Marmara Region
Culinary & Nightlife

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Our most recommended Marmara Region Culinary & Nightlife

The Whirling Dervishes Show at the HodjaPasha Culture Center

1. The Whirling Dervishes Show at the HodjaPasha Culture Center

Watch a magnificent 1-hour show of the Mevlevi Sema ceremony at the HodjaPasha Culture Center in central Istanbul and witness the miracle of the whirling dances and dervishes. Dating back 800 years, the show represents in thrilling fashion the idea that everything in the universe, from atoms, to the solar system, to the blood that circulates in the body, revolves. Sema is a spiritual journey that the soul makes to God as it becomes mature and attains unity. After the journey, it returns to its life and to serve humankind again. This thrilling program begins with a classical Turkish music concert, followed by the Sema ceremony, comprised of 7 parts. Watch in wonder as the whirling dervishes and sheikh take their place and praise the Prophet Mohammed. Following the chant, a drum voice is heard and all 7 parts unfold, - the ceremony climaxes when the extraordinary whirling dervishes revolve to represent the birth of humanity. The Sema ends with a Fâtiha for the souls of all prophets, martyrs, and believers, and a prayer for the salvation of the country. Chosen as the best authentic local event in 2010 by the Federation of Tourist Guides in Turkey, this fantastic show takes place in the fantastic HodjaPasha Culture Center, which is a restored 550-year-old Ottoman Turkish bath in Sultanahmet-Sirkeci.

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Istanbul: Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment

2. Istanbul: Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment

Climb aboard a pleasure boat for a luxurious cruise along the Bosphorus Strait, while dining from a 3-course menu of Turkish meze and local drinks. Sail past some of Istanbul's greatest monuments, while watching traditional entertainment along the way. Following a pick-up from your hotel, transfer to the yacht for the start of your journey. Get a welcome cocktail on deck as you begin to sail as far as the Black Sea. Cruise between Europe and Asia, passing under the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge. See the summer palaces of the Ottoman sultans, such as Dolmabahçe Palace, Çırağan Palace, and Beylerbeyi Palace. Admire the grand Ottoman fortifications of Rumeli Castle and Anatolian Castle. Soak up some of Istanbul’s legendary nightlife as you pass famous nightclubs, such as Reina and Sortie. Marvel at the waterside mansions and villas that line the European and Asian coasts. As you feast on a meal of typical meze dishes and mains, watch live folk dances from different regions of Turkey. Be seduced by the sensual moves of a belly dancer, and relax to international music by the on-board DJ. Back on dry land, enjoy a free shuttle transfer back to your hotel.

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Istanbul: Turkish Entertainment Bosphorus Dinner Cruise

3. Istanbul: Turkish Entertainment Bosphorus Dinner Cruise

Climb aboard a pleasure boat for a luxury cruise along the Bosphorus Strait. Get a welcome cocktail on arrival and then set sail for the Black Sea passing some of Istanbul's most famous monuments along the way. Cruise between Europe and Asia and pass under the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge. See the summer palaces of the Ottoman sultans, including Dolmabahçe Palace and Beylerbeyi Palace. Admire the fortifications of Rumeli Castle and Anatolian Castle, and marvel at the mansions that line both coastlines. Watch live folk dances from the regions of Turkey, be seduced by a belly dancer and relax to international music played by the on-board DJ.

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Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht

4. Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht

A sunset on the water is an amazing way to end your cruise experience and an equally amazing way to start your evening. Whether it is to impress that special someone with a picture-perfect moment or just to appreciate a great time with great friends, a sunset cruise is something everyone will remember.  Few places in the world are as mesmerizing as Istanbul in the setting sun. Aboard an elegant yacht, drinking traditional Turkish drinks, and nibbling on canapés and fruit from tastefully arranged platters, glide by palaces and minarets as you sail along the Bosphorus. When dusk sets in, a soothing breeze arrives from the Sea of Marmara and the sky over the city puts on a colorful show, tinted with shades of orange and rose. The muezzin calls from a towering minaret. Majestic palaces and villas standstill along the strait’s banks, as if nothing has changed over a millennium. Breathe in the legacy of ancient Byzantium, Constantinople, and mighty Ottoman Empire with each breath of fresh salty air. Kick back and ride gentle waves on the comfort of a yacht. Watch the city and its iconic landmarks pass by, which is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. The tour starts at Kabatas Pier and ends at Karakoy Pier.

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Istanbul: Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus

5. Istanbul: Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus

After departing from your hotel, you will jump into this unforgettable boat excursion up the Bosphorus, the bridge that separates Europe and Asia. Its shores offer a delightful mixture of past and present, grand splendor and simple beauty. During the journey you'll pass magnificent Dolmabahçe Palace as well as Çırağan Palace, refurbished in 1874 by Sultan Abdulaziz and now restored as a grand hotel. Overshadowing Istanbul’s traditional architecture is one of the world’s largest suspension bridges, the Boğaziçi Bridge, linking Europe and Asia. Tour Program Welcome cocktail on deck D.J. Katibim (traditional Turkish melody musical performance) Asuk Masuk (imitation play of little people from the Taseli district of Silifke, performed by 2 male dancers) Belly dancer Henna ceremony Turna folk team Turkish romany dance Meal Menu Cold Starters: Cold and smoked meat plates Selection of fine cheeses Ottoman-style appetizer plate Special sultan spring rolls Exotic medallions Main Dishes: Grilled filled steak or Meatball with rice and garlic or Tornado chateau with mushroom sauce or Grilled spring chicken breast or Filled sea bass pane or Chef's recommendation From the Garden: Seasonal salad Orient house salad Dessert and fruit: Selected Turkish dessert or Seasonal fresh fruits or Fresh fruit salad Drinks Drinks are available for an additional fee Turkish coffee Alcoholic beverages are included if you choose the corresponding option.This option also includes unlimited local drinks including local wines, beers, spirits, and soft drinks. After the cruise you will be dropped off at your hotel.

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From Istanbul: Gobeklitepe Day Tour

6. From Istanbul: Gobeklitepe Day Tour

Visit the fascinating archeological site of Gobekli Tepe on a full-day private tour from Istanbul. Explore this 11,500-year-old hilltop sanctuary, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Start your day with an early morning pickup at your hotel. Transfer to the airport for a 2-hour-long flight to Sanliurfa, formerly known as Edessa. Edessa was is noted as one of the most important holy places in the world. Upon arrival at the airport in Sanliurfa, you will meet your guide that will lead to Gobekli Tepe. The discovery of Gobekli Tepe and its architecture has changed the entire known history of advanced civilizations. Archeologists believe it is the oldest religious site in the world. Explore its Neolithic collection of stone circles in this prehistoric site of worship. Learn how people built this structure 12,000 years ago using stone-age tools. Take a walk at the site of the excavation and find out recent findings. Give your feet a well-earned break by going to Sanliurfa and take some time for yourself for lunch at a local restaurant. Savor the delicious flavors of southeast Turkey. You can also spend some time shopping in the local market. After making the most of your free time, transfer to Sanliurfa airport to take a flight back to Istanbul. Be met with a representative upon landing to transfer back to your hotel.

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Istanbul Bosphorus Sunset Cruise with Wine on a Luxury Yacht

7. Istanbul Bosphorus Sunset Cruise with Wine on a Luxury Yacht

See Istanbul landmarks, hear thousand-year-old stories, and awe at the sunset with snacks and a glass of wine. Avoid the crowds on this safe and luxurious yacht with an experienced captain and crew. Numbers are limited to a maximum of 15 guests, so this will be a semi-private experience to remember. Board from the European side of Istanbul and be welcomed by a licensed guide. They will accompany the tour with fascinating facts about Istanbul's history, and the outstanding sites you will see. Relax as you see famous landmarks like the Dolmabahce Palace, Ortakoy Mosque and the vibrant district of Uskudar. Enjoy the sights of the city's Euoprean and Asians sides you sail the famous Bosphorus Strait. Sit back and relax as you are served traditional Turkish snacks. Take in a famous Bospherous sunset while enjoying fruit and a glass of Turkish wine.

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Turkish Dance Tickets at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre

8. Turkish Dance Tickets at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre

Delve into the oriental night as you watch this Turkish dance performance. Be enticed by Turkish folklore dances from different regions of Anatolia performed by professional dancers, blended with modern choreography, stunning costumes, and live music. Enjoy the intimate and authentic atmosphere of this evening show inside the Hodjapasha Cultural Centre, situated within the ancient construction of the Hodjapasha Hamam: a restored 550 year-old Ottoman bath. Admire the original architecture of the building and discover the Dervish exhibition, presented in the foyer area.

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From Istanbul: Full-Day Princes Island Tour with Lunch

9. From Istanbul: Full-Day Princes Island Tour with Lunch

Explore Büyükada, the largest of Turkey’s Princes islands, on this 9-hour excursion from Istanbul. Cruise across the Sea of Marmara, watching the sights of Istanbul slip from view. You can explore the pedestrianized island in the best possible way – by bike (not included) or spend time at leisure, perhaps relaxing on one of its beaches, before returning to Istanbul. Travel from your hotel by air-conditioned coach to the port with your guide, and board the boat that will take you to the Princes islands. The largest and most interesting of the islands is Büyükada, which is your destination for the day. From the boat you can look back on the sights of Istanbul, seeing iconic landmarks such as Topkapi Palace and the pretty Kiz Kulesi (also known as the Maiden’s Tower), which was featured in the James Bond film, The World is Not Enough. Dock in Büyükada and then take a stroll through the streets with your guide, soaking up the laid-back atmosphere of island life. Your guide will tell you about the island’s history during the ride, and about its time as a place of exile for banished statesmen and royalty, and of its life as a monastic settlement during Turkey’s Byzantine-Christian period. Pass lovely wooden mansions that are stunning examples of the island’s late Ottoman-era architecture, and look out over the sparkling sea. Seagulls are everywhere in Büyükada, and if you’d like to feed them your guide will give you simits (bread with sesame seeds) so you can toss them a treat. Stop for lunch at a seafood restaurant, or have lunch on the boat, and then spend the rest of your day at leisure on the island.  Meet your guide at a pre-arranged time for your boat ride back to Istanbul. The last leg of your journey will be by coach, and you’ll be dropped off at your Istanbul hotel.

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2-Day Cappadocia Tour From Istanbul Optional Balloon Flight

10. 2-Day Cappadocia Tour From Istanbul Optional Balloon Flight

Start the first day by visiting Devrent Valley, also known as 'Imagination Valley', this is the most surreal-looking landscape. Your next stop will be Pashabagi also called the Monks Valley. Proceed to Avanos the pottery centre of Cappadocia, this village is set on the banks of the Red River. You will have lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to Goreme Open Air Museum. The world’s most important Byzantine cave churches are found in these once remote valleys where monks and nuns pursued monastic life from the 3rd century on. Here you can see the best preserved Byzantine cave wall paintings and frescos from the Iconoclastic period through to the end of Seljuk rule.  Then admire a spectacular view over Goreme, you can see fairy chimneys, rock formations, and cave houses. You have the option of also booking a pre-sunrise hot-air balloon flight for the next morning. While your guides complete the final preparations for your flight, you are served breakfast. Your pilot will show you all the unique beauties of Cappadocia from the Red Valley to Goreme. While witnessing an amazing sunrise up in the air, you will get to see perfect panoramic views of Urgup, Goreme, Ortahisar,Uchisar, Avanos, and Nevsehir. After the landing, a celebration with refreshing drinks (non-alcoholic) will be waiting for you. On the Blue tour you hike along the Red and Rose Valley, the most breathtakingly and mysteriously beautiful valleys in the region. Conclude your hike at the Cavusin Cave Village. Marvel at the rock castle and troglodyte dwellings where people lived until the 20th Century. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Descend towards the center of the earth with a trip to the Underground City of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s many such settlements. Discover this underground city and its stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, and wineries. Visit the Pigeon Valley. See spectacular view of dovecotes (pigeon or dove houses), old abandoned cave homes, and old Greek houses of Uchisar and Ortshisar Castle, as well as the biggest mass of fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Marmara Region

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What people are saying about Marmara Region

An amazing event with very talented artists. A suggestion: request a good table. Tolga made sure I got a very good view of it all. Other than the fact that I felt a bit unsafe since COVID is back again and there was absolutely no masking and social distancing, the actual evening was a lot of fun! A definite recommendation to all Istanbul first-time visitors. Should not miss this one!

Hotel pick was great. Boat cruise was good with over view of Istanbul on left side. Princess island was nice and quiet with interesting shops. Drive through around the island was a breath of fresh air. People were nice and eager to talk to me

The guide deserves 5 stars, tour was good too but too long, should remove the shopping stops from the tours, too many of them, without them tour would have been more lovely.

loved it, everything was perfect except the leather shop tour in the end, they force you to buy products from them.

Worth the money, everything deserves 5 stars, specially the driver and the food was amazing too.