Even if have just a weekend to take in the sights of Istanbul, this 2-day private tour will ensure that you see the most important ones. Your guide will take you to the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, and other popular sites.
What to Expect
This 2-day private tour has been specially designed for Saturday and Sunday. You’ll see all the important historical sites in the city, including mosques, palaces, and markets. Enjoy a Bosphorus cruise as well.
Day 1 (Saturday): Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and Grand Bazaar
You’ll begin your weekend tour of Istanbul at the Hippodrome, which was once the center of early Byzantine social and recreational life. Its name refers to the fact that it was used as a site for horse racing.
Next you’ll take a short walk to the Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Its exceptional architectural design features 1 main dome, 8 secondary domes, and 6 minarets.
Topkapi Palace, constructed in 1459, served as the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 4 centuries. The site features several buildings, and in the palace itself you’ll see collections of Imperial and Ottoman utensils, relics, caftans, and portraits of the sultans.
After lunch you’ll enjoy a tour of Hagia Sophia, which served both Christianity and Islam at different historical periods. It functioned as an Eastern Orthodox church from 537, when it was first built, until 1453.
When Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, the hall became an imperial mosque, and served in this capacity for nearly 5 centuries. In 1935 Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum.
Head to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. This vast market features 61 covered streets and over 3,000 stores, offering almost anything you might need. The Grand Bazaar, built during the years 1455-1461, is a part of the walled city of Istanbul.
Day 2 (Sunday): Dolmabahce Palace, Bosphorus Tour, Spice Market, Rustem Pasha Mosque
The Sunday tour begins with a visit to Dolmabahce Palace, which is one of the most impressive buildings in Istanbul. Its construction began in 1842 and took 12 years to complete.
After visiting the palace you’ll see Rüstem Pasa Mosque, one of the most interesting Ottoman mosques in Istanbul. Built from 1560-1563, the mosque is one of the many works of the famous imperial architect Mimar Sinan. It is noted for its Iznik tiles and stunning floral motifs.
Stop for lunch before heading to the Spice Market, where you’ll see all kinds of spices and delights from Turkey, and other countries as well. In addition to the spices you’ll find caviar, jewelry, souvenirs, and more.
The tour ends with an enjoyable Bosphorus cruise. You’ll be able to see both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, and admire landmarks such as Dolmabahçe Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Küçüku Mosque. See the luxurious wooden houses, known as yali, that were built along the strait.
What's Not Included
- Museum entrance fees
- Personal expenses
Know Before You Go
Approximate entrance fees are as follows (prices may increase without notice):
Hagia Sophia: TRY 30 (under 11 years old entrance is free)
Topkapi Palace: TRY 30 (under 11 years old entrance is free)
Dolmabahce Palace (Administration section): TRY 30
Dolmabahce Palace (Administration and Harem): TRY 40
Bosphorus cruise (regular basis): TRY 15
Topkapi Palace Harem: TRY 15
Hagia Irene Church in Topkapi Palace (first courtyard): TRY 20
Skip-the-line entrance at Dolmabahce Palace is not guaranteed if the tour booked less than 7 days prior to the tour date.