We hadn't heard much about this palace - possibly because it is a little out of the historical centre - but it is a must see. Take the tram to Kabatas and stroll up. It's 40TL for a combined ticket for the palace and the harem, which I would recommend.
The grounds are lovely to stroll around, with fabulous flowers and overlooking the water. Yes, the tour is rushed but it's still more than worth it to experience the fabulous rooms and decor, and our guide did provide some interesting information. The decor and the scale of the palace is breath-taking, and very different from the other sights in Istanbul.
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