Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar
Numbers are limited to 14 on this small-group tour ensuring a personalized experience.
- Perfect introduction for first-time visitors
- All entrance fees included
- Lunch included
- Hotel pickup included
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.
Both a church and a mosque in its past life, Hagia Sophia (or Aya Sofya) is now a UNESCO-listed museum that showcases Ottoman- and Byzantine-era artifacts. Browse the interior’s architecture and historical exhibits with your guide, and then continue to Topkapi Palace. Like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace now exists as one of Istanbul’s premier museums, home to a collection of ornamentation that once belonged to the city’s 15th-century sultans and harems.
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, visit Basilica Cistern — Istanbul’s ‘sunken palace’ — a site that famously featured in the James Bond movie From Russia with Love. The site is one of the largest of the city's ancient cisterns that lie beneath the ground.
The final attraction included in your tour is the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s most famous souks. Comprising nearly 60 streets and thousands more shops, the bazaar can be overwhelming. Let your guide introduce you to its colorful (if chaotic) highlights, and shop for jewelry, leather, pottery, spices and more.
Your tour finishes with a drop-off at your European-side hotel or in central Istanbul.
Please note: Hagia Sophia is closed on Monday and the Grand Bazaar on Sunday. If your tour falls on any of these days, an alternate attraction (such as Chora Museum or another market) may be visited instead.
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Hagia Sophia Mosque, Istanbul
- Hotel pickup and drop-off
- Transport by air-conditioned coach
- Entrance fees
- 3-course lunch
- Gratuities (optional)
- Food and drinks, unless specified
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- A moderate amount of walking is involved
- Minimum age is 4 years
- Children 18 years and under must be accompanied by an adult
- During religious holidays July 28, 29 and 30 and October 4, 5, 6,7 2014, the spice market and Grand Bazaar are closed
- Cover ups and head scarves are provided at the Blue Mosque
- Pastry stuffed with cheese or sausage, served alongside a seasonal salad
- Turkish veal kebab
- Grilled chicken
- Specialty of the day
- Seasonal fruit
Reviewed by: Christopher F, July 2014
This is a very comprehensive tour that packs a lot of highlights into a very full day. The advantages are having the knowledge and services of a local guide and pre-purchased tickets that by-pass some of the very long queues. It is the ideal tour for somebody with a limited time in Istanbul who wants to cover some of the main highlights - Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Haghia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the magnificent Basilica Cisterns. A tasteful lunch at a local cafe provides added ambience.
Reviewed by: Craig H, July 2014
The guide was very profesional and spoke perfect English. That was wonderful