Topkapı Palace

Address: Soğukçeşme Sokak, Gülhane, Istanbul, Turkey
Telephone: 0212 512 04 80

- Expensive


Grand Ottoman royal complex full of beauty and treasures.

The centre of the Ottoman empire for four centuries, the former residence of the sultans retains its grandeur, with a riot of colourful tiles, sumptuous furniture, and fine architectural details throughout the massive complex of pavilions, halls, and courtyards. Don’t miss the many museums displaying Ottoman armour, outrageously sized jewels, and religious relics including both the hand of John the Baptist and one of the Prophet Mohammed’s teeth.

Value for money

Price advice

Regular admission is 20 lira; it’s worth paying the extra 15 lira to explore the harem as well.

Expert tips

The former palace gardens, now called Gülhane Park, are free to the public and a rare oasis of green and calm in one of the most crowded, hectic parts of the city.

Allow plenty of time to explore the palace’s many corners; you can easily spend a half-day within the complex.

Queue up by 8.45am to be one of the first in and head straight to the harem and the treasury, the most popular parts of the palace.

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Culture vultures
  • Great views / scenery
  • History
  • Design and architecture