Galata Tower, officially called Galata Kulesi Museum, has become an icon of the city of Istanbul thanks to its stone structure, round-arched windows, and strong silhouette, which can be seen along the skyline.
Trip Advisor rates it 3rd for historical sites to visit in Istanbul; the Hagia Sophia made the top spot. Therefore, it’s something to add to your “must-visit” list when you venture to Istanbul, Turkey.
Galata Tower Observation Deck
The medieval-looking tower was built in 1348 as a watchtower. It offers excellent views of the Bosporus, ideal for spotting potential attackers. Upon completion, it was the tallest building in the city, reaching 219.5 ft (66.9 m).
While you can’t visit the very top, you can enjoy the city views from the observation deck, which stands at 169.5 ft (51.65 m).
Be prepared to be near other guests as the 360º circular observation deck is relatively narrow. Also, it isn`t covered, so be prepared when it rains.
The nine-story Galata Tower was recently refurbished in 2020 and includes 2 lifts, so there is no need to climb to the top unless you want a challenge. In addition to the breathtaking view of Istanbul and the Bosporus, Galata Tower offers its visitors a restaurant café that specializes in Turkish cuisine.
It’s a great spot to rest for 30 minutes and enjoy a refreshing drink and local pastry with jams, olives, and cheese. It gives you longer to enjoy the view, especially if you sit at a window table.
Galata Tower General Information
The Galata Tower starts welcoming tourists at 08.30 am and closes at 11.00 pm. The late-night closure allows you to capture a Turkish sunset or to see Istanbul by night.
The Galata Tower entry fee is 175 Turkish Lira (10 euros) and it’s located at Bereketzade, Galata Kulesi, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul.
To reach Galata Tower, you can take an old red tram or modern metro or jump in a taxi. In Istanbul city center, no journey should take longer than 15 minutes. If you choose to walk from the city center, expect it to be at least 35 minutes.
Attractions Close to Galata Tower
To further explore the Galata area, here are a few other attractions worth your time:
- Walk across Galata Bridge to experience more fantastic city views and have the famous Bosporus beneath your feet. From here, you`ll also be able to watch the ships coming and going.
- Climb the Camondo Stairs and take a unique photo to enjoy for years to come. These historical stairs are so beautiful and unique that you won’t want to miss them.
- Dine and shop on Istiklal Street. Filled with charming stores and fantastic restaurants, you could easily spend a few hours here. While there, ride on the vintage red trams traveling from one end to the other.
- Explore the largest catholic church in Istanbul, the Church of St. Anthony of Padua. It was built at the start of the 20th century by the local Italian community.
- Absorb some culture at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, which houses thousands of art pieces, but the highlight is its interactive sections, which is what makes it so unique and loved by art lovers, young and old.
Exploring Galata Tower can be a fun experience; afterward, hunger may strike. Therefore, you may want to eat later. Here are some restaurants to choose from, ideal for lunch or dinner.
- Budget: Velvet Café Galata
This cozy café is perfect for brunch and lunch; it’s open from 7 am until 10 pm. Their menu includes salads, pastries, and omelets. But our pick is the Traditional Turkish Breakfast which consists of three kinds of local cheese, olives, homemade jams, peanut butter, olives, bread, Turkish bagel, and tea. Take a look at their menu.
- Mid Range: Pepos Galata
Great for wine lovers and milkshake addicts. Menu favorites include the lamb ribs and the grilled salmon. When feeling particularly hungry, order the Pub Plate, which includes Falafel, Eggplant Roll, Cheese Fingers, Chicken Tenders, Potato Wedges, Sausage, and Onion Rings. To see the menu, click here. It is open from 10 am in the morning until late.
- Splurge: Guney Restaurant
Open from 6 am until 1.30 am, Guney Restaurant is a little more expensive than other local eateries, but it is worth it as you can try Turkish craft beers and have an authentic Turkish meal.
Travel Tip: The Galata Tower is magnificent during the day and at night. If you have time, try and experience the tower in both scenarios. At night the tower is lit up, and the general ambiance of the Galata area is fantastic, especially from late spring until the end of summer.