The luxurious Dolmabahçe Palace, translated as Filled up Garden, is an affordable step back in time.
This historical attraction is located in the Besiktaş district, along the Bosporus strait and provides an authentic look at how the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived.
Costing a whopping 35 tonnes of gold to build, equivalent to €1.67 billion today, the palace comprises 16 buildings and covers over 250,000m² (61 acres). Bear this in mind when choosing what shoes to wear.
The 31st ruler of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Abdulmecid, ordered the palace’s construction, which took 13 years to complete, from 1843.
What to Expect at Dolmabahçe Palace
As the largest palace in Turkey, it’ll be of no surprise that there are more than 300 rooms and halls to explore. Plus, a large garden.
The interior design combines “Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles, blended with traditional Ottoman architecture.” Are you an observant tourist? Wherever you look, you’ll see anything from oil paintings, deluxe fabrics, tiles and other minute details, often made from gold and crystal. Glamour and appeal can be seen on the floors, ceilings and everywhere in between.
In addition to the main palace, there are several residential buildings to experience, like the quarters of the gentlemen-in-waiting, imperial kitchens, stables, a plant nursery and a flour mill, to name a few.
Dolmabahçe Palace Highlights
The Dolmabahçe Palace can be overwhelming due to its volume of exquisite detail and size. To make sure you get the most out of your visit, here are a few things we think shouldn’t be missed:
- The Palace of the Crown Prince
- Ceremonial Hall has the World’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier
- The famous Crystal Staircase
- The Clock Tower
- Ataturk’s Rooms – notice the time on the clocks, as they mark the time of death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first president of the Turkey Republic. He died in the room on November 10th
- The magnificent gates – Gate of the Sultan, Gate of the Treasury, and the Bosporus Gate.
Where to Stay During Your Visit?
Istanbul is a vast city, so there are many good hotels all over the city. You could choose to stay in the city centre amongst the hustle and bustle, but we suggest staying outside the city.
The 5-star Limak Eurasia Luxury Hotel is centrally located. “Guests have the opportunity to experience the culture, shopping and entertainment life on the European side and to enjoy the Bosphorus“.
The hotel facilities are kept to a high standard, in addition to a swimming pool and the Limak Chiva Spa. You can enjoy the many tastes of Turkey and international cuisine in the main restaurant and the A’la Carte Restaurant.
Dolmabahçe Palace General Info
The Dolmabahçe Palace is closed on Mondays. But from Tuesday to Sunday it is open from 09:00 to 16:00.
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adults – 60TL (10€)
- Under 18 – 20TL (3€)
- Infants under 2 get in for free.
To get to the palace, you can hop on the tram or a public bus. Simply get off at the Kabatas stop. The Dolmabahçe Palace is a 5-minute walk from there. Buses include 27E, 29C, 29D, 41E, ideal for those coming from Sariyer, Maslak or Levent.
Touring Dolmabahçe Palace
A guided audio tour is included in your ticket, so reserving a guided tour with a human guide may not be necessary. But if you are the type of person who likes to ask questions, you may want to book one.
Here are some places you can book a tour:
- Istanbul Tickets (€22)
- Istanbul Welcome Card (€25)
- Istanbul.com (€25)
The downside of a guided tour is your time is limited. Most tours last no more than 2 hours. Due to the size of the palace and the number of things to see, you may wish to explore at your own pace. Also, a tour may not include every part of the palace, for example, the Clock Museum or Imperial Harem.
Things to Do Close to Dolmabahçe Palace
Make a whole day of it by including other popular attractions in your day. The following interests are within walking distance of the Dolmabahçe Palace:
- Dolmabahçe Mosque (1 min walk)
- Naval Museum (8 min walk)
- Vodafone Arena – Football, concerts and restaurants (20 min walk)
- Painting Museum (5 min walk)
- Contemporary Istanbul (20 min walk)
- Hagia Sophia (50 mins walk)
- Basilica Cistern (50 mins walk)
Tips for visiting Dolmabahçe Palace
Wear comfortable shoes that you have worn before, as you will be walking A LOT!
Under no circumstances are you to take a photo whilst indoors. This is a very strict rule, which is heavily enforced. According to TripAdvisor, multiple people have been shouted at and even removed from the room they were in.
Photos can be taken outside, which is where the enormous gates are.