Meet an experienced guide in the heart of the Sultanahmet, or Old City, for an all-star day that includes the best of Istanbul. See 1,500 years of religious history and conflict in the Byzantine murals and minarets of Hagia Sophia, and learn how the 6th-century building went from church to mosque to museum.
Continue to the stunning Blue Mosque to find out why Sultan Ahmet I erected an unusual six minarets above the mosque’s gracious courtyard and 260 windows. Take in the exquisite detail of the 20,000 Iznik tiles that give the mosque’s interior a faint blue glow, then walk the broad paths of Hippodrome Square, once an arena for chariot races and sporting events.
Pause for lunch in a local café, where you’ll learn to eat and drink like an Istanbulite over a traditional meal, with time to talk about life in Turkey's most exciting city. Follow in the foots steps of sultans and courtiers at the sprawling Topkapi Palace, and hear stories of royal intrigue, harems and struggles for power.
Finish the day in one of Istanbul’s thriving markets—the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are the two most historic markets in the city—where you can sip a cup of Turkish coffee, get tips on finding the perfect souvenir and browse hundreds of stalls overflowing with bright handicrafts, spices and antiques.