Maiden’s Tower Museum in Istanbul: Reopening, Tickets & Access

The legendary Maiden’s Tower, also known as Leander’s Tower, stands as one of Istanbul's iconic landmarks.

Situated on a small islet in the heart of the Bosphorus, off the Asian coast of Üsküdar, this must-see destination is an everlasting symbol of love in Turkey, captivating visitors with its timeless charm. Now, it opens its doors as a museum, inviting guests to delve into its rich heritage and captivating legends.

This guide to the Maiden Tower Museum offers information on what to expect during your visit, as well as visitor information like opening hours, tickets and how to get to the island. Read also about the history and the legend of this historical structure, as well as insider tips.

Get ready for an unforgettable journey into Istanbul's history and culture!

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New Maidens Tower Yeni Kiz Kulesi at night with lights

Entrance, Tickets & Tours to Maiden’s Tower Museum

  • Entrance: The Maiden's Tower Museum is open daily from 09:00 to 20:00.
  • Tickets: Admission to the Maiden's Tower Museum is 400 TL. In addition, there is a 50 TL charge for transportation.
  • Is the Istanbul Museum Card valid on this site? The Museum Card is valid for the Maiden's Tower Museum. However, the transportation fee is not included and must be paid extra.
  • Guided Tours: Hop on board on the 1-hour ferry ride to the Maiden's Tower, offered by our partner Istanbul Welcome Card. The yacht departs from the European side of Istanbul and takes you up close to the historic tower. While enjoying a relaxing cruise, you encounter many other top attractions such as the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and Golden Horn. The ferry ticket also includes one hot beverage (tea or coffee).
  • Travelers' Tips: With the City Passes from Istanbul Welcome Card, you can save time & money when visiting Istanbul museums and attractions in Istanbul and have a better experience with the included guided tours, travel tips, and exclusive discounts. You can choose between the Deluxe Card Istanbul, Premium Card Istanbul and Classic Card Istanbul, as well as the Saver Combo Card, designed by travel experts to help you make the most of your travel experience in Istanbul.
Top of New Maidens Tower Yeni Kiz Kulesi

Things to do at Maiden’s Tower Museum

The Maiden’s Tower is one of the most dominating symbols of Istanbul and one of the most photographed landmarks in the world, renowned as one of Turkey's most Instagrammable places. The remarkable structure, perched alone on a small island, is surrounded by a mysterious and romantic atmosphere

See below the top things to do at the Maiden’s Tower Museum:

1. Take a Ferry to the Maiden’s Tower Museum

Set in the middle of the famous Bosphorus Strait, you can experience the enchantment of this iconic structure by taking a ferry ride. Admire the important monument up close and enjoy an extraordinary experience.

During a peaceful cruise along numerous sights, you will have the chance to get very close to the tower. Soak up the breathtaking scenery with the magnificent sea view and the legendary tower in front of you - a true visual feast... Fantastic selfies are guaranteed!

You can find tickets for the ferry ride around Maiden's Tower offered by our partner Istanbul Welcome Card under the section Tickets & Tours.

2. Enjoy the Stunning View  

Climb the stairs of the Maiden Tower and be mesmerized by the captivating 360-degree panorama of Istanbul unfolding before your very eyes. The view from the tower is undeniably stunning, revealing a whole new facet of the city's beauty.

Take in the sight of the sprawling skyline, where modern skyscrapers harmoniously coexist with historic landmarks, while the graceful Bosphorus weaves its way through the heart of the city. From this elevated vantage point, you will gain a fresh appreciation for Istanbul's rich history and vibrant atmosphere. 

For hobby photographers seeking to capture the best shots of Istanbul, this iconic tower is an absolute must-visit.

  • Tip: Make sure to time your visit for the sunset, as the Maiden Tower offers an unrivaled setting to witness this breathtaking natural spectacle.

3. Watch the Laser Show

Since its grand reopening in May 2023, the Maiden Tower offers a brand-new attraction that you simply cannot miss! Every evening at 9 PM, you can enjoy a spectacular light and laser show from the Asian coast of Salacak at designated times.

This captivating spectacle artfully portrays the legendary love story between the Maiden Tower and the Galata Tower. Prepare to be awe-struck as the tale comes alive through a dazzling symphony of colors and patterns, creating an unforgettable visual feast for all who witness it. If you're curious to learn more about this enchanting legend, continue reading below.

4. Relax at the Cafe

Previously, the Maiden's Tower served as a restaurant and wedding venue. Due to the extensive renovation project, the restaurant has been closed.

Nevertheless, visitors now have the option to relax and unwind at the newly established café. Here, they can enjoy a variety of treats such as ice cream, pastries and snacks, or a hot cup of black tea or a Turkish coffee.

Distant View of New Maidens Tower Yeni Kiz Kulesi

Legends of the Maiden’s Tower

The Maiden’s Tower is associated with many legends. See here three of the most famous ones:

1. The Legend of the Princess

The Turkish name "Kız Kulesi", meaning "Maiden's Tower", goes back to a folk tale about a princess whose death by snakebite was foreseen by a prophetess. Immediately, the king had a tower built in the middle of the Bosphorus to protect his daughter from her fate. But a fruit basket, in which the snake was hidden, got to her. The princess died just as the oracle had predicted.

2. The Legend of Hero and Leander

Its European name "Leander's Tower" goes back to an ancient legend, which is supposed to have taken place in the Dardanelles and not at the entrance of the Bosphorus.

According to tradition, Leander swam every night through the Hellespont to his lover, the priestess Hero. Until one night, the torch that guided him the way went out. He lost direction and drowned. When Hero found her dead lover on the shore, she too threw herself into the floods.

3. The Legend of the Two Loving Towers

Another legend says that the two iconic towers of Istanbul, the Maiden’s Tower on the Asian side and the Galata Tower on the European side, actually fell in love with each other. The story goes that they loved each other for centuries, but since they could not communicate, each of them considered their love Platonic.

Allegedly, the Galata Tower wrote hundreds of letters for the Maiden's Tower, but it was unable to send them.

New Maidens Tower Yeni Kiz Kulesi

How to get to Maiden’s Tower Museum?

Maiden’s Tower Boat Services:

  • From Üsküdar-Salacak: Shuttle boats depart from Üsküdar-Salacak on the Asian coast every day of the week, from 09:00 to 19:00. These boats operate at regular intervals, ensuring convenient transportation for visitors to the Maiden's Tower. 
  • From Galataport: There are also boats that depart from the Galataport pier, conveniently located in front of the Maiden's Tower ticket office. These boats operate every day of the week, at 11:00, 12.30, 14.15, 15.30, and 17.00.

Private Tours: Our partner Istanbul Welcome Card offers a 1-hour cruise by yacht departing from the European side, which won't take you directly to the island, but will circle around the Maiden’s Tower, thus bringing you up close to the iconic landmark.

FAQ about Maiden’s Tower Museum

What is the story of Maiden's Tower in Istanbul?

Maiden's Tower, one of the most important monuments in Istanbul, is subject to many legends and tales. Its Turkish name "Kız Kulesi", meaning "Maiden's Tower", goes back to a folk tale about a princess whose death by snakebite was foreseen by a prophetess. Immediately, the king had a tower built in the middle of the Bosphorus to protect his daughter from her fate. But a fruit basket, in which the snake was hidden, got to her. The princess died just as the oracle had predicted.

How do you get to Maiden's Tower?

Maiden's Tower is located 180 meters from the coast of Üsküdar, on a small island in the middle of the Bosphorus. You can reach it via shuttle boats, which leave for the island from Üsküdar-Salacak (Asian side) every 15 minutes.

Alternatively, tower visitors can take the boats that depart from the European coast from Kabataş every hour on weekends between 13:00 and 18:00.

Another option is to take a one-hour boat ride from the European side of the city, which won't take you directly to the island, but will circle around the Maiden's Tower, offering plenty of photo opportunities and a close look of the legendary tower.

Where is Maiden's Tower?

Maiden's Tower is located 180 meters from the coast of Üsküdar, on a small islet in the middle of the Bosphorus.

Who built Maiden's Tower?

It is not known exactly when the tower was built, but it is believed that the Athenian general Alcibiades built a tower on this island around 340 BC to control the Bosphorus traffic.

Light Show at New Maidens Tower Yeni Kiz Kulesi

Historical Facts & Info about Maiden’s Tower

The history of the Maiden's Tower goes back to the 4th century. Although it is not known exactly when the tower was built, it is believed that the Athenian general Alcibiades constructed a tower on this island around 340 BC to control the Bosphorus traffic.

According to Byzantine chroniclers, the Maiden’s Tower was allegedly the place where one end of the big chain has been anchored, which was stretched during attacks on Constantinople over the Bosphorus. Throughout its history, the Maiden's Tower has served many different purposes. In Byzantine times, it was used as a custom station, in the Ottoman period as a watchtower, a lighthouse, and a radio station. In the 1830s, during the cholera epidemic, it even served as a quarantine station and hospital.

The Maiden's Tower got its present appearance in the Ottoman-Baroque architectural style after a major restoration in 1833. In the period from 1995 to 2000, the Maiden's Tower was greatly renovated and until recently served as a restaurant. In 2021, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism launched a new restoration project with the title "The Maiden's Tower opens its eyes again".

After completion on May 11, 2023, the tower has been transformed into a museum, inviting guests to explore its rich heritage and legends.

For more amazing pictures and tips about Istanbul, follow our official Instagram account @istanbul.tourist.information

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Best Audio Guide to Visit Maiden's Tower Museum

Audio guides are a great way to explore the highlights of the city at your own pace! This way you can get to know the city inexpensively, simply by using your mobile phone. YourMobileGuide is the best AudioGuide app for travelers. Just download the app, featuring self-guided tours written by local experts, a free city map, and exclusive discounts.

For your visit to Istanbul, YourMobileGuide has you covered with a variety of exciting self-guided audio tours. Visitors, who want to discover the highlights of the city by water, will enjoy the Bosphorus Tour from Eminönü & Karaköy.  The Audioguide will accompany you with exciting facts and entertaining commentaries about the attractions that are perched on both banks of the Bosphorus, including the iconic Maiden’s Tower.

Contact & Map

  • Address: Salacak, 34668 Üsküdar/İstanbul
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 09:00 - 20:00
  • Public Transport: Shutte boats from Üsküdar-Salacak or Galataport pier
  • Official Website: KizKulesi.com.tr
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