Insider's Guide to Istanbul

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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Tour code: 3795IST01

Special Offer

Book by May 31, 2016 to save 10% off for all of 2016 on our previously offered price!

Immerse yourself in Istanbul’s six best sights on this guided full-day tour. Fit all of the attractions at the top of your bucket list into one packed day, with the help of an expert local guide. Stroll Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet neighborhood, brimming with iconic buildings and storied streets. Tour the Blue Mosque, one of the most important sites in the Muslim world. Delve into history of the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Istanbul Hippodrome as well as the sunken palace of Basilica Cistern. And you won’t want to miss the and the bustling Grand Bazaar or savory 3-course lunch. This tour is limited to 14 people to ensure a quality tour experience. 

Highlights

  • Full-day Istanbul sightseeing tour around the Sultanahmet neighborhood
  • Learn about Istanbul’s history as Constantinople, capital of the Roman Empire
  • Visit six top Istanbul attractions with a knowledgeable local guide
  • Explore the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul Hippodrome, Basilica Cistern or Nakkas Cistern and the Grand Bazaar
  • Refuel with a 3-course lunch at a traditional Istanbul restaurant in Sultanahmet
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of 14 people ensures personalized attention from a guide

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

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

Marvel at the interior of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul!

Your action-packed full-day Istanbul sightseeing tour begins with a pickup from your European-side hotel or by meeting your guide at a central location. Start with a brief orientation to the day ahead and then set off in your comfortable coach to your first destination. Keep in mind the order of places may change from what is described below. 

Venture to the Blue Mosque, one of the most stunning sights in Istanbul. Admire its six signature minarets and many ornate Iznik tiles that come together to form its dazzling blue walls. Listen as your expert guide tells you about the fascinating history of this Ottoman-era mosque. Then walk to the Hagia Sophia, an UNESCO-listed museum that was once a church and a mosque.

Next, stroll over to Topkapi Palace, a crown jewel of Istanbul. Explore its intricate corridors and intimate rooms where sultans once entertained elite guests—and were entertained by their harems. Your guide will point out interesting bits of backstory to the rooms, bringing to life this ornamental palace and museum. Midway through the day, break for a traditional Turkish lunch (see Itinerary section for sample menu). 

Move on to the Hippodrome, where you can admire a granite Egyptian obelisk that was a gift to Istanbul. At one point, this location marked the epicenter of the city’s sports life and also served as a political center. Then it’s on to Istanbul’s sunken palace, the Basilica Cistern, one of the biggest ancient cisterns in Istanbul. Follow your guide as he tells fills you in on the history of these historic places. 

Your final stop is also one of the most iconic: the Grand Bazaar. Stroll through its colorful alleys, more than 60 in all, in awe of the crafts, smells, sounds and sights. As one of the most famous souks in the world, you won’t want to miss this. Duck into leather, jewelry and ceramic stores as well as spice stalls and other unique outlets. Say hello to the friendly local shop owners and craftspeople. After, bid farewell to your guide and the rest of your group when you tour concludes with a convenient drop-off at your European-side hotel or in central Istanbul.

Please note:  Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays and the Grand Bazaar is closed Sundays. If your tour is on one of these days, an alternate, such as Chora Museum or another market, may be visited instead. Topkapi Palace, closed on Tuesdays, will be replaced with Istanbul Archaeology Museum).

Itinerary

Sample Menu:
First course:
  • Pastry stuffed with cheese or sausage, served alongside a seasonal salad
Main course (choice of one):
  • Turkish veal kebab
  • Grilled chicken
Dessert:
  • Specialty of the day
  • Seasonal fruit

Customer Reviews

Maryan F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

A must do when visiting Istanbul. Our guide Tibet was great. From the pickup time till drop off. Explained everything clearly and gave us time to roam around. She didn't rush us and we had a great time in this tour worth the money.

Kevin A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

Great tour and guide who was very knowledgable and attentive.

Fred and Ken

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

This tour was well worth what we paid. We had an excellent guide who spoke wonderful English and was easy to understand. She got us in everywhere without any waiting time. Her narration was very informative and helpful. She also took us to the Cistern. Great lunch at a local restaurant with delicious local food. Even the carpet demonstration was fun, no pressure to buy anything. Also had much fun at the Grand Bazaar.

dene m

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

This was a BRILLIANT tour. My tour guide Gulay Gunay was an amazing guide, she took me to all the tourist attractions explaining the history while still getting to know me as a person. It was an amazing tour and I recommend it to anyone who wants to see everything in one day and also have a traditional Turkish lunch, which is included in the price!

meganritter

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

This was a great way to see the main sites on my one day of site seeing. Our guide was friendly and informative and we still had time to wander around on our own.

JOEY L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

The tour started with a welcoming smile by our guide Ms. Gulay. She showed and enlightened us of the muslim culture and history. Very knowledgeable guide with high respect to the people she is touring with. Her knowledge of her heritage and culture showed she has honors and dignity of her country.

Jane S T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Great tour, wonderful guide

DAVID C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Our guide Omar was very knowledgeable and helpful plus the sites that we visited were amazing! Totally recommended!

Talieh Z

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

I'd defiantly recommend it. I booked the same tour 3 years ago when I was visiting Istanbul and enjoyed the fact that there are not many people on the tour and you can hear tour guide easily. Previous experience made me to book it again after years for family this time and they all loved it. our hotel wasn't on the pick up list but they kindly picked us up. Lunch was included very friendly tour members. Tour guide was very knowledgable, she gave us good advice on place to visit and things to do for the rest of our journey.
Their customer service level is different from what you normally get in turkey.

Talieh Z

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

I'd defiantly recommend it. I booked the same tour 3 years ago when I was visiting Istanbul and enjoyed the fact that there are not many people on the tour and you can hear tour guide easily. Previous experience made me to book it again after years for family this time and they all loved it. our hotel wasn't on the pick up list but they kindly picked us up. Lunch was included very friendly tour members. Tour guide was very knowledgable, she gave us good advice on place to visit and things to do for the rest of our journey.
Their customer service level is different from what you normally get in turkey.

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