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Istanbul: Full-Day Guided Tour

1. Istanbul: Full-Day Guided Tour

Istanbul straddles East and West, enticing your senses and expanding your perceptions of the world around you. Todays full day tour will give you a glimpse at some of Istanbul's incredible sites and sounds and leave you with a deeper understanding of this rich land. Begin your day at one of Istanbul's greatest architectural masterpieces - the Hagia Sophia. This 6th century basilica will stun you with its towering minarets and beautiful handcrafted mosaics. It is called, by some, the 8th wonder of the world and you'll soon see why. Soon after your visit to Hagia Sophia, head across the street to the Blue Mosque. One of the most famous monuments in all of Turkey, the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque) is a monument to the Ottoman empire and its builders. It gets its name from the more than 20,000 Iznik blue tiles that adorn its facade and interior and its history will impress you as you receive a tour. Then step back in time a bit to the Hippodrome. Here, imagine what life might have been like as locals traveled to see the chariot races at this famous sports arena. The area dates back to Egyptian times and there are still relics of the past dotted around this incredible area. With so much history, it's time to take a little shopping break. Head to the Grand Bazaar, where you'll have the chance to barter on everything from fine leather goods, to spices and plenty of sweets to satisfy your sweet tooth. There are nearly 4000 stalls here, so you're sure to find something for yourself.  After lunch visit the recently discovered and restored Şerefiye Cistern, which was built by Roman Emperor Theodosius II between 428 and 443 to store water supplied by the Valens Aqueduct (Roman Period Water Reservoir). Your tour ends here.

Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

2. 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.

Istanbul: 6-Hour Highlights Tour

3. Istanbul: 6-Hour Highlights Tour

This is a fully guided tour inside the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Orient Express train station, Galata Bridge and Spice Bazaar. Along the way, stop to hear the stories of the Roman Hippodrome (including the Egyptian Obelisk and Serpent Column German Fountain), mausoleums of Ottoman sultans and Constantine’s Column. Learn about the famous Orient Express. Take a break for lunch and enjoy traditional Turkish cuisine in a friendly setting at a nontouristy restaurant where your gourmet guide will choose some memorable food for you. Please note the itinerary will change slightly on certain days due to changes in the opening hours. 

Istanbul: Full-Day Private Old City Tour

4. Istanbul: Full-Day Private Old City Tour

Your guide will greet you at your hotel at 09:00 to begin your 8-hour walking tour in the capital of 3 great empires. Your tour begins at Topkapi Palace, the former imperial residence from which the Great Ottoman Empire was ruled for nearly 400 years. Today a spectacular museum, it is well known for its collection of royal treasures. Your guide will tell you about 4 centuries of glorious victories as well as tragic times. From Topkapi Palace you’ll walk to Hagia Sophia along a cobblestone road lined with old Ottoman-era houses. This 6th century church, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, features stunning mosaics. You’ll learn about the history of the structure, a main attraction of Istanbul since its construction. After a stop to enjoy lunch you’ll continue by foot to the site of the Hippodrome, the center of sportive and political activities in ancient Constantinople. See the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the Fountain of Willhelm II. The Blue Mosque, built in the 17th century, and also known as the Sultanahment Mosque, is one of the principal adornments of the Istanbul skyline. Admire the interior covered with blue Iznik tiles. Your final stop will be at the Grand Bazaar. Your guide will tell you about history of the Bazaar and provide some helpful tips on navigating its more than 4,000 shops. The tour ends between 16:00 and 17:00.

Istanbul: Guided City Highlights Day Trip

5. Istanbul: Guided City Highlights Day Trip

After being picked up from your hotel, meet your guide and embark on a full day tour of Istanbul's main landmarks and historical sites. Start with a trip to the Hagia Sophia Museum. Discover how for many centuries, the Hagia Sophia was the largest church in the world, and still boasts the 4th largest dome in the world as one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Next, head over to the Topkapi Palace Museum, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. Discover how 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. Continue the tour with a visit to the Hippodrome, a former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Witness the 3 remaining monuments from the original building, 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. After this, make a stop at the Blue Mosque, more officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque. Admire the striking blue tiles which give the mosque 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. Finally, take a stroll through 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.

Istanbul Classical Full-Day Tour

6. Istanbul Classical Full-Day Tour

Your guide will pick you up from your hotel and guide you through the city to explore the following places in depth: First you will visit Hagia Sophia.This ancient Basilica was built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century and reconstructed by Justinin in the 6th century. It is one of the architectural marvels of all time. The Blue Mosque is one of the best examples of Ottoman and Turkish art, built between 1609 and 1616 by the Architect Mehmet Aga. The mosque takes its name from the blue Iznik tiles which decorate its walls spelndidly. The ancient Hippodrome, where chariot races took place in the center of Byzantine political life, stands in the open space in front of the Blue Mosque. This area, now called Sultanahmet, was once home to a series of historic monuments. Of the monuments which once stood only three remain, the Obelisk of the Theodosius, the Serpentine Column and the Column on Constantine. Look forward to experiencing the bustling atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar. In this labyrinth of streets and passages there are more than 4000 shops with each trade having its own area, selling mostly gold, silver and Turkish handicrafts. Afterwards you will see Topkapi Palace, the great palace of the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries. It houses an exqusite collection of crystal, silver and Chinese porcelain, and the Holy Mantle containing relics of the Prophet Mohammed. We will have a stop for lunch around midday and the tour will finish with a drop-off at your hotel. Hotel pick-up service is available only from the hotels located in the city centre.

Byzantine & Ottoman Relics of Istanbul Full Day Tour

7. Byzantine & Ottoman Relics of Istanbul Full Day Tour

On this full-day tour, you will discover some of the most magnificent sites of historical Istanbul, coming into contact with the historical wonders of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires and uncovering the roots of modern-day Turkish culture. See the heart of the Old City, the seat of two of history's most notorious empires. Visit Hagia Sophia, a wonder of ancient architecture, a basilica constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Just across from the Hagia Sophia stands the famous Blue Mosque with its striking blue iconic tiles and unique 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet. The Hippodrome was a center for sporting events, such as chariot races, as well as political activities in the Old City. Decorated by the Serpentine Column, the Obelisk of Theodosius and the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, the Hippodrome is one of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions. Next, you will visit the world-famous Grand Covered Bazaar, the world's largest "souk" (market) with nearly 4000 shops selling antiques, jewellery, gold, carpets, leather wares and more. You can even see a demonstration of the making of a traditional handmade Turkish carpet! Enjoy lunch, then move on to Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans. This sumptuous residence contains imperial treasures, sacred Islamic relics of the prophet Mohammed, Chinese porcelain, weapons, and more. You'll get to visit the Sultan Tombs at the Hagia Sophia, too!

Istanbul Uncovered Small Group Tour

8. Istanbul Uncovered Small Group Tour

Your experience will begin with the ancient Hippodrome, where thousands of spectators were entertained and kept happy by the chariot races. Whilst there you will visit Hagia Sophia,1500 years old temple which witnessed is holy for Christians and Muslims, and you can navigate through the labyrinth of streets and passages that are home to more than 4,000 shops, which is known as the Grand Bazaar. You will soon take a break to experience traditional Turkish tea or coffee and a popular Turkish pastry called borek, all while enjoying the ancient practice of hookah at a favorite local hangout. Following that you'll visit Istanbul’s largest mosque, titled the Suleymaniye Mosque. It is an Ottoman Imperial mosque located on the Third Hill of Istanbul, and is breathtaking due to both its size and interior beauty. From the mosque you will visit a Spice Bazaar which is full of colors and the powerful aromas of exotic spices. Istanbul is a city which has a rich religious history, and is now composed of many different religions. Your next stop will be the Church of St. George, which since the 1600s has been the location of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and is recognized as the spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Religion.

Full-Day Istanbul Ancient Byzantine and Ottoman Relics Tour

9. Full-Day Istanbul Ancient Byzantine and Ottoman Relics Tour

After departing from your hotel, we will take a trip to the historic peninsula of old Istanbul, the place from which the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires once ruled their vast realms. This all-day tour of the ancient city’s relics will show you how deep the history goes. Our first stop will be the Hippodrome, Istanbul’s ancient sports stadium. In Byzantine times, the Hippodrome, which sits next to the Blue Mosque, was a huge open-air arena with banks of seats forming an elongated oval shape. Then it’s on to the 16th-century Blue Mosque. Take a moment to gaze at its majestic domes, peaceful courtyards, and its six slender minarets. Your next stop will be Hagia Sophia, one of the world’s architectural marvels. Afterward there will be a chance to shop at the nearby stores and stands before having lunch at a local restaurant. From there you will visit Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman sultans. Feel the ghosts of the imperial past brushing up against you as you visit the harem, the private quarters of the Sultan’s family and the subject of much western fantasizing. Your last stop of day is Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Dating back to 1461, this immense covered market is one of the liveliest and most colorful parts of the old city. Istanbul is a complex, ancient history, and this full-day walking tour shows you a history as colorful and complex as the city’s famous market.

Istanbul City Sightseeing Tour & Turkish Dinner & Show

10. Istanbul City Sightseeing Tour & Turkish Dinner & Show

Start your day with an 8-hour city sightseeing tour by luxury coach, seeing all of Istanbul’s top attractions with an expert local guide. The focus of the tour is on the Sultanahmet or Old City area, where you’ll visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hagia Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque. Contrast Hagia Sophia’s fascinating Ottoman-era and Byzantine architecture with the extravagance of the Blue Mosque, which was built to rival it. Admire the Mosque’s 6 minarets and interior Iznik wall tiles, while your guide tells you about the demanding sultan who designed it. After a break for lunch at a Sultanahmet restaurant, you’ll continue on to Topkapi Palace, where you’ll step back in time to a world when sultans and their harems ruled Istanbul. Explore the palace’s ornate Imperial Treasury, and then head back outside to visit Istanbul’s Hippodrome. You’ll hear about the chariot races, polo games, royal celebrations, and brutal massacres that took place here, and envisage its former glory on a walk around the grounds. The last stop of the day tour will be the Grand Bazaar, which is one of the world's largest covered markets. Find the best spots to shop in this amazing souk before returning to your Istanbul hotel by coach. Note that you’ll have approximately 2 hours at leisure before your evening program begins. You will then board one of Istanbul’s finest cruise for an evening of traditional Turkish culture and cuisine. Relax over a delicious 4-course dinner with wine, beer, and soft drinks, and then sit back and enjoy a live belly dancing and Anatolian folklore show. After the show, your guide will take you back to your central Istanbul hotel.

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What people are saying about Sultanahmet Square

So this tour was amazing!! It turned out that I was the only one on the tour but Salih was so nice it felt like walking around with a friend. Even though it was 5 hours the time flew by and wasn't even tiring. It was helpful that there were enough stops throughout that it felt like a leisurely wander through the old city. The stops on the tour were many of the famous places including the Grand Bazaar and the spice market, but I was able to learn some history I might not have discovered on my own, thanks to Salih. The book market was lovely, the walk to the stunning Suleymaniye mosque was beautiful, and the inclusion of a visit to the jewel-like Rustem Pasha mosque was worth it alone. The stop for tea and nargile was the highlight of the tour for me, particularly since I would not have tried that on my own, though I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were snacks and a yummy lunch. Everything about this tour was wonderful and I would recommend it to anybody! Thank you, Salih!

Musa exceeded our expectations. He genuinely knows his job and took us to the important tourist spots in Istanbul. He is very knowledgeable about the history of the Ottoman empire. We did not feel rushed. We walked for long hours and we did not hear any complaints from him. You can tell he is very passionate about what he is doing and he is very welcoming. Thank you so much Musa for showing us Istanbul. It made our trip memorable.

The guide is such a very nice person, friendly and funny, is totally worth the price and she explain everything so well I definitely come again to get a tour with her! We had a great day with the guide! The agencie name is Mav tour guide! 100% recommended!

Mumat was the tour guide we could wish for. Very good english speaker and know everything about the history of Turkey and The Islam. very professional. If you want to see everything and be focused Mumat is your guide!

Great tour! Our guide was friendly and knowledgeable. Definitely recommend!