Istanbul, Turkey
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clock-o5 hours (Approx.)
ticket-oMobile ticket
commentOffered in: English


Uncover historical attractions and hidden gems in Istanbul on this 5-hour privately guided shore excursion. Explore three of the city’s best off the beaten path highlights. Discover the elegant Chora Church and view its unparalleled Byzantine mosaics. Delve into the underworld of the Basilica Cistern and learn about its important history as you admire its pools and marble support pillars. Witness the lively Egyptian Bazaar and experience odiferous foods and spices as well as charming vendors.
  • Private shore excursion of Istanbul's lesser-known highlights with a knowledgeable guide
  • Visit the Chora Church to admire its spectacular Byzantine mosaics and frescoes
  • Descend into the stunning Basilica Cistern that once brought water into the city
  • Explore the colorful Egyptian Bazaar, Istanbul’s famous 17th-century spice souk
  • Browse and buy from its myriad of spice, nut, tea, oil and souvenir stalls
  • Enjoy the undivided attention of your guide on this private tour
  • Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship
Disembark at the Istanbul cruise port and meet your guide for your 5-hour private shore excursion. Hop into an air-conditioned minivan and drive into the European side. Listen as your guide tells you about the history of Constantinople, now Istanbul, the former capital of four empires.
Head to the Fatih district and Chora Church (aka Kariye Museum) and discover a 5th century building that was reconstructed between the 11th and 14th centuries. Here, view the exquisite frescoes and mosaics that cover the walls. Enter the church and admire masterful works of art from the 14th century. See gold displays of Mary with baby Jesus and Christ’s genealogy on the inside of the dome. 
Next, stroll to the Sultanahmet neighborhood and descend into the Basilica Cistern. Underground, walk with your guide and learn about this 6th century water storage facility that once delivered water to the city. Glimpse up at its beautiful marble columns and even see Roman-era Medusa heads used as supports for the bottom of two columns accidentally ignored by Byzantine workers. Then, learn how after this cistern was shut down it was irrelevant for centuries.
Return to the surface and head to the Eminönü district and the lively Egyptian Bazaar (Spice Bazaar), was created in 1664. Follow your guide around this maze of exuberant shops and enjoy the aromatic atmosphere of spices, nuts, sweets and oils. See jewelry or a souvenir you like, try your hand at bargaining and get helpful tips from your guide.
Following the Egyptian Bazaar, hop back in your minivan and return to the cruise port where your tour concludes.
Please note: On Wednesdays Chora Church is closed and will be changed to Hagia Sophia Museum.
Worry-free Shore Excursion:Don’t fret, this tour ensures you will get back to Istanbul cruise port! In the unlikely event that your ship has departed, we will prepare transportation to the next port-of call. Plus, you can book worry free. If by chance your ship is delayed to arrive and you cannot attend the tour, we will refund your money. See our terms and conditions for full details.


Viator Traveler's Reviews

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1 Star
, Jun 2015

I would highly recommend this tour. Our guide Armand sp met us at the port and the drive to the Chora Museum is scenic in the air conditioned van provided by Fez tours. Very helpful driver. Armand did an excellent job as our guide to Chora Museum, Cisterns and Spice Market, but also added experiences that we mentioned we would enjoy such as a ceramic shop, place to have dessert and Turkish coffee, and lovely walk to the public gardens. A lovely day!

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Product code: 5739PRTISTAUTH

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