Istanbul ATTRACTIONS See all

Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

Hagia Sophia (or Aya Sofya) is one of the world’s most beautiful buildings, built to be the world’s largest place of worship by Emperor Justinian in 532 AD.  The church became a Mosque under the Ottomans, and its mosaics and decoration were ... 

Click here for more details

Viewing All 62 Reviews Add your review

Certified reviews by travelers like you.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2015

This was an amazing experience! The monuments, especially the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, are among the most beautiful works of architecture in the world that we've seen so far. And the tour guide was extremely informative and kept us as engaged as he could. The tour was longer than advertised we were dropped off around 6 pm. But it was worth it. There was even a surprise stop at a carpet dealer's showroom, and we were given a fascinating introduction to the tradition and evolution of carpet-making in Turkey. We got 1 hour at the Grand Bazaar, and bought some beautiful handicrafts there. It is a huge place, and full of local fashion and handicraft shops.

One thing I should mention is that we tried to bargain everywhere we went, and managed to bring the price down over 50 percent in some shops. I bought a camera in the city, and even some of those shops lowered the price when I asked if there are any discounts.

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2015

Absolutely loved this one, such a great tour, taking in all the best spots of Istanbul. Hagia Sophia was just magnificent. Katarina was such a wonderful guide, informing us of so many different aspects and whatever we asked - she had an answer for. If you can ask for a particular guide - Katarina is my recommendation - you won't be disappointed.

Doing what: Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2015

Although the weather did not play game - it was pouring with rain, the sights was awesome. Our guide was well informed and kept an eye on us all. The highlight for me was for sure Hagia Sophia, and the carpets of tulips seen all over. Well worth it thnx

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2015

Wow. This was a great tour. We learned the full history of Hagia Sophia. Our guide, Gülay knew every date and every detail. The Basilica Cistern was much different than I expected and enhanced by the knowledge of our guide. We had the opportunity to go to a private pottery showroom and have a personal demonstration. My favorite, was the Grand Bazaar. It is overwhelming, but our guide had a good knowledge of which vendors were reputable and helped us navigate. She should do shopping tours!

Doing what: Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2014

Gulay was really nice tour guide. You see sooo much on this tour. I wish all Viator tours packed so much in like this one. All tickets and skip the lines are included. You have plenty of time to take photos.
BLue Mosue, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace museum, Cistern, only one hour at the Grand Bazaar.
Lunch is included drink separate as usual.
Tip: when you are at the gardens of the Topkapi Palace and taken to the scenic coast view, spend time there taking pictures, you wont have enough free time to see all the side bits and get good coastal pics.
Also, keep in mind this is mostly a walking tour. If you have difficulties moving around and walking up inclines, you might want to reconsider and take a private or self tour.

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2014

Awesome tour. Thorough and carefree. You can walk to all these places. About 30 minute walk to grand bazaar from Topkapi Palace. The Topkapi is right near the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. A full day if you want it to explore it over and over and just people watch.

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2014

Enjoyed the 4 sight seeings on the 1st of November very much. Forgot to ask about the Harem place to visit at Topkapi Palace. Timewise it was excellent. The restaurant at Omar's place was devine, so the fooud and the service was fabulous. Also the pick-up service at 8.45 a.m. was great as well as the driving through some narrow streets. Enjoyed the one hour here and there to visit on my own, like the Grand Bazar and the Hagia Sophia etc.
Best wishes Edith

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2013

Our guide Onur ("honor" in English) was terrific. He was very knowledgeable and passionate about the places we visited. Our tour went flawlessly. We were picked up on time from our hotel. We had the same bus and toured with the same group of ~10 people the entire day which wasn't the case with a couple other tours I took. Onur explained the different sites to us and then gave us free time to explore as well. The Roman cistern with the Medusa heads was the highlight of the trip for me. It was very serene and mysteriously beautiful. To top it off we had a very nice lunch in a restaurant that was near the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) church. My husband and I were very pleased with this trip.

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2013

Note that this trip is 99% a walking trip, so wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes! The car simply picks you and the rest of the group up from the hotel and drops you off at the first sight--you don't see it until much later in the day. Overall it was a great trip, the price you pay here includes all your entrance fees into Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern. I did feel a bit rushed at the Basilica Cistern, but make your concerns clear to your tour guide and they will usually try to accommodate you as much as possible. Lunch is also included, it consisted of kabobs, rice, salad, and dessert. Drinks were NOT INCLUDED in the price and we had to pay that out of pocket. Later in the day our tour guide dropped us off at a carpet shop where they served us tea and gave us a pitch to try and sell us the ridiculously expensive handmade rugs. It was a complete waste of time and we couldn't find our guide for a while, but the employees at the shop are hospitable and not too pushy. Afterwards we went to the Grand bazaar which was nice, but don't just accept the price they give you, HAGGLE them down. My suggestion for tourist shopping: Go to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, it is much smaller but has many of the same items at the Grand Bazaar and for much cheaper!

We were so happy with out Old City tour that we purchased tickets for the next day's Bosphorus Sea Tour. It was overpriced for sure, but worth the convenience of being picked up and having people that talk English. The entire ship was our groups (not public)and the tour guide pointed out the landmarks we were passing by over the microphone, but we could barely hear him and sounded somewhat boring and monotonous.

We loved Turkey and wish we could go back again! Definitely recommend this tour if you have a day or 2 in Istanbul and want to cover all the major attractions.

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2013

Private guide picked us up on time, took us to the Hagia Sophia, Cistern, and Bazaar, gave us private time, and transferred us back to the hotel. Could not have been better.

Doing what: Imperial Istanbul Half-Day Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basillica Cistern and Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2013

Our tour guide was Tibet. We would rate her as SUPERIOR. Her English skills were perfect. She answered every question we had. She guided us through the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Grand Bazaar. The Tour requires a lot of walking. The Tour includes entrance fees for the places requiring them; this allows you to avoid some of the lines. Tibet avoiding the crowds as much as possible by arranging the order we went to places based on when she expected the crowds to be the smallest. We had a wonderful, relaxing lunch which is also included in the tour. We enjoyed the personalized nature of the tour – four of us and Tibet. This is a MUST tour for a one-day stay in Istanbul!

Doing what: Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2013

This was probably the best tour of the ones I did on my trip to Istanbul and Athens. Our tour guide was beyond friendly and excited about showing us all of the cool sites that we were going to see in our full day. The small group walking tour was great because it was limited to a certain number of people so it was easier to follow and listen to our guide with no problems at all. We got to see and tour the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and the Topkapi Palace. The tour also included lunch at a great restaurant in the middle of the day. Our guide was very friendly and very gracious and warm with all of our questions and observations on the trip, even helping to take photos for people who wanted to remember the amazing sites that we were visiting. I have done a number of Viator tours and this one was probably the best one because the guide was so great. She really had a great deal of knowledge to past and when I even brought up a story that another guide had mentioned, she didn't shoot my story down but rather seemed genuinely interested in learning this new information and excited to research it as she might have learned something new herself. I would say that if you go to Istanbul you absolutely must do this tour because it covers four of the most visited sites in Istanbul in great detail and its so helpful to have someone showing you around and explaining what it is you are looking at, especially in the Topkapi Palace which has so many parts and rooms and things to look at. I would highly recommend this tour and hopefully you end up with the great tour guide that we had.

Doing what: Istanbul Small-Group Walking Tour: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2013

This trip is great and value for money. I recommend to anybody who is on a busy schedule. Hagia Sophia is one of a kind. Everything was very well organized. We had a nice tour guide called Derya she was very knowledgeable and was ready to answer any question that we may have. We had a satisfying lunch and people were very hospitable. I never felt we were rushed at anypoint during the tour, in fact had enough time to take some good snaps. Istanbul has something for everybody.
In addition to this tour I would highly recommend to all folks visiting Istanbul to take Bosphorus cruise at night! Amazing..! Thanks Viator, Neon, and our Guide Derya

Nilan Jay

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

Bruce P
Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2013

This was an excellent tour. Our guide (Tibet) took us to all the key sites, and we managed to avoid all of the queues. The tour also included a fabulous lunch at a hotel near the Hagia Sophia and Tibet also took us through the bazaar. Well worth having the private tour which also included pick up and return from our hotel.

Doing what: Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2013

Omar our tour guide and we had a Blast! He is very knowledgeable and kept us moving at a comfortable pace. I think this was a great way to see and Feel Istanbul! I loved the Bazaar and Haggling with the store owners! Food was great ! Thanks for the Memories! We took tour on Mon, as we toured Hagia Sophia on Sun on our own , so it was great to see the Chora !

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

Blanca
United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2013

I really enjoyed this tour, which was the perfect introduction to Istanbul, including all the top attractions which can´t be missed! I was really impressed by the Blue Mosque, it was probably my favourite. And Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia were also definitely worth seeing. The guide was really knowledgable and made the tour and explanations very interesting. We were in a very small group, which was great as it almost felt private! Really recommend this tour!

Doing what: Istanbul Small-Group Walking Tour: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Grand Bazaar

Blanca
United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2013

This tour was the perfect introduction to Istanbul, including all the top attractions which can´t be missed! I was really impressed by the Blue Mosque, it was probably my favourite. And Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia were also definitely worth seeing. The guide was really knowledgable and made the tour and explanations very interesting. Really recommend to do it on first day to Istanbul!

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2012

Excellent guide, great tour of the palace, Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia. I would (and have) recommend this tour and this tour company company to my friends!

Doing what: Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2012

Be prepared for a lot of walking but also for a lot of very interesting sites and sounds. Topkapi is amazing and has so much to offer. The Blue Mosque is beautiful and definitely a must to see, as is the Hagia Sophia. Unfortunately by the time we got to the Grand Bazaar, we were all a little tired and very hot but it gives you a little taste of the bazaar and certainly makes a future visit to the bazaar a little easier. The lunch that we had on this tour was exceptionally good and made for a nice break in the middle of the day.

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

Berry4
France

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2012

We booked a full day tour in Istanbul with our two teenagers. We were very pleased with the level of professionalism of our guide, Vulcan. He was clearly knowledgeable of the history of the city and his English was very good. We learned so much from him that otherwise we would not have experienced on our own or with a large group. The tour was very well organized and included a nice lunch with a view of Hagia Sophia. We casually mentioned that we'd like to have a lesson on the making of Turkish carpets and he immediately set up a visit to a reputable carpet wholesaler in the area and accompanied us. For our family, having a real expert on the history of the sites, one who truly loves his country and its culture, made the tour very enjoyable and memorable.

Doing what: Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace

HARRY J
Puerto Rico

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2010

We saw so much in so little time. Every place we went to was very beautiful and impressive, and we got all the history background thanks to our guide. We took the tour on Monday and Hagia Sophia was closed all museums closed on Mon. Our tour guide took us to the New Town instead. We had to add a simple tour on Tuesday for Hagia Sophia.

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

Anonymous

Anonymous

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2010

It was a good tour, I was lucky to have a very good group of people. The tour was very organized and the guide was excellent. The time given in Hagia Sophia was very short as we could not explore the upper floor. Overall i enjoyed the tour.

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

4 star rating: Recommended
December 2014

I was in Turkey for 11 days with only one day to sightsee. The Istanbul in One Day worked out very well for a one day sightseeing trip. We toured Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. We were able to visit two companies that made pottery / tile and handmade rugs. Both companies were very interesting to visit. Topkapi Palace was beautiful and my favorite sight on the trip.

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

4 star rating: Recommended
October 2014

A lot of walking so make sure your ready. Grand Bazaar was closed so there was a visit to a carpet store added. We were shown how carpets were made and then they spent an hour trying to sell us carpets. We spent 10 minutes in the Hagia Sophia and an hour in the carpet place. Not what we were looking for.

Doing what: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

4 star rating: Recommended
July 2014

For the Hagia Sophia and the Basillica Cistern I joined a group who had be on tour since that morning, but for the Grand Bazaar I had the guide (Sylvia?) all to myself which was a bonus She was able to give me undivided attention and we had a nice afternoon exploring the Bazaar. I would never had found my way out on my own!! Hagia Sophia and Basisillica Cistern were fascinating and the guide was able to explain to the group the history of both.

Doing what: Imperial Istanbul Half-Day Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basillica Cistern and Grand Bazaar

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message