Meet your guide at your hotel for pickup for your city tour. Hop into a coach and head to the neighborhood of Sultanahmet which is brimming with Istanbul’s finest attractions. Enter the iconic Hagia Sophia which was originally constructed as a church, then converted to a mosque and is now a must visit museum. Gaze at its magnificent architecture built in the 6th century and learn about its Byzantine and Ottoman influences.
Next, follow your guide through Istanbul Hippodrome towards the Blue Mosque. On the way, see the epicenter of political and sporting activity during Ottoman Empire rule. Hear stories about the epic chariot races and riots that once took place here. Then, approach the Blue Mosque and marvel at the six towering minarets that outline Istanbul’s famous skyline. Continue into the mosque with your guide and admire its dome decorated with vibrant blue Iznik tiles which are connected to its etymology.
After leaving the Blue Mosque, stroll to the colorful and lively Grand Bazaar to witness this eclectic covered market. Explore frankincense-laden alleys with stalls and shops overflowing with Turkish rugs, intricate wares, and even tasty kebabs. Revel in the exciting atmosphere, but stay close to your guide as this hectic market can be difficult to maneuver.
Break for a bite to eat at a restaurant before you voyage by coach to one of the largest and oldest palaces the world has ever known - Topkapi Palace. One of Turkey’s most important museums, see ancient relics and elegant artifacts. Walk through the beautiful courtyards that overlook the Bosphorus Strait and hear lore about sultans and the harems they once operated 500 years ago. Exit the palace and return by coach to your hotel where your tour ends.
Please note: Blue Mosque will be visited from outside on Friday mornings due to noon prayer. Grand Bazaar on Sundays will be replaced with authentic shops. Topkapı Palace on Tuesdays will be replaced with a tour to Byzantium, and Sultan Tombs on Mondays will be replaced with Little Hagia Sophia (St. Sergius & Bacchus). Hagia Sophia (Closed on Mondays; will be replaced with Undergournd Cistern).