This is a very comprehensive tour that packs a lot of highlights into a very full day. The advantages are having the knowledge and services of a local guide and pre-purchased tickets that by-pass some of the very long queues. It is the ideal tour for somebody with a limited time in Istanbul who wants to cover some of the main highlights - Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Haghia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the magnificent Basilica Cisterns. A tasteful lunch at a local cafe provides added ambience.
An outstanding tour. It gives you a fantastic view of Istanbul in a single day. Excellent guide, Gulya, who spoke very good English and was very knowledgeable. Enjoyed every minute of the tour, particularly Topkapi palace and the view of the Bosphorus. There is a lot of walking, so we were tired by the time we got to the Grand Bazaar. But there is so much to see, one does not mind the walking.
Tíbet, our guide, was simply amazing. She had so much knowledge that my head was spinning post-tour! It was just my husband and I on this tour, and we we're so glad. Topkapi Palace would not have been so interesting had it not been for the information and history she provided. It, by far, was our favorite of the 4 sights visited. We especially appreciated not having to wait out the queues, as she already had our tickets. We requested to skip the carpet demonstration (did that in Ephesus and had no desire to do it again). We had also already visited the Grand Bazaar on our own the day before, so we skipped it. Don't think twice, book this tour if you want a great experience.
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.
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.
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
The tour guide was very knowledgable about the blue mosque's history and architecture. It is unbelievable how those people built this magnificent building during their time. In the Topkapi, the tour was packed because there was too many interesting small museums, but it was fantastic to see ancient armoury and clocks and watches, so engaging that we feel not enough time in this half day tour.
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.
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!
Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable. It was a great tour and we got to see alot in one day. I wish the lunch was at the Topkapi palace though with great views. Lunch was just ok..pretty touristy spot..
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.
This tour was everything we expected it to be, and more. Thanks to our helpful and knowledgeable guide Omer, we saw and learned about all the major historical sights. To be sure, it is a very full day so be prepared for a cultural inundation. Omer was able to get us at the front of some very long lines which made the process quite effortless. Having a private guide made us feel special, in particular among the hordes of people who would not have the benefit of immediate facts and knowledge provided by Omer. One thing to note is that it is not permitted for the guide to accompany you inside the various wings of Topkapi and provide any narration. This they must do before you enter so you get a preview of what to look for.
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!
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!
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.
If you want to have a tour that provides you with the opportunity to see most of the important sites of Istanbul in one day, this is it! Really enjoyed it! There is a nice lunch included as well. The guide provided us with 1 hour free time at the Topkapi Palace - absolutely worthwhile to use the time to go and see the Harem. Additional entrance fee payable, but it was so worth it! Extremely hot in July, make sure you have sunscreen and light breathable clothes on!
Great tour, I wish we had more time at the Topkapi Palace, but definitely a great overall tour.
I am really amazed by the service, there is absolutely no trouble. These guys were really professional and they were are on time to pick me up from my hotel and dropped me back to the hotel after completing the tour. The guide is full of knowledge, he explained everything in detail. Though I missed the Grand Bazaar because of Sunday, I enjoyed seeing Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace.
This is a really great tour to take on your first day in Istanbul when you're overwhelmed with the largeness of the city. Our guide and his driver picked us up at our hotel as planned. Only one other couple was on the tour so we had plenty of time to ask questions. Our guide spoke very good English and he explained the history of the sites very well. The provided lunch was at the restaurant at Topkapi Palace overlooking the Bosphorus--really wonderful view! We toured all the main sites in 7 hours. They will take you to a nice store and try to sell you a carpet. We didn't show any interest, so we did not stay too long and our next stop was the Grand Bazaar.
Our guide was very good she was friendly and knew her stuff. The Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace were fantastic. At the Topkapi Palace our guide recommended certain rooms to visit. This saved on time and also meant that we didnt have to queue up everywhere.We made our own way back from the Grand Bazaar. It was also nice being collected from the hotel though.
All I can say is that Istanbul is such a beautiful city. The only damper was the fact that it was raining while we were doing the tour. I had to buy an overpriced umbrella from a street vendor, and I was not able to enjoy taking pictures outside. Fortunately, the sun shone eventually when we were in Topkapi Palace. Words are not enough to describe the beauty of each of these structures. One will be captured by the treasures on display. If one has only a few days to spare in Istanbul, this is the tour to take!
We were picked up from the cruise port right on time and then taken to our hotel at the end of the tour. Our guide was very informative and spoke perfect English. The meal at the Topkapi Palace was good and quick. We saw lots during the day, and with the traffic in Istanbul it was nice to have someone else do the driving! Carpet demo was interesting, no one in our group bought any rugs, so even though we did feel pressured it wasn't that intense. Would advise anyone going to Istanbul to take this tour to get the "basics" in all in one day.
A superb overview of Istanbul and a must for any short-term visitor to the city. The Blue Mosque takes your breath away, while the magnificent Haghia Sophia and Topkapi Palace hold tales told over centuries. Dont try and figure them out for yourself a Private Guide will illuminate your tour and make the experience far more worthwhile. The Grand Bazaar is a crazy rabbit-warren of a place but offers a great chance to practise your haggling for traditional Turkish goods. The tour finishes close to a waterpipe bar, which is the perfect place to relax and take in the experiences of a memorable day.
I was the only person, so it was essentially a private tour. The guide was wonderful. He was friendly and very knowledgeable. He gave me enough time to walk around each place on my own. We had a nice lunch inside the Topkapi Palace, and I got addicted to apple tea. The only part of the tour I didn't care for was the visit to the rug gallery. Since I was the only person, they had a captive audience. Though I did see many beautiful carpets, I didn't know enough to actually invest in one. I had to resist giving into the sales pitch. What I was more interested in were the ceramic tiles and brilliant plates they had. Most of the sites are close to each other, so you'll walk most of the time. I didn't mind it because everything was so interesting. It was almost a visual overload. Just remember a lot of these places do not allow flash photography, so bring a camera that can take good photos at slow speed. Also, no photos allowed at all of the artifacts inside the Topaki Palace. The visit to the Grand Bazaar was mainly just a walk-through at the end of the tour. My hotel was only a block away so I went back in the evening and bought some souvenirs. There's much to see in the old part of Istanbul, and the tour covers the most essential places. Many guidebooks recommend a few other places like the archeological museum and Suleymaniye mosque, which one can explorer on his or her own.
I was the only person on the tour. Tour guide was an excellent guide. Definitely a tour to do when you first arrive in Istanbul. The lunch at the Topkapi Palace was great too. Incredible view of the Bosphorus from the restaurant terrace. Best tour of my trip. Thanks!
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