Meet your guide at your European-side hotel or in central Istanbul, and set off to experience the city’s highlights while learning about its history.
See the Hippodrome, site of ancient Constantinople’s sporting arena, and visit the Blue Mosque, built by Sultan Ahmet I between 1609 and 1619. Admire the dome and minarets and behold the 20,000 interior blue Iznik tiles that give it its name.
Continue to the Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO-listed museum first built as a basilica in the 6th century and later converted into a mosque. Marvel at this architectural triumph and tour the interior, famous for its gold mosaics.
Next, explore the Caferaga Medresesi, a Turkish cultural center within a historical Ottoman building. Browse the craft workshops before relaxing over a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.
Afterward, visit the Topkapi Palace, the main residence of the Ottoman sultans for 400 years. Explore the chambers and courtyards, and learn how the complex once housed 4,000 people and contained the sultan’s apartments, a harem, bakeries and a hospital.
Lastly, dive into the chaotic Grand Bazaar. Peruse the stall-lined corridors and negotiate the best deals with haggling tips from your guide. Your trip finishes back at your original start point.