Home to some of Istanbul’s most recognizable attractions, the Sultanahmet District is an ideal place to explore the city’s complex history. With the rose-colored Hagia Sophia (AyaSofya) sitting across from the six minarets of the Blue Mosque and down the street from the energetic Grand Bazaar, this neighborhood packs in a wealth of culture.
With buildings dating from the early Byzantine through the late Ottoman periods, the bustling Sultanahmet District is thick with historical and religious attractions. Behold the breathtaking Hagia Sophia Museum, witness the opulent lives of sultans at Topkapi Palace, go underground to explore the Basilica Cistern, experience the active Blue Mosque and its intricate tile work, shop for the perfect souvenir at the Grand Bazaar, and imagine horse racing at the site of the ancient Hippodrome.
Duration: 7-8 hours
Tour starting point: Hotel
Tour ending point: Hotel
Includes: Private tour, pick-up from hotel
Excludes: Museum entrance tickets, transportation, gratitudes (recommended)
Sights to see: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar
Meet your tour guide in your hotel or port and start the tour with the highlights of Istanbul;
Hagia Sophia; here the ancient cultures of East and West speak to you with a yet clear voice. Great blend of Christian and Islamic influence with beautiful interior of mosaics, impressive and significant history. Built in the 6th century by the Emperor Justinian, played a very important role in the Christian and Islamic World. After the Ottoman conquest the bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over to convert the church into a mosque, then museum in 1934. In July 2020 it is converted into a mosque again. (Please note that until end of 2020 it will be under restoration so explanations will be from outside, then entrance will be free for everyone)
Hippodrome; where the chariot races were held in the Roman Empire times.
Blue Mosque; Built in the early 1600s for Sultan Ahmet I, Blue Mosque is truly a magnificent masterpiece of architecture with amazingly delicate proportions for a building of such massive scale. The blue shade of the 27.000 pieces of Iznik quart tiles give the mosque it’s popular name and 6 towering minarets give its uniquely recognizable structure.
Basilica Cistern is a subterranean wonder and one of the greatest of Istanbul’s surviving Byzantine sites, in fact a former water storage chamber.
Grand Bazaar; One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world with over 4,000 shops. It was constructed in the 15th century and became the commercial hub of the trade between Asia & Europe.
Topkapi Palace; More than just an Imperial Residence of Ottoman Sultans, it was the seat of the Supreme Executive and Judiciary Council for almost 400 years long. Topkapi Palace is a great monument of Oriental architecture which houses exhibits of art, books, jewels, plates, costumes, the Treasury and the Holy Relics.
Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays.
Hagia Sophia is converted into a mosque again in July 2020. (Please note that until end of 2020 it will be under restoration, then entrance will be free for everyone)
Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.
Blue Mosque is closed until 2pm on Fridays.
Children aged 7 and under are free of charge. Please make sure that you have passport copies of children as we have to verify their ages at museums for free tickets.
Annual Closing Dates of all museums and bazaars in Istanbul as follows;
Q: Can I choose the sights to visit on my own?
A: Sure! You can choose the sights and museums along all sort of criteria you like in accordance with your tour guide.
Q: How to buy museum tickets?
A: No need to buy tickets in advance, during the tour your tour guide will help you to purchase them.
Q: How to meet my tour guide?
A: Your tour guide will be waiting in your hotel to meet you at a determined time.
Q: Can I state the departure time for my tour?
A: Of course! We operate tours on private basis, so you can customize the departure time.
Q: Am I traveling with a group on the tour?
A: No, we provide private tours for your best experience so you will have a private professional tour guide in your preferred language.
Q: How about the transportation?
A: When you book your tour with a van, you will be picked up from hotel, be transferred to the sights and then back to hotel. Otherwise, once you meet your tour guide at your hotel, you will be advised the best option for transportation such as taxi, metro or tram.
Q: How about shopping in Istanbul?
A: If you have any interest in workshops, please indicate while booking.
Q: How do I book this private Istanbul tour?
A: Easy! All you need to do is;
Fill the ‘Booking’ form where you will put your full details such as personal information, date, hotel or cruise name, arrival and departure times. Once you complete your booking we will get back to you with a confirmation email within 24 hours.
Q: How do I pay?
A: After filling the Booking form and secure the booking, the payment will be in cash directly to the tour guide during the tour. You can choose to pay in Usd, Euro, RMB, Turkish Lira or English Sterling.