1. Istanbul: Full-Day Small Group City Highlights Tour
Get to know some of the best sights of Instanbul with a local guide on this trip to Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Square, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar. Enjoy included pickup and drop-off and skip-the-line entry privileges. Start your day with pickup from your hotel, then hop in an air-conditioned vehicle and set off on your journey to see Istanbul’s greatest landmarks. First, head to Hagia Sophia, meaning divine wisdom. The Hagia Sophia was used as a church for 916 years and as a mosque for 481 years. In 1934, by the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it was converted into a museum and has since been open to visitors. Next, visit Topkapi Palace and enter inside. As well as being the imperial residence of the Sultan, this palace was also the seat of government for the ottoman empire. In 1924 it was converted into a museum. Today, it's famous for its harem, royal treasury, and holy relics sections. Continue to Hippodrome of Constantinople (Sultanahmet Square), built by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus in 203 A.D. During the Roman period, this square was the civil center for the people of the city where once 100,000 spectators could be held. Located in the heart of Sultanahmet surrounded by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace, today Hippodrome is home to the Egyptian Obelisk (Dikilitaş), the Serpentine Column (Burma Sütun), the Constantine Column, and the German Fountain. Next up on the itinerary is the Blue Mosque. This mosque was built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I in the year 1616 and is located opposite the Hagia Sophia. Today, the Blue Mosque is one of the most famous landmarks of the old city with its famous six minarets, dome, and blue tiles decorating the interior walls. Visit the Grand Bazaar. Featuring 18 entrances and more than 4000 shops, the Grand Bazaar is one of the greatest bazaars in the world. Stroll through the unique shops and experience the atmosphere of everyday local life. At the end of the tour, sit back and relax as you're driven back to your pickup location.