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Explore the bustling Grand Bazaar and save time with skip-the-line access to top attraction Hagia Sophia on this half-day small-group guided tour in Istanbul. Bypass the long queues at Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO-listed monument, and learn about the history of this former church and mosque. Ogle mosaics and gaze up at the its dome structure, an engineering marvel. Then, take the pulse of the Grand Bazaar, a bustling covered market with over 4,000 shops and stalls. Learn the bargaining ropes from your guide, and then peruse through countless tapestries, antiques and souvenir stalls. This small-group tour is limited to 15 people, creating a more personalized experience with your guide.

Highlights

  • Half-day tour of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia and Grand Bazaar with an expert guide
  • Enjoy priority access to and a tour of the spectacular Hagia Sophia
  • Marvel at the dome and mosaics of this UNESCO-listed wonder
  • Learn about the 6th-century building and its time as a church and mosque
  • Explore the captivating Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest indoor markets
  • Get shopping tips from your guide and browse some of the 4,000 stalls
  • Enjoy a personalized experience on a small-group tour of 15 people at most

What You Can Expect

Skip the Line: Hagia Sophia plus Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Explore the colorful Grand Bazaar on this small-group tour

Close by to Hagia Sophia’s entrance, meet your guide and kick off your small-group tour. Start with a leisurely walk around Hagia Sophia and admire this 6th century architectural spectacle. Listen as your guide tells the storied history of Istanbul from its time within the Roman and Byzantine Empires as Constantinople and when it served as the Ottoman capital.

After you maneuver past the line, enter Hagia Sophia and learn how it was originally built as the world’s greatest Christian Basilica by Byzantine Emperor Justinian. See the beautiful golden mosaics and glimpse up at the huge dome as you hear how how the church was converted in 1453 to a mosque and in 1935 to a musuem after the reign of the Ottomans.  

Walk past stunning art highlights like the 9th-century mosaic of the Virgin and Child and learn why art historians believe this monument is the eighth wonder of the world. After capturing photos of this amazing building, leave and head to the Grand Bazaar.

Arrive at one of the largest covered markets in the world and follow you guide into this lively myriad of corridors and alleys. Discover Istanbul’s main souk with over 4,000 shops and stalls and perk your ears up to the sounds of commerce which was established hear in the 15th century.

Learn histortical factoids as you make your way to the hans (courtyards) and bedestens (domed halls). Stay close to your guide as you embrace this colorful atmosphere and enjoy some helpful bartering tips too. Perhaps put your guide’s advice to work and haggle for gold, antiques, jewelry or even a beautiful rug at one of many stands.

End your tour at the Grand Bazaar and either continue shopping for souvenirs or return yo your hotel at your leisure.

Customer Reviews

Jane B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

Wonderful way to start our vacation in Istanbul. Really enjoyed the skip the line access rather than standing in a long line.

Louise D

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better September 2015

Maybe it is because we were only two in this tour but something was missing. And the guide was not speaking an excellent english. And the ''skip the line'' was a waste of money as there was not much line outside.

Prakash L

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better September 2015

This was supposed to be a half day tour on a Sunday that essentially lasted an hour. We got a decent tour of Hagia Sophia. But the tour company and the guide forgot that the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays. So we got a pointless half-hour trip to a rug merchant and then the guide declared the tour over. He made no offer to substitute another place, such as the Blue Mosque, which I think he should have done.

cullrichgaona

1 star rating: I do not recommend this June 2016

The guide was very friendly but he didn and #39;t speack well English or Spanish and didn and #39;t give us as much information about the destination we visited . We felt sorry and didn and #39;t make a scene cause we were tired.

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