If you’re looking for a breathtaking view of Istanbul, then Galata Tower is a must-visit spot. The tower has become an iconic symbol of Istanbul’s skyline and offers a glimpse into the city’s history. In this article, we will take you through the journey of Galata Tower, from its history to the best things to do nearby.

History of Galata Tower

Galata Tower is one of the oldest and most impressive towers in Istanbul, dating back to the medieval era. Its unique architecture, which combines Byzantine and Genoese elements, has attracted photography enthusiasts and architecture buffs from around the world. The tower was first built in the 14th century by the Genoese, a group of Italian merchants who lived in Istanbul at the time. It was originally used as a watchtower to monitor the city and the surrounding waters.

The tower has a height of 67 meters and has nine floors. It was initially built with wood, but after being destroyed in a fire, it was rebuilt with stone in the mid-15th century. The Galata Tower’s historical context is significant, as it has played a major role in the city’s development over the centuries. During the Ottoman Empire, the tower was used as a prison, and later on, it was used for various purposes such as a fire lookout and even a radio station.

Inside the Galata Tower, visitors can explore its fascinating interior, including the original bells, which are still on display. Take a photo with the bells and enjoy the stunning Galata Tower panorama that awaits you at the top. While the tower does not have an elevator, the climb is manageable for most visitors.

For more information about the tower and its history, we recommend checking out the brochure.

Galata Tower: Opening Hours and Ticket Prices

The tower has different opening hours depending on the season.

During the summer period, from 1 April to 1 November, it opens at 08:30 and closes at 23:00.

During the winter period, from 1 November to 1 April, it opens at 08:30 and closes at 22:00.

The entrance fee is 175 TL for adults. It is also possible to purchase a museum pass Turkey, which includes admission to over 300 museums and historical sites across the country.

To avoid queues, you can purchase your Galata Tower tickets online in advance or consider taking a Galata Tower guided tour that offers skip-the-line access.

Things to Do Inside and Outside Galata Tower

When you visit Galata Tower, there are plenty of things to do both inside and outside the tower. Here are some of our recommendations:


  • Climb the tower for the panoramic view of Istanbul
  • Visit the Galata Tower Museum to learn more about the tower’s history
  • Take a photo with the tower’s original bells
  • Watch the light show in the evenings

Outside Galata Tower:

  • Explore the charming streets of Galata district
  • Take a stroll along the Galata Bridge
  • Visit the Istanbul Modern Museum nearby
  • Grab some traditional Turkish breakfast at one of the local cafes.

Once you’ve taken in the stunning views from the top of the Galata Tower, there are plenty of things to do in the surrounding area. Here are some of our top recommendations:

What to Do Near Galata Tower:

  • Visit the Istanbul Modern Museum, which is just a 10-minute walk away from Galata Tower. This museum features contemporary art and hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
  • Explore the winding streets of the historic Galata neighborhood, where you can find unique shops, cafes, and restaurants.
  • Walk across the Galata Bridge to the historic Eminönü district, where you can visit the Spice Bazaar, take a boat tour of the Bosphorus, or catch a ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul.
  • Take a stroll along İstiklal Avenue, one of Istanbul’s most popular shopping streets. This pedestrian-only avenue is lined with historic buildings, trendy shops, and a wide variety of restaurants and cafes.
  • Visit the Şişhane neighborhood, just a short walk from Galata Tower, which is home to a number of trendy bars, cafes, and restaurants.
  • Head to Karaköy, which is known for its street art, historic architecture, and trendy shops and cafes.

Galata Tower Best Restaurants

There are plenty of dining options near Galata Tower that offer a unique Turkish experience. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Antre Gourmet: A charming restaurant that serves traditional Turkish dishes with a modern twist.
  • Meze by Lemon Tree: A cozy restaurant that offers a variety of meze (Turkish tapas).
  • Kiva Han: A historic restaurant that serves classic Turkish cuisine in a traditional setting.

How to Get to Galata Tower

Galata Tower is situated in the Galata district of Istanbul, which is easily accessible from most parts of the city. Here are some of the ways to reach Galata Tower:

  • By Metro: The nearest metro stop is Sishane Station, which is only a few minutes’ walk away from the tower.
  • By Tram: Take the T1 tram to Karakoy stop, then walk up the hill to reach Galata Tower.
  • From Kabatas: Take the funicular to Taksim, then walk or take a taxi to Galata Tower.
  • From Sultanahmet: Take the T1 tram to Karakoy, then walk up the hill to reach Galata Tower.

To travel from Galata Tower to other popular attractions like Taksim Square or the Grand Bazaar, you can use public transportation or hire a taxi. The tower’s central location makes it easy to explore other parts of the city.

Best Time of Day to Visit Galata Tower

The best time to visit Galata Tower is during the late afternoon, when the sun is starting to set. The view of the city from the tower is particularly stunning during this time, and the Galata Tower sunset is not to be missed. The tower is also beautifully lit at night, adding to its charm and allure.

How to Skip Queue to Galata Tower?

  • One way to avoid waiting in line is to purchase your tickets online in advance. This will allow you to bypass the ticket booth and head straight to the entrance.
  • Another option is to visit the tower early in the morning, when it is less crowded. The tower opens at 9am, so arriving at this time or shortly thereafter can be a good strategy for avoiding the crowds.
  • Finally, some tour operators offer skip-the-line tickets for Galata Tower as part of a package deal. If you’re interested in taking a guided tour of the tower or the surrounding area, this can be a good option to consider.


Galata Tower is accessible to visitors with disabilities, as there are ramps and handrails installed to help navigate the terrain. However, due to the historic nature of the building and its narrow staircases, it may not be possible for all visitors to climb to the top.

Inside the Galata Tower, visitors can enjoy a comfortable and convenient visit, thanks to the presence of two elevators. The first seven floors of the nine-floor tower can be reached by elevator, while the final two floors are accessed via stairs. You can also choose to use the stairs entirely when descending from the tower. This accessibility allows visitors of various fitness levels to experience the stunning Galata Tower panorama that awaits them at the top.

Where to Stay

There are numerous hotels near Galata Tower to suit all budgets and preferences. Some options include boutique hotels, luxury accommodations, and budget-friendly hostels. Booking a hotel in the vicinity of the tower allows you to be within walking distance of this iconic landmark, as well as other popular attractions and vibrant neighborhoods.

We hope you enjoyed this guide to experiencing Galata Tower, from its fascinating history to the best things to do nearby. Don’t forget to try out one of the many great restaurants or cafes in the area for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

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