All About Turkey

Istanbul excursions

Half Day City Highlights Tour (AM only)
(on private or group basis)

Depart from your hotel in the morning. Visit ancient Byzantine Hippodrome where once chariots ran and thousands of Byzantines cheered them. Some of the important monuments of the Hippodrome are; Egyptian Obelisk dating back to 16th century B.C, Serpentine Column from 5th century B.C, and the Stone Obelisk erected in 10th century A.D. Than you visit the Blue Mosque built in the 17th century and famous for its six minarets and beautiful Iznik tiles as interior decoration. It's still in use by the Moslems and is the most important mosque in Istanbul. Then visit Hagia Sophia Church, glory of the Byzantine Empire, built in the 6th century and houses magnificent gold-leafed mosaics. The Church was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in the 15th century and then into a museum after the Republic. At the end you'll visit to world famous Grand Bazaar for your shopping of incredible goods.

Full Day City Highlights Tour
(on private or group basis)

Depart from your hotel in the morning. Visit ancient Byzantine Hippodrome where once chariots ran and thousands of Byzantines cheered them. Some of the important monuments of the Hippodrome are; Egyptian Obelisk dating back to 16th century B.C, Serpentine Column from 5th century B.C, and the Stone Obelisk erected in 10th century A.D. Then visit the Blue Mosque built in the 17th century and famous for its six minarets and beautiful Iznik tiles as interior decoration. It's still in use and is the most important mosque in Istanbul. Afterwards visit Hagia Sophia Church, glory of the Byzantine Empire, built in the 6th century and houses magnificent gold-leafed mosaics. The Church was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in the 15th century and than into a museum after the Republic. After a lunch break, visit Topkapi Palace, once the residence of the Ottoman Sultans located on a hilltop dominating the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Today, it's used as a museum where precious displays such Sultan's costumes and Treasury can be visited. At the end visit to world famous Grand Bazaar for your shopping of traditional goods. Transfer back to your hotel at the end of the day.

Full Day Bosphorus & Asia Tour
(on private or group basis)

Depart from your hotel in the morning. Visit the Egyptian Bazaar, known as Spice Market, to smell and buy hundreds of lively colored spices; you can also explore small street markets around it. Then take a ferry to start your cruise on the Bosphorus Strait, while sailing along the European and Asian shores enjoy viewing Ottoman Palaces, Fortresses, Ottoman wooden houses, Suspension bridges, and fishermen. After a lunch break, take the Intercontinental Suspension Bridge and set your foot on Asian Continent with a pleasant panoramic drive viewing residential areas of the city. Visit also 19th century Beylerbeyi Palace on this side, which was the summer residence of the last Ottoman Sultans for many years until the Republic. Today, it's used as a museum housing original furniture, curtains and carpets showing luxurious life of the ancient rulers. Transfer back to your hotel at the end of the day. Click for more information on Bosphorus Strait.

Full Day Princess Islands Tour
(on private basis)

The group of nine Islands in the sea of Marmara is known as the Princess Islands. The beautiful wooden houses and the wonderful views of the Islands leave an unforgettable impression on visitors. You'll depart from your hotel in the morning with a destination to Buyukada (Grand Island). After a pleasant boat ride, visit all of the island by horse-drawn carriages around old wooden houses. You'll visit some churches and mosques on foot as well. Lunch at a Fish Restaurant near the pier. Return to Istanbul by boat again and transfer back to your hotel. Click for more information on Princess Islands.

Full Day Jewish Heritage Tour
(on private basis)

Depart from your hotel in the morning to taste the Jewish culture in the history mosaic of the city. In 1492 the Ottoman Empire opened its borders to Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. Many of them made their home in the neighborhood of Galata where you'll visit the famous tower built in the 14th century by Genovese, offering a great bird-eye view of the old city. Continue to Neve Shalom Synagogue and then visit the Jewish Museum of Turkey, known also as Zulfaris Synagogue, run by Quincentennial Foundation, where you'll see the story of 700 years of amity between Turks and Jews. After a lunch break, drive to Balat district along the Golden Horn, another old Jewish neighborhood where you can visit the Ahrida Synagogue built over 500 years ago and still in use today. After wondering in this old neighborhood where the Star of David appears on some of the buildings, return back to your hotel. Please note that this tour requires special permissions for synagogue visits and usually only one synagogue can be visited in the same day. This tour is not available on Saturdays or during Jewish religious holidays. Click for more information on the Jews in Turkey.

Full Day Tour to Bursa
(on private basis)

Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire built under the slopes of Uludag mountain. Pick-up from your hotel early in the morning and take a ferry-boat to Yalova, then drive to Bursa city to visit the Green (Yesil) Mosque, Green Mausoleum, and the Grand (Ulu) Mosque in the city center. After a lunch break at a traditional Doner Kebap restaurant, specialty of the city, visit the covered Bazaar and the old silk market. Return to Istanbul and transfer back to your hotel. Click for more information on Bursa.

Belly Dancing Dinner Show
(every night except New Years Eve)

Depart from your hotel in the evening for a famous Turkish dinner-show in a well known nightclub. This evening you'll enjoy Turkish folk dances of various regions, belly dancers, music & singers. Half bottle of local wine per person will be included with your dinner. Transfer back to your hotel around midnight.

Whirling Dervish Show
(on certain days of the week)

The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony is known for its whirling dances and dervishes, practicing a 800 years-old tradition in the mystical journey of human's spritual ascent through mind and love to perfection. The show is performed in the evenings during the week and lasts approximately 45 minutes. During the show you're not allowed to take photographs nor eat or drink in order not to distract the dervishes while they're concentrated in their spritual dance. Click for more information on Whirling Dervishes.

Important Notes

  • Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays; Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays; Beylerbeyi Palace is closed on Mondays & Thursdays; Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays & Turkish religious holidays. Spice Market is closed during Turkish religious holidays. On these specific days, above mentioned museums or sights will be replaced with others
  • Order of the visits might be changed for technical reasons or because of closure of the sites or museums
  • For groups 40+ person, there will be a private boat for the Bosphorus cruise
  • All tours include pick-up & drop-off from/to hotels, A/C car/van/bus depending on the size of the group (not valid for Dervish show). On Private tours you can start the tour from the pier too, in case you're on a cruise ship
  • All full day tours exclude beverages during meals (except for Belly Dancing night, as described in the itinerary)
  • Whirling Dervish Show doesn't include transfers, meals, drinks. It includes only the Dervish performance in the venue
  • ALL TRAVEL SERVICES ARE BEEN ARRANGED BY A GOVERNMENT LICENSED & RELIABLE TRAVEL AGENCY

All About Turkey © Burak Sansal 1996–2017, a certified professional tour guide in Turkey. Contact Burak at info@allaboutturkey.com for all kinds of regular and/or private travel services throughout the country.