Lavish palaces, Byzantine art, beautiful mosques, bustling bazaars, Turkish food… all things that come to mind when you think of Istanbul. This tour is designed to cover the major highlights of Istanbul and maximize your time in this classical city. Walk to the Hippodrome to see the remains of what was once the location for political struggles in the capital city of the Byzantine Empire. Visit the Hagia Sophia, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture and considered as the 8th wonder of the world by most art historians.
Another highlight of your tour is Topkapi Palace, a great walled complex hugging the shores of the Bosphorus and Golden Horn, once the residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Other stops in your itinerary are a historical mosque and the Grand Bazaar. You’ll have a chance to explore the exotic atmosphere of the covered part for a brief period of time. You’ll also visit the open, modern section where you’ll enjoy local snacks and a presentation of carpets, leather or jewelry, followed by time for shopping. A Turkish lunch is also part of your classical Istanbul experience.
Note: Participants are required to remove their shoes when entering a mosque and are provided with an environmentally friendly bag to store them. As this tour visits a place of worship, please dress respectfully: no bare shoulders or exposed knees. On Sundays, the Grand Bazaar closes and only the shops of the outer open area of the bazaar remain open. Therefore, the visit of the covered section may be replaced with the Spice Bazaar. The "Gallery" section of the Hagia Sophia and "Harem" section of Topkapı Palace are not included.
There is approximately 2 miles of walking over uneven surfaces and some inclines and steps on this tour. Your Turkish lunch includes water; additional drinks are available at an extra charge. This tour will be subject to national and religious festive days due to the closure of the sites and venues during the month of Ramadan, including the Festival Period of Ramadan. Please expect differences in tour duration due to traffic conditions.