Sultanahmet Square
Sightseeing Walking Tours

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Our most recommended Sultanahmet Square Sightseeing Walking Tours

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar Tour

1. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar Tour

Like most visitors to Istanbul, especially first-time visitors; you will want to see and photograph the Blue Mosque. Complete with its 6 minarets and ornate glass windows, this site is a must when visiting Istanbul. Following that, you will travel next door to the Hagia Sophia Museum. A magnificent Byzantine Church, it is one of the finest and largest architectural works of art in the world.  After the Hagia, you'll find your way to the entrance of the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. In addition to its historical importance, it's a bazaar that will tempt even those without an interest in shopping with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewellery, leather, and souvenirs.

Topkapi Palace and Harem: Guided Tour with Admission Ticket

2. 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: Half-Day Highlights Tour for Cruise Ship Visitors

3. Istanbul: Half-Day Highlights Tour for Cruise Ship Visitors

Enjoy a hassle-free small-group walking tour in Istanbul designed specifically for cruise ship passengers. Meet your local, expert guide at the port right after your ship has docked and join your half-day tour in the morning of afternoon. Take a short tram ride from the dock to the Old Town of Sultanahmet, and benefit from a walking tour instead of sitting on a bus in traffic. Start your tour in Sultanahmet Square to check out Istanbul's greatest monuments. Enjoy a scenic stroll around Sultanahmet and witness the local life. Enter the Blue Mosque, the most visited monument in Istanbul. Marvel at this imperial Ottoman Mosque on a comprehensive guided tour with a professional guide. Afterward, soak up breathtaking views from the courtyard, and take a gentle stroll around the neighborhood. Continue your journey to Topkapi Palace, the last stop for the day. There, explore the palace, grounds, and courtyards on a guided tour. Marvel at the palace's opulence and mystery, and learn about the Ottoman family and their importance in Istanbul's history. Finish with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens. At the end of your tour, choose to spend free time in Topkapi Palace grounds or follow your guide back to the ship.

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: Full-Day Guided Tour

5. 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.

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

6. 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.

Istanbul Private Full-Day Classics Tour with Options

7. Istanbul Private Full-Day Classics Tour with Options

Your full-day tour begins with a morning visit to the Hippodrome, which at one time was the center of Byzantine social and recreational life. A few parts of this spectacular site remain, including the Obelisk of Thutmose III and the Serpent Column. The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is located next to the Hippodrome. Its exceptional architectural design features 1 main dome, 8 secondary domes, 6 minarets, and a vast number of blue tiles – hence the name. Built during the reign of Ahmed the First, the Blue Mosque continues to function as a mosque as well as being one of the city’s top tourist attractions. Next is a visit to Topkapi Palace, which dates back to 1459. It served as the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 4 centuries. In 1924, the palace was officially declared a museum. The Palace covers a large site and features several buildings. You’ll see a fine collection of Imperial and Ottoman utensils, relics, caftans, and portraits of the sultans. Following your visit to Topkapi Palace it will time for a lunch break, and your guide will recommend some restaurants where you can enjoy delicious Turkish cuisine. After lunch you’ll take a tour of Hagia Sophia, which served both Christianity and Islam at different times in history. When it was first built in 537, it was an Eastern Orthodox church. In 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, the hall was transformed into an imperial mosque. Approximately 5 centuries later, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum. After visiting Hagia Sophia you’ll travel to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, comprising 61 covered streets and more than 3,000 shops offering almost anything you might need. The bazaar is a part of the walled city and was built during the years 1455-1461.

Istanbul: Half-Day Highlights Guided Tour

8. Istanbul: Half-Day Highlights Guided Tour

Discover the historic treasures of the Sultanahmet district and go to the Hagia Sofia to admire the Byzantine mosaics inside the 6th-century church built by the Emperor Justinian. Get up close to the Iznik tiles of the Blue Mosque, where the tomb of the sultan Ahmed I is located. Move on to the Hippodrome of Constantinople to see where the chariot races and political gatherings took place during the Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Wander amongst the stalls of the Grand Bazaar and haggle for bargain prices on jewelry, carpets, leather goods and antiques inside one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.

Byzantine Istanbul Half-Day Morning Tour

9. Byzantine Istanbul Half-Day Morning Tour

Take a half-day tour of Istanbul and explore it from the perspective of the Byzantine Empire. See ruins of Byzantine churches, the site of former Roman chariot races, and the magical alleys of the historic Grand Bazaar. Visit the Hippodrome, location for thrilling chariot races in the days of the Roman Empire. The track is now some 6.6 feet (2 meters) below ground, but has been marked on the paving of Sultan Ahmet Square. You will see the surviving obelisks, as well as the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the Byzantine German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Continue to Hagia Sophia, also known as “The Church of Holy Wisdom.” Undoubtedly one of the greatest architectural creations in the world, the temple was so richly decorated that Justinian proclaimed, “Solomon, I have surpassed you!" Your guide is an expert on Byzantine history, art, and architecture, and will describe important moments from the empire’s history as you continue to the iconic Blue Mosque. Named for its stunning decoration of Iznik tiles, you will also admire its slender minarets End your tour at the Grand Bazaar, the oldest and largest covered market in the world. Explore the alleys, where nearly 4,000 shops offer a superb selection of antiques, leather, evil eye trinkets, and Turkish rugs. Try out your haggling skills to see if you can bag a true Turkish bargain.

Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

10. 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.

Frequently asked questions about Sultanahmet Square Sightseeing Walking Tours

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Other Sightseeing Options in Sultanahmet Square

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What people are saying about Sultanahmet Square

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 520 reviews

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.

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!

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.