Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)
With its conical roof and stone edifice, Galata Tower is a famous sight on the Istanbul skyline. The tower’s impressive views used to help the 18th-century Ottomans spot fires. Today Galata Tower is a great place to snap photos of Istanbul’s European shores from above. There is also a restaurant on the upper level.
Some small-group and private walking tours combine a visit to Galata Tower with an exploration of the Karakoy and Beyoglu neighborhoods, or the attraction-rich Sultanahmet district. Istanbul hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tours stop here as well.
Things to Know Before You Go
Galata Tower is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone wanting a stellar view of Istanbul.
Istanbul TouristPass holders receive free access to the tower.
Sunset is an excellent time to capture spectacular views and the perfect picture.
Dine at the tower-top restaurant or watch a Turkish belly-dancing show at the nightclub.
There is an elevator to the seventh floor of the tower, and then there are two flights of stairs to the observation deck and restaurant, so access may be difficult for visitors with limited mobility.
How to Get There
Located in the heart of its eponymous neighborhood, Galata Tower is a steep and short walk downhill from the Tunel funicular and the Sishane metro, or uphill from the Karakoy or Tophane tram stops and Karakoy ferry port. Taxis are a convenient option.
When to Get There
Galata Tower is open from 9am through the evening every day. Entry lines can be long, but they move quickly. Early morning is a good time to beat the crowds, and sunset offers the best photo opportunities. There are generally more crowds at the tower on weekends and holidays.
What Can You See?
As a panoramic lookout point over the city, Galata Tower provides views of many notable Istanbul sites. Spot the Hagia Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque on the Old City peninsula; watch people cross over, and boats under, the Galata Bridge; and spot the New Mosque and the Spice Bazaar on one side of the Golden Horn, and the curving streets of Beyoglu on the other.
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