Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul rises from the Bosphorus, a vision of minarets and domes sparkling in the light. The capital of vanished empires, Istanbul is a true crossroad, the only city on Earth to span two continents. This meeting place of Europe and Asia, of Christian and Muslim, is one of the great adventures a traveler encounters. Browse the stalls of the world's largest bazaar, explore ancient mosques and churches, and gaze at the stunning jewels in the Topkapi Palace.

Istanbul has dominated the Straits of Bosphorus for 25 centuries. As Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, it was a metropolis of stunning splendor when the great cities of Europe were mere villages.

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Points of Interest

  • Hagia Sofia
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration
  • Bosphorus Cruise
  • Underground Cistern
  • Topkapi Palace Harem
  • Hippodrome
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More about Istanbul, Turkey Points of Interest

  • Hagia Sofia

    This magnificent model of Byzantine architecture boasts a huge dome, and an interior adorned with marble and pillars from Ephesus.

  • Topkapi Palace

    Once the treasure-filled residence of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 years, this popular attraction is home to the famed Topkapi diamond, and exhibits of gold, jade and fine Oriental porcelain.

  • Blue Mosque

    One of the city's most enduring landmarks, this 17th-century mosque is renowned for its domes and minarets. Its interior is dotted with 20,000 delicate blue Iznik tiles in 33 shades.

  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

    The largest covered market in the world, the Grand Bazaar is an intriguing maze of 65 winding streets replete with 4,000 shops, cafes and restaurants. Prior to your visit enjoy a carpet demonstration where you can observe the different stages of the carpet making process.

  • Bosphorus Cruise

    Considered one of the most beautiful sights in the world, the Straits of Bosphorus divide Europe and Asia, and set the stage for a breathtaking motorboat cruise past Ottoman palaces and castles.

  • Underground Cistern

    Built during the reign of Justinian I, the cistern is also known as the "Underground Palace." The ceiling is supported by 336 Corinthian columns.

  • Topkapi Palace Harem

    The harem section of Topkapi Palace was carefully situated so that it could not be seen from the state apartments or the courtyards where public affairs were conducted. Construction began under Suleyman the Magnificent and continued through the time of Mahmut II. The Harem has a highly complex floor plan, consisting of several buildings and hundreds of elaborately decorated rooms.

  • Hippodrome

    The square was once the site of a Roman circus that rivaled the Colosseum. Monuments here include the Snake Column from Delphi and an obelisk from Karnak.

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Istanbul City Walls & Spice Bazaar

3 hours | Istanbul | IST-295

Tour through Old Istanbul, crossing the Galata Bridge. Your guide will point out the Suleymaniye Mosque, one of the most important mosques of the Ottoman Empire, before you drive along the city walls surrounding the ancient city. You will also pass under the age-old Roman aqueduct on your way to the Spice Market. The Spice Market or Egyptian Bazaar was constructed in 1663 as a part of the adjacent Yeni Mosque complex, in order to generate funds for the upkeep of the mosque. This was an avant-garde concept at the time-light years ahead of the not-for-profit fundraising game. The Spice Market is the best place to purchase spices familiar and exotic, whose pungent aromas bear little resemblance to the supermarket variety, as well as fresh Turkish Delight, caviar and a fascinating array of teas before you return to the port.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$29.95

Suleymaniye Mosque, Islamic Arts Museum & Grand Bazaar

4.5 hours | Istanbul | IST-360
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

What better way to "study" the history of Turkey than through its art and architecture. After a scenic drive in your motorcoach from the port, you arrive for your visit of the Suleymaniye Mosque, a masterpiece designed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan. Your tour continues with a visit to Islamic Arts Museum, home to 40,000 objects from the Ottoman (14th to 20th centuries), Seljuk (11th to 13th centuries), and earlier periods beginning in the 8th century. Religious art, Turkish carpets, manuscripts, carved and inlaid wood, glass, porcelain and stone are displayed, as are a fully furnished nomads' tent and 19th-century Ottoman parlor. You'll cap your day off with shopping at the colorful Grand Bazaar. Bargaining is expected and half the fun.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$39.95

Easy Istanbul

5 hours | Istanbul | IST-290
  • Blue Mosque
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

This easy tour spans two continents, promising an easy, yet stunning, view of Istanbul. A scenic 40-minute drive in your motorcoach to Beylerbeyi District is a photo opportunity of a lifetime, promising views of the Bosphorus. Continuing on your tour, you'll travel to the European side for a dazzling photo opportunity at the Blue Mosque and the Byzantine Hippodrome, once the heart of Constantinople's political and sporting life, and the scene of games through the history of the Byzantine empire. Minutes away, you'll visit Hagia Sophia, also known as St. Sophia and the Grand Bazaar, the largest market in the world with over 4000 shops. Bargaining is expected and half the fun.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$49.95

Easy Istanbul (Wheelchair Accessible)

5 hours | Istanbul | IST-291
  • Blue Mosque
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

This easy tour spans two continents, promising an easy, yet stunning, view of Istanbul. A scenic 40-minute drive in your motorcoach to Beylerbeyi District is a photo opportunity of a lifetime, promising views of the Bosphorus. Continuing on your tour, you'll travel to the European side for a dazzling photo opportunity at the Blue Mosque and the Byzantine Hippodrome, once the heart of Constantinople's political and sporting life, and the scene of games through the history of the Byzantine empire. Minutes away, you'll visit Hagia Sophia, also known as St. Sophia and the Grand Bazaar, the largest market in the world with over 4000 shops. Bargaining is expected and half the fun.

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Wheelchair Accessible, Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$49.95

Hippodrome, Byzatine Cistern & St. Sophia

4.5 hours | Istanbul | IST-220
  • Blue Mosque
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration
  • Underground Cistern
  • Hippodrome

Step back in time to an era of opulence and dazzling color on this walking tour of Istanbul. After a scenic drive in your motorcoach from the port, you arrive at Byzantine Hippodrome for a photo opportunity that captures this arena, once the heart of Constantinople's political and sporting life. Then explore the Underground Cistern. Visit Hagia Sophia, one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture, rich with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings. A visit to the Grand Bazaar round out historic tour.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$59.95

St. Sophia, Blue Mosque & Time On Your Own

6.5 hours | Istanbul | IST-180
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

Take a tour of historic Istanbul then shop 'til you drop. Your first destination is the Blue Mosque. Together with your guide, you'll tour this 17th-century marvel that boasts 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 minutes away, you'll visit Hagia Sophia, considered one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. After an awe-inspiring exploration of Turkish history, you'll board your motorcoach for a shopper's dream experience at the Grand Bazaar. Start off with a carpet demonstration then have 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'll strike your fancy. Bargaining is expected and half the fun.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$59.95

Topkapi Palace, Harem & Grand Bazaar

5 hours | Istanbul | IST-205
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration
  • Topkapi Palace Harem

Get a revealing look at the life and times of Ottoman sultans. Your first stop is the awe-inspiring Topkapi Palace Museum, a huge walled complex that hugs the Bosphorus. This former palace of Ottoman sultans is now a museum displaying an extraordinary collection of art, artifacts, and jewels. Just inside is the Topkapi Treasury, home of the famed Topkapi Diamond, the "Spoonmakers Diamond" and the jewel-encrusted Topkapi dagger. Steps away is the harem, offering a revealing look into how the sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived. Your tour continues with a drive to the Grand Bazaar, the largest market in the world with over 4.000 shops. You'll view a carpet demonstration and explore the shops filled with jewelry, carpets, leather ware, and copper goods. Bargaining is expected and half the fun.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$59.95

St. Sophia, Blue Mosque & Grand Bazaar

4.5 hours | Istanbul | IST-200
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

Get a snapshot view of Istanbul in this walking tour. After a scenic drive in your motorcoach from the port, you'll arrive at the Blue Mosque. This 17th-century marvel boasts 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 minutes away, you'll visit Hagia Sophia, considered one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Grand Bazaar, the largest market in the world, presents a carpet demonstration and a plethora of opportunities to bargain in over 4,000 shops.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$69.95

St. Sophia, Blue Mosque & Grand Bazaar (Guided in Spanish)

4.5 hours | Istanbul | IST-202
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

Get a snapshot view of Istanbul in this walking tour. After a scenic drive in your motorcoach from the port, you'll arrive at the Blue Mosque. This 17th-century marvel boasts 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 minutes away, you'll visit Hagia Sophia, considered one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Grand Bazaar, the largest market in the world, presents a carpet demonstration and a plethora of opportunities to bargain in over 4,000 shops.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$69.95

Discovery Exclusive: Breakfast Cruise, Blue Mosque & Grand Bazaar

5 hours | Istanbul | IST-240
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Hippodrome
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration
  • Bosphorus Cruise

The Straits of Bosphorus is the start of your itinerary, as you board a motorboat for a panoramic cruise that promises to leave you breathless. Whether from the comfort of the interior saloon or on deck, you'll witness grand Ottoman palaces and castles, as you dine on a traditional Turkish breakfast. Your tour continues with a drive to the Grand Bazaar, the largest market in the world, offering a carpet demonstration and shops filled with jewelry, carpets, leather ware, and copper goods.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$69.95