Why I love İstanbul
“Why do I love this city? Let me count the ways. I love the locals, who have an endless supply of hospitality and good humour at their disposal. I love the fact that when I walk down a city street, layers of history unfold before me. I love listening to the sound of the müezzins duelling from their minarets and I love seeing the sun set over the world's most beautiful skyline. I love the restaurants, the bars and the...” Read More
Top experiences in Istanbul
Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia
Start your day with a pickup from your European-side hotel or alternatively, meet your guide at a central meeting point. Before departing by coach, listen to a brief breakdown of your day. The sequence of your itinerary is subject to change, so certain attractions (as detailed below) may be visited in a different order. Lunch at a traditional restaurant is included halfway through the day; see the Itinerary for a sample menu.Head to the Blue Mosque to marvel at its six minarets and the thousands of Iznik tiles that cascade a sea of blue over the building’s interior. One of the finest examples of classical Ottoman architecture, the mosque was built at the bequest of Sultan Ahmet I who demanded a mosque to rival the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia.Both a church and a mosque in its past life, Hagia Sophia (or Aya Sofya) is now a UNESCO-listed museum that showcases Ottoman- and Byzantine-era artifacts. Browse the interior’s architecture and historical exhibits with your guide, and then continue to Topkapi Palace. Like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace now exists as one of Istanbul’s premier museums, home to a collection of ornamentation that once belonged to the city’s 15th-century sultans and harems.Continue through Istanbul Hippodrome, seeing the granite Egyptian obelisk that was gifted to the city, and hear how the site once represented the hub of the city’s sporting and political life. After stopping for photos, visit Basilica Cistern — Istanbul’s ‘sunken palace’ — a site that famously featured in the James Bond movie From Russia with Love. The site is one of the largest of the city's ancient cisterns that lie beneath the ground.The final attraction included in your tour is the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s most famous souks. Comprising nearly 60 streets and thousands more shops, the bazaar can be overwhelming. Let your guide introduce you to its colorful (if chaotic) highlights, and shop for jewelry, leather, pottery, spices and more.Your tour finishes with a drop-off at your European-side hotel or in central Istanbul.Please note: The Grand Bazaar will be closed on Sundays. Hagia Sophia will be closed on Mondays from (October 20, 2015). If your tour falls on any of these days, an alternate attraction (such as Chora Museum or another market) may be visited instead, Topkapi Palace (Closed on Tuesdays; will be replaced with Istanbul Archaeology Museum). You may visit the Basilica Cistern or Nakkas Cistern.
Istanbul Airport Private Arrival Transfer
Travel from Istanbul Ataturk or Sabiha Gokcen Airport to your Istanbul City Hotel. Transfer services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.When making a booking, you will need to advise your flight details and your Istanbul Hotel details. Your transfer will be confirmed instantaneously and you will be provided with a travel voucher to present to the driver.It's that easy!Price is per person, based on 6 adults per car/vehicle.
Istanbul Airport Private Departure Transfer
Travel from your Istanbul City Hotel to the Istanbul Ataturk or Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Transfer services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.When making a booking, you will need to advise your flight details and your Istanbul Hotel details. Your transfer will be confirmed instantaneously and you will be provided with a travel voucher to present to the driver. 24-48 hours prior to your transfer, you will be required to call the supplier directly (the contact number will be provided on your travel voucher) to reconfirm exact pick up times and places.It's that easy!Price is per person, based on 6 adults per car/vehicle.
Istanbul Shore Excursion: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour
Formally called Constantinople, Istanbul was the capital of the Roman Empire and Europe's wealthiest metropolis, and is now the largest city in Turkey.Blue Mosque:One of the most famous monuments in both the Turkish and Islamic worlds, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (also known as the Blue Mosque) is a superb creation in the classical Ottoman style. The mosque has six towering minarets and 260 windows illuminating its vast main chamber, which is decorated with more than 20,000 Iznik tiles.Hagia Sophia:Now a museum, Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century by the Emperor Justinian, and was one of the largest basilicas in the Christian world. After the Ottoman conquest, it was converted to a mosque and is today one of the most magnificent museums in the world. Take a moment to linger here to admire the fine Byzantine mosaics. (closed on Mondays from October 20, 2015)Topkapi Palace:The largest and oldest palace in the world, Topkapi is the crown jewel of the Ottoman Empire. With its treasury and exotic buildings overlooking the Golden Horn, your visit to Topkapi promises to be a truly fascinating experience. (closed on Tuesday)Grand Bazaar:In operation since the 14th century, the Grand Bazaar is one of the world's largest covered markets, with 58 streets and over 4,000 shops. The bazaar is specially known for its jewelry, leather, pottery, spices and carpets. (closed on Sunday additional time will be spent at the other locations)Worry-free Shore Excursion: We will ensure your timely return to the Istanbul port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.
Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
On this tour you will visit the following historic sites:Blue Mosque:Just across from the Hippodrome, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (also known as the Blue Mosque) is a superb creation in the classical Ottoman style. The mosque has six towering minarets and 260 windows illuminating its vast main chamber, which is decorated with more than 20,000 Iznik tiles.Hagia Sophia:One of the finest and largest architectural works of art in the world, this former basilica and mosque is now the Saint Sophia Museum. Many historians have nominated it as the 8th wonder of the world. Take a moment to linger here to admire the fine Byzantine mosaics.Underground Cistern or Nakkas Cistern:The Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayı), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. The cistern, located 500 feet (150m) southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.Topkapi Palace:The largest and oldest palace in the world, Topkapi is the crown jewel of the Ottoman Empire. With its treasury and exotic buildings overlooking the Golden Horn, your visit to Topkapi promises to be a truly fascinating experience. (Closed on Tuesdays; will be replaced with Istanbul Archaeology Museum)Hippodrome and Obelisk: The Hippodrome was once the heart of Constantinople’s political and sporting life, and the scene of games and riots through 500 years of Ottoman history. Today it is a city park called the Horse Grounds (At Meydanı) because of its function in Ottoman times. The Hippodrome includes the 3500-year-old Egyptian granite Obelisk, brought to Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius in 390 AD.Grand Bazaar:In operation since the 14th century, the Grand Bazaar is one of the world's largest covered markets, with 58 streets and over 4,000 shops. The bazaar is specially known for its jewelry, leather, pottery, spices and carpets. (Closed on Sundays; additional time will be spent at the other locations.) *On Mondays from (October 20, 2015) when Hagia Sophia is closed, this visit will be replaced with a similar museum.
Bosphorus Cruise and Istanbul's Egyptian Bazaar
Choose from a morning or afternoon tour, and then start your experience with a pickup from your European-side Istanbul hotel. As you travel through the city, sit back and relax as your onboard guide talks about Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar— your first destination of the tour. One of the city’s most colorful and bustling attractions, the market has operated since the 17th century and remains as popular with locals as it is with visitors. Hop out of your coach and head inside the market while breathing in its heady aromas of fragrant spices and herbs. Hear tips for interesting stalls to visit from your guide, and then enjoy roughly 45 minutes of free time to explore and shop at leisure. After shopping and sightseeing around the famous souk, travel by coach to the banks of the Bosphorus Strait for your cruise. Learn about the famous stretch of water that straddles both the Asian and European continents as you travel, and then board your sightseeing boat for the cruise.Take a seat out on deck or inside the cabin, and cruise past an impressive selection of Istanbul’s showpiece sights. Look out for Dolmabahçe Palace with its decadent façade as well as 15th-century Rumeli Hisarı Fortress and Beylerbeyi Palace where Ottoman-era sultans spent their summer vacations. Your route takes in sights on both the European and Asian shores and, in addition to Istanbul’s big-name attractions, the cruise also passes some of the city’s lesser-known gems: mosques, fortresses, palaces and more.Having admired the sights of the Bosphorus Strait from the water, return to land and finally finish your experience with a hotel drop-off.