Sultan Ahmed Mosque
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Our most recommended Sultan Ahmed Mosque Public Transport

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

1. 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 Imperial: Full-day Private City Tour

2. Istanbul Imperial: Full-day Private City Tour

Explore the highlights of imperial Istanbul on a private 7-hour tour that takes in the major attractions of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being a private tour, the itinerary can be adjusted to fulfill your specific needs and wishes. From the iconic Hagia Sophia to the Blue Mosque, and from the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, to the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople, you will learn about Istanbul and Turkey's history, culture, and traditions, and gain an insight into the daily life of its inhabitants, discovering aspects of the city that tourists often miss. Start your tour at the Hippodrome, the former circus where Roman horse-chariots used to race to the cheers of the crowds. Three monuments survive from the original building, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Continue to the Blue Mosque, a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture that combines Islamic and Byzantine elements. Officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque, it is the mosque’s striking blue tiles that give it the more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Move to the nearby Topkapi Palace, former residence of the sultans of Turkey for 400 years and a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. In its heyday the palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people and was home to 25 different sultans. Hagia Sophia embodies the mix of the 3 great civilizations - Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic - and is the next stop on your tour, before going to the fascinating Basilica Cistern, where you will descend into its depths and stare at 1001 columns in the magical subterranean atmosphere. End at the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest closed markets in the world. Explore the maze of stalls and galleries and try you hand at bargaining for handmade carpets, evil eye trinkets, and antiques. Listen out for the babble of more than 100 languages, and try a strong Turkish coffee to set you on your way.

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Istanbul: Museum Pass and Bosphorus Boat Tour

3. Istanbul: Museum Pass and Bosphorus Boat Tour

You can visit up to 10 of Istanbul's museum. You do not need to wait in long queues to get admission tickets so you will save time and save money. The museums included are the Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem, Chora Church Museum, Hagia Irene Church Museum, İstanbul Archaeological Museums, İstanbul Mosaic Museum,  Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam, Fethiye Church Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, and Rumeli Hisar Museum.  The 1.5-hour Bosphorus boat tour is a guided cruise and departs at 10:00 AM or 2:00 PM.  The Bosphorus Strait connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and splits the European and Asian sides of Turkey. This romantic cruise along the Bosphorus will allow you to admire the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Beylerbeyi Palace, and the Ciragan Palace. See ancient wooden villas and bridges and all the wonderful unique maritime landscapes.

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Istanbul: Private Old City Walk

4. Istanbul: Private Old City Walk

Your private tour guide will meet you at your hotel reception at 9:00AM, and together you will either walk or catch public transportation to the Old City. Your private Istanbul Old City walk is a full-day walking tour that covers the main highlights of the city such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar. You will start your tour with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, which was the home and seat of the government of the Ottomans for nearly 400 years. It’s the heart of the great Ottoman Empire, ruled by the monarch who lived in Topkapi’s Harem section with a huge family and servants. You will then visit the Blue Mosque, which is the second largest mosque in Istanbul and was built during the regime of Sultan Ahmet. It is known for its 16th century blue Iznik tiles and 6 minarets. After this, you will have a lunch break and continue to the Hagia Sophia, the church of divine wisdom. Built as a church by the Byzantines and decorated with mosaic tile icons, it served as a mosque during the Ottoman era. It is still today one of the most popular museums in the city. Your tour will end with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, which was built in the second half of the 15th century and is the largest covered bazaar in the world with its more than 4000 shops.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Sultan Ahmed Mosque

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What people are saying about Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 4 reviews

We really enjoyed our trip together with Ahmet, our tour guide. He is very knowledgeable of the sites and the history behind these sites. I personally became really interested about the Ottoman empire because of his stories. He also recommended a nice place to eat - the food is very delicious. This activity is highly recommended :).

In my life I have visited several places in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Istanbul immediately won me over by being among my 5 most beautiful cities I have ever visited. A melting pot of cultures and traditions. It releases a unique and magnetic energy. W Istanbul

It was great and very interesting. Our guide, Murat, knew a lot about all the places we visited. He was very kind and pacient… he answered every question we had and helped translate for us. His Spanish was terrific and we understood him perfectly.

MR. Shaban the tour guide was very knowledgeable and made our experience very enjoyable with his story telling . He is professional , punctual, courteous and most importantly very passionate about Istanbul and it’s history.

Fantastic day with Çağlar in Italian. Tour at Aya Sofia and Sulejmani mosque with interesting explanations and anecdotes. Saw the Grand Bazaar It helped us a lot to orient ourselves and what to do in Istanbul. Optimal!