Meet your local guide at your Istanbul hotel (European side only) or at a central meeting point and hop into your air-conditioned minivan to begin your private tour of the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. Listen as your guide runs through the 4-hour tour itinerary, but note the order to visit each landmark is subject to change.
At last, set off towards the life blood of Istanbul - the Sultanahmet neighborhood. Stroll through this UNESCO World Heritage Site and discover the Hippodrome. Here, learn about day to day Ottoman-life in this extensive arena. Go back in time hundreds of years to feel the heartbeat of this ancient city’s political gatherings, sports, and even riots! Next, listen as your guide explains how this area has become fun for both locals and visitors. Perhaps, bust a move for a photo in front of the ancient Obelisk of Theodosius which was brought over from Egypt in 390 AD by the Emperor.
Next, wander over to the Blue Mosque and stare up towards the six towering minarets. Then, quietly enter this house of worship and admire the thousands of detailed Iznik tiles that illuminate the dome’s walls in a brilliant blue. See this perfect example of Ottoman architecture and learn why Sultan Ahmet, who ordered its construction, was adamant about building a place of worship to contend with the stunning beauty of neighboring Hagia Sophia.
After snapping photos and staring into the magnificent dome above, cruise to the final attraction Topkapi Palace. Explore this illustrious palace home to peculiar 15th-century sultans. Then, learn about day to day life of the palaces harems, princes, and eunuch servants. Now that Topkapi Palace has settled down into a fine museum, wander through its exhibits to see royal armor and weapons, ancient artifacts and read tales about the famous people who once resided in Istanbul’s most opulent palace.
After exiting Topkapi Palace, walk along a tree-laden path with your guide to your minivan. Climb aboard and cruise back to your start point in central Istanbul or to your hotel on the European side.
Please note: on Fridays the Blue Mosque cannot be visited due to 2.30pm prayer, instead you will visit Rustem Pasha Mosque.