Istanbul can be considered as one of the best cities in the world by means of history, culture and art. Istanbul hosts more than 80 museums ranging from archaeological, history museums to modern and fine art museums, as well as themed museum. You may enjoy temporary and permanent exhibitions on most of the museums. Most of the must see museums in Istanbul are situated in the tourist district of Sultanahmet. Other popular ones are located in the Galata, Taksim and Besiktas districts.
Istanbul Archaeology Museums, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace Museum, Chora Museum and Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts are amongst the the most visited museums in Istanbul as for history and culture, as well as the most beautiful landmarks. Except Chora Museum (in Edirnekapi), all are located in the Sultanahmet within easy reach from the Sultanahmet Square.
Istanbul Modern and Pera Museum in the Galata, Sakip Sabanci Museum in Emirgan are the most visited modern art and fine art museums in Istanbul. Rahmi Koc Transport Museum in the Eyup along Golden Horn and Naval Museum in the Besiktas are the most visited themed museums in Istanbul. Below you may see all the popular museums in Istanbul and read more by visiting our detailed pages.
Top 10 Istanbul Museums
1. Istanbul Archaeology Museums in Sultanahmet
Consists of three museums (museum of Archaeology, the ancient Orient and the Tiled Pavillion) on one site, an immense collection of the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine works and items including sculptures and sarcophagi.
2. Hagia Sophia Museum in Sultanahmet
Former church and mosque, now a museum, one of the world’s greatest architectural works and accepted as the 8th wonder of the world, experience the history in the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires.
2. Topkapi Palace Museum in Sultanahmet
One of world’s richest museums, the former residence of the Ottoman emperors, three courtyards, terraces with astonishing views, as well as precious collections, one of the top tourist attractions.
4. Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Sultanahmet
Housed in the Ibrahim Pasha Palace, displays illuminated Qurans, miniatures, antique carpets and more.
5. Istanbul Modern in Karakoy, Galata
A museum of modern and contemporary art, permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, a photography gallery, cinema, restaurant, design store and library…
6. Chora Museum in Edirnekapi
Part of a monastery from the 6th century, former mosque, now a museum, hosts beautiful examples of Byzantine mosaics and frescos as well as Islamic symbols…
7. Sakip Sabanci Museum in Emirgan
Private fine arts museum, hosts collections of Ottoman Calligraphic Art, religious and state documents, paintings of the Ottoman era, archaeological and stone works, furniture and decorative arts…
8. Rahmi Koc Museum in Haskoy, Golden Horn
Housed in a former anchor foundry, a science and technology museum, a trove of machines, vintage cars, trains and submarines…
9. Pera Museum in Istiklal Avenue, Taksim
A private museum, permanent collections of orientalist paintings, anatolian weights and measures and Kutahya Tiles and Ceramics, temporary exhibitions, publications, audio-visual events, educational activities.
10. Naval Museum in Besiktas
A collection of more than 20,000 pieces related with the Turkish Maritime history. The ornamented Ottoman Sultans’ boats take the most interest…
Guided Museum Pass
Most of the travelers visit only the most popular museums during their Istanbul visit. Because they also participate other shore excursions. About guided museum tours, they are mostly preferred by the tourists as they want learn more about the history of the place they visit, especially when we speak about Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Museums plus Basilica Cistern.
Skip-the-line-access is also a great choice because especially Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Museums takes thousands of visitors each day and waiting at the queue sometimes becomes really a mass, as they are one of world’s best and biggest museums. And we can recommend the below Guided Museum Passes.
There are also combo tours which include both museums and some attractions. These include museums plus; Bosphorus Cruise, Whirling Dervishes Show and BigBus Istanbul City Sightseeing Tour. That is a great option and we highly recommend travelers to check out these offers that we put together below.