Golden Horn
Tours

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Our most recommended Golden Horn Tours

Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

1. 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.

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Istanbul: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour with Audio App

2. Istanbul: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour with Audio App

After finishing your busy day of sightseeing around Istanbul, you can relax on this 2-hour Golden Horn and Bosphoros cruise. You will meet your guide across from the Hagia Sophia, from where you will go together down to the pier behind the building. From there you will discover the Golden Horn, including the 32-kilometer-long Bosphorus which separates Europe and Asia. You will be able to see Istanbul’s main attractions, including magnificent palaces, ancient castles, and famous hills and parks, as well as spectacular seaside residences from different centuries. All of this sightseeing will of course include your passing under Istanbul's many famous bridges. You will pass by Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Ortaköy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Fortress and Beylerbeyi Palace. You will also get to see some historical landmarks from a distance, such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Maiden Tower, and Galata Tower. 

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Istanbul Scenic Half-Day Bosphorus Cruise

3. Istanbul Scenic Half-Day Bosphorus Cruise

Explore the spice bazaar, located next to New Mosque (Yeni Camii) in Eminonu. The unique bazaar evokes fantasies of the mystical East and is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and many other herbs and spices. Be driven along the Golden Horn and gaze at the historical heart of Istanbul and the principal harbor of the Byzantium and Ottoman periods for hundreds of years. Enjoy snacks and refreshments at Cafe Pierre Loti, a quaint cafe at the end of the Bosphorus with a beautiful view of the Golden Horn that was named after the famous French writer Pierre Loti. After this you will gain an entirely different perspective of the Golden Horn whilst driving down from the nearby hill with the Cable Car. Relax on a cruise along the great Bosphorus river which separates Asia and Europe. This voyage enables you to see the delightfully surprising mixture of past and present, Asian and European influences, grand splendor and simple beauty.

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Sapanca Lake and Masukiye Full-Day Tour from Istanbul

4. Sapanca Lake and Masukiye Full-Day Tour from Istanbul

Enjoy a full-day tour away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul on a day trip to the Gulf of Izmit and the freshwater lake of Lake Sapanca. Following a pick-up from your hotels in the city center, transfer to Lake Sapanca for a walk in nature. Located on a tectonic hole, between Izmit Bay and the Adapazari Meadow, Lake Sapanca is known for its scenic beauty. Continue to the picturesque village of Masukiye to enjoy lunch under a canopy of trees. Then, drive to a waterfall before climbing Kartepe Mountain. Hike in the mountains, or take the ski lift if you prefer. Discover a popular area for picnics in summer and ski breaks in the winter. Transfer back to your hotel in Istanbul for the end of tour services.

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Istanbul: Old Town Tour and Bosphorus Lunch Cruise

5. Istanbul: Old Town Tour and Bosphorus Lunch Cruise

After being transferred from your city center hotel between 8:30AM and 9:00AM, you will travel with your private guide to the Old City of İstanbul. Your tour will then begin with a guided tour of the Hippodrome, the Obelisk of Theodisius and the German Fountain. You will then proceed to the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque), also known as the Sultan Ahmet Camii (or Sultan Ahmed Mosque). This breath-taking building is one of the most majestic Ottoman mosques in all of Turkey. Following this mosque, you will head to Haigha Sophia. Often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya in Turkish) in Sultanahmet is easily one of Istanbul's most impressive sights. It also has one of the most turbulent histories of any museum in the world. To find out why, it's best to delve back through its previous incarnations with your guide. You will then have lunch on a private yacht while experiencing a Bosphorus Cruise. Places you will see from the Bosphorus while having your lunch will include the Dolmabahçe Palace (the main administration center of the Ottoman Empire), the Çıragan Palace, the Ortakoy Mosque, the Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Castle, and the Golden Horn. Your menu during this cruise will consist of 10 kinds of cold starters, a hot starter, a fresh seasonal Salad, a main course (grilled fish, chicken or meatballs with rice and garlic), fresh seasonal fruits, soft drinks and hot drinks. At the conclusion of the tour, you will be transferred to your hotel or anywhere of your choosing in the city center.

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Istanbul Dinner Cruise with Sema Ceremony

6. Istanbul Dinner Cruise with Sema Ceremony

Climb aboard a Bosphorus cruise boat and see Istanbul at sunset, while feasting from an open buffet dinner. Even if you have already been on a day cruise of the Bosphorus, seeing Istanbul with its evening illuminations reflected in the water is an unforgettable experience. Following a transfer from your city center hotel to the Golden Horn, board your boat and set sail to marvel at the Old City to the north. Sail through the legendary Bosphorus Straits for breathtaking views of some of the palaces and gardens lined along the banks. Feast from the on board open buffet as you enjoy live entertainment of typical Turkish songs and folk dances, such as the asuk-masuk, and kolbasti dances. The buffet includes delicious hors d’oeuvres, chicken shish, fish,, fresh fruit, and unlimited non-alcoholic drinks. Dance the rest of the night away or just sit back and relax, as your cruise back to the harbor for around Midnight.

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Istanbul: Bus and Boat City Tour

7. Istanbul: Bus and Boat City Tour

Discover the best of Istanbul with a combination package that includes a panoramic city tour and a boat tour from the Bosphorus. This ticket is valid for 1 day, during which you can join the tours as often as you’d like at the available times. You are free to join the tours on the same day within the ticket time limit. Istanbul Panoramic City Tour:On the 90-minute sightseeing tour, you will witness stunning panoramic views of the city as you pass Galata Bridge, where you can see the iconic Galata Tower and the majestic Dolmabahce Palace. During the tour, listen to fascinating stories from your live guide on Byzantine and Ottoman times when you pass by Taksim Square, Golden Horn, the Historical Peninsula, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and much more. Bosphorus Boat Tour:Sit back and relax as the 90-minute boat tour takes you to the Asian and European shores. Enjoy the beautiful skyline as you pass historical sites, palaces, fortresses, and the Bosphorus bridges, becoming fully enchanted by the scenery. Witness famous sights of Istanbul from the historical waterway and cruise along the famous Bosphorus, which separates Europe and Asia.

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Istanbul: Half-Day Cruise and Bus Tour with Lunch

8. Istanbul: Half-Day Cruise and Bus Tour with Lunch

Explore Istanbul in 3 fascinating ways on this action-packed, 3.5- to 4-hour sightseeing tour by boat, then grab lunch in Sultanahmet. Take an amazing cruise between the 2 continents of Europe and Asia. Sail along the Bosphorus by the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi Palaces, wooden villas and mansions, all the way up to the Rumeli Fortress near the Black Sea. See imposing Rumeli Fortress, Yildiz Palace, and wooden Ottoman houses. Then head back to shore to wonder at the ancient City Walls, iron-paneled St Stephen's Church, and colorful former-Jewish district on a bus tour to the Golden Horn. Finish with a memorable experience in Istanbul's iconic old city, Sultanahmet. Settle in for a delicious lunch.

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Istanbul: Full-Day Tour with Dolmabahce & Bosphorus Cruise

9. Istanbul: Full-Day Tour with Dolmabahce & Bosphorus Cruise

Get a comprehensive overview of Istanbul on this full-day tour of the city by coach, boat, and cable car. Perfect for those who aim to get a sense of what makes Istanbul unique, this full-day exploration gives a varied tour of the city. It will reveal a mixture of Eastern and European influences that makes the city so unique. First, get picked up from your hotel by bus and driven along the length of the Golden Horn, the historic water that divides Istanbul. Take in the sites of the historic city center and the main port, dating back to the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. Then, travel to the top of Pierre Loti Hill by cable car, and admire panoramic views of the city as you drink coffee at the famous Pierre Loti Café, named after the French novelist who spent much of his time there.  Next, experience the splendor of Istanbul from the water. In the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Bosphorus and take in the grand spectacle of the city’s houses and palaces from the river. Finally, enjoy a tour of Dolmabahce Palace, home to the last of the Ottoman Sultans. Admire one of the most glamorous palaces in the world, once the administrative heart of the Ottoman Empire.

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Istanbul: Full-Day Golden Horn & Bosphorus Tour

10. Istanbul: Full-Day Golden Horn & Bosphorus Tour

Begin this full-day excursion with a stroll around Pierre Loti Hill. Hop-on a cable car and let it take you to another world where the ancient Byzantine walls of Constantinople, the Chora Church and the Castle of Seven Towers await. Learn about the history of this centuries-old metropolis and how it functioned as both the capital of the eastern Roman Empire and as the head of the Ottoman Empire.  Then, board the boat and cruise around the Bosphorus Strait which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea and separates Europe and Asia, making Istanbul one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the only one built astride two continents. This romantic cruise along the Bosphorus will allow you to admire the Dolmabahce Plalace, the Beylerbeyi Palace, the Ciragan Palace and the Rumeli Fortress, ancient wooden villas, bridges and all the wonderful and unique maritime landscapes.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Golden Horn

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What people are saying about Golden Horn

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 752 reviews

We really enjoyed our trip together with Ahmet, our tour guide. He is very knowledgeable of the sites and the history behind these sites. I personally became really interested about the Ottoman empire because of his stories. He also recommended a nice place to eat - the food is very delicious. This activity is highly recommended :).

In my life I have visited several places in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Istanbul immediately won me over by being among my 5 most beautiful cities I have ever visited. A melting pot of cultures and traditions. It releases a unique and magnetic energy. W Istanbul

MR. Shaban the tour guide was very knowledgeable and made our experience very enjoyable with his story telling . He is professional , punctual, courteous and most importantly very passionate about Istanbul and it’s history.

Fantastic day with Çağlar in Italian. Tour at Aya Sofia and Sulejmani mosque with interesting explanations and anecdotes. Saw the Grand Bazaar It helped us a lot to orient ourselves and what to do in Istanbul. Optimal!

Numan is a great guide! He's very pleasant, knowledgeable and flexible. He accommodated to our interests and thanks to him our stay in Istanbul was wonderful