- Private half-day tour of Istanbul’s Ottoman landmarks
- Explore three historical attractions around Sultanahmet, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Walk around Istanbul’s Hippodrome and see the Obelisk of Theodosius
- Visit the Blue Mosque and marvel at its colorful Iznik tiles and minarets
- Explore Topkapi Palace while learning about the sultans and harems who once called the building home
What You Can Expect
Hop out of your minivan in Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s UNESCO-listed historical heart, and wander through the Hippodrome — your first attraction of the tour. The hub of daily life during its Ottoman-era heyday, the Hippodrome was once a vast arena with galleries where people from all walks of life would gather for political meetings, chariot races and even riots. Today, the historical site exists as a city park that’s popular with locals and visitors alike. Pose for photos in front of the Obelisk of Theodosius, a gift to the city from Egypt, and then continue by foot to the nearby Blue Mosque.
After marveling at the mosque’s iconic six minarets, head inside the famous place of worship to see the thousands of Iznik tiles that cascade a sea of blue throughout the building’s interior. An incredible example of classical Ottoman architecture, the Blue Mosque was built on the orders of Sultan Ahmet I who demanded a place of worship to rival the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia — another of Sultanahmet’s impressive mosques.
Take some time to explore inside with your private guide, and then walk over to Topkapi Palace, the final attraction visited on your tour. Once the lavish abode of eccentric 15th-century sultans and their harems, Topkapi Palace now leads a tamer existence as one of the city’s top museums. Browse the exhibits that feature artifacts and ornamentation from Ottoman days, and hear colorful stories about the characters who lived in one of Istanbul’s most ostentatious palaces.
Leave Topkapi Palace, and stroll the short distance to your minivan to finish your tour with a drop-off at your European-side hotel or at the start point in the center of town.
my guide named Gualy (pronounced July) was fantastic. Blue Mosque was crazy busy that day so instead of waiting for hours she suggested to go to H. Sophia, which used our time much more efficiently. She was passionate about her city and shared her love of history and art with us.
Amazing tour. Take comfortable shoes for walking.