Insider's Guide to Istanbul

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4.5 star rating: Recommended 1044 Reviews

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  • Location:Istanbul, Turkey
  • Duration:8 hours (approx.)

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

Visit six top Istanbul attractions in one day on a full-day sightseeing tour of the city! The action-packed day includes a comprehensive tour of the historical Sultanahmet neighborhood where many of the city’s finest architectural legacies and landmarks are found. Visit the Blue Mosque and museums of Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, as well as Istanbul Hippodrome, the sunken palace of Basilica Cistern and the dazzling Grand Bazaar. A delicious 3-course lunch is also included halfway through the day.

Numbers are limited to 14 on this small-group tour ensuring a personalized experience.


  • 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!

Start your day with a pickup from your European-side hotel or alternatively, meet your guide at a central meeting point. Before departing by coach, listen to a brief breakdown of your day. The sequence of your itinerary is subject to change, so certain attractions (as detailed below) may be visited in a different order. Lunch at a traditional restaurant is included halfway through the day; see the Itinerary for a sample menu.

Head to the Blue Mosque to marvel at its six minarets and the thousands of Iznik tiles that cascade a sea of blue over the building’s interior. One of the finest examples of classical Ottoman architecture, the mosque was built at the bequest of Sultan Ahmet I who demanded a mosque to rival the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia.

Both a church and a mosque in its past life, Hagia Sophia (or Aya Sofya) is now a UNESCO-listed museum that showcases Ottoman- and Byzantine-era artifacts. Browse the interior’s architecture and historical exhibits with your guide, and then continue to Topkapi Palace. Like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace now exists as one of Istanbul’s premier museums, home to a collection of ornamentation that once belonged to the city’s 15th-century sultans and harems.

Continue through Istanbul Hippodrome, seeing the granite Egyptian obelisk that was gifted to the city, and hear how the site once represented the hub of the city’s sporting and political life. After stopping for photos, visit Basilica Cistern — Istanbul’s ‘sunken palace’ — a site that famously featured in the James Bond movie From Russia with Love. The site is one of the largest of the city's ancient cisterns that lie beneath the ground.

The final attraction included in your tour is the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s most famous souks. Comprising nearly 60 streets and thousands more shops, the bazaar can be overwhelming. Let your guide introduce you to its colorful (if chaotic) highlights, and shop for jewelry, leather, pottery, spices and more.

Your tour finishes with a drop-off at your European-side hotel or in central Istanbul.

Please note: The Grand Bazaar will be closed on Sundays. Hagia Sophia will be closed on Mondays from (October 20, 2015). If your tour falls on any of these days, an alternate attraction (such as Chora Museum or another market) may be visited instead, Topkapi Palace (Closed on Tuesdays; will be replaced with Istanbul Archaeology Museum). You may visit the Basilica Cistern or Nakkas Cistern.


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
  • Specialty of the day
  • Seasonal fruit

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Gulay was one of the best tour guides I've ever met and this tour was incredible to say the least. There were only two of us on the tour travel in the off season! so the entire experience was very personal. I felt like we had more than enough time in each one of the destinations, although I did go back to the Blue Mosque again to explore a bit more. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone looking for a comprehensive tour of all the sights in the Old City of Istanbul!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Very knowledgeable guide and very enjoyable day. Thank you!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Excellent Tour! Highly recommend this. Very good tour group size. Our guide Umer was exceptionally well versed with the history of Istanbul and it's monuments. A well planned tour!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

The tour although short is very comprehensive which encompasses the major historical and tourist sites of Istanbul. The guide was knowledgeable and was able to describe the history of the sites visited. Her recommendations of various places to eat were also spot on. Will certainly recommend this tour.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Our tour was great and our tour guide very good. She answered all our questions. I really enjoyed the
meal and our walks through the old town. I would recommend this tour to anyone who is coming to
Istanbul for the first time. It gives you a good overall view of the highlights of the must see in Istanbul

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

My group of friends and I had a wonderful experience with this tour. We only had two days in Istanbul so it was a great way to see the most important sites in a short time. Our guide, Adil, was very friendly and knowledgeable and gave us such a great insight into the history and culture of the city. Although we went to a lot of sites in one day, it did not feel rushed and being a part of the tour we did not have to wait in the long ticket lines. Thank you for a great tour!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Guide arrived on time and very informative also meal at restaurant very good. Whole day went well.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Our guide was amazing. This was one of the best tours we've EVER taken and we've been on a lot of tours. Was a great mix of activity walking plus the guide scheduled enough stops to take pictures and really get into the history behind what we were seeing. Would highly recommend this tour.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

The tour was great. Omer our guide was very informative and patient with our questions. Made sure we had time to really explore the sites and take pictures. I feel like I really learned a great deal about Turkish history and culture while enjoying myself. Hotel pickup was prompt and the tour van was comfortable and air conditioned.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Very informative and covers the main sights

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Tour code: 3795IST01


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