2. Istanbul: Guided City Highlights Day Trip
After being picked up from your hotel, meet your guide and embark on a full day tour of Istanbul's main landmarks and historical sites. Start with a trip to the Hagia Sophia Museum. Discover how for many centuries, the Hagia Sophia was the largest church in the world, and still boasts the 4th largest dome in the world as one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture.
Next, head over to the Topkapi Palace Museum, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. Discover how 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 into the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions.
Continue the tour with a visit to the Hippodrome, a former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Witness the 3 remaining monuments from the original building, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns.
After this, make a stop at the Blue Mosque, more officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque. Admire the striking blue tiles which give the mosque 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.
Finally, take a stroll through the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handicraft 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.