Istanbul Tourist Attraction Entrance Fees for 2009 – Cheap or Expensive?

Are Istanbul's top tourist attraction entrance fees too high?

by Istanbul Trails

in City Trip, My Tips & Tricks

The release of the 2009 entrance fees for Istanbul’s tourist attractions by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism didn’t go unnoticed.

Via emails and in forums people complain that doubling some of these fees is not done, and that the current entrance fees are exuberantly high. So I took a closer look at them to check if these accusations are correct.

Entrance Fees on Istanbul Trails Are Up-to-date

Let’s start with the good news. All entrance fees of the sightseeing spots mentioned here on Istanbul Trails are up to date. The same goes for the opening hours and closing days of Istanbul’s tourist attractions. I personally called all the venues one by one. Also worth mentioning is that, except some price changes, most places are no longer closed on official and/or national holidays.

Most Entrance Fees Went Up

Let’s not beat around the bush, most entrance fees went up. Some even doubled in price. I’m not going to publish a list of movers and shakers here, but I will mention some of the most important ones. For good reference, I put the price in Euro between brackets using today’s rate of 2,217 TL for 1 Euro.

To end on a positive note – Dolmabahçe Palace (TL 15 – € 7), the Bosphorus Scenic Tour (TL 15 – € 7), the Galata Tower (TL 10 – € 5), and the Basilica Cistern (TL 10 – € 5) entrance fees remained the same. Mosques are of course still free of charge.

Are These Entrance Fees Excessively High?

This leaves the question whether the current entrance fees are too expensive as some people claim. I therefore checked the prices of some famous landmarks in other world cities.

  • Paris, Boat Tour of the Seine River (~ Bosphorus Tour) – € 10
  • Paris, Eiffel Tower ( ~ +/- Galata Tower) – € 4-12
  • London, Buckingham Palace ( ~Dolmabahçe Palace) – € 16,5
  • London, London Eye and River Cruise (~ Bosphorus Tour) – € 30
  • London, Tower of London ( ~ Topkapi Palace) – € 15
  • Athens, National Archaeological Museum – € 7
  • New York, Ferry to Statue of Liberty – € 9,2
  • New York, Empire State Building – € 14,5
  • Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia – € 8-10

This list can of course go on and on, but these are attractions I once visited and sprung to my mind. For the last three attractions I didn’t mention an Istanbul equivalent. The first two give a scenic view of the city (albeit higher than the Galata Tower) and the last one does the same but is basically still under construction. It’s gorgeous from the outside but has very little to offer inside.

So, when you compare these prices, do you (still) think Istanbul’s top tourist attraction entrance fees are unreasonably steep, rather cheap or right on the mark?

[Photo Credit: svilen001]

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