5 Palaces In Istanbul & How To Get To Each Palace

Chasing the Donkey may include affiliate links - if you decide to make a purchase through these links, we receive a commission without any additional cost to you. Disclaimer & privacy policy.
Post author Mehmet

Written by our local expert Mehmet

Mehmet is digital nomad who was born in Istanbul, Türkiye and now calls the Balkans region his home-office.

Here are the best palaces in Istanbul we suggest you visit. These five palaces of Istanbul are sure to delight.

Turkey Travel Blog_Top Palaces In Istanbul

We are today traveling to Istanbul, one of the most popular cities in the world. The city, which has hosted many nations and countries for centuries, is the capital of many cultures and civilizations and is home to millions of people. Beautiful Istanbul sits across two continents and is a crossing point of eastern and western culture.

If we try to describe Istanbul fully, it would be necessary to write volumes of books about this interesting city. Instead, this article will only discuss the Istanbul palaces we know you want to add to your Turkey travel itinerary. 

1. Topkapı Palace – Topkapi Palace 

Istanbul Palace - Braided Guards (Zuluflu Baltacilar), Topkapi Palace, Istanbul_Depositphotos_595477328_S

After Fatih Sultan Mehmet (II. Mehmet) conquered Istanbul, he had Topkapi Palace built, which was used as a castle during the Byzantine period. Thus, the first Ottoman palaces in Istanbul emerged.

Topkapi Palace stands out with its slightly different architecture from that period’s eastern and western cultures. The palace has four central courtyards with other functions. For example, the second courtyard was used as the administrative center at that time. If you want to learn in detail what is what and which part is used for what, you can take a guided tour by paying extra. You can visit the palace independently, but we recommend you take a guided tour.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul-11


One of the most important features of Topkapı Palace is that it was the place where the Ottoman sultans lived until the 17th century. After the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1924, the palace was converted into a museum. In 1985 this spot became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.Palaces in Istanbul -Braided Guards (Zuluflu Baltacilar), Topkapi Palace, Istanbul_Depositphotos_90341996_

What We Loved At Topkapi Palace

  • Located close to Topkapı Palace: There are many popular things to see near Topkapı Palace, such as the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, and the Archeology Museum
  • How to get to Topkapı Palace Istanbul: You can easily get to Topkapı Palace by public transportation. You can take the T1 tram; it takes only 5 mins to walk from Sultanahmet stop to Topkapı Palace

Brands We Use And Trust


2. Çırağan Sarayı Palace – Ciragan Palace Kempinski

Palaces in Istanbul - Ciragan Palace_Istanbul Turkey_Depositphotos_469395120_S

Çırağan Palace is among the prettiest palaces in Istanbul. There are many reasons we recommend you visit this palace, the most interesting reason we recommend a trip to this Istanbul palace is that here you have the opportunity to stay in this palace.

Çırağan Palace gives you the opportunity to travel in time. This palace was built at a time when every Sultan wanted to live in his own house instead of his parent’s home. You can experience things that even the Sultan could not experience in this palace, built during Sultan Abdulaziz’s reign. Sultan Suite is ranked 14th on CNN’s list of “The 15 most expensive hotel suites in the world”. It comes then as no shock that Çırağan is the most expensive place for accommodation in Istanbul.

Istanbul Palaces - Ciragan Palace Istanbul Turkey_Depositphotos_469037568_S

  • Why else you should head to Çırağan Palace Istanbul: From here, you can also enjoy a unique view of the Bosphorus. It’s also the ideal atmosphere for weddings or other parties
  • Located close to Çırağan Palace: Once at the palace, you’ll notice that it is very close to other Istanbul palaces; you can take the ferry to Beylerbeyi Palace, walk or take a taxi to Dolmabahçe Palace and Yıldız Palace
  • How to get to this Istanbul palace: Jump on bus numbers 129T, 22, 30D, 42T, 57UL, DT1, or U1. You can take the Metro and look for lines M2 and M7.

3. Beylerbeyi Palace

Istanbul Palaces - View of Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul_Turkey_Depositphotos_536821494_S

You can be enchanted by stepping into this palace built in the 19th century. The word Beylerbeyi means lord of the aghas, and I think that the reason is that it is one of the best palaces of Istanbul.

The palace is located on the Bosphorus, a spectacular part of Istanbul which connects Asia and Europe. It is the last palace where the Ottoman sultans lived, as it was the place where Abdulmecid was put under house arrest. Sultan Abdulmecid II lived here under house arrest. The construction of the palace was started during the reign of Sultan Mahmud, but it was Sultan Abdulaziz who turned it into its present form. He demolished the building and had it rebuilt after a fire.

There is a reason why Turkish President Ataturk loved to host guests at Beylerbeyi Palace, even in the early days of modern Turkey; from magnificent gardens to detailed ornate ceilings, anyone who loves architecture should not miss visiting the magnificent summer residence as a relic of the empire.

Palaces of Istanbul - The opulent interior of Beylerbeyi Palace, Istanbul _Depositphotos_381821648_S


How to get to Beylerbeyi Palace Istanbul: You can get to this Istanbul palace in four different ways; bus, train, Metro, and cable car. You can use buses 14M, 15B, 15F, 251, 34AS, and 34G. You can board the Marmaray train, M5 for the Metro, or jump on Minibus C-115 or Minibus and C118 for the cable car.

4. Dolmabahce Palace

Romantic places in Istanbul - Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace on the banks of the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

This palace was built because the Sultan thought Topkapı Palace was old and wanted to move to a new one. The Sultan also wanted this newly built palace to rival many European palaces.

Dolmabahçe Palace was used in two different periods, 1856-1887 and 1902-1922. During the Republican period, this palace was converted into the Presidential Palace. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and leader of the Republic of Türkiye, used the palace as a summer residence and wrote some of his important works here. Another feature of this Turkish palace is that leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk passed away in this palace.

What is impressive in this palace in Istanbul is that the crystal chandeliers weigh several tons and also that Dolmabahçe Palace witnessed the late Ottoman period and the early modern era. This palace is not only interesting because of its physical and visible features but also because the palace was in operation over both the Ottoman period and the Republican period. 

Snowy winter months Dolmabahce Palace Istanbul, Turkey_Depositphotos_384441158_S


How to get to the Dolmabahce Palace: located in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, on the European coast of the Bosphorus, the cheapest way to get to the palace is by tram; however, the fastest way to get here is by taxi.

5. Yıldız Sarayı Palace – Yildiz Palace Museum

The name of this palace in Istanbul translates to Star Palace. In addition to being recognized by UNESCO, this palace has an architecture that combines the west and east. It can be said that the palace, which was built by the Italian architect Raimondo D’Aronco, was influential in the unification of this east-west culture.

Yıldız Palace is also close to Dolmabahçe Palace, but the palace does not face the Bosphorus. Although certain mansions date back to Sultan Abdülaziz’s reign, Abdülhamid used this building between 1876 and 1909. In those years, the Sultan expanded the mansions and created a small city with an opera house, carpentry shop, and even an imperial porcelain factory.

Suppose you are interested in music, art, and literature. In that case, I recommend you visit Yıldız Palace because the palace has a library that exhibits books and photographs, which you should definitely see.


How to get to Yıldız Palace Istanbul:  Situated in Beşiktaş, Istanbul. You can take a bus, Metro, ferry, and taxi to get there with ease.

Now that you have a list of the palaces of Istanbul tell us, which one of these Istanbul palaces will you set foot in first?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Move This Adventure To Your Inbox & Get An Instant Freebie

Subscribe To Unlock Your FREE Customizable Travel Packing List & All Our Best Tips!