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“One of the liveliest places you could ever hope to see!”

Sultanahmet District
Book In Advance
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$100.00*
and up
Istanbul Small-Group, 1-Day Walking Tour including Hagia Sophia
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$39.90*
and up
Morning Tour of Istanbul Old Town
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$41.69*
and up
Classic Walking Tour of Old Istanbul
Ranked #4 of 1,063 things to do in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The old section of Istanbul where you can find many attractions including Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque.
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“One of the liveliest places you could ever hope to see!”
Reviewed December 28, 2012

We were in Istanbul in the first few days of December this year and, despite ministrations from well-meaning friends that Turkey was hardly the place to go to at this time of the year, fell in love with this charming city the moment we walked out of the Ataturk airport. It is a place where the ancient and the modern co-exist in perfect harmony. The Sultanahmet district more than any other part of Istanbul best embodies this symmetry. All the major historical sights of Istanbul lie within a radius of three-fourths of a kilometre of Sultanahmet Square, Istanbul's crown jewel. The wide open spaces, the quaint palm trees lining the perfectly--paved walkways, the many-coloured fountains that light up the square after sunset, and the stunning view of Hagia Sophia looming from behind these fountains -- and yes, the carts selling freshly-roasted chestnuts and vanilla-flavoured teas, together make an hour spent here in the evening a memorable experience, relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. We sat there the first evening, after visiting the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern-- and could not help coming back to it every evening we were there. Yes, there are vendors goimg about trying to sell their wares, and tour operators inviting you to book a trip on one of their excursions-- but each one of them has the innate tact and courtesy that distinguishes practically everybody in Istanbul from people in other metros in most parts of the world: they never hard-sell their stuff , never get on your nerves and always take a 'no' with a polite smile. The Square is a perfectly safe place too, and my daughter and I happen to have walked in the deserted Square well after ten on a windy winter night , never feeling insecure or threatened. That night we were privileged to see something truly extra-ordinary: high up in the sky on the full-moon night, a flock of seagulls was going round and round one of the Mosque's brightly-lit, tall turrets, their white bodies beautifully complementing the blue sky and the reddish-brown light from the turret. I will not forget Sultanahmet in a hurry!

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank basuanjan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Kuwait City, Kuwait
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Sultanahmet”
Reviewed December 26, 2012

Very enjoyable. Had lots of fun. it is the heart of istanbul and the original city. Contains all the important sightseeings nearby.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank hanamakhlouf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dunblane, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Too many touts”
Reviewed December 26, 2012

Istanbul has a load of great historical sites and wonderful mosques to see, however the locals are aware of this and even off peak in December, the Hippodrome was full of touts trying to sell books, beads, etc, And if you say "No" to one tout the others dont get the message and will try and sell their books to you. Also watch out for Taxi drivers on the make with fake 50TL notes and literally taking the tourist route, ask the Four Seasons (or other good hotel) to call a Taxi and those drivers seem trustworthy. Also watch out for fake tourists/locals who will ask you take their picture and then offer to treat you to some Turkish Tea as they will try and take you to a leather, carpet shops or a fish restaurant. Great sights but Istanbul police need crack down on these touts.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank Alastair M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Catania, Italy
Level 6 Contributor
154 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“strolling”
Reviewed December 26, 2012

just let yourself stroll around and enjoy the streets, a visit to a coffe shop and dont miss the sweets!

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank roxanaurbini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Tourist traps”
Reviewed December 25, 2012

Simply stay away from all restaurants of Sulthanahmet...
If you've been ripped off, don't hesitate to go to the nearest tourist police station (next to the tourism office in Sulthanahmet) & complain... The Police is very friendly.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank Francois_GN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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