Embark on a journey through the rich history and diverse culture of Istanbul on a 1, 2, or 3-day customized private tour. Explore the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and Hagia Sophia, with an expert local guide by your side.
Experience Istanbul’s vibrant history and culture on this personalized private tour, designed to cater to your unique interests. With a knowledgeable local guide by your side, you’ll explore the city’s most iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and scenic vistas, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Day 1: Unveiling the Heart of Istanbul
- Hagia Sophia: Begin your adventure by discovering the Hagia Sophia, an architectural marvel that has stood the test of time. This breathtaking structure served as a cathedral, mosque, and museum throughout its storied history, showcasing some of the finest examples of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture.
- Blue Mosque: Next, marvel at the Blue Mosque, an icon of Istanbul known for its stunning blue Iznik tiles. Officially called the Sultanahmet Mosque, this captivating structure is considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque of the city.
- Topkapi Palace: Explore the Topkapi Palace, a symbol of the Ottoman Empire’s grandeur. Home to 25 sultans over four centuries, this palace-turned-museum offers a glimpse into the opulence and intrigue of the Ottoman court, with its serene gardens, lavish Iznik tiles, and intricate staterooms.
- Grand Bazaar: Lose yourself in the bustling labyrinth of the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest and oldest covered markets. Boasting hundreds of artisanal shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the market’s vibrant atmosphere promises an unforgettable experience.
- Hippodrome of Constantinople: Unearth the ancient history of the Hippodrome of Constantinople, a former circus and social center of the Byzantine Empire. Admire the remaining monuments, including the Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, and Constantine Column, and pause to appreciate the German Fountain of Wilhelm II.
Day 2: Exploring the Bosphorus and Beyond
- Spice Market: Kick off your second day at the Spice Market, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar. This bustling marketplace in the Fatih district offers an array of fragrant spices, teas, and traditional delicacies.
- Bosphorus Cruise: Embark on a Bosphorus cruise to experience the stunning views of Istanbul’s European and Asian shores. Admire the historic fortresses of Rumeli and Anadolu, and marvel at the impressive Ottoman palaces and mosques that dot the waterfront.
- Dolmabahce Palace: Discover the 19th-century Dolmabahce Palace, the final residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Explore the opulent halls and lavish gardens of this stunning palace, named after the bay it was built upon – Dolma, meaning “filled,” and bahce, meaning “garden” in Turkish.
- Istiklal Street and Galata Tower: Wander along the vibrant Istiklal Street, a bustling hub of shops, restaurants, and bars. Stroll down to the Tunel Galata Tower area, where you can admire the panoramic views of the city from the historic Galata Tower.
Day 3: Delving into Istanbul’s Hidden Gems
- Suleymaniye Mosque: Begin your third day by visiting the majestic Suleymaniye Mosque, an exquisite example of Ottoman architecture designed by the legendary architect Mimar Sinan. This mosque, commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent, showcases a harmonious blend of Islamic and Byzantine influences.
- Chora Church: Next, explore the Chora Church, a medieval Byzantine church that now serves as a museum. Admire the well-preserved mosaics and frescoes that tell the stories of Christ and the Virgin Mary, making it an important destination for art and history enthusiasts.
- Fener and Balat Districts: Stroll through the colorful streets of the Fener and Balat districts, known for their rich history, multicultural heritage, and beautifully preserved Ottoman-era houses. These neighborhoods offer a glimpse into the city’s diverse past and present.
- Pierre Loti Hill: Conclude your tour with a visit to Pierre Loti Hill, named after the famous French writer who often visited Istanbul. Enjoy a relaxing break at the hill’s café, taking in the stunning panoramic views of the Golden Horn and the cityscape.
- 1, 2, or 3-day tour with a licensed guide
- Hotel or port pickup and drop-off
- All entrance fees
- Transportation (unless option booked)
- Personal expenses and gratuities
- Travel insurance
- The Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays, and Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays starting from October.
- The Blue Mosque is undergoing renovations until the end of 2021, and some parts of the ceiling may be temporarily covered.
- Please bring sunglasses and sunscreen for protection against the sun.
- This tour is not recommended for people with mobility impairments.