Istanbul

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Our most recommended Istanbul Day Trips From

Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht

1. 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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From Istanbul: Day Trip to Cappadocia with Flight and Lunch

2. From Istanbul: Day Trip to Cappadocia with Flight and Lunch

Tour the most important landmarks of Cappadocia along with its fascinating rock formations on an all-day guided tour. Get picked up from your hotel in Istanbul and arrive at the airport for a 1.5-hour flight to Kayseri. Meet your local driver and enjoy the ride to Cappadocia, where you will join other group participants and begin your tour. Explore the Goreme Open Air Museum and study the many rock-cut churches from as far back as the 10th century. Next, visit Devrent Valley, famous for its quirky animal-shaped rocks, and feel like you're in another world. Head to Pasabag, also known as Monks Valley, and see the chapel dedicated to St. Simeon along with a hermit's shelter. Admire some of the most striking fairy chimneys with a unique mushroom shape. Stop for a typical Turkish lunch in Avanos. Then learn to make pottery with local experts. Take in the best views of the fairy chimneys from Goreme Panorama before marveling at more magnificent landscapes from Uchisar Rock Castle. Drive back to Kayseri for your return flight to Istanbul where your driver will greet you and take you back to your hotel.

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From Istanbul: Gobeklitepe Day Tour

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

4. 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

5. 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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Troy: Full-Day Tour from Istanbul

6. Troy: Full-Day Tour from Istanbul

This tour is specially designed for those visitors who want a more detailed tour with an expert guide, and who wish to walk in the footsteps of characters from Homer's Illiad and learn of how a long lost city was rediscovered. Start the tour at the door of your hotel in Istanbul, where you will be met by our driver before boarding a specially configured bus, designed to provide more space and greater leg room for your comfort. On arrival in the town of Eceabat, once the ancient city of Madytos, located on the shores of the Dardanelles Strait, stop to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, your guide will accompany you on a 25-minute ferry trip across the Dardanelles to Çanakkale, where you will board the tour bus for the drive to nearby Troy. During the tour, your guide will explain the mythology surrounding Troy, as well as the history and discoveries of the archaeological excavations from its discovery by Heinrich Schliemann in the 1870s to the present day. 9 cities have been discovered built one on top of the other dating back to before 3500 BC, with the city made famous by Homer in his book the Iliad describing the 10-year war being just one of the layered settlements. Not only will you see the still impressive defensive walls of the ancient city and learn the story of the Trojan War, but you will also be able to walk past the ruins of everyday houses dating back more than 3000 years, and walk the same paths as the people of the city did three millennia ago. Following the tour, re-board the tour bus to be carried back to Çanakkale, from where you will return by ferry to Eceabat. After a brief break, board the bus for the return trip to Istanbul, to be dropped at your hotel door.

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From Istanbul: Ephesus & Şirince Day Trip w/ Wine Tasting

7. From Istanbul: Ephesus & Şirince Day Trip w/ Wine Tasting

Spend the day exploring the most memorable places in Ephesus and Şirince on this guided full-day tour from Istanbul, lunch included. Visit the House of Virgin Mary, see the Temple of Artemis, and taste local wine at a vineyard. Enjoy convenient round-trip transportation from Istanbul. Start your trip by getting picked up from your hotel in Istanbul and transferred to the Istanbul Airport for your flight from Istanbul to Izmir. Upon arrival at Izmir Airport, meet your driver to head to Ephesus to start the tour. First, stop at the House of Virgin Mary, the place where Mary may have spent her last days. This place was officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1986, and since then it has become a popular place of pilgrimage. The visit to the House of Virgin Mary takes about 45 minutes. After, take a 5-minute drive to Ephesus to continue the tour. Ephesus is an exceptional testimony to the cultural traditions of the Hellenistic, Roman Imperial, and early Christian periods. The city is an important site for Christianity as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Walk along the city’s marble streets accompanied by a tour guide. See the Ephesus Odeon, Ephesus Prytaneion, State Agora, Memmius Monument, Temple of Domitian, Hercules Gate, Curetes Street, Temple of Hadrian, and Ephesus Latrines. Next, optionally visit The Private House (so-called “Terrace Houses” brothel). Afterward, carry on to the Celsus Library, Marble Road, Commercial Agora, the great theater, and Arcadian Street (Harbor Road). Later, head to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Get a chance to take memorable photos of the Church of St. John and İsa Bey Mosque. Before the end of the tour, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Afterward, head to Şirince, an old village of Rûm (Byzantine Greeks) situated on the hills of Selçuk, 7 km from Ephesus. The village is popular for beautiful traditional houses and fruit-flavored wine production. Complete your experience with free time for a wine tasting. At the end of your trip, get transferred back to the airport for your flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival in Istanbul, a driver will pick you up at the airport and transfer you back to your hotel in the evening.

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Full-Day Troy Tour From Istanbul

8. Full-Day Troy Tour From Istanbul

Travel back to the days of the Trojan War and such legends of ancient history as Helen of Troy, Achilles, and Homer on a full-day tour of “Truva” (the historic city of Troy). Depart Istanbul early in the morning (06:00-06:30) from convenient meeting points in Taksim, Beşiktaş, Beyoğlu, Şişli, Ortaköy and Bebek. Hotel pick-ups are available from Sultanahmet, Beyazıd, Sirkeci, Laleli and Aksaray. Transfer to Ataturk Airport for any last pick-ups from airport area hotels. Then transfer to Troy. Enjoy a buffet breakfast as you cruise through the narrow straits of the Dardanelles.  Upon arrival, lunch will be served at a restaurant with stunning views of the Dardanelles as you dine. At 12.45, depart for Troy, and see the replica of the Trojan Horse from the movie “Troy” at the entrance to the legendary city. Gaze on the remains of city walls that date back more than 3,000 years, and learn about landmark ruins and monuments, such as the Temple of Athena, Megaron House, and trench of Schliemann. Explore the death of Achilles near the Scaean Gate, and discover the site where the Trojan Horse was probably taken at the Gate of Troy VI. See the remains of the Roman Bath, discover where the city’s music shows and poetry readings were held at the Odeon, and go to the ruins of the Bouleuterion where the council of citizens would meet. Learn about everyday life in the city at the remains of the Agora (market place) and more. Your tour of the ruins ends at 5:00 PM with a transfer back to Istanbul at 6:00 PM, and a hotel drop off at approximately 11:00 PM.

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From Istanbul: Pamukkale Day Tour With Flights and Transfers

9. From Istanbul: Pamukkale Day Tour With Flights and Transfers

Delight in the ancient history and spectacular natural beauty of Pamukkale on a full-day, guided tour with flights and transfers from Istanbul included. Start the day bright and early with a morning flight from Istanbul to Denizli. There you will catch a transfer to meet your professional tour guide who will uncover Pamukkale’s Greco-Roman past. Explore the hot springs in Karahayit, which have taken on an Instagram-worthy shade of red due to mineral deposits. Then head over to the Roman ruins in Hierapolis, a place twinned with Pamukkale to create a single UNESCO World Heritage site. After exploring toppled ancient columns and sacred temples, you will have the chance to swim in Cleopatra’s Antique Pool—a majestic spot purportedly frequented by the Egyptian queen for its healing powers. Take an hour for yourself to discover hidden corners of Pamukkale at your own pace before reuniting with your guide and the group for lunch. The next stop is one of the most picturesque spots in Turkey—the travertines of Pamukkale. Take a barefoot walk across these bright, white limestone terraces filled with pools of cascading water. Finally, stop by a local Onyx factory before heading back to Istanbul after an unforgettable day spent in nature and history.

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From Istanbul: Bursa and Mt. Uludağ Full-Day Tour

10. From Istanbul: Bursa and Mt. Uludağ Full-Day Tour

Departing from your hotel in Istanbul at 08:00, head directly for the port and board a ferry-boat that will take you to the city of Bursa. The streets of Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, are filled with relics of the past, including historical buildings and artifacts that tell the story of Turkish history, culture and civilization. Often called "Green Bursa," the city is also filled with lush parks and gardens, vast forests, and orchards. Take the cable car to the Mt. Uludağ, where you will enjoy a BBQ lunch before visiting Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque). The mosque, built between 1399 and 1400, is still the largest mosque in Bursa. There, you can admire its exquisite calligraphy and the great craftsmanship. Afterwards, you may enjoy some famous local Turkish products, including roasted chestnuts and Turkish sweets. Before the day is done, pay a visit to Bursa's silk market and then begin your journey back to Istanbul.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Istanbul

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What people are saying about Istanbul

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 683 reviews

Outstanding 3 days with Semih as my guide to Istanbul, saw all the major sites, but also lots of places that I probably wouldn't have got to without a guide. Semih's had lots of information on each site, and I came away with a much better understanding of the history of the city. This was the best way to get to learn about the city

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

Volkan was a fantastic guide! Day 10 in Turkey, been to Capaddocia, Bursa and Uludag as well but he was the best. Experienced, knowledgeable and thoughtful, will highly recommend any trip with him!

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.