Meet your coach at your centrally located Istanbul hotel and begin your tour with a drive along the Golden Horn which converges with the Bosphorus Strait to connect Europe and Asia. Continue on to Balat, a Jewish neighborhood, and observe the memorable cast iron church of Stephen of the Bulgars. Nearby, marvel at the historical Byzantine Walls of Constantinople. Next, let the fragrances of the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar) fill your nose as you stroll past shops selling spices, draperies and an abundance of diverse goods.
Journey to the coast and board your Bosphorous boat for a cruise that encompasses Istanbul’s best waterside sights. Let the city’s charm sink in as you view Ottoman-era timber chateaus that rest adjacent to stunning marble etched palaces. Enjoy sights of the Imperial Gardens of Royal Yildiz Palace, the historic Rumeli Fortress, and gaze up at the vastness of the Bosphorus Bridge.
Disembark from your ship back ashore and (time permitting) head to one of Istanbul’s prominent leather stores to observe handsome leatherwork. Relax for lunch at a restaurant serving classic Turkish fare and then continue on to your walking tour at Dolmabahçe Palace.
Step into this regal establishment and see how the Ottoman Empire constructed their last palace. Observe the confluence of European Neoclassical and Ottoman architectural styles as you walk alongside your guide. Revel at the opulent Victorian furnishings that blend in with the glossy marble and copious number of stunning chandeliers. Then explore the best of the palace including the Crystal Staircase, Secretariat’s Rooms, and the Medhal Hall.
Exit the palace and hop back aboard your coach for your last cruise through Istanbul. Finally, pass over the Bospohorus bridge and head up to Yeditepe or Çamlıca Hill (pending day of traffic conditions) for a memorable vantage point of the city.
As dusk sets in, return to your centrally located hotel where your tour concludes.
Note that Dolmabahçe Palace is closed on Mondays and Thursdays and will be changed to Pierre Loti Coffee House, Eyüp and Miniatürk.