Guided tour

Istanbul: Topkapi, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern Tour

4.9 / 5

52 reviews

Activity provider: Walks In Europe

Istanbul: Topkapi, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern Tour

Activity provider: Walks In Europe
Likely to sell out

From US$ 93.82 per person

Likely to sell out

Enjoy a guided tour through the heart of Istanbul's old town, Sultanahmet, to see the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Basilica Cistern. Gain priority admission at the museum and skip the long lines.

About this activity

Free cancellation
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Duration 5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Skip the ticket line
Live tour guide
German, English
Wheelchair accessible
Private group available


  • Visit the major highlights of historical Istanbul on a shared or private tour
  • Explore the world-famous Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern
  • Learn about the Ottomans as you walk through the Topkapi Palace
  • Have the privilege of a local guide for priority admission and skip-the-lines
  • Enjoy a tour of the Topkapi Palace Harem accompanied by a guide
Full description
Join a guided tour to discover Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. Benefit from priority admission at the museum ticket offices to skip the long lines and head in faster. Meet your guide in the Sultanahmet neighborhood at an easy spot and check out Istanbul's greatest monuments on a walking tour. Start with the Basilica Cistern, wander around the “Subterranean Palace” and learn about its history. See the underground pillars and learn about Byzantine architecture. Walk on the wooden walkways over the water until the famous upside-down Medusa heads. Next, visit the Hagia Sophia and witness the most significant site of the Greek Orthodox religion in Istanbul and learn how it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Explore the stunning monument with elements of a mosque and a church standing next to each other. Admire the basilica’s stunning dome and minarets, and countless mosaics, paintings, and Roman columns. Learn how the impressive İznik tiles were added over time in the Mosque, how the stunning Virgin Mary mosaic was made, and why the Ottomans chose to bury their sultans in the courtyard. Continue to Topkapi Palace to explore the splendor of the Ottoman Empire. Discover the complex of buildings, pavilions, and courtyards was a self-contained city, which most inhabitants rarely left. Explore the outer-terraced gardens and admire the view over the Golden Horn. Visit the Harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded domestic and political power. The harem housed hundreds of women and family members as well as hundreds of eunuchs, who performed a wide range of duties. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. The tour ends with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.
  • Skip-the-line ticket to Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, and the Harem
  • Guide
  • Shared or a private walking tour (depending on the option chosen)
  • Transportation to the meeting point

Select participants and date



Meeting point

Meet at the House of Medusa Restaurant in the Sultanahmet neighborhood. If you arrive by car or taxi, note that the final 20 meters to the meeting point are only accessible on foot.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Headscarf

Not allowed

  • Shorts
  • Short skirts
  • Sleeveless shirts

Know before you go

  • You will have to pass through airport-style security
  • Expect long lines to enter the Hagia Sophia, especially during local holidays
  • Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace may be closed unannounced due to high-level state visits
  • Basilica Cistern has 50 steps going down and then up. There is no lift
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.9 /5

based on 52 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Value for money
  • Service
  • Organization

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Best features of the tour: 1. The skip the line option. It really made the difference for the Cisterna. 2. Having one tour instead of fragmenting the experience with different tours. Worst features of the tour: It took 7 hours instead of 5. No food/beverage stops were planned and neither suggested to bring snacks. We were standing for almost all the time! It was extremely exhausting! Considerations: our guide was absolutely lovely and very knowledgably. You can tell he was a truly believer and passionate about his work. In particular my partner loved all his anecdotes about religions. However, I would suggest considering also other types of "fillers" more focused on architecture, politics, social economy etc.

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October 31, 2022

We thoroughly enjoyed our tours of Topkapi Palace + Harem Our guide Cetin was very knowledgeable + it was well worth the extra time + money to visit the harem so interesting! Cetin took us to a beautiful restaurant where we had lunch, our choice to go, before carrying on with our tour. We then visited Hagia Sophia + the Basilica Cistern which were both breathtaking! Cetin was able to work out the best time to visit the attractions to maximise our time, he was a superb guide!

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October 30, 2022

The guided tour was fantastic! Our guide Cem gave us a detailed tour of all the three places. He was patient enough to clear all our doubts. We could skip the long queues, except in Hagia Sophia where security check lines cannot be avoided. Would highly recommend this tour with "Walks in Europe" on GetYourGuide.

October 25, 2022

Product ID: 176826