4.5 star rating: Recommended 11 Reviews

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  • Location: Istanbul, Turkey
  • Duration:  4 hours (approx.)
Discover three top Istanbul attractions in the city’s UNESCO-listed Sultanahmet neighborhood on a 4-hour private tour! While learning about the Ottoman days of Istanbul, when the city was known as Constantinople, visit the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. Hear tales of the extravagant sultans who typified the city under Ottoman rule, and ogle incredible architecture and artifacts inside each of the city landmarks.


  • 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

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Private Tour: Istanbul’s Ottoman Experience Including Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque

Explore the Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque

Start your tour with a pickup from your European-side hotel or alternatively, meet your private guide at a central meeting point. Before leaving by minivan, listen to a brief breakdown of your day. The sequence of your itinerary is subject to change, so the attractions (as detailed below) may be visited in a different order.

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.

Please note: On Fridays the Blue Mosque will be closed until 2.30pm for prayer, this will be replaced with a visit to Rustem Pasha Mosque 

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Often, it is all up to luck and who you get as a guide. In this case we scored and had a wonderful experience by a personable, informed, educated guide.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

We had a great time. Tibet was our guide and she was so thorough. She even gave us the bonus of visiting a rug maker she knows. She was completely knowledgable and spoke excellent English. She has a nice sense of humor. She gave us some free time to look at things on our own which was nice. I would definitely recommend this tour and feel Viator is the most reliable booking agency. We booked the private tour and were picked up at the door of our hotel. Our guide arrived promptly. Everything was very organized.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2014

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.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2014

Amazing tour. Take comfortable shoes for walking.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2014

Our guide Mahmet was excellent and we enjoyed the day very much.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2013

Very interesting, great tour

4 star rating: Recommended June 2015

Knowledgeable and experienced guide As a result we wasted no time in getting into any of the sights. Both sights well worth visiting but needed more time at the Topkapi Palace so requested that we did not return to our hotel but rather stay on at the Palace.

4 star rating: Recommended December 2014

Although the weather was not very cooperative, we enjoyed our half day tour of Istanbul with our private guide from Neon Tours. She was a wealth of information and even helped us find a good place to eat lunch and told us how to get to the Grand Bazaar. Our driver even gave us his umbrella!

4 star rating: Recommended July 2013

Our guide was really knowledgeable and very easy to tour these sites with. I will say our crowd was a little less interested in all the details of the vast history and more interested in the overall story. Its hard to gauge I know. Our group is just not used to standing and listening to someone talk for long periods of time. Our guide did a great job and we really enjoyed the trip. We'd do it again and have already recommended it to friends.

4 star rating: Recommended July 2010

Very much enjoyed our guide & tour. Would have liked to have the harem rooms included at Topkapi Palace instead of the Grand Bazaar, which we ended up doing on our own.
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Tour code: 3795IST_P02


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