5. Istanbul: 1, or 2 -Day Private City Guided Tour
Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this 1-3 day walking tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople.
A few of the possible attractions you'll visit on your tour include 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. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or "divine wisdom," it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture.
The Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque, has striking blue tiles that 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.
Topkapi Palace is a relic from the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace once 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.
The Hippodrome is 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. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from eight marble columns.
The Grand Bazaar is 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. 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 it 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, and from there, it's an interesting and scenic two-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area. See this and more depending on which length tour option you select.
Your guide will work with you to create an itinerary that suits you, leaving you satisfied that you have seen all of Istanbul.