Step onto the origins of one of the most adored epicenters of the world – Istanbul. If you have limited time, this tour provides the ideal itinerary for discovering Istanbul’s highlights with fast-track entry tickets. Be in the company of a professional tour guide who will combine the best transportation options and make sure that we will make the most of our time. Discover the capital of some of the greatest empires that have existed; now a diverse sea of peoples, art, colors, and traditions and eat from the best food places which our guides will suggest. In this tour, we will explore the Historical Peninsula, and the modern city and even cruise the Bosphorus with an optional private cruise or ferry.
- Discover Istanbul’s Historical Peninsula
- Explore the Grand Bazaar with its 4000 shops
- Marvel at the astounding architecture of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia
- Get a taste of the Ottomans’ royal life with visits to the Topkapi and Dolmabahce Palaces
- Get an insight into Istanbul’s religious history while visiting mosques, churches, and the Fener District.
- Discover the beauty of the Balat District
- Ride a cable car and get a bird’s eye view over Istanbul
- Picture the astounding panorama from Pierre Lotti’s Hill
- Professional tour guide
- Fast-track tickets
- Lunch and drinks
- Museum tickets
- Personal expenses
The main places that you will get to see:
- Hagia Sofia: Hagia Sofia stands for ‘Holy Wisdom’ in Greek. With phenomenal architecture, it is accepted as the 8th wonder of the world, and the world’s greatest place of worship.
- Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque): It is the first mosque of an Ottoman Sultan, built by the second greatest architect within the order of Sultan Ahmet I – A triumph of grandiosity, elegance, and magnitude.
- Hippodrome: Also known as the Sultanahmet square, it is surrounded by the Hagia Sofia, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, and the Blue Mosque – one of the most famous tourist areas due to its unique location in historical Istanbul.
- Grand Bazaar: Apart from being an authentic shopping oasis, the grand bazaar is a historical landmark. Dating back to the 15th century with a small series of shops, it now covers 47.000 m2 and about 4000 shops – A place where anything and everything can be found.
- Topkapi Palace and Hagia Irene Church: Once a residence for the Ottoman Sultans, it is now one of the richest museums in the world, holding a diverse collection of invaluable artifacts. It was also the seat of the Supreme Executive and Judiciary Council for almost 400 years.
- Sogukcesme Street: The history of Sogukcesme Street stretches back to the 8th century. At one time, officials of the highest rank from Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia lived in the mansions of this street. On a walk through the street, we will see a cistern dating from the Roman Empire, water depots, and antique houses with traditional Turkish architecture.
- Spice Market – Known also as the Egyptian Bazaar, the spices coming from India and South-East Asia arrive first in Egypt, and are then brought to Turkey via the Mediterranean. Completed in 1663, the spice market was built as part of the Yeni Mosque complex to generate funds for its development. Here one can find all kinds of conceivable spices, herbs, flowers, holistic remedies, and more…
- Dolmabahce Palace – The grand palace of Dolmabahce was the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Famous for its vast collection of European antiquity and furniture, it has 285 rooms, 44 halls, 6 hammams, and 68 toilets, it also stores the largest chandelier in the world, made of 4.5 tons of crystal.
- Cicek Passage: Meaning the Flower Passage, it is the most renowned of the historical passages of Istanbul: it bears 24 shops and 18 luxury flats, consisting of stone buildings and decorations influenced by 19th-century architecture, plenty of traditional restaurants and cafés.
- Taksim Square: Taksim means distribution as it was a place where the water lines from north Istanbul were collected and distributed to the other districts, in the late Ottoman Empire. Taksim Square is considered the heart of modern Istanbul and it is used by locals as a place for gatherings, celebrations, and parades. Attached to the square are the Istiklal pedestrian street and the Independence monument describing Ataturk – founder of the Republic.
- Suleymaniye Mosque: One of the largest mosques of Istanbul – a masterpiece by the imperial architect Sinan, built for Sultan Suleyman I. The mosque was completed in 1557, with the main dome being 53 meters high. A true work of perfection, not the biggest of Istanbul but surely the most remarkable in importance.
- Fener District: Home to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Fener was the Greek Orthodox district up until the beginning of the 20th Discover the Greek Orthodox heritage and history in this UNESCO-protected area and visit the Church of Panagia Mouchliotissa, the only Byzantine church that never converted to a mosque.
- Balat District: Located very close to the Golden Horn area, Balat is one of the most photographed places in Istanbul due to its rainbow colors stairs and pastel-colored houses aged more than 200 years old. It’s where the bohemian cafes and galleries can be found next to archaic local shops. Meanwhile, it’s a cosmopolitan neighborhood with the Greek, Armenian and Jewish communities living there for hundreds of years.
- Stephen Church: Also known as the Iron Church, St. Stephen Church was built entirely with prefabricated cast iron in the 19th century. This church is located in the Balat district and it belongs to the Bulgarian minorities of the Ottoman period.
- Cable Car and Piere Loti Hill: Overlooking the Golden Horn, the hill is named after the famous French writer who was frequently coming here to get inspired. It is an ideal place for leisure, with a restaurant, shop, hookah café, and the Pierre Loti Hill Café. Enjoy the panoramic view from the observation deck or with the telescope.
- Booking a private van is suggested as transportation is required between the sites however, this tour can be done with public transportation.
- Topkapi Palace and Hagia Irene Church are closed on Tuesdays.
- Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.
- Hagia Sophia entrance will be restricted during praying time.