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Small-Group Tour Including Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern and Hagia Sophia

Badge of ExcellenceFatih, Turkey
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From $75.00

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 8 hours (approx.)
  • Hotel pickup offered
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English
  • Good for avoiding crowds

Overview

Fit all of Istanbul's attractions at the top of your bucket list into one packed day, with the help of an expert local guide. Stroll Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet neighborhood, brimming with iconic buildings and storied streets. Tour the Blue Mosque, one of the most important sites in the Muslim world. Delve into history of the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Istanbul Hippodrome as well as the 'sunken palace' of Basilica Cistern. And you won’t want to miss the and the bustling Grand Bazaar or savory 3-course lunch.
  • Full-day Istanbul sightseeing tour around the Sultanahmet neighborhood
  • Visit top Istanbul attractions with a knowledgeable local guide
  • Refuel with a 3-course lunch at a traditional Istanbul restaurant in Sultanahmet
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of 14 people ensures personalized attention from a guide

What's Included

  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Lunch
  • Meeting point for pick up
  • Gratuities
  • Food and drinks, unless specified

Meeting And Pickup

You can head directly to the meeting point, or request pickup

Meeting point

  • Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul At Sultanahmet
    Sultanahmet, Cankurtaran, Tevkifhane Sk. No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

Pickup points

Select a pickup point

Start time

09:00 AM

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Your action-packed full-day Istanbul sightseeing tour begins with a pickup from your European-side hotel or by meeting your guide at a central location. Start with a brief orientation to the day ahead and then set off in your comfortable coach to your first destination. Keep in mind the order of places may change from what is described below. 

Venture to the Blue Mosque, one of the most stunning sights in Istanbul. Admire its six signature minarets and many ornate Iznik tiles that come together to form its dazzling blue walls. Listen as your expert guide tells you about the fascinating history of this Ottoman-era mosque. Then walk to the Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO-listed museum that was once a church and a mosque.

Next, stroll over to Topkapi Palace, a crown jewel of Istanbul. Explore its intricate corridors and intimate rooms where sultans once entertained elite guests—and were entertained by their harems. Your guide points out interesting bits of backstory to the rooms, bringing to life this ornamental palace and museum. Midway through the day, break for a traditional Turkish lunch (see Itinerary section for sample menu). 

Move on to the Hippodrome, where you can admire a granite Egyptian obelisk that was a gift to Istanbul. At one point, this location marked the epicenter of the city’s sports life and also served as a political center. Then it’s on to Istanbul’s sunken palace, the Basilica Cistern, one of the biggest ancient cisterns in Istanbul. Follow your guide as he tells fills you in on the history of these historic places. 

Your final stop is also one of the most iconic: the Grand Bazaar. Stroll through its colorful alleys, more than 60 in all, in awe of the crafts, smells, sounds and sights. As one of the most famous souks in the world, you won’t want to miss this. Duck into leather, jewelry, and ceramic stores as well as spice stalls and other unique outlets. Say hello to the friendly local shop owners and craftspeople. After, bid farewell to your guide and the rest of your group when your tour concludes with a convenient drop-off at your European-side hotel or in central Istanbul.

Please note:  Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays and the Grand Bazaar is closed Sundays. If your tour is on one of these days, an alternate, such as Chora Museum or another market, may be visited instead. Topkapi Palace, closed on Tuesdays, is replaced with Istanbul Archaeology Museum).

Hippodrome

Continue through Istanbul Hippodrome, seeing the granite Egyptian obelisk that was gifted to the city, and hear how the site once represented the hub of the city’s sporting and political life. After stopping for photos.

25 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Blue Mosque

Head to the Blue Mosque to marvel at its six minarets and the thousands of Iznik tiles that cascade a sea of blue over the building’s interior. One of the finest examples of classical Ottoman architecture, the mosque was built at the bequest of Sultan Ahmet I who demanded a mosque to rival the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia.

30 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum age is 4 years
  • Children 18 years and under must be accompanied by an adult
  • Cover ups and head scarves are provided at the Blue Mosque
  • Guests must call 24 hours in advance for pick up times
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Blue Mosque may be replaced with Suleymaniye Mosque or Rustem Pasha Mosque on fridays due to pray times
  • Not recommended for participants with walking difficulties
  • Travelers should have a strong physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

about cancellations.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips


My brother and I had very limited time in Istanbul so chose an all day tour of main places of interest.
Very good tour with a very informative guide covering the main attraction in central Istanbul, highly recommended.
Reviews
4.5
1,292 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 1,292 reviews
The tour guide was manipulative
Robert_S, Jan 2023
The guide - Silvia started off great until she started to manipulate the group into going to her hand picked stores to get commissions. Even as we complained she would not stop…. Her behavior ruined t by e experience.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Dear Robert, We are sorry to hear that you've experienced such inconvenience. Usually, shopping is among the choices of our travelers and they would like to experience it. Of course, personal choices may differ we noted that this was unpleasant for you and will take action accordingly. Kind regards
1 traveler found this review helpful
Good tour - don't go on a Friday.
John_T, Jan 2023
On paper, this was a great tour to do as it covered 5 of the top attractions in Istanbul. However, your experience will depend on which day you go and your fellow tourists. We went on a Friday so there was a long wait to get into the Blue Mosque after prayers and there was a real scrum to get in when the doors opened. Our group was 13 strong but included 9 Italians some of whom kept wandering off (gift shops, cafes, toilets, smoke breaks) so our guide spent much time chasing them. We didn't get into the Hagia Sophia because the queue was too long (Friday) and we were already running late. Tour guide was very knowledgeable but no match for the Italians! In the end, we left the group and went to the Grand Bazaar and then back to our hotel on our own rather than wait for the whole group to reassemble.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Dear John, Thank you for your valuable feed back. We are sorry to hear that you experienced such hassle. We are indicating the case for Hagia Sophia on Fridays however the queue is out of our control. Same things usually happens in big metropoles which are tourist attractions. We have noted your comments and will follow up. Kind regards
A+ tour!
Albert_W, Dec 2022
Amazing trip with a great guide. We highly recommend this tour as it allows you to see Istanbul and all the key important sites in a concise tour. Also great lunch!
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Dear Albert, Thank you for your wonderful comments. We will keep up the good work. Kind regards
Very great small group tour!
Luke_T, Dec 2022
Hasan was great and knew everything! Lots of interesting history and could navigate us through the crowds to maximize our time.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Dear Luke, Thank you for our valuable feed back. Well noted. Kind regards
Informative and thoughtful
Myrna_S, Dec 2022
Gurkan was great. The tour was informative and we saw all the sites. It was great also to cut the lines. It’s a long day but makes sure you all the major sites
1 traveler found this review helpful
15 December 2022
Jonah_C, Dec 2022
Our tour guide was friendly, and she was also very knowledgeable about the attractions that we went to. The tour went about seamlessly, as ticket accommodations were settled by the tour group prior to the tour. The itinerary was well planned - visiting Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia in the morning helped beat the growing crowd, and time allocated to each attention was flexible. My family learnt a great deal about Old Istanbul. Overall, a fantastic experience and a huge thank you to the tour guide (forgot her name 😅) and transport!
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Dear Jonah, We are very much pleased to hear that you enjoyed your tour. We will keep up the good work. Kind regards
Do not recommend - felt like a scam
Ming_C, Dec 2022
This tour felt like a scam to me. The worst part of the tour was that the guide took us to at least 4 vendors so that they could sell our group extremely overpriced goods. Clearly the guide was taking a cut out of each of the vendor and we felt like we paid for this experience to be scammed. The guide herself was quiet and she wasn’t very passionate or interested about the stories. There were multiple times where my friend and I were considering to just cut our losses and leave the tour — we would’ve had a better time going on our own with an audio guide. Asides from Topkapi Palace and Underground Cistern, the other attractions of the tour were free. Honestly, it was not worth it for the price that we paid. Lunch was tasty, and the portions were extremely small. The size reminds me of a McDonald’s happy meal. Overall, highly not recommend.
Response from Host, Dec 2022
Dear Ming, Thank you for your valuable feedback, it's most appreciated. We are sorry for the way you felt regarding the tour. We took our time to identify the problems and and took the necessary measures regarding the tour guide. The shop stop of the tour is only one and as indicated in the itinerary. If you are taken to other stops as you mentioned please let us know which ones. Please be kind to share as much details as you can. We will follow-up. You may write to me directly from guniz@neontours.com Remain with kind regards Güniz
Excellent tour!
Juan_S, Nov 2022
Absolutely great tour and guide! Istanbul is amazing wonderful magical what history! Will come back!
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Dear Juan, Thank you for your wonderful feedback. We appreciate your thoughts and will keep up the good work
Great escorted tour of old Istanbul
Joan_M, Nov 2022
Seeing legendary Hagia Sofia was amazing. The Cistern basilica was eerily beautiful. Topkapi is an immersive visit to history in this crossroads of Europe and Asia. Our guide Gurcan was knowledgeable and fun. The only disappointment was that the Blue Mosque is so shrouded in scaffolding, etc so you could hardly see anything inside. B also, the grand Bazaar is closed on Sunday...
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Dear Joan, Thank you for your valuable feedback. We will keep you n mind your comments to make this tour even better. Kind regards
A trip into history ..
Smitha_s, Oct 2022
Well informed guide with a good sense of humour. Looked after us well. We did everything in the trip description till almost the end. Did not quite appreciate being taken to a rug/ carpet dealer and put in an uncomfortable position of having to say no.
Excellent
Jose_A, Sep 2022
Nice experience. I recommend booking with Sevilay as the tour guide. Her attitude, experience, and attention to details are excellent.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Didn’t learn much about the history!
Tori_T, Sep 2022
The only reason I am giving it a 2 is because we were able to visit all the places in one day. Our tour guide spoke very softly, was not able to give clear description of the places we visited. We would have been better off taking the tour ourselves at our own pace with head sets. Our time was wasted for an hour at the grand Bazaar at a rug dealer, who was trying to sell us rugs set up by our guide. We did not learn much regarding the history. Most of our group separated from the tour before the end. Will not recommend.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Great way to see Istanbul Old City
Esraa_H, Aug 2022
I really enjoyed this tour! I loved that it included everything to see in Old city in one day! Was quite magical! We were only a small group of 6, which made it very personalized. The tour guide, Barat, was extremely informative about the history of the sites we visited, patient, and offered us time to take photos and explore. This tour would have been even more awesome if it had skip the lines tickets to Haga Sophia but the tour guide was providing great info while we waited, we went early so lines weren't too long. What I didn't like was the 'rug workshop' segment of the day because the guy at the store was showing off their carpets so we can buy. Totally unnecessary and a waste of time. Other than that, I definitely reccommend this tour if you're tight on time and want to see Old Istanbul in a day!
The tour in general was...
tuyetanh_n, Aug 2022
The tour in general was good. The bad part was a shopping tour to a carpet factory (about 1 hour 15 min) that was not advertised as part of the tour. I've done tours with shopping before, but it was spelled out in the description. I want to know what I'm getting when I sign up for the tour. I could have spent that time more wisely. Time was also wasted when at the end of the tour, the guide decided to ask the driver to take her to the boat dock. This causes a detour on the way back to the hotel that took an extra 1 hour. It took about 15 min in the morning to get to the meeting place. It took 1 hour 15 min to get from the meeting place to the hotel in the afternoon because of the detour.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Great experience
Bert_C, May 2022
Sevilay, our guide was so knowledgeable about the area. Discuss about the mosaic inside Hagia Sofia.
2 travelers found this review helpful
Excellent choice for fist comers
Betina_H, May 2022
Mustafa was a great guide, he made it a very private and personalized tour and we I had a very good experience.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Taste of Istanbul
Maryam_T, Mar 2022
Thank you very much Seçkin Demirok for the wonderful one day trip to the best historical places in Istanbul. He is very friendly, warm hearted ,welcoming and knowledgeable person. our tour was full of fun and information. we enjoyed every moment.
Tour guide was very kind...
Anita_B, Feb 2022
Tour guide was very kind and knowledgeable! Like my very own history teacher! I never had a question she couldn't answer. She was patient and let me linger in places patiently.
Total time waste we can get better guide on the spot!!
Afra_Q, Jan 2022
Guide was terrible she didn’t explain any history of the city took us to mostly those places where she gets commissions from the store like carpets and jewelry etc total rip-off!!
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Dear Guest, Thank you for your valuable comment. Please accept our sincere apologies for the way you felt during the tour. Although we carefully select our suppliers mishaps may happen. It is most intolerable and we placed a proper warning for this very guide. Remain with sincere regards
2 travelers found this review helpful
the bes tour ever!
stergios_p, Nov 2021
it was a perfect experience and our guide ali was excellent with a lot of knowledge, he helped us a lot and explained everything to us about all the monuments we visited. a unique experience, it is worth experiencing.
1 traveler found this review helpful
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Product code: 3795IST01