Istanbul

Istanbul Private Tours

Istanbul

ISTANBUL OLD CITY CLASSICS AND HIGHLIGHTS
(FULL DAY - EXCEPT ON TUESDAY)

09:00 Departure from your Hotel. We continue to the Blue Mosque, which was built in the 17th century and is the only imperial mosque with 6 minarets, then the Hippodrome, a stadium and meeting place in Byzantine times, the Serpent Pillar from Delphi and the Egyptian Obelisk, with the Fountain of Wilhelm. Visit the Caferaga Medresesi which was designed by the architect Sinan and built in the 16th century, now used as a learning center for traditional Turkish arts. We will then explore the Topkapi Palace. It was the home of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th-19th century A.D. We see the Imperial Treasury with the famous Spoonmaker Diamond. (Harem section is optional and due an extra entry fee). The tour ends in the Grand Bazaar, which has over 4000 shops full of treasures. Return to your Hotel around 17:00pm.
Note: This tour may be done completely as a walking tour.

BOSPHORUS CRUISE AND DOLMABAHCE PALACE
(FULL DAY– EXCEPT ON MONDAY AND THURSDAY)

09:00 Departure from your Hotel. You will first see the “Egyptian” Spice Market, which stands near the mouth of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. The market was built in the 17th century A.D. and is still a thriving place with spices and souvenirs of all types. We will also visit the beautiful Iznik tile-covered Rustempasa Mosque, which was built by the architect Sinan in 1560 for the grand vizier of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. We embark on our Bosphorus Cruise up the strait that divides Europe from Asia and leads to the Black Sea. We end our cruise, cross the Bosphorus Bridge then head for the Camlica Hill viewpoint over Istanbul where you can also see the Princes’ Islands and the Marmara Sea. We conclude the tour with a visit to the “Selamlik” chambers of the incredible 19th c. Dolmabahce Palace which was the first European style palace in Turkey. We will pass by the picturesque and cosmopolitan neighborhood of Ortakoy on the shore of the Bosphorus. Return to your hotel around 17:00.
*Note that the cruise boat is not private – it will be shared with others.

BOSPHORUS CRUISE AND HAGHIA SOPHIA
(FULL DAY– EXCEPT ON WEDNESDAY)

09:00 Departure from your Hotel. We will take a ride by public ferry boat on the Golden Horn passing churches and historical buildings. We then take a Cable Car up to Pierre Loti Hill where you will get a beautiful view of the Golden Horn from the famous Pierre Loti Café. We continue to the Kariye Museum (Chora Church) with its 14th-century mosaics and frescoes with scenes from the Bible. Continue to visit Saint Sophia (Hagia Sofia) which was built by the emperor Justinian in the 6th century A.D and stands over much older remains of a church. See beautiful mosaics of biblical scenes and the Byzantine emperors and empresses. After lunch, we will see the “Egyptian” Spice Market, which stands near the mouth of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. We embark on our Bosphorus Cruise up the strait that divides Europe from Asia and leads to the Black Sea. Return to your hotel around 17:00.
*Note that the cruise boat is not private – it will be shared with others.

ISTANBUL IMPERIAL AND BOSPHORUS TOUR
(FULL DAY)

09:00 Departure from your Hotel. Today we will visit Saint Sophia (Haghia Sofia) which was built by the emperor Justinian in the 6th century A.D and stands over much older remains of a church. We continue to the Blue Mosque, which was built in the 17th century and is the only imperial mosque with 6 minarets. Next visit will be to the Hippodrome, a stadium and meeting place in Byzantine times, the Serpent Pillar from Delphi and the Egyptian Obelisk, with the Fountain of Wilhelm. Continue to the “Egyptian” Spice Market, which stands near the mouth of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. The market was built in the 17th century A.D. and is still a thriving place with spices and souvenirs of all types and also the Rustempasa Mosque with its beautiful Iznik tiles. The mosque was built in 1560 by the imperial architect Sinan for the son in law of the grand vizier of Suleyman the Magnificent. We embark on our Bosphorus Cruise (by public boat) up the strait that divides Europe from Asia and leads to the Black Sea. From the ship, you will see beautiful mosques, the Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi Palaces, new luxury villas, very old Ottoman Houses and the Rumeli Fortress. Return to your hotel around 17:00.
*Note that the cruise boat is not private – it will be shared with others.

ISTANBUL CITY WALLS AND GOLDEN HORN TOUR
(FULL DAY– EXCEPT ON WEDNESDAY)

8:30 – 08:45 Departure from your Hotel. Today we will see Istanbul’s Byzantine City Walls that were for the most part built during the 5th century by Emperor Theodosius and are 8 km long. Built near the walls and the Marmara Sea is the Castle of the Seven Towers which was used as a prison during Byzantine and Ottoman periods and was situated near the famous Golden Gate. We continue to the Kariye Museum (Chora Church) with its 14th-century mosaics and frescoes with scenes from the Bible and then the Tekfur Palace (view only) built during the 13th century, it is the only Byzantine Palace still standing today. We will also see the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople which has been in service since the 6th century. After lunch, we continue to Eyup Imperial Mosque(view from outside). It is one of the holiest places in Istanbul and the burial place of Eyub el-Ensari, who was the standard bearer of the Prophet Mohammed. We then take a Cable Car up to Pierre Loti Hill where you will get a beautiful view of the Golden Horn and can enjoy a tea or coffee in the famous Pierre Loti Café. We end the tour with a short cruise on the Golden Horn. Return to your hotel around 17:00.

UNKNOWN HIGHLIGHTS OF ISTANBUL
(FULL DAY– EXCEPT ON MONDAY)

09:00 Departure from your Hotel. We will start the day with a visit to the Istanbul Archaeological Museum with its impressive “Alexander the Great Sarcophagus”, also the Museum of the Ancient Orient, then the Tiled Kiosk of Sultan Mehmet with its fine ceramic collection. Visit the Yerebatan Saray Underground Cistern, with its Medusa heads and “weeping columns”. Visit the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts and finally the Mosaic Museum from the ancient Byzantine Palace and the small Arasta Bazaar. Return to your Hotel around 17:00pm.
Note: This tour may be done completely as a walking tour.

GALATA AND TAKSIM AREA
(FULL DAY)

09:00 Departure from your Hotel. We cross the famous Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn and visit the underground Mosque of Karakoy, then the Arabic Mosque, once a church. We take one of the oldest, and shortest subway systems in the world “Tunel” for a short voyage into the past, and end up in the middle of the Galata District with its artist quarters and old houses. Visit the Galata Tower for a total panoramic view of Istanbul, then a Whirling Dervish Lodge, with garden and cistern. Go by historical trolley up Istiklal Street and visit Taksim Square, “Cicek Pasaji” restaurants then the fish and produce market. Return to your Hotel around 17:00pm.
Note: This tour may be done completely as a walking tour.

CHRISTIAN HERITAGE - CHURCHES AND OLD ZEYREK
(FULL DAY)

09:00 Departure from your Hotel. Visit the famous Mosque of Fatih Mehmet, who conquered Istanbul. See the tomb of the Christian Princess and Islamic school. See the Column of Marcian and a wonderful Byzantine church and monastery complex, Fenari Isa, which is now converted to a mosque but retains its charm. Visit the old neighborhood of Zeyrek and Church of the Pantocrator, which is a composite building made of two churches and a chapel between them, then the forgotten Byzantine church of St. Savior Pantepoptes, which is now a Koran school. We visit the old neighborhood of Fener and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate church. Continue along the scenic Golden horn past the Bulgarian Church, which is made entirely of cast iron. Return to your Hotel around 17:00pm.

BURSA TOUR
(FULL DAY – IN SEASON)

08:00 Departure from your Hotel. We will pass over the Bosphorus Bridge to the Asian side of Istanbul and you will have an impressive view. Then we board a ferry to Yalova. The Green Mosque and Green Mausoleum will be the first stop in Bursa, both built by 5th Ottoman Sultan Mehmet Çelebi in the 15th century. Then we will climb up Uludağ Mountain by cable car get a view of Bursa while passing over the forest. We reach the top of the mountain which is 2.486 m above sea level. After lunch at an elegant kebab restaurant, you will see the gorgeous old tree which is more than 600 years old. While coming back to Istanbul, we will stop one of the most famous Turkish delight factories in Bursa. Return to your hotel around 22:00.

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