Marmara Region
Urban Exploration

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Our most recommended Marmara Region Urban Exploration

Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

1. Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

You will start at the old Hippodrome of Constantinople which was the sports and social center of the old city. Discover major works of art including the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the fountain of Willhelm II, constructed by the Germans. From there, continue to the Blue Mosque, whose six minarets are a key fixture of Istanbul’s skyline. Next, head for the Topkapi Palace, which was home to the Ottoman emperors between the 15th and 19th centuries. Marvel at the jewel-stuffed treasury and priceless displays of Oriental porcelain. Move on to the Hagia Sophia Mosque. Behold the dome and stunning Byzantine mosaics of this architectural gem as your guide recounts its turbulent history. Then visit the Grand Bazaar with over 3,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry to ceramics and leather goods. Also stroll around the Spice Bazaar with its incredible smell from almost every spice imaginable, as well as dried fruits and nuts, sweets and the ubiquitous Turkish Delight.

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

2. 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.

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Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar Tour

3. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar Tour

Like most visitors to Istanbul, especially first-time visitors; you will want to see and photograph the Blue Mosque. Complete with its 6 minarets and ornate glass windows, this site is a must when visiting Istanbul. Following that, you will travel next door to the Hagia Sophia Museum. A magnificent Byzantine Church, it is one of the finest and largest architectural works of art in the world.  After the Hagia, you'll find your way to the entrance of the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. In addition to its historical importance, it's a bazaar that will tempt even those without an interest in shopping with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewellery, leather, and souvenirs.

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Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3 Day Private Guided Tour

4. Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3 Day Private 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

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Istanbul: Old Town Tour and Bosphorus Lunch Cruise

5. Istanbul: Old Town Tour and Bosphorus Lunch Cruise

After being transferred from your city center hotel between 8:30AM and 9:00AM, you will travel with your private guide to the Old City of İstanbul. Your tour will then begin with a guided tour of the Hippodrome, the Obelisk of Theodisius and the German Fountain. You will then proceed to the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque), also known as the Sultan Ahmet Camii (or Sultan Ahmed Mosque). This breath-taking building is one of the most majestic Ottoman mosques in all of Turkey. Following this mosque, you will head to Haigha Sophia. Often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya in Turkish) in Sultanahmet is easily one of Istanbul's most impressive sights. It also has one of the most turbulent histories of any museum in the world. To find out why, it's best to delve back through its previous incarnations with your guide. You will then have lunch on a private yacht while experiencing a Bosphorus Cruise. Places you will see from the Bosphorus while having your lunch will include the Dolmabahçe Palace (the main administration center of the Ottoman Empire), the Çıragan Palace, the Ortakoy Mosque, the Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Castle, and the Golden Horn. Your menu during this cruise will consist of 10 kinds of cold starters, a hot starter, a fresh seasonal Salad, a main course (grilled fish, chicken or meatballs with rice and garlic), fresh seasonal fruits, soft drinks and hot drinks. At the conclusion of the tour, you will be transferred to your hotel or anywhere of your choosing in the city center.

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Istanbul Lunch Cruise on Bosphorus and Black Sea

6. Istanbul Lunch Cruise on Bosphorus and Black Sea

Climb aboard a pleasure boat and forget your worries as you enjoy a relaxing half-day cruise down the Bosphorus Strait. Marvel at the views of beautiful Ottoman-era mansions and the minarets of the city mosques as you sit down to a lunch of grilled chicken and typical meze dishes. Go for a stroll on deck to soak up the sun and see the many famous sights that line both coastlines, such as Galata Tower and the immense Bosphorus Bridge that connects Asia and Europe. Sail to the Black Sea, and then make your way to the small coastal town of Anadolu Kavagi. Drop anchor and enjoy a walk in the lush hills of the surrounding area. See the ruins of a medieval fortress and other landmarks before the cruise back to Istanbul in the late afternoon. 

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Istanbul: Bus and Boat City Tour

7. Istanbul: Bus and Boat City Tour

Discover the best of Istanbul with a combination package that includes a panoramic city tour and a boat tour from the Bosphorus. This ticket is valid for 1 day, during which you can join the tours as often as you’d like at the available times. You are free to join the tours on the same day within the ticket time limit. Istanbul Panoramic City Tour:On the 90-minute sightseeing tour, you will witness stunning panoramic views of the city as you pass Galata Bridge, where you can see the iconic Galata Tower and the majestic Dolmabahce Palace. During the tour, listen to fascinating stories from your live guide on Byzantine and Ottoman times when you pass by Taksim Square, Golden Horn, the Historical Peninsula, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and much more. Bosphorus Boat Tour:Sit back and relax as the 90-minute boat tour takes you to the Asian and European shores. Enjoy the beautiful skyline as you pass historical sites, palaces, fortresses, and the Bosphorus bridges, becoming fully enchanted by the scenery. Witness famous sights of Istanbul from the historical waterway and cruise along the famous Bosphorus, which separates Europe and Asia.

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Istanbul Food on Foot Tour

8. Istanbul Food on Foot Tour

On this guided walking food tour you will travel around Eminonu, its intricate alleyways and hidden corners and go off the beaten paths while eating and enjoying most of delicious food tastings. With this culinary walk, you will visit bakeries, pastry shops and Turkish pizza restaurants as well as eating a bowl of traditional soup; sharing Turkish-style breakfast with a black tea; tasting a freshly baked bagel; stopping by a local restaurant for sampling an authentic Turkish pizza; or finding some artisan’s shops to visit and mingle with locals picking up their daily products from the markets in a labyrinth of streets. It will be all about real people, real food, and real places. A visit to the Spice Market followed by Asian part of Istanbul. This indoor market features shops offering a variety of spices, flavored teas, Turkish delight, and nuts, as well as ceramics, household goods, small souvenirs, and more. As soon as you enter, you’ll marvel at the colors and aromas of Turkish food offerings.

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Istanbul: Galata Guided Walking Tour and Tower Entry

9. Istanbul: Galata Guided Walking Tour and Tower Entry

Meet your guide in front of the exit of the Tünel funicular station and start strolling through the backstreets of the Pera district. See the first luxury hotels of Istanbul which have hosted kings, queens, and world-famous writers and artists. After exploring the backstreets of Pera, follow your guide to a historic fish market and one of the most famous bar streets of Istanbul. While here, have the chance to try some local street food. Reach Istiklal Avenue and see people from all around the world, shops, restaurants, art galleries, and many historic buildings. Walk by some of the oldest consulates and churches from the 18-19th century Ottoman Empire. From Istiklal Avenue, find yourself in the neighborhood of Galata. On your way to the Galata Tower, pass through a cobblestone street full of music shops. The go-to street of every musician in Turkey, see shops specialized in hand-made ethnic instruments and equipment. After a few minutes of walking, find yourself in front of one of the most iconic landmarks of Istanbul, Galata Tower. Listen to its stories and legends and head inside to access the elevator of the tower. Your guide will assist with your entry. From the tower's terrace, witness an impressive view of the city. See Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Bosphorus Strait, the Bosphorus Bridge, Marmara Sea, both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Golden Horn, and even the Prince Islands. Your tour will end in Galata Tower, and here you are free to spend as much time as you want to take incredible pictures of Istanbul.

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Istanbul 2-Hour Private Bosphorus Yacht Tour

10. Istanbul 2-Hour Private Bosphorus Yacht Tour

Enjoy an exclusive sightseeing experience on the Bosphorus from the private deck of your yacht on a 2-hour private cruise past some of Istanbul's most famous sites. Board the yacht at the pier and soak up the atmosphere along the riviera cruising along both European & Asian shores. You'll enjoy spectacular views of Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Beylerbeyi Palce, Rumeli Fortress, Anadolu Fortress and the two Bosphorus Bridges as you cruise along the Bosphorus strait. Admire the beautiful scenery with 360 degree views from the spacious upper fly-bridge, or enjoy relaxing in comfort on the sun deck or in the comfortable outdoor and indoor lounges. During the cruise, sit back and unwind as you enjoy a cup of tea, coffee or water which are available on request (free of charge). Or enjoy sipping an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage or cocktail from our on-board bar (purchase required). At the end of the cruise, you'll be dropped off at the pier for disembarkation.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Marmara Region

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What people are saying about Marmara Region

My guide Borek was excellent! Since I was the only one taking the tour that day he was able to show me so much of the food culture in Istanbul while walking! We had a great tour, through Taksim, the Spice Bazaar in the Old City and also crossed to the Asian side of Istanbul via ferry for lunch! We tried so many foods, and he is very knowledgeable and patient and made sure I got back to my hotel safely! I would recommend this tour to anyone coming to Istanbul! 5 stars! Keep it up!

Mahmed (Mohamed) was an amazing tour guide, very patient and professional, he explained the history behind the attractions giving us that little extra bit of information. We were never rushed or felt pressure to do or buy anything. Will definitely recommend this tour and will do it again in the future!!

Izki is an amazing guide. She was so smiley and with an abundance of knowledge delivered in the perfect amount. We learnt so much. Thanks again.

The tour guide was very resourceful and informative. He was very helpful and I had a great tour.

Beautiful sites and very knowledgeable tour guide Amet