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  1. Turkey
  2. Istanbul
  3. Hagia Sophia

Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Guided Tour

Product ID: 149036
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See the sights of Istanbul that most interest you on a customized, 1 or 2-day tour with a professional guide. Marvel at monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, such as Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and Hagia Sophia.
About this activity
Duration 8 hours - 2 days
Skip the ticket line
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide
English, French, German, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese
Wheelchair accessible

Pickup included

The front desk of your hotel or the port in Istanbul.
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

Select participants, date and language:

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Experience

Highlights
  • Create a sightseeing tour of Istanbul that suits your interests
  • Admire the blue Iznik tiles of the Blue Mosque
  • Marvel at monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires
Full description
Day 1: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hipporome, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar

Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this full-day walking tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople.

The 8-hour excursion starts with a pickup from your Istanbul hotel and a walk through the lively streets of Turkey’s largest city to visit the dramatic former basilica of the Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul's in London, St. Peter's in Rome, and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture.

Move on to the Blue Mosque, more officially known as the "Sultanahmet" Mosque. The mosque’s striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul.

Continue to Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop in to the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions.

You will also visit the Hippodrome, the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. You will also pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns.

Your day won’t be complete, however, without a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handcraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills.

Day 2: Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Istiklal Street, and Taksim

The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them.

Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name — in Turkish, Dolma means 'filled' or 'stuffed,' and bahce means 'garden'.

Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars. From there, it is then a 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area.
Includes
  • 1 or 2-day tour
  • Licensed guide
  • Pickup and drop-off from hotel or port
  • Transportation during the tour
What’s Not Included
  • All entrance fees
  • Lunch
Not suitable for
  • People with mobility impairments

Prepare for the activity

Important information
What to bring
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
Not allowed
  • Pets
Know before you go
• Please note that the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays, and Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays, starting from October.
• The Blue Mosque is being renovated until end of 2020 so some parts of the ceiling might be temporarily covered.
Customer reviews
Overall rating
4.7 / 5
based on 52 reviews
Review summary
Service
4.6/5
Organization
4.6/5
Value for money
4.2/5
Safety
4.9/5

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Product ID: 149036