For the first time visitors to Istanbul it's always a good idea to see the highlights of the city during the first day of your visit for a good introduction accompanied by the stories of this stunning city blended with history, culture, mythology, geography and cuisine. We have tailored an itinerary covering all the must see places of Istanbul for you.
Our tour guide meets you at your hotel at 9:00 to begin your walking tour in the capital of three great empires. We start with the TOPKAPI PALACE, the former imperial residence from which the Great Ottoman Empire was ruled for nearly 400 years. Today a spectacular museum, it is famous for its collections of treasury of the Ottoman Royal Family. You will chase the memories of the sultans and the Ottoman Empire through 400 years of the most glorious victories, happiest moments, and mournful days.(The Harem is not included on the itinerary)
After the Palace we walk to HAGIA SOPHIA via a cobblestone road filled with old Ottoman houses. This 6th century church, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, welcomes you with its legends and mosaics. You will have a chance to touch the history of this church, a main attraction of the city since its construction.
After lunch in a local restaurant you will visit HIPODROME: The former center of sportive and political activities of Constantinople. You will be able to see the Obelisk from Egypt, Serpentine Column from Delphi and fountain of Willhelm II. Now it's time to see so famous Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultanahment Mosque. One of the biggest mosques and principal adornments of the Istanbul skyline, the Blue Mosque was built in the 17th century. Once inside the mosque, blue Iznik tiles and stained glasses will surround you. We continue with BASILICA CISTERN (in Tukish also known as Yerebatan Sarayı - "Sunken Palace"), is the largest of tens of ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city.
The final stop will be the GRAND BAZAAR the largest and the biggest covered market in the world. Our tour guide will provide the history of the Bazaar as well as some helpful tips on navigating its more than 4000 shops. We are ending the day after the market between 16:00-17:00.
This is the day we are exploring to different sides of Istanbul, Europe and Asia, in one day. Our tour guide will meet you at the hotel at 9:00am. Our first stop will be Spice Market with vendors selling spices, dried fruits, cheeses, sausages, jams, nuts, seeds, lokum (Turkish Delight) and other edibles. After the Market we will take a boat for the Bosphorus Cruise to see beautiful Asian and European coastlines of Istanbul. Bosphorus is a unique natural water strait both sides of which filled in Palaces, Yalis ( old Ottoman Houses), historical mosques and many other buildings and many neighbourhoods with their own unique cultures. After the cruise we visit Camlıca hill, the highest spot of Istanbul, offering one of the best panoramic views of Istanbul and Bosphorus. After having luch in a local restaurant we will cross the Bosphorus Bridge , unique chance to step from one continent (Asia) to another (Europe) you will see a sign which says '' Welcome to Europe''. Then we will visit one of the most beautiful districts of the city,Ortakoy, where you can take beautiful pictures and taste turkish coffe with the view of amazing Bosphorus. Now it's time to walk around Istiklal Street where locals hang out. While you are walking (1.2 km) your guide will explain the buildings around. The tour will end between 16:00-17:00pm at your hotel.
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel at 0900. Your first stop today will be the SULEYMANIYE Mosque. This mosque, constructed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan in 1557, is regarded as the most beautiful of all imperial mosques. In addition to the outside architecture, you will visit the tombs of the Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent and his wife Roxelana. Afterwards you will drive along the CITY WALLS of Constantinople stretching for 6.5 kilometers from the Golden Horn to the Sea of Marmara and commisioned by Emperor Theodosius II in the 5th century. We will continue by exploring to neighborhoods FENER and BALAT where you will enjoy the most authentic houses of Istanbul and many eastern Orthodox churches and also the Petriarchate of Orthodox Church.
Following lunch in a local restaurant you will continue to Eyup, one of the most important Pilgrimage places on earth for the Islamic World. Afterwards you may wish to stop for a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy the panoramic view of the Old City from the Coffee House of PIER LOTTI..
Your final stop of the day will be the DOLMABAHCE PALACE, which extends for 600 meters along the European coast of the Bosphorus. This palace, constructed between 1843 and 1858 by Sultan I Abdulmecit, contains eclectic elements from the Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical styles, blended with traditional Ottoman architecture to create a new synthesis. Dolmabahce has the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world, and one of the great staircases has balusters of Baccarat crystal. Your tour will end between 16:00-1700.
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