This is one of the most sought after tours in Turkey. You’ll discover Istanbul, a city of business frenzy, entertainment, and a wealth of rich Turkish culture. Absorb it’s ancient structures, traveling from its mosques to the Roman influenced architecture.
On your arrival day you'll be transferred to your hotel in the center of the historic district, Sultanahmet, and may choose to spend time this evening wandering the area. The next day take advantage of your guide’s knowledge on visits to St. Sophia Church and the Blue Mosque, known for its blue colored tiles and architecture. Continue your tour to Byzantine Hippodrome, and the Grand Bazaar - a massive bazaar where virtually every knick-knack is available.
Your second full day of touring will start at the Topkapi palace, where you start to understand the unique mystical Ottomans. Next, you'll visit the Spice Bazaar / Egyptian Bazaar before embarking on a tour of the Bosphorus Straits, where seasonally you may see an amazing sunset. You'll return to your hotel for a final night.
The final day will include a return transfer to the Istanbul airport for your departure flight.
- An enormous public entertainment arena, it once seated as many as 100,000 zealous fans who came to watch chariot races, executions, and mock battles. Formerly the center of Byzantine civic life, it is still marked by the Egyptian Obelisk, the Bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine.
- With its massive central dome flanked by six slender minarets, the Blue Mosque stands as the single most recognizable monument in the Istanbul skyline. Built between 1609 and 1616, the enormous complex also included a hospital, caravansary, public kitchen, marketplace, schools and the Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet I. The mosque’s immense interior, flooded with sunlight streaming through 260 windows, is decorated with more than 20,000 precious Iznik tiles detailing traditional flowers of Ottoman design. In fact, it is the deep blue glow of the tiles in the sunlight that gives the building its name.
- This famous basilica was constructed in the 6th century A.D.. It is often described as the greatest work of Byzantine architecture. Once the Church of Holy Wisdom, Christendom’s crowning glory, it glittered with mosaics and artistic treasures. Today, the Hagia Sophia is the fourth largest building constructed as a church in the world. It was dedicated to Hagia Sophia which means Divine Wisdom – an attribute of Christ.
- Istanbul, besieged countless times, has always needed permanent water supplies. As a result, many underground cisterns were built during the Byzantine Empire. Water was brought to these big reservoirs from distant sources via aqueducts. We will visit the largest and most ornate of these cisterns.
- The area of the Grand Bazaar was a trade center during the Byzantine period. Two domes were built by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror to enrich the economic life of the city. Today, the atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar is mysterious and intriguing. It has become a very popular place, where visitors explore a labyrinth of streets and passages housing eighteen entrances and more than 4,000 shops.
- The home for 400 years of ruling Sultan’s in Istanbul, this is a not to be missed site. The second palace built in Istanbul after its conquest by the Turks, it served as the center of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. This palace’s maze of oppulent buildings is where the sultans, their courts, and their harems lived and governed.
- This covered market, built as part of the Yeni Cami (New Mosque) complex, is filled with the fragrant scent of spices from the Orient.
- This narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. It is about 20 miles long and up to one and a half miles wide. Our cruise will take us past the late Ottoman Palaces – Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi, as well as beautiful, wooden mansions and modern villas built in this elegant section of the city during the 19th & 20th centuries.
Day 1: Istanbul Arrival
- Your private guide and driver will welcome you at the Istanbul airport and take you directly to your hotel in the historic district of Sultanahmet.
- That afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy as you become acquainted with the celebrated historic district of this bustling city before turning in for the night.
Day 2: Istanbul
- Your guide will meet you at your hotel and you will begin your day by visiting the Hagia Sophia.
- Later, you will visit one of the Ottoman Empire’s greatest architectural achievements, the Blue Mosque.
- Following lunch, you will also marvel at the Hippodrome and the Basilica Cistern.
- In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to browse the shops of the Grand Bazaar before retiring to the hotel for the night.
Day 3: Istanbul
- Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the morning and you will take a short walk to the Topkapi Palace where you will tour the incredibly decorated structure and the hidden chambers of the Imperial Harem.
- Later, you'll visit the Spice Market /Egyptian Bazaar before a boat tour of the Bosphorus Strait and a moment of quiet at the best Turkish coffee cafe.
- You'll retire that evening for one final night in Istanbul.
Day 4: Departure
- A private driver will pick you up at your hotel and shuttle you to the Istanbul airport for your return international flight.
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
- 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 of Turkish 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
- International flight tickets
- Optional gratuities to guides, drivers, etc.
- Entry Visas
- Additional drinks at lunch and dinner
- Optional programs listed in the itinerary
- International/Domestic flight tickets
- Drinks at lunch
- Travel insurance
- Visas, laundry, and personal items
- The Bosphorous cruise and tour on Day 3 – (optional, $60 per person)
Price per participant
3 to 5