Getting a Turkey or Istanbul Museum Pass, is it worth it?

Are you visiting Turkey or Istanbul and looking for a splash of culture with all that? In Turkey, labeled by many as the biggest open-air museum in the world, you’re bound to get your culture-fix. Now, did you know that there’s a smart and easy way to skip the line & save money at every museum on your list? Yes, that’s right! It’s called a Museum Pass. And, depending on where in Turkey you are traveling, you get to choose between an Istanbul Museum Pass, one for Cappadocia, the Aegean or the Mediterranean, or even go for the full Monty and buy a Turkey Museum Pass to get access to over 300 museums in the entire country.

In this article, we’ll tell you why you need a Museum Pass, how and where to buy one, and what the advantages are of an Istanbul Museum Pass (or any other Turkey Museum Pass).

Spoiler alert: buying an Istanbul Museum Pass is totally worth it if you want to save time and money!

Turkey Museum Pass – The different types

There are different versions of the Turkey Museum Pass, and buying the right one depends on your travel needs. To help you choose the best museum pass, we’ll explain in detail what the difference is so that you can make an educated choice with a maximum benefit. All Turkey Museum Passes cover a specific geographical area and give access to a series of museums and ancient sites within that area. Below is a breakdown of the different versions and what to expect from them.

Istanbul Museum Pass

Istanbul Museum Pass

Museum Pass Istanbul

An Istanbul Museum Pass gives you access to a selection of 14 museums in Istanbul for five days. Some of those places will be on your list, others might not be, but you’ll find a detailed expose of the value of the Istanbul Museum Pass further down in this article.

These are the 14 museums in Istanbul that are freely accessible with your Museum Pass:

    • HAGIA SOPHIA MUSEUM
    • ISTANBUL MOSAIC MUSEUM
    • FETHIYE MUSEUM
    • CHORA MUSEUM
    • GALATA MEVLEVI HOUSE MUSEUM
    • RUMELIHISAR MUSEUM
    • MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN ISLAM
    • ISTANBUL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUMS
    • HAGIA IRENE MONUMENT MUSEUM
    • TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM
    • TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM HAREM APARTMENTS
    • MUSEUM OF TURKISH AND ISLAMIC ARTS
    • TURBES MUSEUM
    • ADAM MICKIEWICZ MUSEUM

How does a Museum Pass Istanbul work?

As mentioned, the museum pass has a validity of 5 days. Does this mean you can’t buy it upfront? No.

You can easily buy your Istanbul Museum Pass online using this link.

So, what about those five days? The countdown starts from the moment that you use the card to enter the first museum (or an archaeological site). If you’re still unsure, the museum pass is also available at nine different sales points in Istanbul, where you can also use your credit card as a payment method. Make sure to bring your passport or an identity card when you intend to buy a museum pass at one of these places. If you do purchase your Istanbul Museum Pass (or any other Turkey Museum Pass) online, the card will be sent to you by cargo within one week.

Now that you have your museum pass, you no longer have to wait in line to purchase a ticket. Simply wave your card in front of the card reader at the entrance, and you’re good to go.

Cappadocia Museum Pass

Cappadocia Museum Pass

Museum Pass Cappadocia

A Cappadocia Museum Pass gives you access to a selection of 13 museums in Cappadocia for three days. Even the ‘Dark Church’, which is not included in a standard Göreme ticket, is on the list. If you prefer to buy your Museum Pass Cappadocia on-site, you can do so at these eight different places. We’re happy to inspire you with these Cappadocia articles on Slow Travel Guide.

These are the 13 museums that are freely accessible with your Museum Pass Cappadocia:

    • IHLARA VALLEY
    • DERINKUYU UNDERGROUND CITY
    • GÖREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM
    • KAYMAKLI UNDERGROUND CITY
    • ÖZKONAK UNDERGROUND CITY
    • NEVŞEHIR MUSEUM
    • NEVŞEHIR ÇAVUŞIN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE ÇAVUŞIN CHURCH
    • NEVŞEHIR HACIBEKTAŞ MUSEUM
    • NEVŞEHIR ZELVE-PAŞABAĞLAR ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
    • AKSARAY MONASTERY VALLEY
    • AKSARAY MUSEUM
    • NEVŞEHİR GÜLŞEHİR – ST. JEAN CHURCH
    • THE DARK CHURCH (GÖREME)

Click here to order your Museum Pass Cappadocia online

Mediterranean Museum Pass

Mediterranean Museum Pass

Museum Pass The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Museum Pass allows you to visit over fifty museums and archaeological sites in Antalya, Mersin, Adana, and Denizli for seven days, starting from your first museum or archaeological site entrance. You can buy your Mediterranean Museum Pass online, or in Turkey at one of these 17 points of sale. Highlights include Patara, Aspendos, Olympos, and Hierapolis & Pamukkale.

These are all the museums that are freely accessible with your Mediterranean Museum Pass:

Show more Mediterranean museums

  • MERSIN ANAMUR ANAMURIUM ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
  • MERSIN ANAMUR MUSEUM
  • MERSIN ANAMUR MAMURE CASTLE
  • MERSIN OF ATATÜRK HOUSE
  • MERSIN GÖZNE CASTLE
  • MERSIN KANLIDİVANE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
  • MERSIN MAIDEN’S TOWER (SEA CASTLE, CASTLE & BEACH)
  • MERSIN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUMMERSIN SILIFKE ALAHAN MONASTERY
  • MERSIN SILIFKE ASTHMA CAVE
  • MERSIN SILIFKE ATATÜRK HOUSE AND ETHNOGRAPHY MUSEUM
  • MERSIN SILIFKE AYATEKLA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
  • MERSIN SILIFKE CHASM OF HEAVEN AND HELL
  • MERSIN SILIFKE MUSEUM
  • MERSIN SILIFKE NARLIKUYU MOSAIC MUSEUM
  • MERSIN SILIFKE UZUNCABURÇ ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
  • MERSIN TARSUS MUSEUM
  • MERSIN TARSUS ST. PAUL MEMORIAL MUSEUM
  • MERSIN TARSUS ST. PAUL WELL
  • ADANA ANAVARZA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
  • ADANA MUSEUM
  • ADANA MUSEUM OF ATATÜRK HOUSE
  • ADANA KURUKÖPRÜ CHURCH AND HISTORICAL ADANA HOUSE
  • ADANA ŞAR ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE

Click here to order your Museum Pass The Mediterranean online

Aegean Museum Pass

Aegean Museum Pass

Museum Pass The Aegean

With an Aegean Museum Pass, you can visit more than sixty museums and archaeological sites in Izmir, Aydın, Muğla, and Denizli for seven days starting from your first museum or archaeological site entrance. You can buy your Aegean Museum Pass online, or in Turkey at one of these 18 points of sale. Highlights include Pergamon, Ephesus, Aphrodisias, and Hierapolis & Pamukkale, just to name a few.

These are all the museums that are freely accessible with your Aegean Museum Pass:

Show more Aegean museums

Click here to order your Museum Pass The Aegean online

Turkey Museum Pass

Turkey Museum Pass

Museum Pass Turkey

With a Turkey Museum Pass, you can visit more than three hundred museums and archaeological sites for fifteen days, starting from your first museum or archaeological site entrance. You can buy your Turkey Museum Pass online, or in Turkey at one of these 66 points of sale. There are, of course, too many highlights to name them. The list of museums that are accessible using your Turkey Museum Pass is too long to publish it here. You can access it online using this link. (Turkish only)

Click here to see an overview of all museums and archaeological sites on a map.

Which Turkey Museum Pass should you buy?

You may need to do a bit of homework to find out which one is the best for you. If you’re only planning on visiting Istanbul, the Istanbul Museum Pass is your obvious choice. When traveling around, things can get more complicated. The typical cultural triangle, including Istanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale, and Cappadocia, for example, sets your main attraction in four different zones. However, you will find that Hierapolis and Pamukkale are included in both the Aegean and the Mediterranean Museum Pass. Still, at this point, a Turkey Museum Pass is worth considering.

Yes, 550 TL (price in 2020) sounds steep, but we’re assuming that your bucket list will at least consist of Hagia Sophia and Topkapi in Istanbul. When visiting Ephesus ancient site, the Efes Archaeological Museum, and especially the Terrace Houses are not te be missed. After that, Hierapolis and Göreme, and you’ll hit that mark.

Our advice? First, make your list, then check the entrance fees for each place and do the math.

Click here to see an overview of the entrance fees for all museums and archaeological sites in Turkey.

If a museum pass is out of budget, or it covers too many places that you’re not going to visit anyway, have a look at some of the combined ticket offers that you can choose from. Those ‘packages’ are still cheaper than buying a separate ticket, online or at the ticket booth on-site.

If nothing fits your scheme or itinerary, and you still want to benefit from the time gain, you can also buy your museum ticket or entrance to Turkey’s archaeological sites online. Your e-ticket is sent to you by email after your online payment. Print it, and you’re ready for your museum visit. Please note that there’s no financial benefit to buying an e-ticket. This is simply a matter of convenience.

Those who are planning to travel long-term in Turkey may need to apply for a residency permit, depending on the duration allowed on their tourist visa. Remember that being exempt from a visa doesn’t necessarily mean that you can travel to Turkey for an indefinite period. You can easily check for how long you’re allowed to travel on the official e-Visa website. Follow our Turkey e-Visa step-by-step guide using this link to do so.

Why are we telling you all this? Because citizens and residency-holders can buy a dedicated museum pass. It is called Müzekart+, and it is the cheapest way to visit over 300 museums and archaeological sites in Turkey. A Müzekart+ is valid for an entire year from the day of purchase and can be used in these museums. (link in Turkish as only available for citizens and residents)

Müzekart+

Müzekart+

NOTE: The Müzekart+ is not valid in the Topkapı Palace Harem, Hagia Irene, Terrace Houses in Ephesus, and the Dark Church in the Göreme Open-Air Museum. You must purchase tickets for these places.

While you can order a Müzekart+ online if you’re already in possession of your kimlik or residency permit, we would advise you to purchase it from one of these 60 salespoints in Turkey. Make sure to bring a photo ID with you, as you will need it to buy a Müzekart+.

Click here for more information and the current price of the Müzekart+

Is it worth it? YES! Check out these benefits using the Istanbul Museum Pass as an example:

The most important question to ask is if buying a Turkey Museum Pass is worth it. In most cases, the answer is yes. Unless you’re planning on visiting only one or two museums or archaeological sites in the country, it will almost always be cheaper to buy a museum pass. Moreover, having a museum pass is super convenient, as you get to skip the lines. To show you the benefits of a Turkey Museum Pass, we’ll take the Istanbul Museum Pass as an example, showing you exactly what you’ll gain by purchasing one. We’ll be using the 2020 entrance fees in this breakdown.

What’s the price of an Istanbul Museum Pass? In May 2020, the Museum Pass Istanbul is priced at 325 TL. That’s 44€, 48$, or 39£ at the exchange rate on the day of publishing. Below is an overview of the entrance fees for each of the museums that you can visit using your Istanbul Museum Pass:

    • 100 TL: HAGIA SOPHIA MUSEUM
    • 30 TL: ISTANBUL MOSAIC MUSEUM
    • 10 TL: FETHIYE MUSEUM
    • 65 TL: CHORA MUSEUM
    • 18 TL: GALATA MEVLEVI HOUSE MUSEUM
    • 25 TL: RUMELIHISAR MUSEUM
    • 18 TL: MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN ISLAM
    • 50 TL: ISTANBUL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUMS
    • 36 TL: HAGIA IRENE MONUMENT MUSEUM
    • 100 TL: TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM
    • 70 TL: TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM HAREM APARTMENTS
    • 50 TL: MUSEUM OF TURKISH AND ISLAMIC ARTS
    • 0 TL: TURBES MUSEUM
    • 0 TL: ADAM MICKIEWICZ MUSEUM

If you would visit all these places, you’d pay a total amount of 572 TL on entrance fees. Now, even the most die-hard culture and history buffs probably won’t go to all the places on this list during a single Istanbul visit. But, let’s be honest, you cannot visit Istanbul without seeing at least Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Museum. And, if you’re visiting Topkapi, you must see the Harem and Hagia Irene as well. Those accumulated entrance fees alone almost equal the price of an Istanbul Museum Pass. And even if you leave it at that, remember the advantage of being able to skip the line.

To give you an idea, Hagia Sophia welcomed 3.727.361 visitors in 2019. Imagine what the line at the ticket booth looked like!

With an Istanbul Museum Pass, you’ll save time and money

In short, checking out your options is the smart thing to do. Getting a museum pass to save money is great, but to us, the benefit of skipping the line even outweighs the financial profit. It makes your visit so much more relaxing, especially when visiting with children.

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Source: muze.gov.tr

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Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

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Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

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Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

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Getting a Turkey or Istanbul Museum Pass, is it worth it?