Istanbul Welcome Card (Why Buy? How To’s? Insider Tips)

The Istanbul Welcome Card is one of the three common city passes in Istanbul, together with Istanbul Tourist Pass and Istanbul Museum Pass. We tested them all and here we’ll give you information and advice about the Istanbul Welcome Card, including should you buy it, what you ‘ll get, what are the advantages and disadvantages, the purchase process, how you’ll use it and how much you’ll save when comparing with other tourist passes.


Let us give you some useful info first, about what is this Istanbul Welcome Card and compare it with other passes. And than describe you how to use the card.

What is Istanbul Welcome Card?

Istanbul Welcome Card is a travel discount card provided and offers combo attractions for less for individual, family or groups. And you will get valuable discounts of up to 50%. It is a very compact card.

What we’re telling you about here is a superb easy and convenient discount card. You can easily plan your Istanbul days in minutes including a base of:

  • Fast Track Entry to 12 Museums including Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Harem etc.
  • Choosing 3 tours by a Historian guide
  • Public Transportation rides (Istanbulkart)
  • Bosphorus Cruise
  • Digital Guide Book and map
  • After your reservation you will get a personal discount code, and that will allow you book additional tours, attractions, experiences and transfers in Istanbul for 20% less than the regular price.

After you purchase the card, it will be delivered to your hotel (for FREE) and will be ready to use at upon arrival.

There are three types of Istanbul Welcome Card (Classic, Premium and Deluxe), and all are valid for 7 days.


1. Istanbul Welcome Card Classic

Includes

  • 5 Rides with Public Transportation
  • Bosphorus Cruise
  • Digital Guide Book and Map (City map of Istanbul, Must do things in Istanbul, Suggestions for Istanbul tours, Useful information)
  • Free Delivery to Hotel

Pricing & Validity

Valid for 7 days starting from your first activation. Price is € 19.

2. Istanbul Welcome Card Premium

Includes

  • Hagia Sophia Museum Fast Track Entry
  • Topkapi Palace Museum Fast Frack Entry
  • 10 Rides with Public Transportation
  • Bosphorus Cruise
  • Digital Guide Book and City Map
  • Free Delivery to Hotel

Pricing & Validity

Valid for 7 days starting from your first activation. Price is € 49.

3. Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe

Includes

  • Fast Track Entry to 12 Museums (plus Basilica Cistern)
  • 3 Tours by a Historian Guide
  • 20 Rides with Public Transportation
  • Bosphorus Cruise
  • Digital Guide Book and City Map
  • Free Delivery to Hotel

Pricing & Validity

Valid for 7 days starting from your first activation. Price is € 79.

Which Card should I get?

It will depend on your wish and the duration of your Istanbul visit. We recommend you to buy;

  • Premium Card – if you stay for 3 days.
  • Deluxe Card – if you stay between 3-7 days or more into seeing great museums with historian guide.

You can save more with the Deluxe Card.

What I’ll Get with Premium Card?

Hagia Sophia Fast Track Entry: plus 30 minutes guided tour with a licensed guide (plus Audio Guide App & Plan). Your name will be on the list for 7 days. You can come at the available days and times, and meet the  Istanbul Welcome Card guide in front of the Hagia Sophia, between the entrance and exit.

Topkapi Palace Fast Track Entry: plus 30 minutes guided tour with a licensed guide (plus Audio Guide App & Plan). Your name will be on the list for 7 days. You can come at the available days and times, and meet the Istanbul Welcome Card guide at the Sultan Ahmet Fountain, in front of Topkapi Palace entrance.


Bosphorus Tour: a classic 90 minutes cruise, everyday, every hour between 09:00 – 18:00, the Marine Officer will be waiting you at the Istanbul Welcome Card pier at the Eminonu Ferry Station.

Istanbulkart (Public Transport): %50 discount on all public transport in Istanbul, including a credit for 10 rides, which is fine enough for 3 days in Istanbul. Valid for Metro, Tram, Ferry, Funicular, Bus and Metrobus. When the credit is used, you can reload the card with new credit at the many vending machines at any station.

Digital guide book & city map: a nice travel tool for you.

20% discount on all other services: you can book additional tours, attractions, experiences and transfers in Istanbul for 20% less than the regular price. The airport transfer service has especially a relatively good price.

Free delivery to the hotel: great option that you won’t need to go for the pass office or stand. Also includes Airbnb stays.

What I’ll Get with Deluxe Card?

You’ll get above Premium Card offers, plus:

Fast Track Entry to 10 more Museums: In addition to Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia, you’ll get skip the line access to Chora Museum, Fethiye Museum, Galata Mevlevi House, Great Palace Mosaics Museum, Hagia Irene, Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, Rumeli Fortress, Science and Technology in Islam and plus the famous Basilica Cistern

3 Tours by a Historian guide: a great choice to experience and learn about the legendary Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, Harem and the Basilica Cistern with one of the few Historian Guides in Istanbul.

Istanbulkart (Public Transport): You’ll get 10 more rides and total will be 20 rides.

How much will I save?

If you buy tickets at the ticket window on location individually, you’ll pay:

Hagia Sophia

Standard Ticket is 72 TL (about 11-12 €)
Fast Track Entry with guide is 18 €

Topkapi Palace

Standard Ticket is 72 TL
Fast Track Entry with guide is 18 €
Plus if you visit Harem you’ll pay 40 TL extra

Bosphorus Tour

Cheapest option would cost 24 TL (about 3,8 €) from Eminonu ferry pier
Other online sites sell it for about 20-40 €.

Istanbulkart

Istanbulkart’s card only price is 6 TL (No credits). The cost of 1-ride public transportation is 2,60 TL. If you individually load 10 rides, it would coast you 26 TL, and total will make 32 TL (about 5,2 €)

Premium Card vs. Regular Prices

* If you individually buy the attractions, you’ll pay around 45 €

* When you buy Istanbul Welcome Premium, you’ll pay 49 €

Is Istanbul Welcome Card Worth It?

If you’re looking for taking Istanbul’s couple of top attractions plus public card with as little stress as possible, than yes it will worth it.

A Few Reasons

* You’ll save time and money.

* The 20% discounts you’ll get on the additional attractions is the highest discount percentage available on the market.

* If you buy the 2 fast track entry tickets with guide (Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace) by yourself individually on the gates, it would cost you €36, Bosphorus Cruise €3,8 and Istanbulkart €5.20. And total makes about €45.

* If you buy the Premium Card (€49) without taking advantage of the other discounts, than you seem to lose €4.00. And we didn’t count the 30 minutes guidance for Hagia Sophia & Topkapi Palace, plus FREE digital guide, map and delivery service. If we consider these, than the €4.00 difference doesn’t seem to be a big deal.

* The Deluxe Card will definitely save you a lot, as there will be 10 additional museums plus Basilica Cistern, 3 tours by Historian guides, plus 10 more rides with Istanbulkart.

* But it didn’t end. If you decide to use the Istanbul Welcome Card services for just 1 or 2 more items like Basilica Cistern, Whirling Dervishes Show, Bosphorus Dinner Cruise or Airport Transfers using the 20% discount on their shop (you’ll read soon), it will start to really add you a great value of money.

* You will not wait in the long queues. It will be about 2 hours in high season, and nobody wants that. Also consider how much your time is worth? If your time is relatively worth like €20.00 an hour, you’re far way into savings.

* With the Istanbul Welcome Card, you’ll cover transportation and the most important highlights in Istanbul. And you can use your personal discount code to book all the additional tours, attractions, experiences and transfers online in advance, skip the lines, for 20% less than the official price and enjoy your visit hassle free.

* Also if you buy the card from our site, you’ll get extra 5% discount. (a good will discount for us, for our website visitors). And you’ll get even with the €4.00 difference on Premium Card.

How to buy Istanbul Welcome Card?

the Easiest and the Cheapest Way

I’ll quickly describe the process from booking the Istanbul Welcome Card to its first use.

* Istanbul Welcome Card has its own website. (istanbulwelcomecard.com)

* You can directly buy the card online from the website.

* But as we mentioned above, if you visit their website by our direct link below (click the image or the red buy now button under), you’ll see the prices with extra 5% discount, and on all products. This is a good will for us from the company, for our website visitors.

Istanbul Welcome Card (Why Buy? How To's? Insider Tips)
Make sure you see the prices with %5 discount like above image when click from our website

Buy Online Now – 5% Discounted

 

Alternative channels

* Alternatively, you can buy the cards from other online resellers below such as Get Your Guide or Viator. But we recommend you buy directly from Istanbul Welcome Card website, as it will be cheaper than GYG or Viator, and you can use our extra 5% discount.

* Wherever you buy, in case your plans change, you can re-book or cancel all reservations for free with a FULL REFUND up to 24 hours in advance.

* From the three variants of the Istanbul Welcome Card, our recommendation is the Premium Card (if you’ll stay less than 3 days), or Deluxe Card (if you’ll stay more than 3 days).

* You’ll see the most visited Istanbul attractions as included in the map you’ll get, plus an Istanbul kart for public transport.

* The Deluxe Card also includes an Istanbul Museum Pass, and bonus Basilica Cistern fast track entry ticket with guide, and 10 additional public transport rides (total 20) than Premiun Card.

continue the buying process online

* On the Istanbul Welcome Card website, you choose the card type, the number of cards, the booking date and the hotel to where the card is to be delivered.

Note: The card will be valid for 7 days from the date of the delivery and first activation. You can use Istanbulkart credits as long as you want.

* After you enter your details, you’ll see the order summary and pass to the payment options.

* You can make the payment via Visa, Mastercard, American Express or PayPal.

* And afterwards your card will be delivered to your hotel in a red envelope (including Airbnb stays), and you’ll able to use it.

* If you don’t want the card to be delivered to your hotel, you can also pick the card by yourself from the Istanbul Welcome Card offices located at the New Istanbul Airport (IST), Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW), Eminonu and Sultanahmet Square.

* Your Istanbul Welcome Card Envelope in Red will include: Fast Track Entry tickets with meeting point map, Istanbul fact sheet with key information, a map of Istanbul explaining how the Card it works, download links for the Audio Guide apps, and Istanbul city map. (see below)

Istanbul Welcome Card (Why Buy? How To's? Insider Tips)

Buy Online Now – 5% Discounted

 

How to use Istanbul Welcome Card?

Now let us tell you how you’ll use the card. Hope you’re not bored with this long page.

* After you get your card, you’ll just need to go to the meeting points for the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace fast track entry and guided tour, plus Bosphorus Cruise. All are described with the tickets in the envelope.

* You’ll also see a marked plan on the map you get.

* No need to make any reservation. Your name will be on the list for 7 days and you can come visit the museums, and Bosphorus cruise at any available days and times, by meeting the Istanbul Welcome Card guide at the meeting points. So easy.

Hagia Sophia Fast Track Entry

* The meeting point is in front of Hagia Sophia, next to the main entrance with long queue. The English speaking local guides will be in red Polo and hold a sign with the inscription Istanbul Welcome Card. (see below)

Istanbul Welcome Card (Why Buy? How To's? Insider Tips)
Hagia Sophia Meeting Point

* There will be free WiFi from the Istanbul Welcome Card to download the Audio Guide app.

* From there, guides will take you inside and you’ll get a brief 30 minutes orientation about the 1500 years old history of Hagia Sophia, and how to get to the different parts of the museum. You can read more about the museum on our Hagia Sophia Museum page.

* Daily available times: 09:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00

* Hagia Sophia is open every day of the week.

* And then, you can experience and enjoy the museum at your own pace, take pictures, etc. You can spent the whole day inside.

Topkapi Palace Fast Track Entry

* The meeting point is the 1st gate of Topkapi Palace. The English speaking local guides will be in red Polo and a red umbrella with the signs of the Istanbul Welcome Card.

* Some mix the meeting point for Topkapi Palace, they go to the 2nd gate of the palace where tickets are sold, but it is wrong. You should go to the main gate, in front of the big Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III. (see below)

Istanbul Welcome Card (Why Buy? How To's? Insider Tips)
Topkapi Palace Metting Point

* From there you’ll into the palace and on the way the guide will make you a short tour and tell you about all the sights in the palace. You can read more about the palace/museum on our Topkapi Palace Museum page.

* Than, you can just enjoy the palace at your own pace, enjoy a long coffee break looking over a spectacular Bosphorus view, take pictures, etc. You can spent the whole day inside.

* Daily available times (except Tuesdays): 09:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:30, 15:30, 16:30

* Topkapi Palace is open every day of the week.

* You’ll also get free WiFi at the meeting point to download the Audio Guide app.

Bosphorus Cruise

* You can join the Bosphorus cruise everyday, every hour between 09:00 – 18:00

* The departure point for the ferries is Eminonu Ferry Port, just across the Spice Bazaar and next to the Galata Bridge.

* You’ll see a separate stand and reception with the red label for the Istanbul Welcome Card at the Port, where The Marine Officer will meet you there. The meeting point is also explained on the ticket with a plan.

Istanbul Welcome Card (Why Buy? How To's? Insider Tips)

* The Marine Officer will take you directly to the ferry (without waiting in the queue).

* There is free WiFi at the dock.

* You just sit back and enjoy the beautiful views of the Bosphorus, with bridges, palaces, fortresses, seaside residences and many other historical places.

* You should sit on the top deck to get the best views. This Bosphorus Cruise will go for 90 minutes.

* You can use your Istanbulkart to get back to your hotel by public transport.

Basilica Cistern

* Basilica Cistern is included as a bonus with the Deluxe Card.

* The meeting point is the entrance of the Basilica Cistern. Situated about 100 meters from Hagia Sophia’s entrance. To the left when you face Hagia Sophia’s entrance.

* Again, the English speaking local guides will be there, and you can enjoy Basilica Cistern like the same way you’ll do with Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.

Choose Your Card & Enjoy Istanbul

Istanbul Welcome Card (Why Buy? How To's? Insider Tips)
Make sure you see the prices with %5 discount like above image when click from our website

Buy Online Now – 5% Discounted