Hagia Sophia
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Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

1. Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

Discover Istanbul's most iconic sights on a van tour. Listen to your guide recount tales of the city's colorful past as you pass by landmarks such as the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, and Hippodrome. Round off the experience with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. Start your tour at the Hippodrome of Constantinople, which was the sports and social center of the old city. Discover major artworks including the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the fountain of Willhelm II. Then, continue to the Blue Mosque, whose 6 minarets adorn Istanbul’s skyline. Next up is the Topkapi Palace, which was home to Ottoman emperors between the 15th and 19th centuries. Marvel at the jewel-stuffed treasury, the Ottoman Empire's imperial collections, and priceless displays of Oriental porcelain. If the Topkapi Palace is closed on your trip date, you'll visit the Nakkas Cistern instead. Continue to the Hagia Sophia Mosque, a monument of equal significance to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Behold the dome and stunning mosaics of this architectural gem as your guide recounts its turbulent history. Then, enter the Grand Bazaar with over 3,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry to ceramics and leather goods. Take a stroll around the Spice Bazaar and soak in the aroma of different spices, dried fruits, nuts, sweets, and lokum (Turkish Delights).

Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise with Audio App

2. Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise with Audio App

Enjoy a Bosphorus cruise in Istanbul and admire the cosmopolitan city from a completely different perspective while enjoying the beautiful views of the Orient and the Occident at the same time. The Bosphorus is 32km long, separates Europe from Asia, and connects the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea. Cruise along the strait between Asia and Europe and discover Istanbul tourist attractions, magnificent palaces, ancient castles, and other historical sites, as well as fine seaside residences and the Bosphorus bridge. Admire the views of Galata Tower, Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, and Blue Mosque. Furthermore, you will have a glance at the spectacular pieces of authentic civic architecture on the European and Asian coasts.

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

3. 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: Small Group Skip-the-Line Luxury Day Tour

4. Istanbul: Small Group Skip-the-Line Luxury Day Tour

Discover the only city in the world on 2 continents - where east meets west - on a full-day sightseeing tour of Istanbul by luxury minibus. Following a pick-up from your hotel or cruise ship, visit the Hippodrome to explore the former center of sport and political activities in Constantinople. Marvel at the Obelisk from Egypt, Serpentine Column from Delphi, and fountain of Wilhelm II. Continue to the iconic Blue Mosque, known for its glorious blue Iznik tiles and 6 minarets. Admire the former imperial residence of the Ottoman sultans at Topkapi Palace, and learn how the Great Ottoman Empire was ruled. Today, the palace is a spectacular museum, with one of the largest collections of Chinese and Japanese porcelain, along with the famous treasury of the Royal Family. Next, go to the Hagia Sophia, a magnificent Byzantine Church that is considered one of the finest architectural works of art in the world. Stroll the alleys and warrens of the Grand Bazaar, and interact with the vendors selling their rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewelry, leather, and souvenirs. Transfer back to your hotel or cruise ship for the end of the tour services.

Istanbul Private Full-Day Classics Tour with Options

5. Istanbul Private Full-Day Classics Tour with Options

Your full-day tour begins with a morning visit to the Hippodrome, which at one time was the center of Byzantine social and recreational life. A few parts of this spectacular site remain, including the Obelisk of Thutmose III and the Serpent Column. The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is located next to the Hippodrome. Its exceptional architectural design features 1 main dome, 8 secondary domes, 6 minarets, and a vast number of blue tiles – hence the name. Built during the reign of Ahmed the First, the Blue Mosque continues to function as a mosque as well as being one of the city’s top tourist attractions. Next is a visit to Topkapi Palace, which dates back to 1459. It served as the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 4 centuries. In 1924, the palace was officially declared a museum. The Palace covers a large site and features several buildings. You’ll see a fine collection of Imperial and Ottoman utensils, relics, caftans, and portraits of the sultans. Following your visit to Topkapi Palace it will time for a lunch break, and your guide will recommend some restaurants where you can enjoy delicious Turkish cuisine. After lunch you’ll take a tour of Hagia Sophia, which served both Christianity and Islam at different times in history. When it was first built in 537, it was an Eastern Orthodox church. In 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, the hall was transformed into an imperial mosque. Approximately 5 centuries later, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum. After visiting Hagia Sophia you’ll travel to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, comprising 61 covered streets and more than 3,000 shops offering almost anything you might need. The bazaar is a part of the walled city and was built during the years 1455-1461.

Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Walking Tour

6. Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Walking Tour

This private experience is the perfect introduction to Istanbul for first-time visitors. Enjoy a guided full-day tour to discover the best of the city. The tour can be fully customized to suit your needs, simply tell your guide what interests you the most.  Visit the historic Hippodrome, the exquisite Blue Mosque and the iconic Hagia Sophia. Experience the lavish lifestyles of the Ottoman Sultans with a tour of Topkapi Palace, or browse the colorful stalls of the Grand Bazaar. The choice is yours. Benefit from pickup and drop-off at your centrally-located hotel. With your private guide you’ll enjoy priority entrance to all the sights, so standing you won’t waste time standing in queues.

Istanbul: Highlights & Grand Bazaar for Cruise Ship Visitors

7. Istanbul: Highlights & Grand Bazaar for Cruise Ship Visitors

Meet your local expert guide at the port after your ship has docked and join a hassle-free small-group walking tour of Istanbul. Take a short tram ride from the dock to the Old Town of Sultanahmet, and then benefit from a leisurely walking tour instead of sitting on a bus in traffic.   Start your tour in Sultanahmet Square to check out Istanbul's most significant monuments. Enjoy a scenic stroll around Sultanahmet and witness the local life. Visit the inspiring Hagia Sophia and avoid the long lines efficiently led by an expert guide. Witness the most significant symbol of the Greek Orthodox religion in Istanbul. Learn how it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. See the elements of a mosque and a church standing next to each other. Admire the basilica's stunning dome, minarets, mosaics, paintings, columns, and mosaic gallery. Continue your journey to the Blue Mosque, the most visited monument in Istanbul. Gaze in awe at the imperial Ottoman monument on a comprehensive guided tour. Afterward, take in breathtaking views from the courtyard and take a gentle stroll through the neighborhood.   Last, follow your guide to the Grand Bazaar in the Old Town. Discover the classic example of Ottoman civil architecture and indulge in some shopping at Turkey's largest and oldest covered market. Immerse yourself in the bazaar's intricate geography and swarming passageways. Learn about the oldest shops, exotic goods, and talented artisans. Get tips from your guide at the end of the tour about what to see next. At the end of your tour, choose to spend free time in the Grand Bazaar or follow your guide back to the ship.

Istanbul: Full-Day Small Group City Highlights Tour

8. Istanbul: Full-Day Small Group City Highlights Tour

Get to know some of the best sights of Instanbul with a local guide on this trip to Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Square, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar. Enjoy included pickup and drop-off and skip-the-line entry privileges. Start your day with pickup from your hotel, then hop in an air-conditioned vehicle and set off on your journey to see Istanbul’s greatest landmarks. First, head to Hagia Sophia, meaning divine wisdom. The Hagia Sophia was used as a church for 916 years and as a mosque for 481 years. In 1934, by the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it was converted into a museum and has since been open to visitors. Next, visit Topkapi Palace and enter inside. As well as being the imperial residence of the Sultan, this palace was also the seat of government for the ottoman empire. In 1924 it was converted into a museum. Today, it's famous for its harem, royal treasury, and holy relics sections. Continue to Hippodrome of Constantinople (Sultanahmet Square), built by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus in 203 A.D. During the Roman period, this square was the civil center for the people of the city where once 100,000 spectators could be held. Located in the heart of Sultanahmet surrounded by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace, today Hippodrome is home to the Egyptian Obelisk (Dikilitaş), the Serpentine Column (Burma Sütun), the Constantine Column, and the German Fountain. Next up on the itinerary is the Blue Mosque. This mosque was built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I in the year 1616 and is located opposite the Hagia Sophia. Today, the Blue Mosque is one of the most famous landmarks of the old city with its famous six minarets, dome, and blue tiles decorating the interior walls. Visit the Grand Bazaar. Featuring 18 entrances and more than 4000 shops, the Grand Bazaar is one of the greatest bazaars in the world. Stroll through the unique shops and experience the atmosphere of everyday local life. At the end of the tour, sit back and relax as you're driven back to your pickup location.

Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

9. 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.

Full-Day Walking Tour of Istanbul's Old City

10. Full-Day Walking Tour of Istanbul's Old City

The historic Old City in Istanbul is stunningly beautiful, and we can help you make the most of your visit with this full-day guided walking tour. Our professional local guide will take you through all the sights of the Old City, giving you valuable insight into the history of this fascinating place. The tour starts at the Hagia-Sophia Museum before you head to the world heritage monument. We will then walk to the Blue Mosque to see the glorious architecture of this historic building, which dates back to the early 1600s. Then it’s off to the Roman Hippodrome Square, where your tour will show you the Egyptian Obelisque, Roman Pillar, Greek Column and the German Fountain. Then it's off to a recently discovered Cistern. Afterwards, walk to the Topkapi Imperial Palace, the largest palace in Istanbul. Once the residence of Ottoman Sultans, the palace is now a museum, which houses different collections, each fascinating in their own way. The tour winds down at approximately 17:00, after a short walk to the entrance gate of the world famous Grand Bazaar.

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What people are saying about Hagia Sophia

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 9 reviews

The best tour for first timers in istanbul who love history, arts and legends. We had an amazing guide Serder Donmez who was the most accomodating and understanding. We recommend wearing comfy shoes because this is a walking tour. Best decision we made to cover the important points of the City.

Friendly service. Upon boarding, you will get a complimentary drink of water/coffee/tea. On board itself, if you take any drinks/sandwiches/snacks, you must pay (the old man doesn’t speak English at all but really friendly).

We had the best experience with Sevilay! She took us all over Istanbul, we enjoyed our time with her! She had so much patience and was extremely professional! I strongly recommend this tour!!!

My guide was entertaining and easy to get along with. He did an outstanding job explaining the history and cultural aspects of Istanbul.

Great value for money! The audio guide on the app is great