Touring a city on an open topped double decker tourist bus is very common in many major destinations in the world. And so for Istanbul. Here on this page, you will find everything you need to know about the hop on hop off Istanbul bus tour including insider advice.
So it’s time to hop-on to discover more of Istanbul and hop-off to explore the most visited and popular landmarks in Istanbul.
What it provides?
The Big Bus Istanbul hop on hop off tour provides service to 19 stops and at least 46 attractions (28 landmarks, 15 attractions and 3 shopping places) on two lines on just one ticket.
Hop On Hop Off Istanbul
Istanbul Big Bus tour is a cheap way to discover and explore the popular zones of Istanbul which you just couldn’t walk to and see in one day.
The sightseeing bus runs every 30/60 minutes and lets you see the most popular popular sights along the interesting and different districts and neighborhoods of the city. And what is great that you can all do it in a couple of hours.
With Istanbul Big Bus tour tickets you’ll get:
- An open topped double-decker bus that will let you panoramic views.
- Sightseeing of the main attractions and spots of Istanbul.
- Miniaturk Museum, Naval Museum and Bosphorus Cruise tickets for FREE.
- A free audio guide available in 8 languages with a new pair of headphones.
- Hop on hop off flexibility with unlimited stops.
- FREE mobile application with informative guide.
- A chance to see the most of the city’s sights and sounds in just two hours.
- FREE Wi-Fi onboard.
Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Ticket Options & Prices
The Big Bus Istanbul tickets come in 1 day, 2 day or 3 day forms which will allow you cover all your Istanbul visit including a great transport. Buses are also wheelchair accessible.
All tickets include two different routes, plus entrance to Miniaturk Museum and Naval Museum.
You can use your tickets any day within 6 months. Strike through prices are on location prices, while online prices are in bold. As you’ll see, if you buy online, you’ll get 10% discount.
Classic Ticket – 1 DAY
€50.00 , €45.00.
€28.00 , €25.00.
€117.00 , €105.00.
Premimum Ticket – 2 DAY
€61.00 , €55.00.
€33.00 , €30.00.
€144.00 , €130.00.
Deluxe Ticket – 3 DAY
€67.00 , €60.00.
€36.00 , €32.00.
€159.00 , €143.00.
Where to Buy Istanbul Hop On Hop Off Tickets
There are several options:
- Buy directly on the Bus on location.
- Buy ONLINE from the official site.
- Buy via Istanbul Tourist Pass.
Majority of the tourists prefer to buy the Istanbul Big Bus tickets online, to avoid staying out of the bus due to crowd, also as its being more cheaper than buying on location.
You can buy the tickets aboard for sure but note that it will be expensive and you’ll have to wait in queue, as the queue can get quite long during hot season.
Buying online will give you the cheapest price with a 10% discount. You can but it from the official website of Big Bus Istanbul on bigbustours.com/en/istanbul/
Tickets are sent by email and you’ll just print out the voucher and show it to the driver, or just show it on your smart phone.
Another good option is to buy your Big Bus ticket online with Istanbul Tourist Pass which includes the Big Bus Ticket plus +35 attractions and services up to 70% discount. We highly recommend this too.
Istanbul Tourist Pass
Istanbul Tourist Pass is one of the two major discount passes in Istanbul. It includes 30+ attractions and services including skip the line access and guided museum tours, dinner cruise, hop-on & hop-off Bus, airport transfer, unlimited mobile internet, etc.
And Big Bus Istanbul Hop On Hop Off is included at the pass for FREE.
You can avoid paying the €45 admission fee at the Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour and skip the ticket queues with Istanbul Tourist Pass.
Hours & Schedule
Tours available everyday. The Red Route operates between 9:15 am – 5:45 pm and a loop takes around 2 hours. The Blue Route operates between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and a loop takes around 1 hour 15 minutes.
First boarding must be at the Sultanahmet stop which is across the Hagia Sophia Museum. To get there simply take the T1 tram line to Sultanahmet station.
Alternative Channels for Big Bus Tickets & Istanbul Tourist Pass
If you are a Get Your Guide (GYG) or Viator fan for worldwide tour buying, than you can buy both Big Bus Istanbul and Istanbul Tourist Pass from their links below.
This can be a good option for the ones staying far away from the attractions, as these tours offer FREE Hotel Pick-Up and Drop-Off service. Sometimes they make extra discounts, better to check the prices.
And you can also cancel have a full refund 24 hours before the activity starts. We recommend you to check out the travelers’ comments with prices before you book from GYG or Vaitor.
- Viator’s Big Bus Istanbul Tickets from € 45
- GYG’s Big Bus Istanbul Tickets from € 40,50
- Viator’s Combo: Museum Pass, Bosphorus Cruise & Big Bus Ticket from € 109
- Viator’s 3, 5 or 7 Day Istanbul Tourist Pass from € 115
- GYG’s Istanbul Tourist Pass: 3, 5 or 7-Day City Pass from € 115
Who should take the Big Bus Istanbul Tour?
We recommend this tour to all Istanbul visitors to see the city’s sights and landmarks in a very fantastic, efficient, convenient and cheap way. Better than to go out of your hotel, sit on a cafe and drink, while thinking how to start and plan your Istanbul days. You’ll save from your time for sure.
Big Bus Istanbul city sightseeing tour is a perfect choice especially for:
- First time visitors.
- Travellers that has short stay in Istanbul, such as Cruise passengers.
- The history and facts of the city while travelling with rich audio guide.
- Budget travellers to see the city’s main attractions.
- Families with kids and the elderly.
- Limited mobility travelers as the buses are wheelchair accessible.
How to Use the Ticket Effectively
With the double decker Hop on hop off Istanbul City Sightseeing Bus Tour, you can get off at any of the designated stops (which means hop-off) and than explore the area and sights on foot at your leisure, and then you can catch the next bus (buses arrive the stops in every 30 mins/60 mins.) from any stop when you’re ready (which means hop-on) to move on and visit the other sights on the route.
The stops are all located close to the most visited and famous landmarks and attractions of Istanbul. The upper deck of the city sightseeing bus offers a great vantage point for the amazing panoramic views of the city and lets you take photos.
Each ticket gives you access to the two different routes, so it is very flexible. And also there are three types of tickets to choose from 1-day (Classic), 2-day (Premium) or 3-day Ticket (Deluxe) which all include the two routes, plus entrance to Miniaturk Museum and Naval Museum.
When you take the Big Bus Istanbul Tour, you’ll receive a voucher book with a great range of discounts and offers for you which you may use at some of the best attractions of Istanbul. You’ll also receive a free newspaper that is available in English and Arabic.
What you will see and how you will use your hop-on hop-off ticket is completely up to you. There are two routes for the Big Bus Istanbul tour;
- Istanbul City Tour (Red Route) with 11 stops (buses arrive every 30 mins)
- Golden Horn Tour (Blue Route) with 8 stops (buses arrive every 60 mins).
About the tour duration, a complete circuit on the Red Route (City Tour) takes about 2 hours while the Blue Route (Golden Horn) Tour takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Duration may change due to heavy traffic in some rush hours.
Great for families with kids in Istanbul
You may choose between flexible Classic, Premium and Deluxe tickets, save money with a family ticket and take the kids to child-friendly sites such as the Dolphinarium or the Miniaturk (included FREE) model village open-air museum, where Turkey’s most important monuments are recreated in miniature.
Where the Bus Tour starts?
You can start the Big Bus Istanbul tour at any of the many stops along the routes. The tour initially starts from the Sultanahmet Square, just across the Hagia Sophia, in the historical peninsula. The tour bus is really easy to find and it usually sits there waiting to go.
Istanbul Big Bus Tour Routes & Map
You can get off or on at any of these stops.
Istanbul City Tour (Red Route)
- Stop 1 – Sultanahmet Square – start of the tour
- Stop 2 – Galata Bridge – no need to get off here
- Stop 3 – Tophane – no need to get off here
- Stop 4 – Port – no need to get off here
- Stop 5 – Dolmabahce Palace – One of the most popular palaces in Istanbul. Typical palace visit takes about 2 hrs.
- Stop 6 – Naval Museum – you should get off here and spend at least 1 hrs. The museum contains a large collection of maritime and military artifacts such as hundreds years old Ottoman wooden rowboats, caiques, ship models, figureheads, paintings, wood carvings, seals and more. Entrance fee is included at the ticket. Museum closed on Mondays.
- Stop 7 – Beylerbeyi Palace
- Stop 8 – Akaretler / W Hotel – no need to get off here
- Stop 9 – Taksim Square – you should get off here and spend at least 1-2 hrs. by strolling along the famous Istiklal Street, visit St. Anthony of Padua Church and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and hop on back
- Stop 10 – Sishane
- Stop 11 – Egyptian Spice Bazaar – you should get off here and spend at least 1 hrs. at the bazaar which is the world famous spice bazaar and nearby Eminonu square to live the lively locals life.
- Sultanahmet Square – end of the tour
Golden Horn Tour (Blue Route)
- Stop 20 – Sultanahmet Square – start of the tour
- Stop 21 – Galata Bridge – no need to get off here
- Stop 22 – Patriarchate
- Stop 23 – Cable Car – you should get off here and take the cable car to Pierre Loti Hill and enjoy the panoramic views with Turkish coffee and tea, spend at least 1 hrs.
- Stop 24 – Istanbul Dolphinarium
- Stop 25 – Miniaturk – you should get off here and spend at least 1 hrs. Entrance fee is included at the ticket.
- Stop 26 – Rahmi Koc Transport Museum – you should get off here and spend at least 1 hrs.
- Stop 27 – Egyptian Spice Bazaar – you should get off here and spend at least 1 hrs. at the bazaar which is the world famous spice bazaar and nearby Eminonu square to live the lively locals life.
- Stop 20 – Sultanahmet Square – end of the tour
Hop On Hop Off Times
Istanbul City: Red Tour Seasonal Frequency
- April – September; First Departure: Sultanahmet Square (Stop-1) at 09:15 , Frequency: 30 minutes , Last Departure: Stop-1 at 16:45
- October – March; First Departure: Stop-1 at 09:00 , Frequency: 30 minutes , Last Departure: Stop-1 at 17:00
Golden Horn: Blue Tour Seasonal Frequency
- April – September; First Departure: Sultanahmet Square (Stop-20) at 10:00 , Frequency: 30 minutes , Last Departure: Stop-20 at 18:00
- October – March; First Departure: Stop-20 at 09:45 , Frequency: 60 minutes , Last Departure: Stop-20 at 16:45