What Is the Istanbul Museum Pass, and Should I Get One?

Is the Museum Pass Istanbul something I should apply for? I get this question a lot from people planning to visit the Turkish metropolitan. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question.

Picture of the Museum Pass Istanbul.
Museum Pass Istanbul.

It all depends on what you plan to visit and/or whether you mind standing (for a long time) in a queue or not. So let me explain what the Istanbul Museum Pass is, what you can (not) do with it, whether it’s right for you, and how you can get one.

What Is the Istanbul Museum Pass?

The Museum Pass is a one-time payment card that provides you access to historical museums and cultural points of interest in Istanbul. There are two types (see below). Both are valid for a certain amount of days, starting from the moment you first use it (not the moment you bought it).

Is the MüzeKart the same as the Museum Pass?

No. The Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry introduced the MüzeKart in 2008. It was, and still is, a huge success among Turkish citizens. It also drew the attention of tourists, but they were not allowed to buy one. This outcry resulted in the creation of a separate card, the Museum Pass Istanbul.

The MüzeKart is valid for 300+ museums nationwide. Only Turkish nationals and foreigners with a residence permit can obtain it.

The Museum Pass Istanbul is for tourists visiting the metropolitan, hence providing access to a limited amount of venues.

So, as a tourist to Istanbul, the Museum Pass is the one and only card you can apply for!

What Sightseeing Spots Can You Visit with the Museum Pass?

The Museum Pass includes free access to the following areas of interest:

  • Hagia Sophia
  • Topkapi Palace (the Harem within the palace is not included)
  • Hagia Irene
  • Istanbul Archaeological Museums
  • Istanbul Mosaic Museum
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts ( currently closed because of maintenance work)
  • Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam
  • Chora Church or Mosaic Museum
  • Galata Mevlevi House Museum
  • Yıldız Palace Museum
  • Rumeli Hisar Museum
  • Fethiye Museum

Other Discounts

The card, regardless whether you chose the three or five day one, also includes discounts ranging from 10 to 20% in various sightseeing spots as well as shops across Istanbul. The list is too long to include here, but let me highlight a few that may interest you:

  • Istanbul Aquarium
  • Maiden Tower
  • Rahmi M. Koç Museum
  • Sakip Sabanci Museum

You can find the full list and the amount of discounts here.

What Are the Advantages of the Museum Pass?

The most important advantage is the ease of use. You no longer need to stand in line to buy your tickets and/or queue to get in.

Also, if you plan to visit all of the above mentioned places, you spend less money. If you don’t plan to visit all, you’ll probably spend more, but still have the ease of use.

How Much Does the Istanbul Museum Pass Cost?

TheIstanbul Museum Pass costs 85 TL per person. The card is valid for 5 days from the moment you first use the card. However, you can only visit each museum included in the museum pass once. Every card has the applicant’s name on it, and you may be asked to provide identification when entering.

Children under the age of 12 years enter for free in the included venues, so no need to buy a card for them.

How Can I Get a Museum Pass?

You can order it on-line prior to your visit and have the card(s) delivered to your hotel, waiting for you and ready to use upon your arrival. Do ask your hotel is that’s OK with them, before your order the cards.

Click on this link to buy the Museum Pass Istanbul, and follow the on-screen instructions

  1. Select the amount of cards you want
  2. Make sure to provide the correct personal information as well as credit card details
  3. IMPORTANT! In the address part, make sure to enter your hotel’s address.

In case your hotel does not approve or you don’t want to order online, no need to despair, you can still buy the card in the following places:

  • Topkapi Palace Museum
  • Hagia Sophia Museum
  • Chora Museum
  • Istanbul Mosaic Museum
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
  • Istanbul Archaeological Museums
  • Mobile sales units

Further Recommended Reading

  1. My Top Sightseeing Tips
  2. How to Get an Istanbul Kart, and is it Worth It
  3. Istanbul Food and Drinks Guide
  4. Have Me Check Your Itinerary

Last updated on 07/11/2015