Start with a pickup from your Istanbul hotel and set out to explore the highlights of this history-steeped city with your professional guide.
Traveling between the sights mostly by foot, hear intriguing facts about Istanbul’s Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman past, and the city's long-standing importance due to its position at the meeting point of Asia and Europe.
Make your first stop at the Hagia Sophia museum, a one-time mosque converted from a 6th-century Christian basilica built by Emperor Justinian I. Marvel at the incredible building and admire the interior’s glimmering, handcrafted mosaics and rich decoration.
Next, walk across the street to see the stunning Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque). Take in the immense, flat dome and famous minarets, and explore inside with your guide. Absorb the ocean of over 20,000 Iznik tiles that lend the mosque its name, and behold the magnificent, rich carpets and windows.
Heading outside again, stop to view the Hippodrome, the former sporting and social center of Constantinople. See the remnants of this historical arena, and imagine how the long-ago locals felt when they came here to watch exciting horse and chariot races.
From here, continue to the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest covered markets. Scout around some of the 4,000 stalls and get haggling tips from your guide on buying everything from leatherware to perfumes, gold and spices.
Stop for an included lunch and lastly, explore the Topkapi Palace, home to the Ottoman court from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Now a museum, this grandiose palace is testament to the lavish lifestyles of the sultans. Stroll through the ornate chambers, courts and gardens, and behold some of the imperial treasures, ranging from precious Chinese porcelain to jewels and relics of the Prophet Mohammed.
Your tour then concludes with a hotel drop-off.