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Plan Your Visit to the Hagia Sophia | Opening Hours, Best Time to Visit & More

Hagia SophiaPlan Your Visit

Visiting the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

The city of Istanbul is a melting pot of different religions and cultures. The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is a testimony to the city’s mixed culture. The present-day Hagia Sophia Mosque went from being an orthodox Christian church to being a museum, and a mosque again. 

Today, surrounded by its four minarets, Hagia Sophia’s blue dome has become an icon of Istanbul. Apart from being a historical and culturally significant monument, it is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul. Here is everything you need to know to plan your visit to this iconic mosque. 

Hagia Sophia | Visitor information at a Glance

Hagia Sophia Mosque
  • What are Hagia Sophia's opening hours?
    Hagia Sophia is open throughout the year. It is only closed during prayer hours.
  • Where is the Hagia Sophia located?
    The Hagia Sophia Church-turned-Mosque is located at Sultanahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih in İstanbul, Turkey.
  • How many entrances does the Hagia Sophia have?
    The Hagia Sophia has nine entrances, each one more magnificent than the other.
  • How many visitors does the Hagia Sophia see per year?
    Hagia Sophia draws more than 3 million visitors to its doors every year. 

Best Ways to Reach the Hagia Sophia>

What is the Hagia Sophia opening hours? 

Opening Timings: The Hagia Sophia Mosque is open throughout the year.

Closed: Hagia Sophia is closed to non-worshippers during prayer hours and during the noon prayers on Fridays. 

Duration of Visit: You can finish touring the Hagia Sophia within 35 to 45 minutes, however, if you want to delve deeper into the cultural elements and historical symbols inside the Hagia Sophia, you can opt for a 1-hour Hagia Sophia guided tour. You can stay inside the monument for as long as you want.

Hagia Sophia Timings>

What is the best time to visit the Hagia Sophia? 

Hagia Sophia is open throughout the year. The mosque is closed for non-worshippers during prayer times and the noon prayers on Fridays. 

The best time to visit Istanbul is during the winter months. During the winter, the weather remains pleasant which makes it easier for you to explore the city. During summers, Istanbul tends to become very hot and stuffy, which makes it hard to comfortably explore the city. The city also becomes very crowded during this time since the months of May to June are peak tourist seasons.

Plan your visit to the Hagia Sophia during the early hours of weekday and weekend mornings. The mosque tends to be less crowded during this time, which makes it easier for you to explore the mosque and other nearby attractions such as the Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, and the Grand Bazaar.  

What to See Inside the Hagia Sophia>

Where is the Hagia Sophia located?

Hagia Sophia Location

Address: Sultanahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey. 

Find on Maps 

Closest Landmark: The closest landmark to the Hagia Sophia is the Topkapi Palace, which is situated 260 m away from the mosque. 

Getting to the Hagia Sophia Mosque>

Getting to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Getting to the Hagia Sophia by Bus

By Bus

Nearest Stop: Çatladıkapı - Yenikapı Yönü 

35A, 36, 36ES, 38, 38Z, 97, and 92B will help you reach Hagia Sophia. The Çatladıkapı - Yenikapı Yönü bus stop is a 13-minute walk from Hagia Sophia. 

Getting to the Hagia Sophia by Train

By Train

Nearest Stop: Sikeci 

Take the Marmaray (Ataköy - Pendik) train or the Marmaray (Halkali- Gebze) train to reach Hagia Sophia. The Sirkeci train station is only a 7-minute walk away from Hagia Sophia. 

Getting to the Hagia Sophia by Metro

By Metro

Nearest Stop: Sultanahmet 

Take the M2 metro line, and get off at the Sultanahmet station. The metro station is a 7-minute walk from Hagia Sophia. 

Getting to the Hagia Sophia by Tram

By Tram

Nearest Stop: Sultanahmet 

The T1 tram will help you reach Hagia Sophia. The mosque is a 7-minute walk from the Sultanahmet tram station.

Know before you go

Highlights
Facilities
Eat
Stay
Nearby
What to see Inside the Hagia Sophia
Facilities Available at the Hagia Sophia
  • Wheelchair Accessibility: The Hagia Sophia has ramps and elevators to help visitors on wheelchairs navigate around the attraction. For wheelchair access, you have to buy tickets at the west corner of the mosque at the intersection of Alemdar and Ayasofya Meydani.
  • Photography: Photography is permitted inside Hagia Sophia, but do not click pictures of people praying at the mosque. You must also not use commercial or flash photography so as not to disturb others' viewing of the monument.
  • Luggage Storage: There are no luggage storage areas in or around Hagia Sophia. The closest place where you can store your luggage at the Sirkeci railway station. 
Where to Eat at the Hagia Sophia
  • Mihri Restaurant: The Mihri Restaurant is a 3-minute walk from Hagia Sophia. The restaurant serves delicious meals. 
  • Sophia Pita Cafe: The Sophia Pita Cafe is located near Hagia Sophia and the delicious breakfast that they serve is a must-try! 
  • Matbah Restaurant: Just 2 minutes away from Hagia Sophia is the Matbah restaurant. They serve delicious dishes from the Ottoman empire that were favored by the royals. 
  • Hagia Sophia Terrace Restaurant: The Hagia Sophia Terrace Restaurant offers delicious food and some gorgeous views of the surrounding areas. 
Where to Stay at the Hagia Sophia
  • Luxury: Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul
  • Mid-Range: Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel and Conference Center, Boutique Saint Sophia Hotel, Seven Hills Hotel, Ottoman Hotel Imperial
  • Budget: The And Hotel, Senator Hotel Taksim, Zeynep Sultan Hotel, The Million Stone Hotel

Where to Stay at the Hagia Sophia
  • Basilica Cistern: The Basilica Cistern is a spectacular remnant of the water system of the 6th century. The Cistern was also seen in the movie ‘Angels and Demons’.
  • Topkapi Palace: The Topkapi Palace has some of the most beautiful artifacts from the 
  • Ottoman Empire. The architecture of the Topkapi Palace is as stunning as the artifacts that are displayed inside its walls.  
  • Istanbul Grand Bazaar: Indulge in local Turkish cuisine and shop till you drop at the famous Istanbul Grand Bazaar. Be it spices, shoes, or accessories, the Grand Bazaar has it all. 
  • Turkish Hammam Baths: After you are done exploring Istanbul and its many attractions, take some time out to unwind at the Turkish Hammam Baths, where you can enjoy traditional massages, manicures, and pedicures.

Hagia Sophia visitor tips and guidelines

  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: Hagia Sophia is a mosque, so please wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Head scarves are a must when visiting Hagia Sophia as well. 
  • Remove your Shoes: You are not allowed to wear shoes inside Hagia Sophia. You have to remove your shoes before visiting the mosque.
  • No Outside Food Allowed: Avoid carrying food inside the Hagia Sophia since it is a religious place. 
  • Book a Guided Tour: If you want to learn about the history of Hagia Sophia and explore its highlights, then go for a guided tour of the Hagia Sophia Mosque. 
  • Avoid Prayer Hours: Avoid visiting the Hagia Sophia mosque on Fridays and during prayer times.
  • Explore during Winters: To comfortably explore Hagia Sophia, plan your visit during the winter months. 



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Hagia Sophia Guided Tour with Skip-the-Line Tickets
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Frequently asked questions: Visiting the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul

What are Hagia Sophia's opening hours?

Hagia Sophia is open throughout the year. The mosque remains closed for non-worshippers during prayer times.

What is the best time to visit Hagia Sophia?

It is best to visit the Hagia Sophia Mosque during the early hours of the morning to experience lesser crowds; avoid Friday afternoons, as it remains closed to non-worshippers during prayers. Try to visit during the winter months to experience pleasant weather.

Can I enter anytime during operating hours?

You cannot enter the mosque during prayer time. Before planning your visit to Hagia Sophia, ensure that you do not visit the mosque during prayer times.  

Should I book Hagia Sophia guided tours?

Yes, we recommend you book a Hagia Sophia guided tour. A guided tour will let you explore and learn about the history and culture of Hagia Sophia. 

How much time does it take to visit the Hagia Sophia?

You can finish touring the Hagia Sophia in about 30 to 45 minutes, however, if you book a guided tour, it will take you around an hour. You can stay inside the monument for as long as you want. We recommend you book a guided tour to have a hassle-free and more informative experience.

Where is the Hagia Sophia located in Istanbul?

Hagia Sophia is located in the European part of Sultanahmet square. Its address is Sultanahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih in İstanbul, Turkey.

What is the best way to get to Hagia Sophia?

The best way to reach Hagia Sophia is via tram or metro. If traveling by tram, take tram line T1 to Sultanahmet square and for the metro take the M2 line to Sultanahmet station. 

How many entrances are there at the Hagia Sophia?

There are nine entrances at the Hagia Sophia. 

Are prams allowed in the Hagia Sophia?

Yes, prams are allowed inside Hagia Sophia. 

Is photography permitted inside the Hagia Sophia?

Yes, you can click pictures inside Hagia Sophia but avoid taking pictures of people who are praying. 

Will my luggage be allowed inside the Hagia Sophia?

Big luggage bags are not allowed inside Hagia Sophia. There is no cloakroom available for public use at the Hagia Sophia Mosque.

Are strollers or wheelchairs available at the Hagia Sophia?

No strollers or wheelchairs are available at the Hagia Sophia. 

Can I see everything in one visit?

Yes, you can explore every minaret and mosaic inside the Hagia Sophia in one visit. You can opt for a 1-hour guided tour to delve deeper into Hagia Sophia's history and have a more informative experience.

Is the Hagia Sophia wheelchair accessible?

The ground floor is wheelchair-accessible. However, the upper floor of the Hagia Sophia is not very easy to navigate on wheelchairs due to all the steps and cobblestone pathways.

Is there a dress code at Hagia Sophia?

Yes, since the Hagia Sophia Mosque is a place of worship, all guests are expected to avoid shorts and sleeveless tops. Women must wear a headscarf to enter; you can find one free of charge near the entrance. You must also leave your shoes outside before entering.