Guidebook Updates for Turkey

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our Istanbul guidebook, we post them here. (Of course, it's still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you're set for a great trip!

Across Turkey

  • Travelers with a regular American or Canadian passport no longer need a visa to visit Turkey for up to 90 days. (US and Canadian citizens with an "official" military or diplomatic passport do still need a visa.) As is the case for many countries in Europe, you can be refused entry if your passport isn't valid for at least 6 months following your date of entry to Turkey; you must also have enough space in your passport for regular entry and exit stamps. The US Embassy in Turkey has all the details Americans need; otherwise check the Republic of Turkey's official visa info.

Istanbul

  • Turkey has been experiencing hyperinflation over the past several years, and travelers visiting Turkey in 2024 are likely to find that prices they encounter may be significantly higher than those printed in our guidebook. You may want to check prices for sightseeing admissions online ahead of your visit and keep an eye on exchange rates.
  • The İtaksi app is now defunct; we recommend using Uber instead to hail a regular yellow taxi. If hailing a cab without Uber, be prepared to pay in Turkish liras — many taxis don't accept credit cards.
  • Hagia Sophia is now open only from about 8:30 until about 19:30 or later (and closed five times daily for prayer).
  • Renovations at the Blue Mosque should be complete by the time of your visit.
  • Historic mosques in the Old Town (including Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent, and Rüstem Paşa Mosque) are closed on Fridays until about 14:30, when the noon prayer ends (as well as five times daily for prayer).
  • Topkapı Palace now offers two combo-tickets: combo-ticket #1 includes the Palace and Hagia Irene, and combo-ticket #2 includes the Palace, the Harem, and Hagia Irene. The Harem is also now covered by the Museum Pass. While renovation of the Treasury is finished, the Harem and other parts of the palace may be under renovation when you visit.
  • The Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum is now open daily (no longer closed Mondays) and is open off-season until 19:00, not 18:00.
  • The Basilica Cistern has reopened and is now open until 22:00 daily.
  • The Galata Tower is now open daily 8:30–23:00.
  • Istanbul Modern, the city's modern art museum, has reopened in its snazzy new building in Karaköy.
  • To the best of our knowledge, the Chora Church is open to visitors again — but it's wise to check locally.
  • The Istanbul Archaeological Museums are now open daily (no longer closed Mondays), and until 20:00 year-round. Parts of the museums may still be closed for renovations during your visit.
  • Rumeli Fortress is now closed on Mondays (not Wednesdays).
  • The Pera Museum is no longer free to enter on certain days (and is now open Tue–Sat 10:00–19:00, Sun 12:00–18:00, closed Mon).
  • Dolmabahçe Palace now has longer hours (Tue–Sun 9:00–18:00, closed Mon).
  • A free shuttle no longer connects the Istanbul Aquarium with the Old Town. To reach the aquarium, take the Marmaray train from Sirkeci and get off at the Florya Akvaryum stop.
  • Tekfur Palace is now closed on Mondays.
  • The Military Museum is no longer closed Tuesdays, only Mondays.
  • Istanbul's new cruise port, Galataport, has opened, with customs and transportation services all underground and a promenade with shops and restaurants aboveground.