We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

Which Istanbul hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Ft. Laud, Florida
Level Contributor
938 posts
139 reviews
Save Topic
Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

I will be visiting Istanbul in mid-JUNE on a SATURDAY.

I am concerned about long lines for buying tickets and visiting Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia.

Should I expect problems buying tickets? I had planned on seeing these sites on my own....but would consider hiring a private guide.....or joining a tour..... if they can buy the tickets in advance and avoid this problem.

I am also concerned about large crowds from cruise ship tours.

Any information or advice is appreciated.

Thanks.

Surrey, UK
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
7,097 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

I can't give you any reassurances at all I'm afraid. June is high season in Istanbul and on a weekend especially, I would expect it to be very busy.

I would suggest get to Topkapi Palace before opening time (9am) so you get there before the tour groups. Go straight to the Harem so you can see around this must see part of the palace in relative calm and then go to the Treasury (these are the bits that get really busy).

You will still have to stand in a queue to get into Haghia Sophia but if you have all day, you can wait till the end of the day as most of the tour parties will have moved on by then.

Yes, a good tour guide will be able to go to the front of the queue to buy tickets so you will not stand in a queue for so long - but this comes at a price, the queues move fairly fast, and once inside you will be with everyone else anyway so better IMO to try and manipulate your visiting times as much as you can.

Perrysburg, Ohio
Level Contributor
3,165 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

Ticket lines outside the major sites usually move rather quickly, but occasionally you can encounter a line that takes an hour or more to move through. Since all of the sites you mentioned surround Sultanahmet Square and are very close to each other, If you arrive at a site with a slow-moving long line you could probably alleviate the problem by switching up the order in which you see the sites and moving on to the next site on your list.

That said, however, since you only have one day in Istanbul and there's no way to guarantee how long the lines will be on any given day (especially on a Saturday), it might not be a bad idea to hire a guide. When I was last in Istanbul in June 2009, our party split up for the day and my two friends picked up a guide outside of Haghia Sophia for the Sultanahmet sites. He was a sweet little old man with a delightful sense of humor, and not only were they glad to escape the wait in ticket lines, they also felt that they saw more, learned more and just flat out had a better time than if they had tried to see the sites on their own.

It's your choice, but whatever you decide to do I hope you have a fantastic day in Istanbul.

Perrysburg, Ohio
Level Contributor
3,165 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

Whoops - sorry Caro, seems we were posting at the same time!

Kadikale, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Turgutreis
Level Contributor
3,498 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

Just to add, the Blue Mosque is a 'working mosque' there are no queues as such and you don't buy tickets (unless things have changed drastically in the last few years?)

Edited: 10 December 2010, 17:42
Kayakoy, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
8,971 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

Hi all!

The only place where I so far seriously queued up was Topkapi Palace. But I remember if you engage one of the tour guides you can evade the queue and they get the tickets out of the queue and you could enter. Of course not sure if that still works like that.

If you have all day, be there in time, you need half a day for Topkapi. I would suggest lunch in Konyali which is inside the museum, a bit pricy but good food and the location is lovely! An hour or two in Aya Sophia and one hour in the Blue Mosque, all within a very short walking distance form each other,

Good luck!

Perrysburg, Ohio
Level Contributor
3,165 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

You're right, Sue - there are no ticket lines at the Blue Mosque. Sometimes you can breeze right through, but sometimes the lines are very long and slow-moving. Seems to take some folks a long time to remove their shoes!

Kayakoy, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
8,971 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

May I say just that as it is a 'working mosque', you cannot enter while praying time. At those times a little crowd may be waiting to enter after praying time. Do not forget to bring a scarf with you (though they provide them, take something light cotton for June) and there is no entrance fee for the Blue mosque, a small contrbution is highly appreciated!

Chicago
Level Contributor
39 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

I've never found the lines at the sites to be too bad. The lines are much shorter if you go in the morning than in the afternoon.

I'd say the lines WITHIN the sites can be much worse, like in Topkapi Palace, for example. A lot of the rooms there (especially in the Treasury) are smaller & get very crowded.

I've been to Istanbul in the winter & summer & yes, the lines are longer in the summer but they still moved pretty quickly.

Ft. Laud, Florida
Level Contributor
938 posts
139 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

Thanks EVERYONE for all this very useful information. I really appreciate it.

Cape Town Central...
Level Contributor
33 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Long lines at tourist sites in JUNE ???

I just saw a post by 'Buraksan' on the Istanbul Forum titled " Some news for museum tickets in 2011 " which may be of interest to you. We are also going to be there in June.

Edited: 19 January 2011, 15:33