Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Meet the Locals

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Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

1. Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

You will start at the old Hippodrome of Constantinople which was the sports and social center of the old city. Discover major works of art including the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the fountain of Willhelm II, constructed by the Germans. From there, continue to the Blue Mosque, whose six minarets are a key fixture of Istanbul’s skyline. Next, head for the Topkapi Palace, which was home to the Ottoman emperors between the 15th and 19th centuries. Marvel at the jewel-stuffed treasury and priceless displays of Oriental porcelain. Move on to the Hagia Sophia Mosque. Behold the dome and stunning Byzantine mosaics of this architectural gem as your guide recounts its turbulent history. Then visit the Grand Bazaar with over 3,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry to ceramics and leather goods. Also stroll around the Spice Bazaar with its incredible smell from almost every spice imaginable, as well as dried fruits and nuts, sweets and the ubiquitous Turkish Delight.

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Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

2. Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

Day 1 – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hipporome, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this private full-day walking tour that covers the major attractions, from the Hagia Sophia Museum, to the iconic Blue Mosque, to the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, to the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. The 8-hour excursion starts with a pick-up 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, 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 a 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area.

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Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Guided Tour

3. Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Guided Tour

This private experience is the perfect introduction to Istanbul for first-time visitors. Enjoy a guided full-day tour to discover the best of the city. The tour can be fully customized to suit your needs, simply tell your guide what interests you the most.  Visit the historic Hippodrome, the exquisite Blue Mosque and the iconic Hagia Sophia. Experience the lavish lifestyles of the Ottoman Sultans with a tour of Topkapi Palace, or browse the colorful stalls of the Grand Bazaar. The choice is yours. Benefit from pickup and drop-off at your centrally-located hotel. With your private guide you’ll enjoy priority entrance to all the sights, so standing you won’t waste time standing in queues.

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Istanbul: Full-Day Guided Tour

4. Istanbul: Full-Day Guided Tour

Istanbul straddles East and West, enticing your senses and expanding your perceptions of the world around you. Todays full day tour will give you a glimpse at some of Istanbul's incredible sites and sounds and leave you with a deeper understanding of this rich land. Begin your day at one of Istanbul's greatest architectural masterpieces - the Hagia Sophia. This 6th century basilica will stun you with its towering minarets and beautiful handcrafted mosaics. It is called, by some, the 8th wonder of the world and you'll soon see why. Soon after your visit to Hagia Sophia, head across the street to the Blue Mosque. One of the most famous monuments in all of Turkey, the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque) is a monument to the Ottoman empire and its builders. It gets its name from the more than 20,000 Iznik blue tiles that adorn its facade and interior and its history will impress you as you receive a tour. Then step back in time a bit to the Hippodrome. Here, imagine what life might have been like as locals traveled to see the chariot races at this famous sports arena. The area dates back to Egyptian times and there are still relics of the past dotted around this incredible area. With so much history, it's time to take a little shopping break. Head to the Grand Bazaar, where you'll have the chance to barter on everything from fine leather goods, to spices and plenty of sweets to satisfy your sweet tooth. There are nearly 4000 stalls here, so you're sure to find something for yourself.  After lunch visit the recently discovered and restored Şerefiye Cistern, which was built by Roman Emperor Theodosius II between 428 and 443 to store water supplied by the Valens Aqueduct (Roman Period Water Reservoir). Your tour ends here.

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Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

5. Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

Your 5-hour guided walk begins in Sultanhamet, in the heart of the main tourist area of Istanbul. From here you’ll head to the Blue Mosque, where you’ll admire the 6 minarets and stunning tiles that were made in Iznik, the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire. Next your guide will tell you about Hagia Sophia and the Roxana Baths before continuing on to the ancient Hippodrome. Hear about the famous obelisk that was shipped from Egypt to the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius in 6th century A.D. Walk along the ancient roadway past the Ottoman Parliament House and then make your way to the Grand Bazaar. Marvel at the labyrinth of streets lined with textiles and most every other kind of product as well! You can learn the local art of bargaining here. Enjoy a stroll to the nearby Sahaflar Book Market, where books were printed for the first time during the Ottoman era. Learn about Islam and its holy book, the Koran. On the way to the Suleymaniye complex you’ll pass by the spectacular façade of Istanbul University and enter the Cagaloglu district, which is a shopping hub for locals that’s far from the main tourist attractions. Once you reach the Suleymaniye complex you’ll see the Turkish bath, the library, the madrasah, eateries, and the grand Suleymaniye Mosque that dominates the skyline along the Golden Horn. Learn about the history of the Mosque, named after the most famous and powerful of sultans, Suleyman the Magnificent. Your guide knows a great hidden teahouse here where you can drink çay (tea) and try a nargile (water pipe) with its intoxicating aroma and fruity flavors. After the break, you’ll continue on through the hidden streets of Istanbul. See local markets where products are made on site. Visit the hidden Rustem Pasha Mosque and admire its lovely tiles. Then it will be time to taste some baklava, a delicious Turkish dessert. Explore the spice market and see a mountain of Turkish spices, Turkish delight, and local handicrafts. From the Spice Bazaar you’ll take a walk so that you can appreciate the views of the picturesque Galata Bridge. Finally it’s time to relax for a delicious lunch of local specialties. After lunch your guide can tell you how to get back to your hotel and give you some advice on other things to do in your free time.

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Istanbul: Guided Sightseeing Tour With Lunch

6. Istanbul: Guided Sightseeing Tour With Lunch

Experience the perfect immersion to the wonderful history and culture of Istanbul with this comprehensive sightseeing tour of the busy city. In the morning, get picked up at your hotel by an air-conditioned vehicle, then immediately head off to the Blue Mosque, which is also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and check out the blue tiles of the interior that gave the mosque its current name. Next, spend some time shopping for memorable souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest covered markets, before you rest and recharge with a delicious lunch at an authentic Turkish restaurant. In the afternoon, explore famous sites that were preserved from the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and learn fascinating facts and stories from your English-speaking guide. Stop by the Topkapi Palace, the largest and oldest palace in the world, along with the Tombs of the Sultans in Hagia Sofia. See several small buildings that look like miniature mosques and contain lavishly decorated tombs of five different sultans and their extended families. Next, cross the busy Galata Bridge, which has restaurants and cafes underneath it open all day and night, to get to the Golden Horn, a magnificent inlet bordered by city's domes and mosques. Finally, stop at Leander's Tower, one of the most iconic images of Istanbul, before you get dropped off back at your accommodation.

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Full-Day Istanbul City Package Tour

7. Full-Day Istanbul City Package Tour

After breakfast between 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM, get picked up from your hotel. Visit Topkapi Palace, the great palace of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries housing an exquisite collection of crystal, silver, and Chinese porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury, miniatures, the Holy Mantle, and enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed. Across from St. Sophia, built in the 16th century by the architect Mehmet, is the Sultanahmet Imperial Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque because of its magnificent interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles. The Ancient Hippodrome, the scene of chariot races, with the three monuments: the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine. Then visit the Hagia Sophia, previously known as the Church of Divine Wisdom, simply the best of its kind. Hagia Sophia is the greatest surviving example of Byzantine Architecture. For 1,000 years it was the largest church in the world, decorated with stunning 6th-century golden mosaics. Today it is a mosque. Enjoy a lunch break at 1:00 PM. After lunch, experience the traditional silk weaving skills of Turkish women at the carpet weaving courses provided by The Ministry of National Education. You will get the opportunity to see jewelry, the handcrafts center, and a modern leatherwear show. Enjoy the experience of shopping while gaining knowledge of the ancient craftsmen with a local guide of knowledge who will teach you how to haggle on the streets of Istanbul. The rest of the evening is yours to explore Istanbul.

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Istanbul: 10-Day Sightseeing Trip with Accommodation & Meals

8. Istanbul: 10-Day Sightseeing Trip with Accommodation & Meals

Sightsee, shop, and explore on this guided 10-day tour from Istanbul to Cappadocia, Adiyaman, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, and Kusadasi. See Göbekli Tepe, Mount Nemrut, Zeugma Mosaic Museum, and other highlights. Enjoy accommodation, meals, and round-trip transportation. Day 1: Arrival to Istanbul Get picked up upon arrival at Istanbul Airport (IST) or Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) and get a private transfer to your hotel for your overnight stay in Istanbul. Alternatively, you can be picked up to start the tour directly from your hotel in Istanbul. Day 2: Full-Day Istanbul Tour (w/ Breakfast) Visit Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Hippodrome of Constantinople, where chariot races and the Byzantine riots took place. Stop at the Grand Bazaar for shopping. Day 3: Istanbul to Cappadocia (w/ Breakfast + Dinner) In the morning, take a flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia. After arrival, start exploring Cappadocia. Visit the Three Sisters, the fairy chimneys in Urgüp. Then, descend into the Kaymakli Underground City, one of the largest and deepest of 200 others in Cappadocia. Stay overnight in Cappadocia. Day 4: Full-Day Cappadocia Tour (w/ Breakfast + Dinner) Visit Devrent Valley, Pasabag, and Avanos. In the afternoon, head to the famous Goreme Open-Air Museum. Visit the Uçhisar rock castle and enjoy a panoramic view. Day 5: Cappadocia to Adıyaman (w/ Breakfast + Dinner) Drive to Karatay Caravanserai and visit the caravanserai on the way to Adıyaman. Spend your evening at leisure and stay overnight in Adıyaman. Day 6: Mt. Nemrut to Urfa (w/ Breakfast + Dinner) Departing at 3:30 AM, hike to the summit of Mt. Nemrut, one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Watch the sunrise. Later, drive to Urfa (Şanlıurfa). On the way, visit the Atatürk Dam and enjoy scenic views. Stay overnight in Urfa. Day 7: Urfa to Gaziantep (w/ Breakfast + Dinner) From Urfa, drive to Göbekli Tepe, one of the world's most important archaeological sites. At 12,000 years old, it is believed to be the world's oldest temple. Later, head to Gaziantep for an overnight stay. Day 8: Gaziantep to Izmir, Ephesus, & Kusadasi (w/ Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner) Fly to Izmir. Upon arrival, visit the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Then, continue to Ephesus and walk along the marble streets lined with buildings. After Ephesus, enjoy lunch in the garden of a local handicraft center. Then, visit the House of Virgin Mary. Stay overnight in nearby Kusadasi. Day 9: Fly to Istanbul (w/ Breakfast) Drive to Izmir Airport for your flight to Sabiha Gokcen Airport. After landing, get a transfer to your hotel in Istanbul where you will stay overnight. Enjoy a free afternoon. Day 10: Return Home (w/ Breakfast) After breakfast, take a private transfer to Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gokcen Airport for your return flight home.

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From Istanbul: Highlights of Turkey 7-day Guided Tour

9. From Istanbul: Highlights of Turkey 7-day Guided Tour

You'll explore the cultural and natural heritage of Turkey on this 7-day, 6-night guided tour. DAY 1: Arrival to Istanbul The local partner will meet you at the airport and provide private transfer to your hotel for your overnight stay in Istanbul. DAY 2: Full Day Istanbul Tour (Breakfast) After breakfast, you'll visit the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Hippodrome, where chariot races and the Byzantine riots took place. In the afternoon, visit Istanbul's Grand Bazaar where you can enjoy some shopping time. Overnight in Istanbul. DAY 3: Full Day Istanbul Tour (Breakfast) After breakfast, your first stop for the day will be at the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar). Then enjoy a boat trip on the Bosphorus Strait which separates the continents of Europe and Asia. In the afternoon, visit the Underground Cistern. Overnight in Istanbul. DAY 4: Istanbul – Cappadocia Tour (Breakfast) After breakfast, you'll transfer from your hotel to Istanbul Airport for your flight to Cappadocia. On arrival in Cappadocia, you'll meet your guide and transfer to your hotel where you can leave your luggage. Then head out to the famous Three Sisters Fairy Chimneys in Urgup. Next you'll visit the Pigeons Valley and learn how important pigeons have been for Cappadocians. Finally you'll descend deep into the ground at the Kaymakli Underground City, one of the largest and the deepest of Cappadocia's more than 200 underground cities. Overnight in a cave hotel. DAY 5: Cappadocia Tour - Izmir - Kusadasi (Breakfast) After breakfast, head to the Devrent Valley where you'll walk through a lunar-like landscape of fascinating rock formations. You'll also visit Pasabag Fairy Chimneys Valley to see another amazing example of these unique structures. Then visit Avanos Town, which is famous for tile and pottery workshops. In the afternoon, visit Goreme Open Air Museum where you will marvel at fantastic rock churches and the beautiful frescos covering their walls from centuries of church decorating committees. Finally you'll visit Uchisar Rock Castle before transferring to the airport for your flight to Izmir. On arrival in Izmir, transfer to Kusadasi for overnight. DAY 6: Ephesus Tour - Istanbul (Breakfast) After breakfast, your first stop is at Artemis Temple. From there you'll continue on to Ephesus, where you can walk through history along marble streets to see the State Agora, Odeon, the Memnius Monument, the Temple of Domitian, the Polio Fountain, Curetes Street, The Trajan Fountain, the Baths of Scholastica, Hadrian Temple, and the Celcus Library. In the afternoon, you'll visit the House of the Virgin Mary, before the drive back to Izmir to catch your return flight to Istanbul. On arrival in Istanbul, transfer to your hotel for overnight. DAY 7: Home (Breakfast) After breakfast, you'll check out of the hotel and enjoy a private transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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Istanbul: Private Half-Day Sightseeing Tour with a Local

10. Istanbul: Private Half-Day Sightseeing Tour with a Local

Spend half a day exploring the sights and landmarks of Istanbul with a local driver. The tour begins with pickup from your hotel and some time to discuss and customize the tour to suit your interests. From there, head off into the city and immerse yourself in the magic of Istanbul. Discover the rich-history of the city, dating back to the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Marvel at iconic buildings including Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Galata Tower, and the Dolmabahçe Palace. As you explore, listen to your driver share fascinating local insight into Istanbul’s impressive history, culture, and traditions. Finish the tour with a visit to Bosphorus Bridge where you can admire epic views. By the end of the tour, you’ll have a better understanding of Istanbul’s history and landmarks, as well as plenty of recommendations to enhance your vacation.

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What people are saying about Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 559 reviews

Mahmed (Mohamed) was an amazing tour guide, very patient and professional, he explained the history behind the attractions giving us that little extra bit of information. We were never rushed or felt pressure to do or buy anything. Will definitely recommend this tour and will do it again in the future!!

Izki is an amazing guide. She was so smiley and with an abundance of knowledge delivered in the perfect amount. We learnt so much. Thanks again.

Hello very pleasant and very interesting thank you to Mr. Mehmet, the very kind and very cultured guide. See you soon.

The tour guide was very resourceful and informative. He was very helpful and I had a great tour.

Beautiful sites and very knowledgeable tour guide Amet