Sultanahmet Square
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Our most recommended Sultanahmet Square Solo travelers' 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: Topkapi and Hagia Sophia Small Group Tour

2. 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.

Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

3. 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.

Istanbul: Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia

4. Istanbul: Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia

Begin the tour of the Sultanahmet district in the heart of old Istanbul at Hagia Sophia. Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD, this church is a marvel of world architecture. Its massive dome dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is famous for its mosaics including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses. Then discover the Basilica Cistern, s the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul; was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Explore the Grand Bazaar which was the commercial heart of the old city. Its 4,000 shops are full of treasures including carpets and kilims, silks, jewelry, ceramics, icons, and leather goods.

Istanbul: 3-Hour Segway Tour

5. Istanbul: 3-Hour Segway Tour

Visit Istanbul's top sights on this Segway tour. Start the tour at Sultanahmet, traveling to Hippodrome Square, which has witnessed gladiator fights, chariot races and many riots. Then head to the Sultanahmet Mosque and admire its unique blue facade. Later, head to the Hagia Sophia, one of the most breathtaking examples of Turkish architecture, before continuing to Gulhane Park, the oldest and largest urban park in Istanbul, where you will stop for a break. Continue your tour through Constantine's Column, one of the most prominent examples of Roman art, before arriving at Beyazıt Square and Mosque. Then visit Şehzade Mosque, which is considered by architectural historians as Sinan's first masterpiece. Finish your tour by heading to the largest mosque in Istanbul, Suleymaniye Mosque.

Istanbul: Blue Mosque and Old Town Guided Historical Tour

6. Istanbul: Blue Mosque and Old Town Guided Historical Tour

Immerse yourself in the history of Istanbul as you visit some of the most interesting sites of the city.  Begin your tour by visiting the Million Stone, built in the early 4th century AD, which is considered the origin of all roads leading to the European cities of the Byzantine Empire. Continue your walk to the German Fountain - a gift from the German Emperor Wilhelm II to Sultan Abdulhamid II from 1898. Next, see the Palace of Ibrahim Pasha, an Ottoman imperial court residence built in the 16th century. Admire the unique building and learn about its history. Then, visit the Hippodrome, which was the center of political and sporting life in Istanbul during the reign of the Roman and Ottoman Empire.  The tour ends in the courtyards of the Blue Mosque. The tour guide will inform you about all the important highlights inside the Blue Mosque. Afterward, you can discover the UNESCO World Heritage site, built-in 1616, with its 6 minarets and beautiful decor. Explore the monument at your own pace and stay inside as long as you want. Admission to the Blue Mosque is free.

Full-Day Istanbul Ancient Byzantine and Ottoman Relics Tour

7. Full-Day Istanbul Ancient Byzantine and Ottoman Relics Tour

After departing from your hotel, we will take a trip to the historic peninsula of old Istanbul, the place from which the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires once ruled their vast realms. This all-day tour of the ancient city’s relics will show you how deep the history goes. Our first stop will be the Hippodrome, Istanbul’s ancient sports stadium. In Byzantine times, the Hippodrome, which sits next to the Blue Mosque, was a huge open-air arena with banks of seats forming an elongated oval shape. Then it’s on to the 16th-century Blue Mosque. Take a moment to gaze at its majestic domes, peaceful courtyards, and its six slender minarets. Your next stop will be Hagia Sophia, one of the world’s architectural marvels. Afterward there will be a chance to shop at the nearby stores and stands before having lunch at a local restaurant. From there you will visit Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman sultans. Feel the ghosts of the imperial past brushing up against you as you visit the harem, the private quarters of the Sultan’s family and the subject of much western fantasizing. Your last stop of day is Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Dating back to 1461, this immense covered market is one of the liveliest and most colorful parts of the old city. Istanbul is a complex, ancient history, and this full-day walking tour shows you a history as colorful and complex as the city’s famous market.

Topkapi, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome & Bazaar

8. Topkapi, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome & Bazaar

Your 6-hour tour begins in the morning with a short drive from your hotel to the the ancient Byzantine Hippodrome, where your guide will show you the Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, and Fountain of Wilhelm II. Afterwards you’ll visit the Blue Mosque, known for its 6 elegant minarets and blue Iznik tiles. See the Saint Sophia Museum, built as a church during the reign of Emperor Theodosius and destroyed in the fire of Nika Revolt in 532 A.D. After a lunch break at a local restaurant (included in the tour price), you’ll visit the Topkapi Palace, the residence and administrative center of the Ottoman sultans. You’ll also have the chance to shop for some Turkish handicrafts before the transfer back to your hotel.

Istanbul: Half Day Morning Walking Tour

9. Istanbul: Half Day Morning Walking Tour

Visit Hagia (St.) Sophia, one of the greatest marvels of architecture, constructed as a basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian. St.Sophia has been the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years. It is considered the masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. After having been the Patriarchal basilica of Constantinople, it was converted into a mosque in 1453 by Sultan Mehmet II. the Conqueror and in to a museum by Atataürk in 1935. Explore the Blue Mosque, facing Hagia Sophia, famous with its blue Iznik tiles and unique with 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet. The last great imperial mosque of the classical period, its name comes from the 20,000 marvelous blue-toned Iznik tiles decorating the interior walls. Discover the Hippodrome, center of sportive (chariot races, athletics) events and political activities of the old city. Obelisk of Theodosius, Serpentine Column, German Fountain of Wilhelm II are the monuments decorating Hippodrome. You will also see one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, The Grand Bazaar.

Istanbul: Old City Half-Day Bike Tour

10. Istanbul: Old City Half-Day Bike Tour

Explore Istanbul by bike and see some of the most beautiful sights of the city while burning off some calories. You will ride your bike through palaces, mosques, churches, parks, and the most characteristic districts of historic Istanbul, and including Eminönü. Depart from Balat, ride to Eminönü and admire the Galata Bridge, New Mosque, and Spice Bazaar. Look across the Golden Horn to the district of Beyoglu. Ride along the waterfront to Gülhane Park, an oasis of peace extending over the slope of Topkapı Palace. Leaving the park, catch a glimpse of the former gate of the Grand Vizier's residence. Take a short ride to Sultanahmet Park and see the city’s iconic St. Sophia and Blue Mosque. Run the full lap of the Hippodrome, just like the Roman horse-chariots used to, and admire the obelisks that dominate the street. Pass through its imposing gates of Topkapı Palace, the magnificent residence of the sultans, and proceed downhill to the Marmara waterfront. Here you will see some still-standing stretches of the Theodosian walls, which once protected the city. Some more thrusting on the pedals takes you to the Süleyman complex, considered the masterpiece of the Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. Next stop is the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest closed markets in the world. Here you can lose yourself in the maze of galleries and bargain for handmade carpets and antiques. Continue downhill to Eminönü, and proceed back to Balat.

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What people are saying about Sultanahmet Square

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 163 reviews

So this tour was amazing!! It turned out that I was the only one on the tour but Salih was so nice it felt like walking around with a friend. Even though it was 5 hours the time flew by and wasn't even tiring. It was helpful that there were enough stops throughout that it felt like a leisurely wander through the old city. The stops on the tour were many of the famous places including the Grand Bazaar and the spice market, but I was able to learn some history I might not have discovered on my own, thanks to Salih. The book market was lovely, the walk to the stunning Suleymaniye mosque was beautiful, and the inclusion of a visit to the jewel-like Rustem Pasha mosque was worth it alone. The stop for tea and nargile was the highlight of the tour for me, particularly since I would not have tried that on my own, though I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were snacks and a yummy lunch. Everything about this tour was wonderful and I would recommend it to anybody! Thank you, Salih!

We were very fortunate that we had a small group of 6 on our tour and we had an excellent tour guide, who had vast knowledge which she shared with us. Our tour was well paced and we never felt rushed and got to see everything we wished to. There is so much to see and learn at the Topkapi palace and it was very interesting to learn about life in the Harem and see the rooms. I would highly recommend this tour.

Great experience with Cem! He’s a very passionate guide, we had the greatest time visiting the palace grounds. He’s extremely knowledgeable and took time to explain the history of the place as well as the history and culture of the Ottoman Empire. Definitely recommend booking this tour, you will not be disappointed.

Great experience with Sabih! A great tour with Sabih, who speaks excellent German and had a lot of interesting things to tell. Highly Recommended!! Thank you Sabih and all the best!

Beautiful and full of history and artifacts. Like a time capsule of an interesting period in Turkish history.