Istanbul
Food & Drinks

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Our most recommended Istanbul Food & Drinks

The Whirling Dervishes Show at the HodjaPasha Culture Center

1. The Whirling Dervishes Show at the HodjaPasha Culture Center

Enjoy the Mevlevi Sema ceremony at the HodjaPasha Culture Center in central Istanbul and witness the miracle of the whirling dances and dervishes. Dating back 800 years, the show represents in thrilling fashion the idea that everything in the universe, from atoms to the solar system, to the blood that circulates in the body, revolves. Sema is a spiritual journey that the soul makes to God as it becomes mature and attains unity. After the journey, it returns to its life and serves humankind again. This thrilling program begins with a classical Turkish music concert, followed by the Sema ceremony, comprised of 7 parts. Watch in wonder as the whirling dervishes and sheikh take their place and praise the Prophet Mohammed. Following the chant, a drum voice is heard and all 7 parts unfold, - the ceremony climaxes when the extraordinary whirling dervishes revolve to represent the birth of humanity. The Sema ends with a Fâtiha for the souls of all prophets, martyrs, and believers, and a prayer for the salvation of the country. Chosen as the best authentic local event in 2010 by the Federation of Tourist Guides in Turkey, this fantastic show takes place in the fantastic HodjaPasha Culture Center, which is a restored 550-year-old Ottoman Turkish bath in Sultanahmet-Sirkeci.

Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht

2. Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht

Sunset on the water is an amazing way to end your cruise experience and an equally amazing way to start your evening. Whether it is to impress that special someone with a picture-perfect moment or just to appreciate a great time with great friends, a sunset cruise is something everyone will remember.  Few places in the world are as mesmerizing as Istanbul in the setting sun. Aboard an elegant yacht, drinking traditional Turkish drinks, and nibbling on canapés and fruit from tastefully arranged platters, glide by palaces and minarets as you sail along the Bosphorus.  When dusk sets in, a soothing breeze arrives from the Sea of Marmara and the sky over the city puts on a colorful show, tinted with shades of orange and rose. The muezzin calls from a towering minaret. Majestic palaces and villas standstill along the strait’s banks, as if nothing has changed over a millennium. Breathe in the legacy of ancient Byzantium, Constantinople, and the mighty Ottoman Empire with each breath of fresh salty air. Kick back and ride gentle waves in the comfort of a yacht. Watch the city and its iconic landmarks pass by, which is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. The tour starts at Kabatas Pier and ends at Karakoy Pier.

Istanbul: Bosphorus Night Dinner Cruise

3. Istanbul: Bosphorus Night Dinner Cruise

You will be picked up from your hotel between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM and taken to the cruise ship in the Bosphorus Strait. Once you board the ship you will sail up the Bosphorus, the waterway between Europe and Asia, passing under the suspension bridges and viewing Ottoman summer palaces, waterside mansions and modern villas which line the European and Asian coasts. When you board enjoy a welcome cocktail before dinner as well as ten different cold starters. For dinner, you will be served a fresh seasonal salad before your main. You will have three options for dinner: grilled fish with scallion garden rocket mashed potatoes, and lemon, or grilled chicken steak with rick and mashed potatoes, or grilled meatballs with rice and mashed potatoes. Throughout dinner, you will be able to enjoy unlimited non-alcoholic local (or optional unlimited alcoholic) drinks. After your entree, you will be served dessert and can enjoy coffee or tea.  Onboard you will not only enjoy dinner and the stunning views of the city but have plenty of entertainment. There will be an Anatolian folk team onboard and you will get to watch a traditional Turkish musical performance known as Katibim. You will also get to watch a performance by two male dancers known as Asuk Masuk, and belly dancers perform. You will also get to enjoy live music onboard, as well as a Turkish Romany dance and a dance party. After taking in the sights, enjoying dinner and watching the shows you will be taken back to your hotel at midnight.

Turkish Dance Tickets at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre

4. Turkish Dance Tickets at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre

Delve into the oriental night as you watch this Turkish dance performance. Be enticed by Turkish folklore dances from different regions of Anatolia performed by professional dancers, blended with modern choreography, stunning costumes, and live music. Enjoy the intimate and authentic atmosphere of this evening show inside the Hodjapasha Cultural Centre, situated within the ancient construction of the Hodjapasha Hamam: a restored 550-year-old Ottoman bath. Admire the original architecture of the building and discover the Dervish exhibition, presented in the foyer area.

Istanbul: Dinner Cruise & Entertainment with Private Table

5. Istanbul: Dinner Cruise & Entertainment with Private Table

Climb aboard a pleasure boat for a luxurious cruise along the Bosphorus Strait, while dining from a 3-course menu of Turkish meze and local drinks. Sail past some of Istanbul's greatest monuments, while watching traditional entertainment along the way. Following a pick-up from your hotel, transfer to the yacht for the start of your journey. Get a welcome cocktail on deck as you begin to sail as far as the Black Sea. Cruise between Europe and Asia, passing under the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge. See the summer palaces of the Ottoman sultans, such as Dolmabahçe Palace, Çırağan Palace, and Beylerbeyi Palace. Admire the grand Ottoman fortifications of Rumeli Castle and Anatolian Castle. Soak up some of Istanbul’s legendary nightlife as you pass famous nightclubs, such as Reina and Sortie. Marvel at the waterside mansions and villas that line the European and Asian coasts. As you feast on a meal of typical meze dishes and mains, watch live folk dances from different regions of Turkey. Be seduced by the sensual moves of a belly dancer, and relax to international music by the on-board DJ. Back on dry land, enjoy a free shuttle transfer back to your hotel.

Istanbul Bosphorus Sunset Cruise with Wine on a Luxury Yacht

6. Istanbul Bosphorus Sunset Cruise with Wine on a Luxury Yacht

See Istanbul landmarks, hear thousand-year-old stories, and awe at the sunset with snacks and a glass of wine. Avoid the crowds on this safe and luxurious yacht with an experienced captain and crew. Numbers are limited to a maximum of 15 guests, so this will be a semi-private experience to remember. Board from the European side of Istanbul and be welcomed by a licensed guide. They will accompany the tour with fascinating facts about Istanbul's history, and the outstanding sites you will see. Relax as you see famous landmarks like the Dolmabahce Palace, Ortakoy Mosque and the vibrant district of Uskudar. Enjoy the sights of the city's Euoprean and Asians sides you sail the famous Bosphorus Strait. Sit back and relax as you are served traditional Turkish snacks. Take in a famous Bospherous sunset while enjoying fruit and a glass of Turkish wine.

From Istanbul: Best of Turkey 8 Days, 7 Nights Guided Tour

7. From Istanbul: Best of Turkey 8 Days, 7 Nights Guided Tour

Day 1: Arrival in Istanbul Be picked up from the arrivals terminal at Istanbul or Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Be transferred to your accommodation and enjoy some time to relax in the city after your journey.  Day 2: Full-Day Istanbul Tour (Breakfast) Start with pickup from your accommodation and discover the highlights of Istanbul on a guided tour. Visit the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Hippodrome, where chariot races and the Byzantine riots took place. Visit the Grand Bazaar for some shopping and bargain hunting. Be returned to your hotel at the end of the day and spend a second night in Istanbul. Day 3: Istanbul to Cappadocia by flight – Cappadocia Tour (Breakfast – Dinner) Begin the third day with an early-morning pickup and transfer to Istanbul airport for your flight to the Cappadocia region. Upon arrival in Cappadocia, your tour guide will meet you at the airport. Start by visiting the Three Sisters Fairy Chimneys in Urgup which are the iconic symbol for the region. Descend into the Kaymakli underground city, which is one of the largest and the deepest of its kind in the region. After the tour, be transferred to your hotel for the night. Day 4: Full-Day Cappadocia Tour (Breakfast – Dinner) Discover the lunar-like landscape of Cappadocia with spectacular rock formations in the Devrent Valley. Enjoy lunch in Avanos, a center of terracotta artwork since 3000 BC. Watch a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. In the afternoon, visit the Goreme Open Air Museum and Uchisar Rock Castle to get a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia. After the tour, be returned to your hotel. Day 5: Cappadocia – Konya – Pamukkale (Breakfast – Dinner) Begin the journey to Pamukkale early in the morning. On the way, visit the Seljukian masterpiece of Sultanhan Caravanserai, built in the 13th century. Arrive in Konya and visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana, the world-famous mystic. Continue the journey to Pamukkale and enjoy an overnight stay in a Thermal Hotel. Enjoy a swim in the hotel's rejuvenating thermal pools. Day 6: Pamukkale – Kusadasi (Breakfast – Dinner) In the morning, visit the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis known for its Theater, Apollo Temple, and magnificent Necropolis. Travel onwards to Kusadasi for an overnight stay. Day 7: Kusadasi – Ephesus – Istanbul by flight (Breakfast) Depart from Kusadasi and visit the Artemis Temple which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Continue to the famous Grand Theater of Ephesus. After Ephesus, visit the Catholic shrine of the House of the Virgin Mary. Located on the Aladag Mountains 5 miles from Ephesus, it is said that the Virgin Mary lived here for the remainder of her life after Christ's Ascension into heaven. Then drive to Izmir airport for your flight back to Istanbul. Upon your return to Istanbul, meet a representative of the local partner and be transferred to your hotel for the night.  Day 8: Departure from Istanbul (Breakfast) After breakfast, check out from your hotel and enjoy a private transfer to Istanbul airport for your flight back home to complete the 8-day excursion.

Istanbul: Bosphorus Boat Cruise with Dinner & Entertainment

8. Istanbul: Bosphorus Boat Cruise with Dinner & Entertainment

Your tour begins with pickup at your Istanbul hotel between 19:00 and 20:00. When you board the cruise ship you’ll enjoy a complimentary welcome drink that you can enjoy along with the live music. Relax and get ready to enjoy an evening cruising along the Bosphorus Strait. Your cruise follows a route that passes historical sites, including Ottoman palaces, and stunning bridges illuminated by night. For dinner, you can choose from a fish or meat main course on a menu that features 3 courses. While you enjoy your meal you’ll be entertained by traditional belly dancing, a henna ceremony, a Romany dance, folk dancing, a live DJ, and an asuk-masuk show. You’ll be picked up and transferred back to your hotel, arriving by midnight.

Full-Day Private Pamukkale and Hierapolis Tour from Istanbul

9. Full-Day Private Pamukkale and Hierapolis Tour from Istanbul

After being picked up between 5:00 AM and 5:30 AM from your hotel in Istanbul, you will be driven to the airport where you will catch a flight to Denizli. Meet your private guide in Denizli and make your first visit to Pamukkale.  The beautiful white cascades of Pamukkale is well worth a trip to see eye candy of a natural site. Walk through Pamukkale and find a chance to relax in the hot waters of the ancient pool. Built just above the hot spring waters of Pamukkale, Hierapolis is a mighty ancient city and a UNESCO world heritage site. Hierapolis was built in the 2nd century B.C. by the King of Pergamon and became a Roman city. The city was famous for several important sanctuaries and also as an important trade center. Hierapolis was famous for purple dye and cloth making and it is still famous for textile products. Afterwards, drive back to Denizli airport to make your flight back to Istanbul. The Istanbul tour guide will met you at the Istanbul airport and transfer you to your hotel in Istanbul.

Istanbul Lunch Cruise on Bosphorus and Black Sea

10. Istanbul Lunch Cruise on Bosphorus and Black Sea

Climb aboard a pleasure boat and forget your worries as you enjoy a relaxing half-day cruise down the Bosphorus Strait. Marvel at the views of beautiful Ottoman-era mansions and the minarets of the city mosques as you sit down to a lunch of grilled chicken and typical meze dishes. Go for a stroll on deck to soak up the sun and see the many famous sights that line both coastlines, such as Galata Tower and the immense Bosphorus Bridge that connects Asia and Europe. Sail to the Black Sea, and then make your way to the small coastal town of Anadolu Kavagi. Drop anchor and enjoy a walk in the lush hills of the surrounding area. See the ruins of a medieval fortress and other landmarks before the cruise back to Istanbul in the late afternoon. 

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Other Sightseeing Options in Istanbul

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What people are saying about Istanbul

Our guide was great! Such extensive knowledge about the Anzac wars and perfect stopping points to see key landmarks. For a day trip, it is a loooong day because Gallipoli is about 4-5 hours out of Istanbul. If you don’t mind the long travel, this is such a great trip!!

Great tour with a chance to try lots of food not in the 'typical' Turkish menus on the European side. Our guide also gave us a lot if history alongside the foods we were eating. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a good food tour while in Istanbul.

I recommend that you get to the Center earlier than 15 minutes prior to the show. It began to get really crowded. The Center is not that big. However, it was very smooth getting our tickets via Get Your Guide, and we had front row seating!

Excellent experience . Shows were great. Great views of the Bosporus. Pick up and drop service was smooth . Highly recommended

Foarte punctuali. Au venit la fix sa ne ia de la hotel. Foarte bine organizați. Recomand.