A comprehensive, full-day tour exploring the cultural, historical and architectural treasures of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires in one of the world's most fascinating cities - Istanbul.
What to Expect
On this full-day tour, you will discover some of the most magnificent sites of historical Istanbul, coming into contact with the historical wonders of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires and uncovering the roots of modern-day Turkish culture.
See the heart of the Old City, the seat of two of history's most notorious empires. Visit Hagia Sophia, a wonder of ancient architecture, a basilica constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Just across from the Hagia Sophia stands the famous Blue Mosque with its striking blue iconic tiles and unique 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet.
The Hippodrome was a center for sporting events, such as chariot races, as well as political activities in the Old City. Decorated by the Serpentine Column, the Obelisk of Theodosius and the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, the Hippodrome is one of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions.
Next, you will visit the world-famous Grand Covered Bazaar, the world's largest "souk" (market) with nearly 4000 shops selling antiques, jewellery, gold, carpets, leather wares and more. You can even see a demonstration of the making of a traditional handmade Turkish carpet!
Enjoy lunch, then move on to Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans. This sumptuous residence contains imperial treasures, sacred Islamic relics of the prophet Mohammed, Chinese porcelain, weapons, and more.
You'll get to visit the Sultan Tombs at the Hagia Sophia, too!
- Air-conditioned transportation
- Museum entrance fees
- Free pick-up service from centrally located city hotels
Know Before You Go
Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays. On this day of the week, this part of the tour will be replaced by a visit to the Yerebatan Cistern. Hagia Sophia is not closed on Mondays on high season.
The Grand Covered Bazaar is closed on Sundays. On this day of the week, this part of the tour will be replaced with a visit to a traditional shop selling authentic Turkish goods.
Because of the noon prayer on Fridays, you will only visit the outside of the Blue Mosque on Friday mornings until 13:00.
After booking, you need to call the local supplier in order to learn exact time and free shuttle availability.
Pick-up is only available for centrally located Istanbul hotels.
Free shuttle pick-ups are available between 08:00 and 09:00 (depending on the location of your hotel). Pick-up takes 45 minutes to 1 hour on the shuttle bus.
Travelers will be given free time to explore the Grand Bazaar on their own. This will not be a guided visit.