Galata Tower, topped with a distinctive witch’s-hat roof, is one of the most impressive and popular landmarks in Istanbul. Dating back to 14th century, the tower is an old Genoese tower overlooking the beautiful Istanbul and has a massive cone shaped structure that was built at approximately 38 meters above the sea level and rises to a height of 62 meters above its base. There is an amazing view of the Historical Peninsula, Golden Horn and Bosphorus through Princes’ Islands from the tower that encompasses Istanbul.
Galata Tower Facts
One of World’s most impressive tower. So what exactly lies behind the Galata Tower?
- First built in 528 during Byzantium era.
- Current tower was built in 1348, by the Genoese and named Tower of Christ.
- During Ottoman era; used as a prison (16th century), for the Ottoman military band (18th century), a fire tower (19th century).
- Witnessed the unique event that; Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi managed to fly from tower’s top (European side) to the Uskudar coast (Asian side) with a home-made artificial wings.
- 38 meters above the sea level, rises to a height of 62 meters above its base.
- Has extraordinary 360 degrees panoramic views of the city.
History of the Galata Tower
The Galata Tower is believed to have been constructed in the year 1348. It is also known that the first tower was constructed closer to the sea with the order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 528. But it was demolished by the Latin Crusaders. On the 14th century, in 1348, it was the Genoese, who had a semi-independence from the Byzantines constructed a gorgeous tower on the site and called the Tower of Christ, and it also had been part of their fortification.
During the Ottoman period and reign of the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566), the tower used as a prison (16th century), and afterwards as the accommodation place for the Ottoman military band (18th century), as a fire tower (19th century).
Galata Tower also has an important story and event from the year 1638 that; according to Evliya Celebi, a renowned Ottoman historian and traveler, a man named Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi managed to fly from the Galata Tower’s top (European side) to the Uskudar coast (Asian side) with a home-made artificial wings. And this flight is considered to be the first intercontinental flight in the world. After the flight, in order to reward Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi, Sultan Murad IV sent him to exile in Algeria. :)
Galata Tower Attractions
Today, Galata Tower serves as a popular tourist sight, that its observatory deck has a 360 degrees view of Istanbul. There are two elevators in the entrance that takes you to the top.
There is also a cafe and restaurant (Galata Tower Restaurant) on top that visitors may have Turkish breakfast and meals in the company of excellent views, and a souvenir shop in the entrance of the tower.
Visitors may also spend great day out at the recently restored small square around the Galata Tower, along the couple of lovely outdoor cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.
As well as strolling along the narrow streets, especially the famous Galip Dede ramp leading the Tunnel square and Istiklal Street. There are variety of lovely craft, souvenir and music shops as well as a couple of art galleries along the Galip Dede ramp that you may enjoy.
Visiting Hours & Admissions
Open every day between 08:30-23:59.
Galata Tower restaurant is open between 20:00-22:00
Please double check hours and admissions from muze.gen.tr
Where to Buy Galata Tower Tickets
You can buy Galata Tower tickets at ticket window on location. Keep in mind that you’ll face with a crowd and waiting in the line for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
We recommend you buy your tickets online. This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to get tickets to Galata Tower.
We put the links to the official buying channels below. Just pick your date and time and skip the lines.
Galata Tower Ticket Options and Prices
There are several options:
- Buy directly at the ticket window on location.
- Buy Galata Tower only guided tours.
We recommend you to book the Galata Tower tickets for the week days. The weekends will be more crowded with the Istanbul locals.
General Admission Tickets
Galata Tower entrance fee on your own is 130 TL. This is the ticket window on location option.
The skip the line access tickets, plus walking tour around the area with a guide (see below) seems to be about €28 expensive.
You should consider on your own would it worth to pay that amount to save yourself from 30 minutes to 1 hour waiting in the line, plus having a Galata neighborhood walking tour with a guide. We guess it would!
This is the best option we recommend especially for first time visitors. And we always recommend opting for an extended English guided tour offered exclusively by several historian guides of Istanbul.
When you book you’ll get an email confirmation with meeting details (in front of the Galata Tower) and there your name being checked from the official guide’s list with your confirmation number.
See below the recommended Galata Tower guided tour with fast track entry.
Galata Tower Tickets and Walking Tour with Guide
This is offered by Istanbul Welcome Card and we highly recommend. You’ll experience and enjoy the city from one of the best point of views on top of the Galata Tower. You’ll also enjoy a short walking tour with a guide along the touristic Galata neighborhood. Galata has the living memories of different cultures, nationalities, religions.
The tour starts right in front of the Galata Tower, where you’ll meet your guide. The guide will introduce the tower and the neighborhood and company you to the elevators of the tower. Once you reach to the upper part of the tower, you’ll enjoy the best panoramic views of the city from the balconies.
After your free time all around the balconies, the tour will continue with the centuries old streets of the Galata neighborhood. The walking tour will take you downhill to the seaside. From there, you’ll take one of the oldest subways of the world and reach the famous Istiklal Street with 5 minutes funicular ride. On the way you’ll see many temples, architectural buildings with international styles, stories about the people, as well as popular shopping and eating places with many options. This part of the city will show you another angle to witness the cultural background of the city.
Your tour will end around the tower. Your guide will show you how to reach to different transportation options. After the tour, you can continue to explore the region on your own. If you need any suggestions you can ask your local guide to enjoy your trip even more.
Benefit from fast track entry, Skip the ticket lines and save 30 minutes to 1 hour, 360 Breathtaking view of the city, Discover the neighborhood, Witness the great cultural diversity, Ride on the 2nd oldest subway
Galata Tower entrance fee, Express elevator up to the lookout platform, Walking tour with a licensed guide, The metro ticket
Notice: Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount. Just click the red button below and make sure you see the discounted price on the official page.
Online City Pass – Istanbul Tourist Pass
Istanbul Tourist Pass is a digital travel discount card that provides entrance and transportation tickets to many of Istanbul’s top tourist attractions along with several guided museum tours with skip-the-line access in a simple, useful, convenient and fun way.
Rather than paying for each item individually, the pass allows you to choose from 75+ things to do in Istanbul so you can pack as much into your stay as possible for a single set price. You’ll get valuable discounts of up to 75%.
After you purchase the pass, it will be delivered to mobile phone and will be ready to use at upon arrival.
There are four types of Istanbul Tourist Pass (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10-Day).
Alternative Galata Tower Buying Channels
Here we only suggest the proven ways and top rated ones with travelers’ comments. You can feel free to book one of the below top selling tours for Galata Tower.
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts
How to Get to Galata Tower?
The most practical way to get to Galata Tower is via Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line).
- The closest tram stop is Karakoy.
- For the ones who stay in the Taksim and Galata hotels, than you easily walk to the Galata Tower.
- From the end of the Istiklal Street, on the Tunel Square, you can walk downwards from the Galip Dede Street or take the Tunel-Karakoy funicular (F2 line) to get to Karakoy and take a short walk.
- From Sultanahmet, you should take the Bagcilar-Kabatas Tram from the Sultanahmet stop and get off at the Karakoy stop and take a short walk.
- From Kadikoy, on the Asian side, you may take the ferries operating to Karakoy and from there you may take a short walk.
Note: Driving to Galata Tower is not recommending that you hardly can find an empty parking area located close to the Galata Tower.
Address: Buyuk Hendek road, No: 2, Galata, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 293 57 07