4.5 star rating: Recommended 19 Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
  • Location:Istanbul, Turkey
  • Duration:4 hours (approx.)

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

Discover Imperial Istanbul on this private half-day sightseeing tour. Visit Hagia Sophia, which is today one of the most magnificent museums in the world and look for a bargain at the Grand Bazaar. Explore the Basillica Cistern, 500 feet underground this ancient cistern not only has historical importance to Istanbul but has also been featured in James Bond.


  • Private half-day sightseeing tour of Istanbul’s imperial sites
  • Visit Hagia Sophia
  • Shop in the Grand Bazaar
  • Visit the Underground Cistern or Nakkas Cistem
  • Entrance fees included

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

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

Hagia Sophia interior, Istanbul

Hagia Sophia:
Now a museum, the Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century by the Roman Emperor Justinian, and was one of the largest basilicas in the Christian world. After the Ottoman conquest, it was converted to a mosque, and is today one of the most magnificent musseums in the world. Take a moment to linger here to admire the fine Byzantine mosaics. (Closed on Mondays from October 20, 2015; this will be replaced with Chora Museum)
Underground Cistern or Nakkas Cistern:
The Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı - "Sunken Palace"), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul The cistern, located 500 feet (150 m) southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.
Grand Bazaar:
In operation since the 14th century, the Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s largest covered markets, with 58 streets and over 4,000 shops. The bazaar is specially known for its jewelry, leather, pottery, spices and carpets. (Closed on Sundays; additional time will be spent at the at the other locations.)

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Really great tour - our tour guide was highly knowledgeable and very friendly - I even got a lovely bracelet from her which she got from a local street artisan, which was so sweet and thoughtful. She answered all of our questions and made the entrance into the sites visited very smooth. It was a great introduction to Istanbul as we were only there for a limited amount of time. Highly recommend!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

This tour was amazing!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Excellent guide. Helped us two seniors' navigate the stone walks and hills. Took us to a spice market,where we were treated quite fairly. Also to the carpet display, which was more informative than others I have visited in Morocco.
I've always had good tours with your organization and will use again. Pick up at ship instead of a hotel went smoothly.

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.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

Absolutely loved our guide she was very accommodative and was a pleasure she went out of the way and accommodated us to see another place of interest since the grand bazar was closed ..over all excellent

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!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2014

Excellent day! We enjoyed our tour and learned a lot about the history of these amazing places. Our guide was good and had provided us with sufficient information. We have felt a bit rushed as he always was ahead of us and we needed to catch up to him most of the time.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2014

Interesting and knowledgable guide. Very friendly. Well organised tour. Fascinating insight into main attractions of Istanbul. Highly recommend tour and our guide was lovely and patient with us stragglers.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2013

Our guide was wonderful! She was on time and really knew the history of Istanbul. She answered all of our questions. Best of all, she took extra care to make sure we were happy with our overall experience of Turkey!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2012

This private tour was excellent. However, once again the description of the tour was insuffiicient. As above is advertised as Hagia Sofia and Grand Bazaar, however, it would have included the blue mosque but since it wasn't mentioned in the description, we went to see it the day before by oursselves. A waste of our precious time in Istanbul!!!

From USD $ 38.75

View price calendar

Low Price Guarantee

Select Travel Date

Flexible Date Guarantee

Enter Total Number of Travelers

What's this, and can I change it?

Please note: After your purchase is confirmed we will email you a link to your voucher.
What's this?

Tour code: 3795IST_P06


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