Accessible Travel to Istanbul

Is Istanbul accessible for disabled visitors? Are there any steps to get into the Blue Mosque? How about the Hagia Sophia? Is there accessible public transportation in Istanbul? Our detailed Disabled Access Review of Istanbul describes the best and worst aspects of handicapped accessibility in Istanbul. View pictures of the cobblestones and hills in Istanbul and learn about the completely inaccessible toilets you’ll encounter.

Learn about our Istanbul Accessible Trip Planning Services

The historical Old Town of Istanbul is packed with two millennia of silent history behind world-class tourist sites like the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar. An accessible guided tour of Istanbul makes the city even more fascinating than wandering around it by yourself. Navigating the cobbled and hilly streets can be much easier with a tour guide.

Our wheelchair accessible Istanbul tours provide an easy and entertaining way to visit this magnificent city. Our half-day private accessible walking tours hit the highlights: the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern. Our Panoramic Istanbul Accessible Van Tour shows you the main highlights in the old town as well the new town. For cruise passengers, our Istanbul shore excursions by accessible tram provide an inexpensive option to sightsee with an officially-licensed local guide.

“My parents have just returned from Istanbul and would like to pass on their sincere thanks for the wonderful tour they had that you arranged for them. The guide and the vehicle used were excellent and the guide was very informative and helpful. We are so happy that we found your website to arrange such a tour. My father cannot stop talking about the tour and of course the St Sophia museum.” -Andrew from Sydney, Australia...Read more client feedback

 

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With so many accessibility challenges in Istanbul, even just a few tips and tricks can make your trip much easier and much more enjoyable. How can a disabled visitor get down to the amazing Basilica Cistern? Is the Taksim Square a high elevation or low elevation point in the city? Is there an accessible path between the adjacent Topkapi Palace and National Archaeological Museum? These Istanbul wheelchair travel tips are worth a read for every disabled traveler.
Planning an accessible trip to Istanbul can seem overwhelming. This checklist tells you what you really need to focus on before you arrive in Istanbul. Be sure that you allocate time for a boat cruise up the Bosporus to the Black Sea for a brief stop in Asia. Don’t miss the National Archaeological Museum, and be ready to spend more time at the Topkapi Palace than the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque combined. Check all the boxes on our 8 Istanbul Accessible Travel Keys to Success and you’ll have a great Istanbul accessible visit!
The Hagia Sophia is one of the most popular attractions in Istanbul and is accessible to some, but not all, disabled tourists. The entrance into the building contains a series of ramps and small, single steps. Manual wheelchair users should have no problems with these small steps, but electric wheelchair users may have some difficulties getting into the building. Pictures of the steps at the entrance and the non-wheelchair friendly path to the upper level are shown on our Hagia Sophia Accessibility page.
Although less famous than its Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque neighbors, Topkapi Palace is our favorite attraction in Istanbul. Sultans ruled the empire for centuries from here, and their story is magnificently told here. See where the sultan’s harem lived and view ancient religious and royal artifacts. Many of the parts of the palace have wheelchair ramps, although several buildings are only accessible by steps. Our Accessible Istanbul Topkapi Palace page feature pictures, maps, and advice to plan an amazing visit to this Istanbul highlight.

Although there aren’t many cruises that depart from Istanbul, there are still some great cruise options in our Top 5 Accessible Istanbul Cruises.  Celebrity's 7 night accessible Istanbul to Rome cruise provides you extra time to explore these world-class cities before and after your cruise.  Holland America's 14 night accessible Egypt cruise will finally give you that chance you've wanted to see the pyramids, and a luxurious Crystal's 23 night Grand Mediterranean cruise allows you to see exciting destinations throughout the Mediterranean!

 

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Cruise passengers arrive in the new town and will need to travel to the old town to visit the sights. My Istanbul cruise port accessibility review contains photos of the cruise dock and the accessible tram to get to the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.

Disabled tourists will find some good aspects and some poor aspects of accessible travel in Istanbul. Many tram stations are wheelchair accessible but the trams can be extremely crowded. Istanbul accessible van transfers provide an easy way to get from the Istanbul Ataturk Airport or Karaköy Yolcu Salonu cruise dock to your hotel.

Transfers from the Istanbul airport by wheelchair accessible van cost 120 euro each way, and transfers from the cruise terminal cost 80 euro each way. All vans have wheelchair lifts and are suitable for electric wheelchair users, manual wheelchair users, and mobility scooter users. Contact us with the following information to book your transfer: pickup date, time, and location; drop-off location; number of disabled passengers; and total number of passengers.

You may find yourself in need of a wheelchair while in Istanbul. We can have a rental manual wheelchair, a rental electric wheelchair, or a rental mobility scooter delivered to your hotel before your arrival. The cost of wheelchair rental in Istanbul is $170 per week. Istanbul mobility scooter rentals are also available for $350 per week. The price of the rental includes delivery to your hotel.

Our disabled travel researchers visited more than a dozen “accessible” hotels in Istanbul and were somewhat shocked by the experience. While inaccurate accessibility descriptions are common for hotel websites throughout Europe, in Istanbul many “accessible” hotels don’t even meet the most basic of accessibility standards.

At least half of the hotels described on the internet as wheelchair accessible did not even half a step-free entrance. Other hotels have a ramp, but it is so steep that no wheelchair user could get up it without help. We were able to find several wheelchair accessible Istanbul hotels so we can provide our clients a great accessible travel experience. You can choose from 4 star Istanbul wheelchair accessible hotelshotel rooms with a roll-in showerhandicapped triple rooms in Istanbul, and more.

Researching handicapped accessibility before your trip to Istanbul can be not only time-consuming, but also quite unsuccessful. Our Istanbul disabled travel experts have created our easy to use Istanbul Accessibility Guide which is a must-have for disabled visitors to Istanbul. It contains descriptions, pictures, and maps explaining what sights are accessible, what sights are not accessible, and how to travel between them. The Accessibility Guide is provided with all of our accessible travel packages.

"I just wanted to say thank you for the detailed and extremely helpful information which certainly made a positive difference to my visit to Istanbul and Venice. The information you provided on both these cities was absolutely invaluable." - Margaret from the UK Read more...

The easiest way you can visit Istanbul with a disability is with our Istanbul accessible travel packages. The packages include everything you need for your vacation: 1) accessible hotel accommodation, 2) accessible transportation (fit to meet your accessibility needs), 3) accessible tours, and 4) expert accessible travel advice. The packages are customized to meet your needs, so if for example you’d rather use taxis than accessible private transportation, that’s no problem.
 

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