This trip is designed for you if you've been to Istanbul before and want to see the less visited, but still amazing sites outside of Sultanahmet. This tour is also a great option for those wanting to extend a longer Turkey tour by adding a few days more in Istanbul, but not repeating the typical Hagia Sophia/ Topkapi Palace route.
This 3 night 4 day tour, assumes you arrive early on day 1 from your flight and allows you to visit the splendors of the Dolmahce Palace and the Yildiz palace on the Bosphorous. By the end of the day you will be drinking tea while watching the sunset and commuters across the romantic Bosphorous straits from the Ortakoy Mosque.
Day 2 takes you to a less visited area - the cross roads of Orthodox Christianity, Judiasm and Islam all in the same avant garde and up and coming neighborhood of Balat. You'll see incomprehensible diversity in a small area on the Golden horn where you'll be able to witness authentic Turkish life going on around you.
Day 3 will slow things down and allow you to visit the unbelievable but often overlooked Istanbul Archaeology Museum before you take a ferry to one of our favorite hangouts - the progressive, always on the move and very cool Kadikoy, where you can taste street foods and see how locals live.
This trip takes you to areas that most tourists never see - but really are must visit places. You won't be the only one there - but many of these sites are overlooked by the easy to reach and compelling sites in Sultanahmet. This tour especially will expose you to Istanbul's 2000 year old claim to multiple empires while outlining the cultural, religious, culinary and architectural diversity squeezed in such a small place.
Dolmabahce Palace :
- The 19th Century diamond on the Bosphorous - this was built during the last hurrah of the Ottomans when they moved the Royal Palace away from their previous center at Topkapi.
- The location on the Bosphorous is astoundingly beautiful.
- The interior is lush beyond imagination and evidence of the power of exotic Ottomans.
- Once the hunting grounds for Sultans, the area is now dead in the middle of the upscale commercial district.
- The peace, beauty and tranquility available in the midst of the city is underscored by the beauty of the Bosphorous vistas you see from this hillside setting.
- Some claim it is the most beautiful mosque due to its seaside location and its wonderful design - this is a center point for all the hundreds of thousands of Turks that travel between Asia and Europe each day via the ferrys.
- This area is wonderful for street food and people watching - 2 reasons you'll want to visit.
- Whether it's the Iron Church of Saint Stephens (yes made completely of Iron) and located on the Golden horn or the beauty of the Orthodox Churches or the numerous Synagogues located here- a visit to Balat is a step back in time, but with a very current even progressive vibe.
Chora Church :
- Located in the area of Balat - this is a one of a kind place -with gold frescoes that go on and on and on all showing the life of Christ.
Istanbul Archaeology Museum :
- With 4 separate buildings and covering 10,000 years of history - a few hours here will only be the start. But be sure to visit the areas you find most interesting - Ottoman art? Alexander the Great's tomb? Ancient Egyptian artiacts? The discovery of a city when digging the underground? Lycian tombs?
- This is one of the world's great collections.
- Too many people come to Istanbul and don't experience the fishing, fish and market life that all show up right on the shore... this location on the Eminonu bridge is a stop before you visit Kadikoy, one of the best locations to see real life up close in Istanbul.
- If on the European side Turk's try too hard to come to grips with it's European/Turkish integration, Kadikoy is where the true Istanbul Turkish flavor is found. Life here is fully Turkish in all its lively splendor - a local place not to be missed.
- Your private guide and driver will welcome you once you arrive at the Istanbul Airport and exit baggage claim. Look for an individual holding a sign bearing your name.
- You will start your tour by visiting Dolmabahce Palace and Yıldız Palace.
- Following lunch you will continue to Ortakoy Mosque and have a walking tour in Ortakoy.
- At the end of your day you will be dropped off at your hotel to check-in and enjoy the evening.
- You guide will meet you at your hotel and you will head directly to the Balat region where three religions meet. Here, you will visit Sveti Stefan Church, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Church and the Yanbal Synagogue.
- Following lunch you will continue your tour by visiting Ahrida Synagogue (based on a confirmation from the synagogue), Chora Church and Suleymaniye Mosque.
- Enjoy the rest of your evening at leisure once dropped off back at your hotel.
- You will be picked up from your hotel by your guide to visit the Istanbul Archaeology Museum
- In the afternoon you'll take a ferry to Kadikoy and have a walking tour in Balikpazari where you can enjoy the culture and street foods.
- You'll return to your hotel that evening for one final night in Istanbul.
- Your private driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to Istanbul Airport.
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation in your choice of hotel category, or inquire to include your own selection of hotels or to exclude accommodation:
- Platinum Class Hotel (Four Seasons Sultanahmet)
- Gold Class Hotel (Hagia Sophia Mansions)
- Silver Class Hotel (Sultanhan)
- Bronze Class Hotel (Celal Sultan)
- Breakfast daily, Lunch on Full Day tours
- Private Tours with licensed professional English speaking guides
- Airport Transfers with air conditioned transportation with driver
- Admission tickets to sites and museums
- Private VIP transportation per tour itinerary
- Parking, portage, toll roads
- Coordination and attentive customer service throughout the tour by Sojourn staff
- Required Association ofTurkish Travel Agencies Foreign Visitors Insurance (a basic mandatory policy and not an adequate replacement for purchasing your own travel insurance.)
What is not included in the tour
- Drinks at lunch and dinner sodas or alcohol
- Miscellaneous snacks or gifts you (certainly) will want as you tour!
- Optional gratuities to guides, drivers, etc.
- Entry Visas
- Travel insurance
- Laundry, and personal items
Price per participant
3 to 5