyderpasa, that receive trains from Europe and Asia.

Which is one of the most visited museums in Turkey?

One of the most visited museums in Turkey is the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul. It was originally built as a cathedral in 537 AD and later converted into a mosque in 1537 AD. Associated with an intriguing history, it was converted into a museum, which was opened in the early 1900s. It is well-known across the world for its distinct mosaics which are adorned with gold, showcasing a brilliant work of art.

How many museums are there in Turkey?

There are a total of 99 museums in Turkey. Various world-renowned museums have conserved many ancient artefacts brilliantly. In addition to this, there are many museums dedicated to modern art, history and culture of Turkey. Some of the prominent museums in Turkey are the Topkapi Palace Museum, Hagia Sophia Museum, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, and Ephesus Archaeological Museum.

Istanbul Museums Reviews

Jacob Wilson
Reviewed: 30 Sep 2022
I booked the Topkapi Palace Tickets really cheap through Thrillophilia and had a great time exploring the regal history of the Ottoman Empire. Thank you Thrillophilia for the fantastic deals on the tickets.
Lincoln Williams
Reviewed: 14 Sep 2022
We had heard so much about Topkapi, and the final experience definitely went way better than expected. Shoutout to Thrillophilia for their easy and quick bookings that made our trip possible.
Oliver Brown
Reviewed: 02 Dec 2022
We enjoyed a lovely tour around Topkapi Palace as Thrillophilia arranged our tickets and provided skip-the-line-access at a much lower price.
William Taylor
Reviewed: 03 Nov 2022
I highly recommend Thrillophilia for booking tickets. My partner and I booked tickets to the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul through Thrillophilia. The booking process was hassle-free and we got instant confirmation. We were also pleasantly surprised by the discounted prices. Moreover, tickets were easil... Read More
George Green
Reviewed: 31 Oct 2022
I’d highly recommend Thrillophilia for booking tickets to Topkapi Palace as they provided us with the best services during our trip to Istanbul. Their booking process, instant confirmation, and guide, all were really amazing.
Charlotte Smith
Reviewed: 31 Oct 2022
Thanks to Thrillophilia for providing us with a stress-free trip to Topkapi Palace with their easy booking approach, skip-the-line access, and discounted ticket prices.

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