There are many museum card options for fast entry to museums in Istanbul. In this article, you can find a comparison of the features of Istanbul museum pass cards in 2024.
In the following headings, I have examined what museum cards in Istanbul offer to foreign visitors from the eyes of a local tour guide. In addition, you can find links to online platforms where you can purchase each museum card.
The following headings include the advantages offered by these cards as of December 2023. However, it should be noted that there may be changes in the offers. For this reason, please carefully review the current status of the cards before purchasing.
Museum Card Options in Istanbul 2024
In the lines below, you can find the privileges offered by museum pass cards in Istanbul in 2024. As a local guide, I tried to convey information about these cards to you objectively.
Each card may have its own positive or negative aspects. Please check the details carefully to understand which museum pass in Istanbul suits you. Remember that April to November is high tourist season in Istanbul and the fast track offered by these cards saves a lot of time!
1. Museum Pass Istanbul
Museum Pass Istanbul is a card offered by the state to foreign visitors. With this card, you can enter Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, Istanbul Archaeological Museums and Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.
The only downside of the card is that it is not valid at some of the city’s most popular museums, such as the Basilica Cistern and Dolmabahce Palace. Another feature worth knowing is that this card allows you to quickly enter museums in a self-guided way.
Museum Pass Istanbul can be obtained from the box offices of major museums in the city. You can purchase it online from the official website of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture by using this link.
2. Istanbul Tourist Pass
Istanbul Tourist Pass stands out as the best seller among museum cards that offer fast track entry to museums in the city. After purchasing the card from this link, you will be presented with a voucher via GetYourGuide and you can benefit from all services via this QR code.
By obtaining this card, you get guided skip-the-line entry to places such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace and Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum which are the most visited tourist attractions in Istanbul.
The fact that these fast-track entrances are in the form of a guided group tour makes this card one step ahead of the first option. At the designated point, you meet your guide carrying the Istanbul Tourist Pass flag and enter the historical buildings together.
Apart from these famous historical monuments, Istanbul Tourist Pass also promises you many activities such as a Bosphorus cruise, Segway Tour and Grand Bazaar shopping tour.
The card has 3, 5 and 7-day versions, but the places I mentioned here seem to be available in the 3-day basic version. You can purchase this pass card via this link. You can also view all the details about this museum card on the relevant page.
3. Istanbul Welcome Card
Istanbul Welcome Card physically delivers the card to its customers. When you purchase the pass through this link, your card will be waiting for you at the hotel desk before you arrive in Istanbul.
The best-selling basic version of the Istanbul Welcome Card is known as the “Premium Card” and provides guided tours and skip-the-line services for Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern.
The advantages of the premium card include a 90-minute Bosphorus cruise and a metro pass that gives you the right to use public transportation in Istanbul 10 times. You also have a 20% discount coupon valid for many must-do activities in Istanbul.
And finally, when you purchase the card, a book about things to do in Istanbul and a city map are sent to your email address registered in the system as a PDF. You can purchase this pass card via this link. You can also view all the details about this museum card on the relevant page.
4. Istanbul E-Pass
Istanbul E-Pass seems to have the most flexible system among museum cards. After purchasing the card through this link, you will have access to around 60 historical places, museums and activities in Istanbul during the membership period.
Istanbul E-Pass has 2, 3, 5 or 7-day versions, and during this period you can visit main places such as Hagia Sophia, Blue Moque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern and Dolmabahce Palace with a guided tour.
In addition to these main attractions, many alternative activities such as Bosphorus cruise, Whirling Dervishes Show, Istanbul Aquarium visit, Prince Islands tour, Fener Balat walking tour, Hop on Hop off bus tour are also included in the list.
Personally, I find Istanbul E-Pass’ system to be very simple to understand and user-friendly. The 3-day version of the card also includes everything there is to see and do for a first timer in Istanbul.
Istanbul E-Pass is a practical museum card used via QR code. You can use this link to purchase this user-friendly card. All details about the advantages offered by the card are available in the relevant link.
In conclusion, there are many museum cards that can be purchased to gain fast-track entry to the most popular museums and historical monuments in Istanbul. Considering the basic versions, the most reasonably priced one is the Istanbul Welcome Card, but the others also have their own advantages.
When I examined the details, I really liked the user-friendly system offered by Istanbul E-Pass. However, on the other hand, Istanbul Tourist Card has been the best-selling museum card for years and has a wide operation network and experienced guides.
Museum Pass Istanbul, on the other hand, stands out as the cheapest and safest option as the official product offered by the state, although the advantages it offers are relatively limited.
As a local guide, I tried to examine and present to you the advantages offered by these cards as of December 2023. Please be sure to review the current status of the cards yourself before purchasing. There may be changes in the benefits offered.
Written by Serhat Engul