Complete IstanbulThis tour involves one full day and one half-day tour conducted over your two-day visit in Istanbul, Turkey. Your program covers all of the city’s highlights and as well as a traditional Turkish lunch. This tour is designed to offer you a full time experience to get to know the city Istanbul from top to toe and will be conducted over two days.
You will begin your day with a drive over the Golden Horn towards the Old City. Your first stop will be the ancient Hippodrome. For over 1,000 years this was the center of Byzantium life. Afterwards, for another 400 years, it was the social center of the Ottoman Empire. The Hippodrome was the scene of countless political and military dramas, including the famous chariot races. The main monument left today is the impressive granite obelisk, carved in Egypt around 1,500 BC and brought to Constantinople in 390 AD.
Next you’ll visit St. Sophia Museum which originated as a church in 360 AD under Constantine. Hagia Sophia was converted into a Mosque when the city was conquered by the Ottomans in 1453 by Sultan Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Today the Museum is considered the most important Byzantine monument in the world.
Mosque of Sultan Ahmed I, otherwise known as The Blue Mosque, is renowned for its architectural harmony, proportion and elegance, is unique as it is the only original mosque in the world with six minarets. Breathtaking stained-glass windows and graceful arabesques decorate this mighty structure.
The highlight of the tour will be Topkapi Palace (Harem section excluded). Topkapi Palace is a great walled complex hugging the shores of the Bosphorus and Golden Horn and it was once the residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Mehmet II built the palace-city, home for three centuries of Sultans, in the mid-1400s as a summer palace. Topkapi was enlarged by Suleiman the Magnificent into the Sultan’s principal residence and with the successive Sultans grew into a great complex of buildings set in lovely gardens. A series of courtyards connect various buildings which now house an astonishing collection of Chinese porcelain, treasures, the Topkapi dagger, the celebrated Topkapi Diamond and much more.
The Underground Cistern known as “The Underground Palace”, which dates back to the 6th century and is supported by 336 Corinthian columns will be your next stop. The Underground Cistern is the largest and the most magnificent covered cistern in Istanbul. It was built to supply water to the palace complex located nearby. The ceiling of this forest of columns is made of brick and is cross-vaulted. No one knows for sure, but it is believed that the name Underground Cistern comes because of a basilica that was once situated above the cistern.Another highlight of this excursion is the boat trip on the Bosphorus. You’ll cruise along the shoreline of this narrow waterway, which joins the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. You’ll see picturesque villas and villages and, at the narrowest point, you’ll come across the Rumeli Hisar Fortress. This fortress was constructed in 1452, the year before the Fall of Constantinople and is a fine example of Ottoman military architecture. 19th century palaces are dotted along both banks and, as you cruise, you’ll have views of the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Beylerbeyi Palace and the few remaining towers of the Anadolu Hisar. As you pass beneath the great Bosphorus Bridge, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of curving domes and rising minarets, wrapped in a hazy veil.
There will also be a visit to the Spice Bazaar where you will see and smell the exotic products of mystical Istanbul. You will have plenty of free time to explore the bazaar on your own.
And finally you will visit one of the most colorful sites of Istanbul; the Grand Bazaar. The Bazaar is composed of two sections; the covered part and the modern part. The covered part is a whole quarter on its own and is surrounded by a wall which can be entered through eleven gates. The maze of streets and lanes are one of the greatest sights in the city, where various trades such as carpets, jewelry, leather goods, silver; varieties of souvenirs, textile, antiques, and home textile are segregated into particular sections of the bazaar. You will have the chance to explore the exotic atmosphere of the covered part for a brief period of time. You will also have the opportunity to visit the open and modern section of the Grand Bazaar which offers the best artworks and most reliable shopping. During your time in the Grand Bazaar, you will be taken for a presentation on the unique art of Turkish carpets and given additional time to shop.
A traditional Turkish lunch will also be included on the first day of your tour, where you will have the chance to taste delicious samples of Turkish cuisine.

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