Spice Bazaar, Istanbul

Spice Bazaar, Istanbul: Our most recommended tours and activities

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: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour with Commentary

2. Istanbul: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour with Commentary

Explore the beautiful city of Istanbul at your own pace with this hop-on-hop-off bus ticket including audio commentary in 8 languages. Your ticket is valid for 1 day and will let you spend more time discovering the highlights that most interest you. Jump aboard your double decker bus and enjoy a tour designed for those who want flexibility during their sightseeing exploration of Istanbul. With additional commentary from your audioguide, you will learn interesting facts about key sights whilst savoring delicious complimentary snacks on board. During the route you can stop at locations like Sultanahmet Square, Eminönü, Karaköy, Galataport, Dolmabahçe Palace, Naval Museum, Beylerbeyi Palace, Taksim Square, Beşiktaş Bazaar, Şişhane, and Egyptian Spice Bazaar.

Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

3. Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

Explore Istanbul on a guided tour. Choose from a 1-day tour to top attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, or a 2-day tour with a cruise on the Bosphorus straight and a visit to the Dolmabahce Palace and Istiklal Street. Pick from a walking tour or a driving tour.  Day 1 – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, 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 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 holds the position for the 4th largest dome. 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, 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 into the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. Visit the Hippodrome, the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. See the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column, the 3 remaining monuments from the original building. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. Complete your day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handicraft 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 the Bosphorus and there are 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.

Istanbul Scenic Half-Day Bosphorus Cruise

4. Istanbul Scenic Half-Day Bosphorus Cruise

Explore the spice bazaar, located next to New Mosque (Yeni Camii) in Eminonu. The unique bazaar evokes fantasies of the mystical East and is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and many other herbs and spices. Be driven along the Golden Horn and gaze at the historical heart of Istanbul and the principal harbor of the Byzantium and Ottoman periods for hundreds of years. Enjoy snacks and refreshments at Cafe Pierre Loti, a quaint cafe at the end of the Bosphorus with a beautiful view of the Golden Horn that was named after the famous French writer Pierre Loti. After this you will gain an entirely different perspective of the Golden Horn whilst driving down from the nearby hill with the Cable Car. Relax on a cruise along the great Bosphorus river which separates Asia and Europe. This voyage enables you to see the delightfully surprising mixture of past and present, Asian and European influences, grand splendor and simple beauty.

Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise with Dinner

5. Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise with Dinner

Discover the romance of Istanbul on a sunset cruise on the Bosporus strait. Dig into locally-prepared appetizers and a freshly-prepared, multi-cuisine buffet. Toast with champagne outside the Maiden's Tower lighthouse. End your dinner with on a sweet note with fresh seasonal fruits and baklava. Board the boat and start with a welcome cocktail and a selection of finger foods. Learn about the history and legends of Istanbul from your guide as you journey up and down both the European and Asian sides of the Bosphorus.  Admire the glow of the sunset over the city from the water. When dusk sets in, soothing breezes arrive from the Sea of Marmara and the city lights up for the night. Hear the The muezzin calls from a towering minaret as you see majestic palaces and villas.  Breathe in the legacy of ancient Byzantium, Constantinople, and the mighty Ottoman Empire with each breath of fresh, salty air. Kick back and ride gentle waves in the comfort of a boat. Watch the city and its iconic landmarks pass by, a perfect way to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. Glide by the Dolmabahce Palace and Golden Horn while enjoying a freshly prepared dinner. Stop for a champagne toast at the he Maiden's Tower. Listen to music played by a live DJ. Return to your starting point after your tour.

Istanbul: Highlights of Istanbul- Include Entry Fees&Lunch

6. Istanbul: Highlights of Istanbul- Include Entry Fees&Lunch

This is a fully guided tour inside the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Roman Hippodrome, Orient Exprés Train Station and Spice Bazaar. Along the way, stop to hear the stories of the Roman Hippodrome (including the Egyptian Obelisk and Serpent Column German Fountain) This tour starts from our meeting point which is located in the heart of Istanbul. Your guide will meet you and you will start with the Hagia sofia which hosted two religions over 1500 years. The tour will follow by Blue mosque which is the most popular mosque in Istanbul. It willl foloow by under ground Basicila Cistern with heads of Medusa turned upside down in the water. After this, the tour wil follow with the walk in Gulhane park which was the back yard of the Topkapı palace. We will follow to look at the station of the famous Orient Express, tasting the Turkish delights, nuts and spices at the Spice Bazaar. Take a break for lunch and enjoy traditional Turkish cuisine in a friendly setting at a non-touristy restaurant where your gourmet guide will choose some memorable food for you. 

Istanbul Combo: Classic City Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

7. Istanbul Combo: Classic City Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

Meet your guide at your hotel or port and start the tour with the highlights of Istanbul. See the beautiful Hagia Sophia, admire the great blend of Christian and Islamic influences with beautiful interior of mosaics and significant history. Marvel at the Blue Mosque, a great monument of oriental architecture which houses 27,000 pieces of handmade blue tiles. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are two colorful indoor bazaars and have lots of shops offering a variety of spices, rugs, purses, flavored teas, jackets, Turkish delight, nuts, as well as ceramics and small souvenirs. At the end of your tour, why not opt to take a cruise along the Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides, Galata Tower, Dolmabahce Palace, the Rumelian Fortress, old Ottoman villas, Bosphorus bridges, and mosques. Tickets can be bought on the spot and the cruise will take place in a public ferry (unless you book the Private Yacht option).

Istanbul: Tastes of Istanbul Private Food Tour

8. Istanbul: Tastes of Istanbul Private Food Tour

After being picked up from your hotel, begin your tour with a walk around the Spice market. See where locals have been buying their spices for hundreds of years. Walk from Galata bridge to Karakoy and enjoy a Turkish breakfast that includes Turkish menemen, sucuklu omlet, kaymak, and honey. Catch a metro up to Pera and walk along the famous Istiklal street. Make a tea stop at a local tea house. In the afternoon, catch a ferry from the European side of Istanbul to the Asian side in Kadikoy. Taste authentic Turkish cuisines or Mersin's tantuni, or if you are feeling adventurous, maybe try a liver wrap. Continue to the fish market and sample stuffed or fried mussels and pickles. Visit a shop that only sells pickles. Complete your tour by sampling Turkish coffee and desserts. After indulging, catch the ferry back to the European side of Istanbul, where the tour will conclude.

Istanbul: Full-Day Tour with Dolmabahce & Bosphorus Cruise

9. Istanbul: Full-Day Tour with Dolmabahce & Bosphorus Cruise

Get a comprehensive overview of Istanbul on this full-day tour of the city by coach, boat, and cable car. Perfect for those who aim to get a sense of what makes Istanbul unique, this full-day exploration gives a varied tour of the city. It will reveal a mixture of Eastern and European influences that makes the city so unique. First, get picked up from your hotel by bus and driven along the length of the Golden Horn, the historic water that divides Istanbul. Take in the sites of the historic city center and the main port, dating back to the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. Then, travel to the top of Pierre Loti Hill by cable car, and admire panoramic views of the city as you drink coffee at the famous Pierre Loti Café, named after the French novelist who spent much of his time there.  Next, experience the splendor of Istanbul from the water. In the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Bosphorus and take in the grand spectacle of the city’s houses and palaces from the river. Finally, enjoy a tour of Dolmabahce Palace, home to the last of the Ottoman Sultans. Admire one of the most glamorous palaces in the world, once the administrative heart of the Ottoman Empire.

Istanbul: Full-Day Bosphorus & Ottoman Splendors Tour

10. Istanbul: Full-Day Bosphorus & Ottoman Splendors Tour

Cruise the Bosphorus and from the deck of your cruise boat, take in the sights and sounds of this legendary waterway, lined with historic villages, grandiose waterfront mansions, imposing fortresses, like Anadolu Hisari, and the Baroque palaces of the late Ottoman sultans. After your cruise, travel along the breathtaking Golden Horn to the Spice Bazaar, a thrilling riot of colors, sounds and the smells of exotic spices.  Enjoy your lunch at a rooftop restaurant with Bosphorus views. Visit Topkapi Palace, the great palace of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries, housing an exquisite collection of precious gems, jewelry thrones of sultans, robes worn by the sultans and their families, miniatures, the Holy Mantle and the Chamber of Sacred Relics. (The harem is not included in the program and visit will require an extra entrance fee.)  Duration for Topkapi Palace: 1 hour 45 minutes Our next stop, Hagia Irene, the Church of the Holy Peace, is one of the few churches in Istanbul that was never converted into a mosque. Hagia Irene reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple and has the distinction of being the first church built in Byzantium as it was converted into the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. From there, we visit Gülhane Park, once a part of the outer gardens of Topkapı Palace, where the Edict of Gülhane, a declaration of rights and liberties that played an essential role in the modernization of the Ottoman Empire. After the proclamation of the Republic, Gülhane Park was for many years home to the Istanbul Zoo.

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What people are saying about Spice Bazaar, Istanbul

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,835 reviews

Kemal exceeded our expectations and deserves special thanks. He immediately put us at ease with his friendly, welcoming personality. Kemal provided a wealth of information on local customs and traditions associated with the food we enjoyed from why Turkish tea is served in a tulip-shaped glass to the history behind a famous baklava bakery. We enjoyed soup, excellent bread & kebabs, Turkish pizza and more, served in small cafes and shops frequented by locals. A great storyteller, Kemal never hesitated to patiently answer our questions with a smile and an occasional brief history lesson. And we were particularly impressed with his genuine pride in his country. Bottom line, Kemal's knowledge of the history of Turkish food and related historical events made this a tour to remember.

This was a fantastic layover tour and I promise you won’t find another one out there that’s more inclusive! I truly felt like I saw all of Istanbul in just a short amount of time. My guide, Berk, was phenomenal. Request him if you can! He was incredibly knowledgeable and knew the detailed history of every site we visited and he spoke excellent English! We had so much fun. There is also a lot of flexibility and when time permitted, Berk let me choose between some activities. I did a lot of comparing layover tours but this one appeared to be the best and I can safely say now that it was! It made me fall in love with Istanbul and Turkey and I will definitely be returning! Take this tour if you have a long enough layover in Istanbul. You won’t regret it!

This is an amazing day tour. Nice to visit a historical place. Tour guide was friendly and well explained about the history of this place. Full tour was excellent. Pick up and dropping off to the hotel it was well organised. Worth of money!

Tour Guide and the organisation was awesome! We learned and enjoyed alot. Istanbul is a magical city and the guide gave lots of information about all. Thankyou!

Was with one passionate guide lead me entire walking tour, much appreciated