- City: Istanbul
- Duration: 8.5hrs
- Start Time: 8.30AM
- Combining the best of Istanbul in a day, this tour explores more of the city than any other including all the major sights.
- Skip the line access at the Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern could save you hours of waiting in line.
- Take to the water for a Bosphorus Cruise aboard a private boat just for your guide and group
EXTENDED TOUR DESCRIPTION
Visit Constantinople, discovering history & archaeology at the cityâ€™s historic heart (with express entry!)
Your day of discovery starts at the Blue Mosque, where our early meeting time helps us beat the larger crowds. As you wait for the doors to open your guide will give you some background on this incredible building, teaching you about the many religious and social groups that make up this unique city of two continents.
Don your scarves and slip off your shoes to explore the beautiful interior of the Mosque before crossing the old Hippodrome (this space was once used for chariot races!) to Istanbulâ€™s other major site â€“ Hagia Sophia. Traveling with a licensed local guide here and having pre-reserved tickets, means youâ€™ll skip long lines to gain swift entrance. Inside youâ€™ll find a building representative of Istanbul, mingling different building styles and religious icons; lucky you have an expert guide on hand to explain it all.
The last stop of the morning is the Basilica Cistern. Built in the 6th century this huge ancient cistern is most notable for its carved Medusa columns, but itâ€™s the size and atmosphere, along with its eerie lighting, that will take your breath away. Again, traveling with a guide means you wonâ€™t wait in long ticket lines, jumping to the top for the tour guide ticket window.
Enjoy a traditional Turkish lunch before your no-pressure guided tour of the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar.
One of the major perks of taking our Istanbul In A Day tour (besides from seeing all of Istanbul in a day, of course) is the inclusion of a full buffet lunch. At the heart of the cityâ€™s major tourist attractions, it can be hard to find good food. We know a spot though, and itâ€™s here weâ€™ll go for a full buffet of Turkish kebab meats, rice and savory pastries â€“ more than enough food to load you up for whatâ€™s to come â€“ the bazaars!
Itâ€™s a short walk to the one of the worldâ€™s largest covered markets, the aptly named Grand Bazaar. Home to 60 streets and 5,000 shops itâ€™s a sensory overload â€“ but with our guides to show you around, it wonâ€™t be long before youâ€™re familiar with the different sections and wares on offer. From antique lamps to faux designer handbags and incredible hand-crafted jewelry; the Grand Bazaar offers a fantastic glimpse into Turkeyâ€™s culture and long history as a center for trade and commerce. Touring with a local, youâ€™ll avoid the hassle and pressure felt by many visitors and even pick up some tips on effective bartering â€“ the Turkish way!
Back into Istanbulâ€™s winding streets then and up a narrow flight of stairs for a really special treat. Weâ€™ll introduce you to our favorite secret spot in the city, a quiet rooftop with sensational views over the Bosphorus and all of Istanbul. Following our noses weâ€™ll walk to the Spice Bazaar. Pass mounds of saffron, paprika, turmeric, Turkish delight and fragrant tea leaves as your guide explains each flavor and how its used by local chefs. It can be busy at the bazaar so weâ€™ve pre-organised a visit to one of the stores, where your guide will have samples of spices and teas to share with you â€“ without any hassle from vendors.
Take to the water on our small-group Bosphorus cruise, then navigate lively streets to Galata Tower.
A sure highlight of our day comes towards the end with an intimate one-hour Bosphorus cruise. At times two Walks of Italy tour groups may share the boat but thatâ€™s it â€“ we guarantee a maximum of 30 people on your cruise, with your guideâ€™s attention trained on just your group of 15 as you navigate the waters of Istanbul.
The last section of our Istanbul tour takes you through a more local part of town, through the lively fish market and beautiful winding streets, as you make your way towards the Galata Tower. Because thereâ€™s no way to skip the (often absurdly long) lines here, we wonâ€™t go inside, opting instead for the roof terrace of a nearby cafĂ© where youâ€™ll enjoy equally beautiful views back over the other side of the city.
Stay and have a coffee if you wish or break for dinner â€“ your guide will be happy to give you recommendations on what to do and where to eat during the rest of your trip. One thing is for sure though; after this jam-packed day youâ€™ll be familiar enough with Istanbul to trace your own path, and to understand the fascinating history and culture laid out at your feet.
5-stars from over 34 Customer Reviews
Before you travel, please read our important notes about possible disruptions & site entrance requirements
Please remember that the Blue Mosque is a holy place, and attire must be appropriate for the visit. Both men and women are asked to take off their shoes when entering (you will put them in a plastic bag, provided by the Mosque, and bring them with you). Both are also asked to have their knees and shoulders covered. Women are asked to wear a head covering when entering. Please bring a scarf with you. Walks of Turkey cannot be held responsible for denied entry due to improper dress.
Unfortunately Istanbul is a hilly and crowded city, please wear comfortable shoes and keep your belongings in a safe zipped pocket.
Guests should be advised that the tour includes walking down and up steep hills and that often the ground is uneven. One of the rooftop views also requires climbing uneven and high steps. For this reason we cannot accommodate guests with mobility impairments or strollers on our group tour. Please contact us at [email protected] and we will work with you to find a suitable alternative.
This tour is a â€ścarpet & shopping freeâ€ť tour. Your guide will in fact remain with you throughout the tour instead of letting you explore the Bazaars on your own.
Note: We advise our clients that the Blue Mosque is subject to unforeseen closures during special celebrations/festivities. These closures are generally only announced a few days prior. If this occurs during your visit, we will spend more time at other sites. Your guide will still give you full information on the Mosque should you wish to visit this on your own at a later occasion. We are unable to provide refunds or discounts.
IMPORTANT: As lunch is included on this tour, please notify us before booking if you have any food allergies, dietary restrictions, or other special requirements.