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Private Tour: Istanbul Highlights and Nakkas Cistern

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    What to Expect
    Meet your expert guide at your Istanbul hotel and hop into your air-conditioned minivan for your private tour. Chat with your guide about any sights you want to see more or less of — as your tour is private, the itinerary can be customized around you.

    Start at the stunning Blue Mosque, a 17th-century mosque graced by beautiful domes and minarets, and famed for its 20,000 blue İznik tiles. Admire the ocean of blue of its interior and then visit the UNESCO-listed Hagia Sophia, the 6th-century church that was turned into a mosque before becoming a museum.

    Admire the soaring, mosaic-covered interior and then, after lunch at a traditional restaurant, head to the Topkapi Palace, seat of the Ottoman sultans for over 400 years. Enjoy a guided tour around its porcelain, jewelry and art collections, and learn about the Ottoman rulers who lived here.

    Next, visit the Nakkas Cistern, a hidden gem. Built in the 6th century, this underground vault once stored water for the city and is now used for private exhibitions.

    Descend into the gloomy underground vaults and immerse yourself in the current “Hippodrome” exhibition, an exploration of Istanbul’s ancient chariot-racing circuit that's set out amid the marble columns. View the 3D animations and replica statues that bring this now long-gone stadium back to life in vivid detail.

    Lastly, pay a visit to the captivating Grand Bazaar. Dating back to 1456, this vast, chaotic marketplace brims with more than 3,000 stalls selling rugs, jewelry, spices, antiques and other goods.

    Explore with your guide, get tips on haggling, and perhaps snap up some souvenirs (own expense). Finish at one of the bazaar’s best-known coffee roasters, Sark Kahvesi. Sip on a delicious, home-roasted blend as you learn about Turkey’s passion for coffee, and then return to your hotel where your tour finishes.
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