Meet your guide and group at your centrally located Istanbul hotel or the cruise port, and travel to Topkapi Palace through the winding streets of the Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s atmospheric old city. Follow your guide through the corridors of Topkapi Palace, where the Ottoman sultans lived for 400 years surrounded by gracious courtyards and elegant gardens.
Continue to Caferaga Madrasa, an Islamic school turned handicraft center, and shop for artwork and crafts made by students at a local cultural school. This is the perfect place to pick up Turkish water paintings in brilliant colors, or to simply watch the artists at work.
Make a final stop at Hippodrome Square, which was the site of chariot races, celebrations, riots and executions through the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Discover monuments left by invading armies and emperors, from the Serpent Column to a pair of historic obelisks. Finish the day at Sultanahmet Square, a centrally located plaza that’s convenient to old city restaurants, sights and shops.