Golden Horn

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Golden Horn: Tours & Tickets

Golden Horn: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour

1. Istanbul: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour

After finishing your busy day of sightseeing around Istanbul, you can relax on this 2-hour Golden Horn and Bosphoros cruise. You will meet your guide across from the Hagia Sophia, from where you will go together down to the pier behind the building. From there you will discover the Golden Horn, including the 32-kilometer-long Bosphorus which separates Europe and Asia. You will be able to see Istanbul’s main attractions, including magnificent palaces, ancient castles, and famous hills and parks, as well as spectacular seaside residences from different centuries. All of this sightseeing will of course include your passing under Istanbul's many famous bridges. You will pass by Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Ortaköy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Fortress and Beylerbeyi Palace. You will also get to see some historical landmarks from a distance, such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Maiden Tower, and Galata Tower. 

Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

2. Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

Discover the best of Istanbul on this 1, 2, or 3-day private tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. A few of the possible attraction you'll visit on your tour include: The Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul's in London, St. Peter's in Rome, and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Blue Mosque, more officially known as the "Sultanahmet" Mosque has striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop in to the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. The Hippodrome is the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handcraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name — in Turkish, Dolma means "filled" or "stuffed," and bahce means "garden". Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars, and from there, it's an interesting and scenic 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area. See this and more depending on which length tour option you select. Possible Itinerary for each day of the tour: Day 1: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hippodrome Day 2: Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal, Galata Tower Day 3: Suleymaniye Mosque, Chora Church, Fener/Balat Districts, Pierre Loti Hill

Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise, Bus Tour, and Cable Car Ride

3. Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise, Bus Tour, and Cable Car Ride

Explore Istanbul by land, sea, and air on this unique tour. Enjoy sights like the Eyup Sultan Mosque by bus, admire the city from the Bosphorus Strait on a scenic cruise, and take in the views from Pierre Loti Hill with a cable car ride.  Enjoy the convenience of being picked up from centrally-located hotels in Istanbul. Relax in an airconditioned bus on your way to the departure point for your cruise on the Bosphorus Strait. Hop aboard a comfortable ship and admire the city from the water. Take in unobstructed views of the Golden horn, the Topkapı palace, the Dolma Bahçe palace, the Hagia Sophia Mosque, the Maiden’s Tower, Galata Tower, the Blue mosque, and the Ortakoy mosque. Gaze out at the two bridges that connect Europe and Asia. Get back on the spacious bus and drive to the 19th century Eyup Sultan Mosque where Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (a friend to the Islamic prophet Muhammad) is thought to have been laid to rest. Pass by historical wooden houses, churches, synagogues, mosques and the remains of the Roman Wall. Drive up the Pierre Loti Hill to capture pictures of views of the city and the Golden horn. Enjoy the views on the way down with a thrilling cable car ride. Return to your hotel at the end of your tour.

Istanbul: Fener and Balat Small-Group Walking Tour

4. Istanbul: Fener and Balat Small-Group Walking Tour

Start your tour with a ferry ride along the Golden Horn from Karakoy to Ayvansaray, where you will see the skyline of Istanbul from this famous waterway onboard a local ferry. You can listen to your guide as they go over the history of Constantinople, the conquest by the Ottomans and the introduction of Jewish culture after 1492. Afterwards, visit the extraordinary church of Mary Blachernae, Ahrida Synagogue and walk the streets and markets of Balat through the splashes of color and the vibrancy of its street life. Experience the crisscross of washing lines on the crumbling buildings, and the labyrinth of cobblestone streets teeming with kids playing football. You will then end your tour in Fener after seeing the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate which houses a column which is believed to have been used for the binding and flogging of Jesus in Jerusalem. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Church is an essential part of this tour, as it is the most sacred site for all of the 300 million Orthodox people in the world.

Istanbul: Fener/Balat Walking Tour, Pierre Loti Hill & Ferry

5. Istanbul: Fener/Balat Walking Tour, Pierre Loti Hill & Ferry

Meet your guide at the Fuego Café and Restaurant in Sultanhamet, in the heart of the main tourist area of Istanbul. From here you’ll take the local tram to Eminönü Harbor and begin a 5-hour excursion into Istanbul’s heritage. Travel by public bus to the colorful Fener/Balat district, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and at one time home to Istanbul’s Ottoman Orthodox and Jewish residents. See traces of Ottoman life, including wooden houses, mosques, churches, and synagogues, standing together and demonstrating the multicultural and religious ways of the Ottoman Empire. After walking along the cobblestoned streets of the Fener/Balat World Heritage area, you’ll continue along the historic Byzantine city walls that date to the 4th century A.D. and the time of Constantine the Great. Visit the historic Eyüp mosque complex, a sacred area where pilgrims come to visit the mosques and the tombs of Muslim saints. From here you’ll take a short cable car ride up to the famous Pierre Loti Café, a popular meeting point for locals. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of Istanbul while sipping a drink in one of the cafés where French Poet Pierre Loti was inspired to write Aziyade, part biography and part love story about his escapades in Istanbul in the late 1800s. Walk back down to Eyüp to catch the local ferry for a cruise on the blue waters of the Golden Horn. See Ottoman houses, shipyards, the old and new Galata bridges, Ataturk Bridge, ancient city walls, mosques, churches, and other historic and modern sites. You’ll disembark at Eminönü Harbor, where the tour ends.

Istanbul: Tourist Pass with Over 60 Attractions & Services

6. Istanbul: Tourist Pass with Over 60 Attractions & Services

Save time and money with a convenient 2, 3, 5 or 7-day passport to Istanbul. The Istanbul Tourist Pass is an online city Pass that provides access to some of the city’s top sights, during the days you choose. It is the only city pass available that allows you to enjoy Istanbul in a simple, convenient, and fun way. All the passes include a chat service during available hours with professional guides over WhatsApp. By presenting your GetYourGuide voucher at the entrance, gain access to:• Hagia Sophia Guided Tour in English (check meeting point and tour schedule)• Topkapi Palace Museum Guided Tour in English (check meeting point and tour schedule)• Basilica Cistern Guided Tour in English (check meeting point and tour schedule)• Dolmabahçe Palace Guided Tour in English (check meeting point and tour schedule)• Blue Mosque Guided Tour (check meeting point and tour schedule)• Grand Bazar Guided Tour (check meeting point and tour schedule)• Hagia Irene Museum in English (check meeting point and tour schedule)• Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Guided Tour in English (check meeting point and tour schedule)• Tiled Pavilion Museum (check meeting point and tour schedule)• Museum of the Ancient Orient (check meeting point and tour schedule)• Photoshoot in Ottoman attire (1 per person)• Şerefiye Cistern Guided Tour• Madame Tussauds Wax Museum• SEA Life Aquarium• Sapphire Observation Deck with 4D Skyride Simulation• Museum of Illusions• Hop-on hop-off Bosphorus boat cruise (1-ring or 1-day, Bosphorus Strait or Golden Horn)• Bosphorus boat tour• Princes’ Islands boat trip• LEGOLand (adults cannot enter LEGOLand without a child)• Xtrem Aventures• Pera Museum• Dialogue in the Silence• Istanbul Airport Shuttle (One way)• Jungle & Dungeon & Safari• Sakıp Sabancı Museum• Upside Down House Photo Experience• Jungle & Dungeon & Safari (cannot be visited without children)• The Museum of Selfies• Dialogue in the Silence• Bursa Day trip• Sapanca Lake & Maşukiye Daily Tour• Istanbul Segway Tour• Emaar Aquarium and Underwater Zoo• Istanbul Toy Museum By making reservations in advance and presenting your GetYourGuide voucher, get access to the following:• Discount on a 1-way airport transfer. You are allowed to choose the direction• Whirling dervishes ceremony (requires a reservation in advance)• Bosphorus dinner cruise. Dinner and shows included (requires a reservation in advance)• Dialogue in the Dark• Miniaturk Park Istanbul• Eyup Sultan Mosque• Pierre Loti• Discounted COVID PCR Test• 2-Day free Wi-Fi device

Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

7. Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

Day 1 – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hipporome, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this private full-day walking tour that covers the major attractions, from the Hagia Sophia Museum, to the iconic Blue Mosque, to the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, to the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. The 8-hour excursion starts with a pick-up from your Istanbul hotel and a walk through the lively streets of Turkey’s largest city to visit the dramatic former basilica of the Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul's in London, St. Peter's in Rome and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia  or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Move on to the Blue Mosque, more officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque. The mosque’s striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Continue to Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop in to the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. You will also visit the Hippodrome, the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. You will also pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. Your day won’t be complete, however, without a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handcraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. Day 2 – Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Istiklal Street, Taksim The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because, during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them! Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name, in Turkish, Dolma means 'filled' or 'stuffed,' and bahce means 'garden'. Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars. From there, it is a 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area.

Sapanca Lake and Masukiye Full-Day Tour from Istanbul

8. Sapanca Lake and Masukiye Full-Day Tour from Istanbul

Enjoy a full-day tour away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul on a day trip to the Gulf of Izmit and the freshwater lake of Lake Sapanca. Following a pick-up from your hotels in the city center, transfer to Lake Sapanca for a walk in nature. Located on a tectonic hole, between Izmit Bay and the Adapazari Meadow, Lake Sapanca is known for its scenic beauty. Continue to the picturesque village of Masukiye to enjoy lunch under a canopy of trees. Then, drive to a waterfall before climbing Kartepe Mountain. Hike in the mountains, or take the ski lift if you prefer. Discover a popular area for picnics in summer and ski breaks in the winter. Transfer back to your hotel in Istanbul for the end of tour services.

Istanbul: Half-Day Cruise and Cable Car to Pierre Loti Hill

9. Istanbul: Half-Day Cruise and Cable Car to Pierre Loti Hill

Explore Istanbul in 3 fascinating ways on this action-packed, 3.5- to 4-hour sightseeing tour by boat, then the magnificent view of Istanbul from Pierre Loti Hill by cable car. Take an amazing cruise between the 2 continents of Europe and Asia. Sail along the Bosphorus by the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi Palaces, wooden villas and mansions, all the way up to the Rumeli Fortress near the Black Sea. See imposing Rumeli Fortress, Yildiz Palace, and wooden Ottoman houses. Then head back to shore to wonder at the ancient City Walls, iron-paneled St Stephen's Church, and colorful former-Jewish district on a bus tour to the Golden Horn. Finish with a memorable experience in Istanbul's iconic old city, Sultanahmet.

Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

10. Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

Your 5-hour guided walk begins in Sultanhamet, in the heart of the main tourist area of Istanbul. From here you’ll head to the Blue Mosque, where you’ll admire the 6 minarets and stunning tiles that were made in Iznik, the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire. Next your guide will tell you about Hagia Sophia and the Roxana Baths before continuing on to the ancient Hippodrome. Hear about the famous obelisk that was shipped from Egypt to the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius in 6th century A.D. Walk along the ancient roadway past the Ottoman Parliament House and then make your way to the Grand Bazaar. Marvel at the labyrinth of streets lined with textiles and most every other kind of product as well! You can learn the local art of bargaining here. Enjoy a stroll to the nearby Sahaflar Book Market, where books were printed for the first time during the Ottoman era. Learn about Islam and its holy book, the Koran. On the way to the Suleymaniye complex you’ll pass by the spectacular façade of Istanbul University and enter the Cagaloglu district, which is a shopping hub for locals that’s far from the main tourist attractions. Once you reach the Suleymaniye complex you’ll see the Turkish bath, the library, the madrasah, eateries, and the grand Suleymaniye Mosque that dominates the skyline along the Golden Horn. Learn about the history of the Mosque, named after the most famous and powerful of sultans, Suleyman the Magnificent. Your guide knows a great hidden teahouse here where you can drink çay (tea) and try a nargile (water pipe) with its intoxicating aroma and fruity flavors. After the break, you’ll continue on through the hidden streets of Istanbul. See local markets where products are made on site. Visit the hidden Rustem Pasha Mosque and admire its lovely tiles. Then it will be time to taste some baklava, a delicious Turkish dessert. Explore the spice market and see a mountain of Turkish spices, Turkish delight, and local handicrafts. From the Spice Bazaar you’ll take a walk so that you can appreciate the views of the picturesque Galata Bridge. Finally it’s time to relax for a delicious lunch of local specialties. After lunch your guide can tell you how to get back to your hotel and give you some advice on other things to do in your free time.

Other Sightseeing Options in Golden Horn

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What people are saying about Golden Horn

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 1,716 reviews

This was a fantastic tour, around the Fener and Balat neighborhoods of Istanbul. The tour started with a ferry ride which was such a great way to see the city! We were then taken through all the different streets and learnt about the city's rich history along the way. Our guide Cetin was absolutely fantastic - super knowledgeable about the area and history, was very easy to get along with. We had a great time with him! He kindly took us on the bus back to into the city centre so we could catch our ferry home. Thank you Cetin for an amazing morning out! Would definitely recommend :)

Great guide - very clear, informative, eager to answer questions. The itinerary was very good, only sorry that the Chora church was closed.

The instructor named Julia was great - excellent English and the instruction was interesting and professional ,was great

Very well organised. Very friendly guides. Excellent WhatsApp helpline super fast and super efficient

Great attention from the guide. Warm and kind help. Nice places and churches