Start your full-day Istanbul tour with a pickup from your old city hotel or an optional pickup (additional cost) from hotels in other parts of the city. Then, set out to explore while learning about Istanbul’s history during the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires.
Visit the Hagia Sophia, the one-time Christian basilica built by the Emperor Justinian in 537 AD. Converted into a mosque in 1453, this architectural showpiece became a museum in 1935. Marvel at the glorious interior, a vision of rich decoration ablaze with Byzantine mosaics.
Next, walk to the Blue Mosque. Admire the six minarets of this 1609 masterpiece, and step inside to see its 20,000 hand-painted blue Iznik tiles.
Stop to see the Hippodrome, the former horse-racing, sporting and social center of Constantinople. Then, after an included lunch, explore the Topkapi Palace, home to the Ottoman sultans for 400 years. Wander the gilded chambers and courtyards and admire the treasures on show, from weapons to precious manuscripts.
Lastly, visit the chaotic Grand Bazaar, the world’s largest covered market. Trawl the stalls for antiques, gold or souvenirs, and get haggling tips from your guide.
Your tour then concludes with a hotel drop-off.
Please Note: The Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays, the Topkapi Palace on Tuesdays, and the Grand Bazaar on Sundays. On these days, replacement visits will be made to other sights.