Things to do in
Spice Bazaar, Istanbul

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Spice Bazaar, Istanbul: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

1. Istanbul: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

See all the sights of Istanbul on this hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. Choose between flexible Classic and Premium tickets. Save money with a family ticket and take the kids to child-friendly sites such as the Dolphinarium or the Miniatürk model village, where Turkey’s most important monuments are recreated in miniature. You will have access to 2 routes. Buses come regularly and frequently on both routes. Informative recorded commentary is available in 8 different languages, including English, Turkish, Arabic, Russian, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Complimentary earphones are provided. Jump off at any of the stops on the Red Route and see architecture from the Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Cross the Bosphorus Bridge to Asia to see the Beylerbeyi Palace and watch all the activity of the Bosphorus Straits. Marvel at the old city wall of Constantinople and the Roman Aqueduct on the Golden Horn/Blue Route, which also includes the iconic Blue Mosque. The City Tour (Red) Route: • Sultanahmet Square • Galata Bridge • Tophane • Port • Dolmabahçe • Naval Museum • Beylerbeyi Palace • Akaretler / W Hotel • Taksim Square • Egyptian Spice Bazaar Golden Horn/Blue Route: • Sultanahmet Square • Galata Bridge • Patriarchate • Cable Car • Dolphinarium • Miniatürk • Transport Museum / Rahmi Koç Museum • Egyptian Spice Bazaar

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

2. 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 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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Bosphorus Cruise and Dolmabahçe Palace Tour Full Day

4. Bosphorus Cruise and Dolmabahçe Palace Tour Full Day

Embark on a journey of historical discovery with this one-day tour of Bosphorus and Dolmabahce Place. Experience the majesty of one of the grandest palaces on earth, as well as first-hand history and culture of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. Start your tour with a narrated walk through the Spice Bazaar of Istanbul. Then take a leisurely 90-minute cruise, fully narrated by a professional tour guide. From here you can see the city from the unique point of view of the Bosphorus and get perfect photo opportunities with such landmarks as Leanders Tower and Rumell Hisari Fortress. After a relaxing lunch, you will move on to Dolmabahce Palace. With 285 rooms, 6 baths (hamam), 68 toilets and a ceiling made of 14 tons of gold, this is truly a sight to behold. With strong French influences as well as the richness of the East, this is a must-see on any tour. Expert guides will take you through the most fascinating aspects of the palace, and answer any questions you may have on 19th century Ottoman history. Enjoy a journey of discovery through the stories, myths and great works of art related to this special place. Including religious sites such as Dolmabahce Mosque, this one day tour covers the full range of culture, history, and art of Istanbul in a relaxed, informative environment.

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Bosphorus Tour With Lunch

5. 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.

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Istanbul: Bus and Boat City Tour

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

7. 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.

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Istanbul Food on Foot Tour

8. Istanbul Food on Foot Tour

On this guided walking food tour you will travel around Eminonu, its intricate alleyways and hidden corners and go off the beaten paths while eating and enjoying most of delicious food tastings. With this culinary walk, you will visit bakeries, pastry shops and Turkish pizza restaurants as well as eating a bowl of traditional soup; sharing Turkish-style breakfast with a black tea; tasting a freshly baked bagel; stopping by a local restaurant for sampling an authentic Turkish pizza; or finding some artisan’s shops to visit and mingle with locals picking up their daily products from the markets in a labyrinth of streets. It will be all about real people, real food, and real places. A visit to the Spice Market followed by Asian part of Istanbul. This indoor market features shops offering a variety of spices, flavored teas, Turkish delight, and nuts, as well as ceramics, household goods, small souvenirs, and more. As soon as you enter, you’ll marvel at the colors and aromas of Turkish food offerings.

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Private Flexible Tour Through Istanbul: Guide Only

9. Private Flexible Tour Through Istanbul: Guide Only

Hire a professional tour guide to take you where you want in Istanbul. During the full-day excursion you can discover Istanbul by visiting places from a sample itinerary, or choose your own route. Following a hotel pick-up at approximately 09:00, your guide, who will speak the language of your choice, will lead you through the city’s iconic districts to landmarks such as the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and Hagia Sophia. Along the way they will provide you with interesting facts about the landmarks you visit. You can take a relaxing cruise on the Bosphorus, the famous body of water that separates Europe from Asia. Soak up the bustling atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar and shop for some unique souvenir gifts, or take in the scents and colors of the Spice Bazaar. Explore some of the lesser known sights, such as the Little Hagia Sophia Mosque, Fethiye Mosque, and New Mosque. Or get right to the heart of Istanbul at the vibrant Taksim Square, and learn about its long and diverse history at attractions such as Galata Tower. The choice is yours, and you can tour at your own pace, avoiding the waits that can sometimes occur during organized group tours.

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Half Day Morning Bosphorus Boat Tour with Spice Bazaar

10. Half Day Morning Bosphorus Boat Tour with Spice Bazaar

Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Market), built between 1597 and 1664, it is the second oldest covered bazaar in the city.You may find there many different aromas of various spices. The shops sell fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish and more.  After Spice Bazaar you will cruise on Bosphorus, where you will have opportunity to see the European and Asian side of Istanbul. The duration of the Bosphorus cruise is around 1.5 hours. Bosphorus Cruise, the Bosphorus strait 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, along with ancient wooden villas, bridges and all the wonderful and unique maritime landscapes.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Spice Bazaar, Istanbul

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What people are saying about Spice Bazaar, Istanbul

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 1,679 reviews

My guide Borek was excellent! Since I was the only one taking the tour that day he was able to show me so much of the food culture in Istanbul while walking! We had a great tour, through Taksim, the Spice Bazaar in the Old City and also crossed to the Asian side of Istanbul via ferry for lunch! We tried so many foods, and he is very knowledgeable and patient and made sure I got back to my hotel safely! I would recommend this tour to anyone coming to Istanbul! 5 stars! Keep it up!

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 :).

Outstanding 3 days with Semih as my guide to Istanbul, saw all the major sites, but also lots of places that I probably wouldn't have got to without a guide. Semih's had lots of information on each site, and I came away with a much better understanding of the history of the city. This was the best way to get to learn about the city

Spent a great day with a wonderful and informative guide named Furkan. Took a cruise along the incredible Bosphorus and tried some traditional dishes on the Asian side. Then finished up with a palace tour to see how the Sultans lived in the 19th century.

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!