Sultanahmet Square
Castle & Palace Tours

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Our most recommended Sultanahmet Square Castle & Palace Tours

Topkapi Palace and Harem: Guided Tour with Admission Ticket

1. Topkapi Palace and Harem: Guided Tour with Admission Ticket

Immerse yourself in Istanbul’s best sight on this exceptionally well-led guided tour. Discover Ottoman history in the Palace and the life of Sultan's family in the harem.  Meet your dedicated guide at a hot spot for traditional Turkish delicacies, where there are restroom facilities and you can purchase water or snacks. Then let your guide take you to Topkapi Palace. Enjoy a 3-hour tour of Topkapi Palace, the heart of the Ottoman Empire. The complex of low buildings, pavilions, and courtyards was a self-contained city, which most inhabitants rarely left. Explore the outer-terraced gardens and admire the view over the Golden Horn. Visit the harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded domestic and political power. The harem housed hundreds of women and family members as well as hundreds of eunuchs, who performed a wide range of duties. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoise shell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. The tour ends with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.

Istanbul Combo: Classic City Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

2. Istanbul Combo: Classic City Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

Meet your guide at your hotel or port and start the tour with the highlights of Istanbul. See the beautiful Hagia Sophia, admire the great blend of Christian and Islamic influences with beautiful interior of mosaics and significant history. Marvel at the Blue Mosque, a great monument of oriental architecture which houses 27,000 pieces of handmade blue tiles. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are two colorful indoor bazaars and have lots of shops offering a variety of spices, rugs, purses, flavored teas, jackets, Turkish delight, nuts, as well as ceramics and small souvenirs. At the end of your tour, why not opt to take a cruise along the Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides, Galata Tower, Dolmabahce Palace, the Rumelian Fortress, old Ottoman villas, Bosphorus bridges, and mosques. Tickets can be bought on the spot and the cruise will take place in a public ferry (unless you book the Private Yacht option).

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

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

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

4. 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.

Istanbul: Topkapi and Hagia Sophia Small Group Tour

5. Istanbul: Topkapi and Hagia Sophia Small Group Tour

Meet your professional and local guide at a central Sultanahmet location and enjoy a small group or private tour of the Hagia Sophia. See the famous landmark in all its 6th-century glory. Climb up the gallery with your guide to see the mosaics surviving from this ancient church, former mosque, and now internationally famous museum. Continue your journey to Topkapi Palace, the second stop for the day. Here you can explore the palace grounds, courtyards, and its Harem on a guided tour. Later on, visit the Harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded domestic and political power (if option selected). The harem housed hundreds of women and family members as well as hundreds of eunuchs, who performed a wide range of duties. Marvel at its opulence and mystery and learn about this period in Istanbul's history. See several exhibitions inside the Palace. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. Your tour will end with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.

Istanbul: Small Group Skip-the-Line Luxury Day Tour

6. Istanbul: Small Group Skip-the-Line Luxury Day Tour

Discover the only city in the world on 2 continents - where east meets west - on a full-day sightseeing tour of Istanbul by luxury minibus. Following a pick-up from your hotel or cruise ship, visit the Hippodrome to explore the former center of sport and political activities in Constantinople. Marvel at the Obelisk from Egypt, Serpentine Column from Delphi, and fountain of Wilhelm II. Continue to the iconic Blue Mosque, known for its glorious blue Iznik tiles and 6 minarets. Admire the former imperial residence of the Ottoman sultans at Topkapi Palace, and learn how the Great Ottoman Empire was ruled. Today, the palace is a spectacular museum, with one of the largest collections of Chinese and Japanese porcelain, along with the famous treasury of the Royal Family. Next, go to the Hagia Sophia, a magnificent Byzantine Church that is considered one of the finest architectural works of art in the world. Stroll the alleys and warrens of the Grand Bazaar, and interact with the vendors selling their rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewelry, leather, and souvenirs. Transfer back to your hotel or cruise ship for the end of the tour services.

Full-Day Walking Tour of Istanbul's Old City

7. Full-Day Walking Tour of Istanbul's Old City

The historic Old City in Istanbul is stunningly beautiful, and we can help you make the most of your visit with this full-day guided walking tour. Our professional local guide will take you through all the sights of the Old City, giving you valuable insight into the history of this fascinating place. The tour starts at the Hagia-Sophia Museum before you head to the world heritage monument. We will then walk to the Blue Mosque to see the glorious architecture of this historic building, which dates back to the early 1600s. Then it’s off to the Roman Hippodrome Square, where your tour will show you the Egyptian Obelisque, Roman Pillar, Greek Column and the German Fountain. Then it's off to a recently discovered Cistern. Afterwards, walk to the Topkapi Imperial Palace, the largest palace in Istanbul. Once the residence of Ottoman Sultans, the palace is now a museum, which houses different collections, each fascinating in their own way. The tour winds down at approximately 17:00, after a short walk to the entrance gate of the world famous Grand Bazaar.

Full-Day Istanbul City Package Tour

8. 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.

Istanbul: Walking Group Tour

9. Istanbul: Walking Group Tour

Your Tour guide will meet you at Istanbul Cruise Terminal or Your hotel lobby with a sign written “ Ephesus Shuttle “ on it at pre-arranged time. ( Meeting time will be given in your confirmation message ) Our tour starts with Hippodrome Square where used to take place for chariot races and the Byzantine riots during Roman & Byzantine period. Only a short walk away, reaches Hagia Sophia built in 532 AD by Roman Emperor Justinian I. and Blue Mosque, has its fame from its beautiful blue Iznik tiles. We will continue walking to Topkapi Palace, was not only the residence of the Ottoman sultans, but also the administrative and educational center of the state. It was constructed between 1460 and 1478 by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople. We will visit the Topkapi Palace including treasury, weapons section. After 1 hour free time for lunch. After lunch, We will visit Grand Bazaar where is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 1,200 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. Opened in 1461, it is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Drive back to Istanbul Cruise Terminal or to your hotel. The end of our services.

Istanbul: Self-Guided Walking Tour with Audio Guide

10. Istanbul: Self-Guided Walking Tour with Audio Guide

Explore the beauty of Istanbul on a self-guided audio tour. Admire the incredible architecture of the Hippodrome, the Tomb of the Sultans, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, and the Great Palace Mosaic Museum. Download the MP3 audio tour combined with a fully detailed map of the area and start your adventure with your audio device as your guide. Soak in the vibrant atmosphere while listening to fascinating facts and stories of the city. Spend some time to taste the different food varieties and traditions while you wander through many parks and squares of the city. Walk at your own pace and submerge yourself into the colorful vibe of the capital city of Turkey. Visit the famous Blue Mosque and learn about its many changes over the last 500 years. Continue to see the other architectural heritages such as Archaeology Museum, the Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern. Enjoy a hassle-free audio tour to the only city extending over Europe and Asia. 

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What people are saying about Sultanahmet Square

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 112 reviews

Kenan was helpful, knowledgeable and professional. Nice sense of humor as well, my husband and I had a nice experience overall and felt we were able to squeeze a lot in one day, and Kenan was flexible enough to adapt to our wants and needs… It was amazing how he seems to know the Grand Bazaar like the palm of his hand! I wanted to see fabrics and he took me to three exquisite small stores, had tea with the owners, made me feel like a local, not a tourist. At Topkapi he knew so much about the architecture, the time frames, and very interesting anecdotes and folk legends… and hey I am an Art Historian! Recommend

My guide (Musa) was exceptional and was very well versed in the history of Istanbul. He was very knowledgeable, friendly, and kind. I could not have asked for a better day-long tour in Istanbul. He was very open to customizing the tour based on my interests and made me feel very comfortable and at ease navigating Istanbul. Thank you so much, my friend!

Highly recommend this tour! I feel like you definitely need a tour guide to help you fully appreciate the Topkapi Palace and the Harem. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about life in the palace and he was happy to answer all of our questions. I’m so glad we signed up for this tour!

Our tour guide, Kenan, took us through Istanbul's top sights with impeccable German and excellent knowledge. He always responded to our special requests and gave us an unforgettable day in Istanbul in his friendly way. It was an absolute stroke of luck to have him assigned as a guide.

Wonderful guide, informative, English was perfect and knew his way around the busy old town area.