Istanbul Classics Day Tour
If you have just a short time in Istanbul and you want to visit the highlights of this magical city, then this tour is perfect for you! Wander through the bustling grand bazaar, visit the Blue Mosque with its stunning tiles and lighting, walk in the footsteps of Sultans as you tour Topkapi Palace, and bask in the beauty of the Hagia Sophia.
We pick you up from your hotel, then your Istanbul Old City tour starts with a visit to the famous Sultanahmet Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque because of the colour of the thousands of tiles that decorate its interior. Built between 1609-1616 during the reign of Ahmed I, the Blue Mosque has six minarets, which is more than any other mosque in the world at the time it was built. As you enter you will be dazzled by the visual effect provided by the beautiful tiles, lighting and the curves of the domes.
We then take a short stroll across Sultanahmet Park, and along some cobblestone streets to the impressive Topkapi Palace, former home of the Ottoman Sultans and some of the most colourful stories in history. As we wander through the impressive courtyards of the palace you will learn what life was like in the Ottoman court and see the palace kitchens, the Treasury, the Armoury, various pavilions and more. You will be enthralled by stories of ambitious Sultans and courtiers and the women of the Harem. Your tour does not include a visit to the Harem, however time will be allowed if you would like to visit it (entrance fee extra).
After stopping for a lunch break where you will have a chance to sample some tasty local cuisine, we will continue on to visit the Hagia Sophia, built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, and consecrated as a church in 537. It is one of the most important monuments in Istanbul because of its architectural innovation, its rich history, religious importance and incredible beauty. It was converted to a mosque in 1453, and finally declared as a museum in 1935.
Our walk continues towards the Grand Bazaar, stopping at the Byzantine Hippodrome along the way. This place was the centre of Constantinople’s sporting events such as horse and chariot races, as well as the scene of political protests. The Hippodrome is home to a number of important monuments such as the Serpent Column which originates from the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, an Obelisk bought in from Egypt by Theodosius the Great, and the German Fountain, gifted to the city of Istanbul by the German government.
After a short stroll through Sultanahmet we will arrive at the Grand Bazaar, home to a colourful and chaotic labyrinth of more than 4,000 shops boasting traditional Turkish wares such as copperware, carpets, leather, hand-painted ceramics and more. While there are plenty of shops selling traditional goods and tourist souvenirs, the Grand Bazaar is also home to Artisans who still practise traditional art forms such as copper engraving, woodwork and more, and if you are lucky, you might be able to watch one at work.
After giving you an overview of the history of the Grand Bazaar, your guide will give you free time to browse the shops. At the end of your Istanbul old city tour, you will be dropped back to your hotel.
All the must-see-sites of Istanbul in a relaxing, comprehensive day tour. You will love it!
- The tour overview outlines a typical Istanbul day tour, however your guide may change the order of the program on the day to avoid crowds or queues.
- Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays, and will be replaced with a visit to Beylerbeyi Palace.
- The Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.
- Pick up & drop off from/to your Istanbul European side hotel
- Professional English-speaking tour guide for the duration of the tour
- Entrance fees (excluding the Ephesus Terrace Houses)
- 1 Lunch
- Beverages at lunch
- Entrance to the Topkapi Palace Harem
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