St. Sophia, Blue Mosque & Time On Your Own

IST-180 | Istanbul, Turkey | See Special Notes

from $59.95*

*Price displayed in US Dollars unless otherwise noted; excursions priced in other currencies may be available on select voyages only. Prices are based on the amount Princess typically charges for each excursion, but your price may vary by voyage date and departure time.

Tour at a Glance

You will visit:

  • Hagia Sofia Hagia Sofia
  • Blue Mosque Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

You will see:

  • Hippodrome Hippodrome
  • Golden Horn

Moderate Shopping

Excursion Length:
Approx. 6.5 hours

Max. Group Size: 35

Tour Overview

A scenic 25-minute drive in your motorcoach takes you across the Galata Bridge into the heart of Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Your first destination is the Blue Mosque, also known as The Sultan Ahmed Mosque. This 17th-century marvel was built to rival and surpass the grandeur and beauty of nearby Hagia Sophia, and is a true study in color. It displays a multitude of domes and semi-domes and graceful minarets on the exterior, and over 20,000 shimmering blue Iznik tiles in more than 50 different tulip designs, and 216 stained glass windows, on the interior.

Just a short walk away, Hagia Sophia comes into view. Also known as St. Sophia, the Church of Holy Wisdom, it was originally built by Constantine the Great, and later rebuilt by Emperor Justinian to be a "queen church" of the new empire. Considered one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture, it's rich with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings.

Nearby, the Byzantine Hippodrome presents an opportunity to snap a photo or two as you walk by this imposing arena, once the heart of Constantinople's political and sporting life, and the scene of games through the history of the Byzantine empire.

After an awe-inspiring exploration of Turkish history, you'll board your motorcoach for a "shop 'til you drop" experience at the Grand Bazaar. Start off with a carpet demonstration, then enjoy three hours on your own to explore. With over 4.000 shops filled with jewelry, carpets, leather ware, and copper goods, you're sure to find something that will strike your fancy. Bargaining is expected and half the fun.

Your tour concludes with a walk back to your motorcoach, and a relaxing drive back to the port. With Istanbul behind you, you leave with a myriad of unforgettable memories of a lifetime.

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Detailed itinerary

Tour timeline may vary to avoid overcrowding, etc.

Special Notes


Attire for visiting the mosque should cover shoulders and knees; shoes must be removed before entering; bring or wear socks. Shoe bags will be provided. In addition to covering shoulders and knees, all women must cover their head with a scarf. Professional photography and flash are not allowed.

The sequence of tour stops may vary; expect extreme dense traffic. Once in Old Istanbul, passengers will walk between the major sites.

On Friday calls; Blue Mosque visit will be substituted with a historical Ottoman Mosque.

This tour uses headsets.

Child Price:

12 & under reduced

Number of Steps/Walking Distance:

See detailed itinerary for information about walking distance

Wheelchair Accessibility:

See detailed itinerary for information about wheelchair accessibility

Camera/Video Restrictions:

See detailed itinerary for information about camera restrictions

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