Istanbul straddles East and West, enticing your senses and expanding your perceptions of the world around you. Beginning at 8:45am, this small-group 7-hour tour, led by a local guide, will take you through Istanbuls historical highlights. Leaveyour hotel by climate-controlled vehicle prior to the tour and then travel mostly by foot, hearing revealing facts and historical stories that leave you with a deeper understanding of the city.
Begin your day at one of Istanbul's greatest architectural masterpieces, the Hagia Sophia. This 6th-century basilica stuns with its towering minarets and beautiful golden mosaics. It is often called the 8th wonder of the world.
Head across the street to the Blue Mosque. One of the most famous monuments in all of Turkey, the Blue Mosque (also known as the Sultanahmet Mosque) is an Ottoman-era place of worship designed to match the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia. The walls boast more than 20,000 blue Iznik tiles.
Explore the Hippodrome, site of ancient chariot races. There are still relics of the past dotting this incredible area, which is currently a public square.
Continue to the Grand Bazaar, a historical covered market, andbarter on everything from fine leather goods to spices and sweets. There are nearly 4000 stalls here, so you're sure to find something fascinating and beautiful.
After an included lunch, head to the Topkapi Palace. This was the official and primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for nearly 400 years. Today it serves as a museum and monument. Stroll through its gardens and galleries filled with fine Chinese porcelain and silver. See many of the imperial costumes worn by the Sultans and their families.
At the conclusion of your tour, the vehicle will return you to your hotel.