Spice Bazaar, Istanbul
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Our most recommended Spice Bazaar, Istanbul Tours

Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

1. Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

You will start at the old Hippodrome of Constantinople which was the sports and social center of the old city. Discover major works of art including the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the fountain of Willhelm II, constructed by the Germans. From there, continue to the Blue Mosque, whose six minarets are a key fixture of Istanbul’s skyline. Next, head for the Topkapi Palace, which was home to the Ottoman emperors between the 15th and 19th centuries. Marvel at the jewel-stuffed treasury and priceless displays of Oriental porcelain. Move on to the Hagia Sophia Mosque. Behold the dome and stunning Byzantine mosaics of this architectural gem as your guide recounts its turbulent history. Then visit the Grand Bazaar with over 3,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry to ceramics and leather goods. Also stroll around the Spice Bazaar with its incredible smell from almost every spice imaginable, as well as dried fruits and nuts, sweets and the ubiquitous Turkish Delight.

Bosphorus Tour With Lunch

2. Bosphorus Tour With Lunch

Istanbul is a city that inspires body and soul with its power. From the noise of the Grand Bazaar to the peaceful beauty of the Blue Mosque, no trip to Istanbul is complete without a view of this sprawling metropolis from the Bosphorus. On this cruise and two-continents tour, accompanied by your multilingual tour guide, you will be treated to several stops along this epic waterway, which divides Europe and Asia. After a short stop at the Spice Bazaar, head to Kabatas from where your ferry leaves at 10:30 AM and returns back around 12:00 PM. During this 1.5-hour cruise, you will see sights like Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Ciragan Palace and Rumeli Fortress, ancient wooden villas, 2 Bosporus bridges and maritime landscapes. After the Bosphorus cruise, you will be transfer to the restaurant. After a nice lunch, you will now jump continents and set sail for Asia. It’s time to head to Camlica Hill which offers perfect panoramic views of the city from almost 300 meters above sea level. The tour ends with a return to your hotel or cruise ship.

Istanbul Combo: Classic City Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

3. Istanbul Combo: Classic City Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

Meet your guide at your hotel or port and start the tour with the highlights of Istanbul. See the beautiful Hagia Sophia, admire the great blend of Christian and Islamic influences with beautiful interior of mosaics and significant history. Marvel at the Blue Mosque, a great monument of oriental architecture which houses 27,000 pieces of handmade blue tiles. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market are two colorful indoor bazaars and have lots of shops offering a variety of spices, rugs, purses, flavored teas, jackets, Turkish delight, nuts, as well as ceramics and small souvenirs. At the end of your tour, why not opt to take a cruise along the Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides, Galata Tower, Dolmabahce Palace, the Rumelian Fortress, old Ottoman villas, Bosphorus bridges, and mosques. Tickets can be bought on the spot and the cruise will take place in a public ferry (unless you book the Private Yacht option).

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

4. 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.

Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

5. Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

Your 5-hour guided walk begins in Sultanhamet, in the heart of the main tourist area of Istanbul. From here you’ll head to the Blue Mosque, where you’ll admire the 6 minarets and stunning tiles that were made in Iznik, the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire. Next your guide will tell you about Hagia Sophia and the Roxana Baths before continuing on to the ancient Hippodrome. Hear about the famous obelisk that was shipped from Egypt to the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius in 6th century A.D. Walk along the ancient roadway past the Ottoman Parliament House and then make your way to the Grand Bazaar. Marvel at the labyrinth of streets lined with textiles and most every other kind of product as well! You can learn the local art of bargaining here. Enjoy a stroll to the nearby Sahaflar Book Market, where books were printed for the first time during the Ottoman era. Learn about Islam and its holy book, the Koran. On the way to the Suleymaniye complex you’ll pass by the spectacular façade of Istanbul University and enter the Cagaloglu district, which is a shopping hub for locals that’s far from the main tourist attractions. Once you reach the Suleymaniye complex you’ll see the Turkish bath, the library, the madrasah, eateries, and the grand Suleymaniye Mosque that dominates the skyline along the Golden Horn. Learn about the history of the Mosque, named after the most famous and powerful of sultans, Suleyman the Magnificent. Your guide knows a great hidden teahouse here where you can drink çay (tea) and try a nargile (water pipe) with its intoxicating aroma and fruity flavors. After the break, you’ll continue on through the hidden streets of Istanbul. See local markets where products are made on site. Visit the hidden Rustem Pasha Mosque and admire its lovely tiles. Then it will be time to taste some baklava, a delicious Turkish dessert. Explore the spice market and see a mountain of Turkish spices, Turkish delight, and local handicrafts. From the Spice Bazaar you’ll take a walk so that you can appreciate the views of the picturesque Galata Bridge. Finally it’s time to relax for a delicious lunch of local specialties. After lunch your guide can tell you how to get back to your hotel and give you some advice on other things to do in your free time.

Istanbul: 6-Hour Highlights Tour

6. Istanbul: 6-Hour Highlights Tour

This is a fully guided tour inside the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Orient Express train station, Galata Bridge and Spice Bazaar. Along the way, stop to hear the stories of the Roman Hippodrome (including the Egyptian Obelisk and Serpent Column German Fountain), mausoleums of Ottoman sultans and Constantine’s Column. Learn about the famous Orient Express. Take a break for lunch and enjoy traditional Turkish cuisine in a friendly setting at a nontouristy restaurant where your gourmet guide will choose some memorable food for you. Please note the itinerary will change slightly on certain days due to changes in the opening hours. 

Istanbul: Golden Horn, Pier Loti Hill, and Bosphorus Cruise

7. Istanbul: Golden Horn, Pier Loti Hill, and Bosphorus Cruise

Your tour begins with a pick-up at your hotel and the drive to Pierre Loti Hill, where you’ll take a cable car to the top. Next you’ll see the highlights of Istanbul on a panoramic Golden Horn bus tour. Follow this with a 90-minute Bosphorus cruise, following along the shores and taking in many of Istanbul’s iconic sights. A guide on board will provide full commentary. Admire the views of Dolmabahçe Palace, Leanders Tower, the city’s 2 suspension bridges, Rumeli Hisarı Fortress, and the stunning mansions on the Bosphorus shores. Disembark near Istanbul’s famous Spice Bazaar for the transfer back to your hotel.

Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Istanbul Tour

8. Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Istanbul Tour

Explore Istanbul according to your own interests on a tailor-made sightseeing tour. A licensed guide will meet you in your hotel or port and work with you to create an itinerary that suits you best, leaving you satisfied that you have seen all of Istanbul. Marvel at monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, such as Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern on the first day. On day two, take the public ferry to Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides. From here, visit Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street and the spice market. Day three takes you on a walk through the streets of Fener-Balat neighboorhood. Enjoy a cable car ride and soak up views of Pierre Loti Hill, then visit Chora Church to see the mosaics and frescoes.

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.

Istanbul: 4-hour Turkish Shopping Experience

10. Istanbul: 4-hour Turkish Shopping Experience

From the ancient Grand Bazaar with over 3,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry, to ceramics and leather goods; to the Spice Bazaar with its incredible smell from almost every spice imaginable, as well as dried fruits and nuts, sweets and the ubiquitous Turkish Delight; it is mind blowing to the first time visitor. This is not helped by the traders shouting out and tempting you in with various offers, many of which will be quickly forgotten should you venture inside. This is a part of Turkish culture and trade, and very common in other countries where negotiating and barter is the norm. To the Westerner who is not used to this, it can be quite a daunting prospect and visitors sometimes fall prey to the more unscrupulous traders. To prevent this and to ensure a pleasurable and happy shopping experience your guide will bring you to the right places to make your purchases. Many of these can only be found on the backs streets outside the two bazaars, in places you would likely never find or enter by yourself. The whole Turkish culture and tradition of buying from recommended traders is still observed. You will be encouraged to: · sit and drink huge quantities of tea · talk about yourself · ask questions · look at a huge array of merchandise · negotiate, as no trader is happy if you just accept their first price This is part of the whole process, one where making friends is as important as the purchase itself. The one secret to negotiating is not trying to drive the price down to the absolute lowest possible point, as you have no idea what that is. Each trader will assess each customer differently on any given day. Mood will play its part as will how much they like you and get on with you, hence the reason for going through the sociable elements before buying. If you can’t agree on a price you are free to walk away but if you do you will leave with the comfort of knowing your purchase is genuine and not some back street fake. What to Buy Carpets/Kilim The Turkish carpet/kilim has a long history dating back hundreds of years. An original Turkish carpet is handmade using only natural fibres and dyes from plant extract. The process is long and slow and obviously the time taken to make one depends on how big it is. Smaller carpets, with their bright colours are quite often used to hang on walls just as you would with a picture. There are many different characteristics to the Turkish carpet, depending on where the material is from and this also influences the design and price. The carpet shops recommended by your guide will take time to explain everything to you and offer advice on what might be your best choice. Ceramics The production of Turkish ceramics dates back to the 15th Century and developed from the appreciation of Chinese porcelain by the Ottoman Sultans. Being unable to produce porcelain they manufactured fritware, which is a low-fired body comprised mainly of silica and glass. These ceramics are more commonly referred to as Iznik Pottery after the region where they were first produced and the real collector’s items are hand painted. Consequently no two pieces are ever the same. Your guide will only take you to the shops and markets selling authentic pieces. Jewellery With 500 years of Ottoman Rule and their desire for opulent jewelry, a whole industry is devoted to keeping the traditions alive with craftsmen passing their knowledge and skills on from one generation to another. The result is an abundance of unique pieces both for design and the gems which adorn them. On your tour you can have confidence in the designers and craftsmen, who will work with you in finding or creating your own unique family heirloom. Leather Turkey has a thriving leather industry offering bags, jackets, coats and trousers, but you have to be very careful as there are so many fakes on the market. That said you can buy exceptional quality leather goods at prices which are usually way below what you would normally pay in your home country. Your guide will only take you to the leather stores and factory outlets, which have a reputation for honest trading and no fakes.

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What people are saying about Spice Bazaar, Istanbul

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 823 reviews

Totally loved it. Very well planned and we had a great experience. Our guide Mr Baris was thorough with his knowledge about the places and ensured we had a great time. Also, would like to mention the hospitality and care we got on the trip after my mother fell while on the journey. We are extremely grateful of the team and Mr Baris for everything. Don’t miss this trip, it is awesome!!!

My guide (Musa) was exceptional and was very well versed in the history of Istanbul. He was very knowledgeable, friendly, and kind. I could not have asked for a better day-long tour in Istanbul. He was very open to customizing the tour based on my interests and made me feel very comfortable and at ease navigating Istanbul. Thank you so much, my friend!

Our guide was awesome! He spoke English really well and was really kind to give us a lot of interesting details about Turkey in general. The places he showed us were breath-taking! Thank you!

The tour was very nice but we suffer from traffic jams and wasted time. we got to the Spices Bazar late. Mev was sooo nice all day long and interested on our life. She was very professional.

Very informative, and Musa was an excellent guide!