Best 15 Istanbul Art Museums You Must See During Your Trip!

Istanbul is one of the best cities for cultural tourism for its history. In terms of art, both Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire had a big influence throughout history. As there were many art museums back then, now there are more in the city, some of which focus on cultural heritage while some collab with modern artists. However, whether it is historical or modern, art is universal. So, here are all the Istanbul art museums you should visit during your Istanbul visit!

Table of Contents

All Istanbul Art Museums You Have To See!

Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM)

sakip sabanci museum ssm istanbul

The Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum, located in Emirgan, Istanbul, is housed in a villa built in 1925 by the Egyptian Khedive Prince Mehmed Ali Hasan. The museum was opened to visitors in 2002 and offers a rich collection with temporary exhibitions. The museum also features a lush garden with stone works and contemporary art, a restaurant with a unique Bosphorus view, and a venue called the Seed, which hosts national and international events.

The museum aims to offer transforming cultural experiences and believes in the multiplying power of interaction between individuals and cultures. It also focuses on preserving, researching, developing, and interpreting art heritage, creating common value through exhibitions and events, and offering innovative and creative learning experiences for everyone.

Sakıp Sabancı Museum Entrance Fees

90 TL per person

60 TL for people over 60 years

45 TL for  children over 14 years

Sakıp Sabancı Museum Viting Hours

Open from 10 AM to 6 PM

Closed on Mondays

How to get to Sakıp Sabancı Museum

The easiest way to reach the museum is by going to İstinye Pier. You can get there from Kadıköy, Küçüksu, Eminönü, and Çengelköy Piers, and also with the Bosphorus line. Then, you can either walk or take a bus to get there.

Istanbul Modern

istanbul modern art museum

Istanbul Modern is the first museum of modern and contemporary art in Turkey. It aims to support the diversity of artistic expressions by collecting, preserving, exhibiting, researching, and documenting works of art. The museum also focuses on increasing access to art through interdisciplinary exhibitions, educational programs, and events, contributing to artists’ production and international collaborations.

Istanbul Modern fosters inclusivity and creativity to create a sustainable art ecosystem and encourages a dialogue with modern and contemporary art for audiences of all ages and walks of life. The museum has played an important role in Istanbul’s cultural and artistic life since its opening in 2004, hosting prominent national and international exhibitions and organizing educational programs for children, youth, and adults, film screenings, social projects, and more.

Istanbul Modern Entrance Fees

350 TL per person

230 TL for students and people over 65 years

230 TL for each person for groups of 10 or more

Free for children under 12 years

Istanbul Modern Visiting Hours

Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday – Saturday – Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM

Friday: 10 AM – 8 PM

Closed on Mondays

How to get to Istanbul Modern

Istanbul Modern is right next to Galataport at Beyoglu, Tophane. You can take the T1 tram line and get off at Tophane station. The building is several minutes away from the station. If you are coming from the Asian side, you can take ferries from Kadiköy, Üsküdar, or Bostancı to Karaköy Port. From the port, you can either use the tram line or walk to reach the building.

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Istanbul

Turkish and Islamic Art Museum is the first museum in Turkey that exhibits Turkish – Islamic artworks together. It also is the last museum that opened during the Ottoman Empire Period. The museum opened in 1914 in Suleymaniye Mosque Complex. After the declaration of the Republic, it was named “Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum” and moved to Ibrahim Pasha Palace to the west of Blue Mosque Square in 1983.

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum boasts the world’s most significant carpet collection, comprising 1.700 pieces and diverse examples from various eras. Notably, it houses Ottoman carpets, including 15th-century prayer rugs, animal figure carpets, Holbein and Lotto style carpets from Anatolia, and the famed Uşak carpets. The museum also possesses Medieval metal-glass-ceramic works, providing insights into technological advancements from the 12/13th century to the Ottoman era’s end. Additionally, it preserves ceramics, gypsum plaster reliefs, wall paintings, and stoneware from Seljuk and Ottoman structures.

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Entrance Fee

390 TL per person

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Visiting Hours

Open from 9 AM to 8 PM every day

How to get to the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum

The museum is located right below Sultanahmet Mosque, so the easiest way to get there is to take the T1 tram line, get off at Sultanahmet station, and walk.

Sadberk Hanim Museum

Sadberk Hanim Museum Istanbul

Opened on 14 October 1980, the Sadberk Hanim Museum consists of traditional costumes, embroidery, artifacts, and sculptures. From the artifacts from the 6th century till the end of the Byzantines, the inventory of the museum reached 20,000 pieces. The museum is a mansion by the sea at Sarıyer.

Sadberk Hanim Museum Entrance Fees

50 TL per person

30 TL for people with Museum Card+ or Museum Pass Card holders

Sadberk Hanim Museum Visiting Hours

Open from 10 AM – 5 PM 

Closed on Wednesdays

How to get to Sadberk Hanim Museum

The easiest way to get there is to go to the Hacıosman station on the M2 metro line. From there, you have to take bus numbered 25A and get off at the Büyükdere Mahallesi bus stop. You will recognize the white building right away.

Dogancay Museum

Dogancay Museum Istanbul

The Doğançay Museum, Turkey’s first contemporary art museum, opened its doors to the public in 2004. Located in a historic five-story building in Beyoğlu, the museum features a small retrospective of Burhan Doğançay’s works and displays the works of his father, Adil Doğançay. The artist’s works in the museum cover a fifty-year artistic development, starting from his early figurative paintings to works inspired by city walls and his photographs.

Since 2005, the Doğançay Museum has been organizing juried art competitions in elementary schools in collaboration with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and sponsor companies, sharing the results with the public. Each year, around 7,000 students aged 8-14 from 1500 schools participate in this event. The winners were rewarded with trips to Paris in 2006 and London in 2007. The museum aims to continue these competitions, supporting education through art in the future.

Dogancay Museum Entrance Fees

No admission fees

Dogancay Museum Visiting Hours

Open every day from 10 AM to 6 PM except Mondays

How to get to Dogancay Museum

Take the M2 metro line and go to Taksim station. From there, instead of walking on Istiklal Avenue, head to Tarlabaşı Avenue. The building is a 10-minute walk from the station.

Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture

Istanbul Museum of painting and sculpture

The Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture (IMPS), established on September 20, 1937, as Turkey’s first Fine Arts museum in the Crown Prince Apartment of Dolmabahçe Palace, is a present-day art museum located at Antrepo No:5 in Tophane.

The collections of the Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture constitute one of the most important archives in Turkey’s century-long history. Although the artworks have not been continuously exhibited, they have been meticulously preserved and cataloged by the Academy since 1937.

The museum’s collection includes paintings, sculptures, and original prints, and works donated through private collections, spanning Turkish and international artists. Embracing pieces from the Antique and Renaissance periods, the collection features 10,140 paintings and 651 sculptures, with a focus on works from the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century. The painting section predominantly consists of oil paintings, with Sabri Berkel’s 4,468 pieces recorded in the museum’s inventory. Additionally, the collection encompasses 10 icons, 107 ceramics, and 79 calligraphy pieces. Artworks from Western artists of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as contemporary artists like André Derain, Levy, Matisse, Picasso, and Utrillo, are also part of the museum’s diverse collection.

Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture Entrance Fees

300 TL per person

Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture Visiting Hours

Tuesdays: 10 AM – 8 PM

Other Days: 10 AM – 5 PM

Closed on Mondays

How to get to Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture

Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture is next to Galataport. You can get there easily by the T1 tram line from Tophane station. You can also use F1 Kabataş – Taksim fenicular line and walk there from Kabataş.

Madame Tussauds Istanbul

Madame Tussauds Istanbul taksim

Madame Tussauds is a famous wax museum that creates wax sculptures of well-known people who had a great influence on history or found a way into people’s hearts. The museum is located at Istiklal Avenue. There, you can take selfies with realistic wax sculptures of famous people.

Madame Tussauds Istanbul Entrance Fees

350 TL per person

Madame Tussauds Istanbul Visiting Hours

Open every day from 11 AM to 8 PM

How to get to Madame Tussauds Istanbul

Go to Taksim with the M2 metro line and walk down Istiklal Avenue, the museum is on the right side of the avenue, and you can easily recognize it.

Borusan Contemporary

borusan contemporary istanbul

Since 2011, Borusan Contemporary has focused on international artists who work with photography, video, sound, light, software, data, and other technological phenomena to create art. The museum contains over 8,000 art pieces which are a mixture of traditional and modern art. 

Borusan Contemporary Entrance Fees

150 TL per person

Free for children under 12 years

Borusan Contemporary Visiting Hours

Open every weekend from 10 AM to 7 PM

How to get to Borusan Contemporary

You have two choices to get Borusan Contemporary. The first one is going there by bus:

Kabataş: 22

Beşiktaş: 22RE

Taksim: 40 – 40T

Or, you can get to the M6 metro line by the M2 metro line and transfer to the F4 funicular line to get to Aşiyan. From there, you can either walk by the seaside or take a bus. The museum will be one bus stop away from there. 

Pelit Chocolate Museum

pelit chocolate museum istanbul

Viewing chocolate as art and driven by passion, Pelit established Turkey’s first chocolate muse, becoming one of the world’s renowned chocolate makers. Inspired by influential leaders and artists, Pelit incorporated Turkish-Islamic art, world masterpieces, legendary characters, and famous legends into their chocolate creations. The result is a fusion of love and passion, represented in the form of Turkey’s first chocolate muse.

Pelit Chocolate Museum Entrance Fees

300 TL per person

Free for children under 3 years

Pelit Chocolate Museum Visiting Hours

Open every day from 10 AM to 5 PM

How to get to Pelit Chocolate Museum

Take the E-58 bus from the Mecidiyeköy bus stop at the cemetery and get off at the Esenkent stop. Or, take the 76E bus from Taksim, get off at the Esenkent stop, and walk to the back of Akbatı Shopping Mall.



Established in 2004, x-ist is a prominent art gallery in Turkey. It focuses on supporting and mentoring young, contemporary Turkish artists who create original work throughout their careers, both financially and emotionally. The gallery actively participates in major art fairs in Turkey and internationally, collaborating with global institutions. After 14 years at its Nişantaşı location, x-ist relocated to Tophane in 2018. Despite the move, it remains a key player in the contemporary art scene, partnering with galleries that share a similar approach and contributing to the growth and boundaries of the artists it represents.

x-ist Entrance Fees

No admission fees

x-ist Visiting Hours

Tuesday – Saturday: 11 AM – 7 PM

Closed on Mondays and Sundays

How to get to x-ist

Take the T1 tram line and go to Tophane station. It takes 5 minutes to get to the museum from there.

Salt Beyoğlu

Salt Beyoğlu

Established by Garanti BBVA in 2011, Salt is a cultural institution that, with its innovative programs, provides visitors and users with a space for free encounters, exploration, and expression.

Salt’s programs encompass exhibitions, publications, digital projects, talks, conferences, film screenings, performances, and workshops.

Exploring intersections and interactions between different disciplines, Salt focuses on art, architecture, and design, as well as social and economic history. The institution aims to nurture dialogue between the past and the present, address contemporary culture with new approaches and perspectives, and support knowledge production in this manner.

Salt’s continually evolving archive and library bring together resources focused on the Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, spanning from the late 19th century to the present, with a primary focus on Turkey. The institution’s research projects provide an open ground for anyone to engage with their own interests and curiosities, fostering collaborative learning and discussion.

Operating in two separate physical locations in Istanbul and in an online environment, Salt Beyoğlu on İstiklal Avenue houses exhibition spaces, Open Cinema, Kitchen, Winter Garden, and the Robinson Crusoe 389 bookstore. In Salt Galata in Karaköy, on Bankalar Caddesi, there is a specialized library, Salt Research, which researchers can use by registering, along with the Salt Research Ferit F. Şahenk Hall, where public programs are organized. The space also includes exhibitions, events, and workshop areas, along with the Ottoman Bank Museum, Robinson Crusoe 389 bookstore, cafe, and Neolokal.

Salt Beyoğlu  Entrance Fees

No admission fees

Salt Beyoğlu Visiting Hours

Open from 11 AM to 7 PM

Closed on Mondays

How to get to Salt Beyoğlu

Take the M2 metro line and go to Şişhane station, it takes around 5 minutes of walking to get there.

IMOGA Graphic Arts Museum

imoga graphic arts museum istanbul

Established to commemorate the contributions of Süleyman Saim Tekcan, a prominent figure in the field of printing arts, the Istanbul Museum of Graphic Arts, commonly known as IMOGA, holds the distinction of being the first printing press museum in the country.

Within its walls, visitors can explore works by some of the world’s most esteemed graphic artists, showcasing a diverse range of printing techniques such as etching, stenciling, and stone printing, among others. The museum serves as an educational platform, enlightening visitors on the art of printmaking and demonstrating how artists can utilize various techniques to express their creative visions in unique ways.

Situated in Üsküdar, the museum spans six floors, covering a total area of 2000 square meters. It includes an exhibition space, the operational Süleyman Saim Tekcan Original Printing Workshop, and a sculpture workshop established by sculptor Ali Teoman Germaner.

IMOGA Graphic Arts Museum Entrance Fees

No admission fees

IMOGA Graphic Arts Museum Visiting Hours

Open from 10 AM to 5 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays

Closed other days

How to get to IMOGA Graphic Arts Museum

You can reach there by taking public buses from Kadıköy and Üsküdar.

Kadıköy buses: 

3A – get off at Gülfer Sokak bus stop

3B – get off at Kainat Sokak bus stop

Üsküdar buses:

11Ü – get off at Gülfer Sokak bus stop

You can also hop on minibusses from Kadıköy and say that you are going to Kainat Sokak or IMOGA museum.


Arter istanbul

Arter, with its international collection established in 2007, focuses on diverse ideas and tendencies, transcending conventional boundaries in contemporary art. The collection, comprising over 1,400 works by around 400 artists as of 2022, spans various forms of expression and artistic practices worldwide, dating from the 1960s. It encompasses media such as painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, film, video, installation, sound, light, and performance. The collection’s broad themes and concepts contribute significantly to exhibition programming, inspiring both collection-based and independent solo/group exhibitions. Arter is dedicated to integrating its collection with external works, presenting them in diverse contexts within its program.

Arter Entrance Fees

60 TL per person + 40 TL for a guide

Arter Visiting Hours

Tuesday – Wednesday – Friday – Saturday – Sunday: 11 AM – 7 PM

Thursday: 11 AM – 8 PM

Closed on Mondays

How to get to Arter

Go to Taksim with the M2 metro line and get out from the Gezi Park exit. It is 10 to 15 minutes away from there.  

National Painting Museum

Reopened within the newly refurbished Crown Prince’s apartments at Dolmabahçe Palace, the National Palaces Painting Museum proudly exhibits a remarkable collection of paintings associated with the national palaces.

The architectural grandeur of the building itself is awe-inspiring. Situated on the Bosphorus waterfront, at the northeast corner of the Dolmabahçe Palace complex, it once served as the Crown Prince’s residence during Sultan Abdulmecid’s reign. This strategic arrangement not only provided the young prince with independent living quarters away from the Harem’s confines upon reaching maturity but also facilitated his gradual integration into broader society, serving as a transitional abode. Over the years, other sultans repurposed the building for diverse functions.

Spanning two floors, the painting museum is intricately divided into several thematic sections ranging from Ottoman to European-era works and more modern Turkish artists.

National Painting Museum Entrance Fees

200 TL per person 

National Painting Museum Visiting Hours

Open from 9 AM – 4 PM

Closed on Mondays

How to get to National Painting Museum

Because National Painting Museum is at Besiktas, you need to take a bus or ferry to get there.

If you are going there from the Asian side, take a Besiktas ferry from either Uskudar or Kadikoy and walk from there.

If you going there from European side, take either the T1 tram line and go to Kabatas or take the M2 metro line and change at Taksim – Kabatas F1 funicular line. From Kabatas, you can take any bus that goes to Besiktas. The distance between Kabatas and Besiktas is short and it won’t take that long for you to reach there.