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: The Grand Bazaar will be closed on Sundays. Hagia Sophia will be closed on Mondays from (October 20, 2015). If your tour falls on any of these days, an alternate attraction (such as Chora Museum or another market) may be visited instead, Topkapi Palace (Closed on Tuesdays; will be replaced with Istanbul Archaeology Museum). You may visit the Basilica Cistern or Nakkas Cistern.
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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
- Not recommended for participants with walking difficulties
- Pastry stuffed with cheese or sausage, served alongside a seasonal salad
- Turkish veal kebab
- Grilled chicken
- Specialty of the day
- Seasonal fruit
If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee.
If you cancel within 2 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.
Reviewed by: Helen P, August 2016
The guide was brilliant and the tour was excellent. This small group tour with the same guide is well recommended.
Reviewed by: abhimanyu s, August 2016
I was picked up from my Taksim Hotel as per schedule in a comfortable air-conditioned coach.Due to the political climate it was a small group of 3.Our guide Gulay Gunay was informative,friendly,considerate and provided a great insight into Istanbul's history,social and political climate if you wanted to talk about that, gave us enough photo opportunities and time on our own at each sight/place, and answered all our questions or tried to find questions to our answers.She also arranged a last minute tour for the next day for me.
The price for the Harem in Topkapi Palace is not included in the price of the tour,but you can purchase it once inside the palace grounds, and visit on your own, as the tour gives you an hour or so on your own at Topkapi and Hagia Sophia.The lunch was decent.The tour also takes you to a carpet and pottery store, where you are not obliged to buy anything,which was the good thing!All in all highly recommended for someone with not enough time in IST as it covers all the major sights and is not rushed!!