Meet your experienced guide at 8:30 in your Istanbul hotel or port for a full day of exploring the city by comfortable minivan. Enjoy aerial views of hillside neighborhoods and the Golden Horn as you ride a cable car to an atmospheric café named for writer Pierre Loti, a perfect spot for getting panoramic photos of the city.
Take in Ottoman landmarks, summer palaces and elegant pavilions on a sightseeing cruise of the Bosphorus, then go far beneath the surface on “The Marmaray,” a train that links the two sides of Istanbul by an undersea tunnel. Learn about the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman treasures that laborers unearthed as they worked to complete the tunnel.
Step into Istanbul’s dramatic history at Rumeli Fortress, a 15th-century fortification built by an iconic sultan, then visit the elegant Rustem Pasha Mosque before pausing for lunch at an atmospheric local restaurant. Descend into the 6th-century Basilica Cistern to learn how it protected the palace water supply, and why it was lost for hundreds of years. Take in a trio of iconic Istanbul sites: explore Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Hippodrome Square before finishing the day at your hotel.