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

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.

20 EXCURSIONS

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Treasure Hunt in Grand Bazaar: A Discovery Family Tourr

4 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 4 0 0
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

The kids won't be able to resist the fun of an action-packed treasure hunt through the colorful lanes of Istanbul's centuries-old Grand Bazaar. Teams traverse the 65 colorful streets through more than 4,000 shops collecting clues in a race against time. Winners take home a surprise, but everyone has a great time.

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity

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$19.95

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Suleymaniye Mosque, Islamic Arts Museum & Grand Bazaar

4.5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 3 6 0
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

What better way to "study" the history of Turkey than through its art and architecture. A number of Istanbul's finest mosques were designed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan. Visit one of his masterpieces the Suleymaniye Mosque and then visit the Islamic Arts Museum, home to 40,000 objects including magnificent rugs and manuscripts. Cap your day off with shopping at the colorful Grand Bazaar.

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity

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$39.95

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Easy Istanbul

5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 2 9 0
  • Blue Mosque
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

This tour is designed for passengers who prefer to see some sights from the motorcoach with little or no walking involved. Major sites are unveiled on this narrated drive to Europe and Asia. Take in views of the Bosphorus from Beylerbeyi district in Asia Minor. Cross the Bosphorus and visit Hagia Sophia, considered the greatest work of Byzantine architecture. Cap the day off with a carpet demonstration and shopping at the Grand Bazaar.

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Shopping Opportunities, Easy Activity, Includes snack

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$49.00

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Easy Istanbul (Wheelchair Accessible)

5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 2 9 1
  • Blue Mosque
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

This departure is space set aside on lift-equipped vehicles for wheelchair confined passengers - please be sure to read the Notes section of the tour description regarding requesting this space. This tour is designed for passengers who prefer to see some sights from the motorcoach with little or no walking involved. Major sites are unveiled on this narrated drive to Europe and Asia. Take in views of the Bosphorus from Beylerbeyi district in Asia Minor. Cross the Bosphorus and visit Hagia Sophia, considered the greatest work of Byzantine architecture. Cap the day off with a carpet demonstration and shopping at the Grand Bazaar.

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Wheelchair Accessible, Shopping Opportunities, Easy Activity, Includes snack

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$49.00

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Topkapi Palace, Harem & Grand Bazaar

5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 2 0 5
  • 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. A visit to Topkapi Palace Museum, Treasury and Harem unveils a collection of art and artifacts and the 7th largest diamond in the world. You'll see the residence of the Sultan, then witness a carpet-weaving demonstration around the Grand Bazaar.

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity

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$59.00

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Hippodrome, Byzatine Cistern & St. Sophia

4.5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 2 2 0
  • Blue Mosque
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration
  • Underground Cistern
  • Hippodrome

Step back in time to an era of opulence and dazzling color as you visit the Hippodrome and Underground Cistern. Visit Hagia Sophia, considered the greatest work of Byzantine architecture. Head over to Grand Bazaar for shopping and a carpet demonstration round out this historic walking tour.

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity

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$59.95

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St. Sophia, Blue Mosque & Time On Your Own

6.5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 1 8 0
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

Take a tour of historic Istanbul then shop 'til you drop. Walk the historic streets of Istanbul with your guide and visit the Blue Mosque. Stroll to Hagia Sophia, considered the greatest work of Byzantine architecture. Then spend three hours on your own at the Grand Bazaar, the largest market in the world

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity

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$59.95

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Breakfast Cruise, Blue Mosque & Grand Bazaar: A Discovery Exclusive

5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 2 4 0
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Hippodrome
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration
  • Bosphorus Cruise

Explore Istanbul by land and by sea, as you set off for a panoramic cruise along the Bosphorus with breakfast. Then visit the Blue Mosque, renowned for shimming domes, minarets and blue Iznik tiles. Round out your tour with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, the largest market in the world.

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity, Includes meal

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$69.00

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St. Sophia, Blue Mosque & Grand Bazaar

4.5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 2 0 0
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

Get a snapshot view of Istanbul in this walking tour. Visit the Blue Mosque, renowned for shimming domes, minarets and blue Iznik tiles, and Hagia Sophia, considered the greatest work of Byzantine architecture. Round out your tour with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, the largest market in the world.

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity

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$69.95

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Santa Sofía, Mezquita Azul Y Gran Bazar (Con Guía En Español)

4.5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 2 0 2
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

Get a snapshot view of Istanbul in this walking tour. Visit the Blue Mosque, renowned for shimming domes, minarets and blue Iznik tiles, and Hagia Sophia, considered the greatest work of Byzantine architecture. Round out your tour with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, the largest market in the world.

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity

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$69.95

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Off the Beaten Path - Hidden Secrets of the Old City

5.5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 4 1 5
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

Wander through Istanbul's historic Sogukcesme Street, sandwiched between Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia, and admire the gracious 19th century Ottoman architecture. Visit the Great Palace Mosaic Museum for stunning remnants from the Blue Mosque. Admire Turkish crafts displayed at the Caferaga Medresesi Theological School and shop at the Grand Bazaar.

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity

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$79.95

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Late Riser - Ottoman Istanbul

5.5 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 4 2 0
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration

Perfect for those who like to sleep in or linger over breakfast, you'll still have plenty of time to see the highlights of Istanbul's Ottoman era and learn more about its exquisite architecture and art on this captivating half-day tour. Visit the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and the Islamic Arts Museum.

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Shopping Opportunities, Strenuous Activity

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$79.95

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Off the Beaten Path - Princess Islands

7 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 4 1 0

A Turkish island lost in time, beautiful Buyukada awaits your discovery. Travel by boat to the largest of the Princes' Islands and acquaint yourself with this little gem by horse-drawn carriage. Then stroll along flower-lined streets, view the 300-year-old Hagia Yorgi Church and lunch independently.

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity

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$99.95

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A Day in Nature

6 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 3 0 5

Escape the hustle and bustle of Istanbul and take in the fresh air and lovely scenery of Belgrade Forest, a botanical oasis dating back to the 16th century. Enjoy a guided walk through the expansive grounds, a haven for birds and wildlife. Then, tuck into a freshly prepared barbeque lunch.

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Moderate Activity, Includes meal

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$119.95

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Ultimate Essence of Istanbul - A Discovery Exclusive

8 hours | Istanbul | I S T - 1 5 2
  • Grand Bazaar & Carpet Demonstration
  • Bosphorus Cruise

This quintessential Istanbul experience, especially crafted for a small group, witnesses the magnificence of the Bosphorus Strait. Relax and replenish in a Turkish bath, visit the Grand Bazaar and delight your taste buds with specialties of Turkish cuisine on this exceptional Discovery Exclusive tour.

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Shopping Opportunities, Strenuous Activity, Includes meal

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$299.95

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