Istanbul cruises

The largest city in Turkey, draped mysteriously across two continents, Istanbul is a heady blend of East and West. Lose yourself in the Grand Bazaar whose 4,000 stalls bombard the senses. Experience the legendary invigorating hamam or the traditional Turkish bathhouse. For some unforgettable sight-seeing don’t miss the minarets of the wondrous Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, whose bejewelled treasures reflect the extravagance of powerful sultans.

Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • Suleymaniye, Chora Church & Spice Bazaar

    Surround yourself with some of Istanbul’s most beautiful architecture on this wonderful tour.

    Suleymaniye, Chora Church & Spice Bazaar

    Begin your tour with a visit to the Chora Church Museum, one of the most beautiful surviving examples of an ancient Byzantine Church. It was converted into a museum in 1945 and during the restoration that followed, beautiful mosaics and frescoes were unveiled. Throughout your tour of the museum, you’ll be fascinated by the intricate detail of these stunning mosaics depicting biblical scenes.

    Continue to the magnificent Suleymaniye Mosque, the city’s largest Mosque and one of the best known sights of Istanbul. It was designed by the architect Mimar Sinan on the order of Sultan Süleyman. Like many of Istanbul’s finest mosques the Suleymaniye Mosque is regarded as the most beautiful of all imperial Mosques and is quite simply a masterpiece.

    Round off your tour at the Spice Market. A bustling gastronomic paradise since 1664, the Spice Market is the perfect place to purchase dried fruits and nuts, olives, Turkish delight, oils and a wide range of wonderful spices. You’ll have the opportunity to smell ancient spices such as frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, cumin and rice spice, whilst witnessing Istanbul’s traditional commercial life.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot and involves approximately 2¼ hours of walking, over cobblestones and uneven surfaces. Shoulders and knees must be covered in the Mosques and shoes must be removed, ladies must also wear a head covering. Professional and flash photography are not permitted.

    Tour code

    IST_034

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    3½ hours

  • Imperial Istanbul by Private People Carrier

    A private tour is the perfect solution for guests who wish to tour together and discover Istanbul.

    Imperial Istanbul by Private People Carrier

    An air-conditioned people carrier with an English-speaking guide and local driver is offered on this tour. This is a private vehicle; those accompanying you are family or friends with whom you agree to share costs. We do not match groups of guests to form a private group for the vehicle. Vehicles and guides are extremely limited and so early reservation is recommended to avoid disappointment. No deviations to duration, venues if included or departure and return times can be made.

    The tour fare is per vehicle and only one person in the party should book a ticket. The entire cost of the vehicle and tour will be charged to that person’s credit card. Once on board, you’ll receive a request for the names of each individual in your party. This information is required to allow your party to disembark the ship for the tour.

    People Carriers will take up to four guests.

    The Ottoman sultans lived in the rambling Topkapi Palace and Treasury for nearly 400 years amidst enviable luxury and splendour. The Treasury is filled with priceless diamonds, emeralds and gold. (Please be advised that due to the size and nature of the Treasury rooms, your guide will not give a commentary inside).

    Visit St Sophia Church, formerly a basilica, then a mosque and now a museum. (Some internal restoration work is currently underway).

    The Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet houses 20,000 blue-glazed tiles, which shine as the daylight streams through beautiful stained-glass windows.

    The inspiration for the Hippodrome Square was the great Circus in Rome and was the scene of exciting chariot races and contests. Statues from every corner of the Roman Empire decorated the Hippodrome and you can still view the two obelisks, the Serpentine Column and the Ottoman Fountain.

    Your last stop will be the famous Grand Bazaar. Your guide will escort you to a store just outside the Grand Bazaar, your rendezvous point after experiencing the marketplace. Take in a carpet-weaving demonstration and then explore the Grand Bazaar.


    This excursion will operate by people carrier and on foot. Private tours are non-refundable once confirmed. Actual vehicle type varies depending on availability and the number of guests in your party. Only one person in the party is required to book a ticket. Vehicles are air-conditioned and come with an English-speaking guide and local driver. No deviations to tour content, duration, departure or return time can be made.

    There is approximately 4½ hours of walking and several steps to negotiate on this tour. Due to the popularity of the venues, they can become crowded. Shoulders and knees must be covered in the mosques and shoes must be removed, ladies are required to wear a head covering. Professional and flash photography are not permitted inside the mosques. Please be aware of the ongoing restoration of the Topkapi Palace, which may result in some exhibits being closed. The order of highlights may vary due to local traffic conditions.

    Tour code

    IST_703

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    6 hours

  • Best of Istanbul Four Seasons

    Explore the highlights of the 2010 European Capital of Culture with this magnificent tour including luncheon at the Four Seasons.

    Best of Istanbul Four Seasons

    Your scenic drive takes you across the Galata Bridge to the heart of the old city arriving at the ancient Hippodrome. This large, open square was once the site of a Roman circus that rivalled the Colosseum in size and held a quarter of a million spectators. The next stop is the world famous Blue Mosque, where you can marvel at the 20,000 blue-glazed tiles that decorate the interior and the six graceful minarets that reach skyward.

    A short walk takes you on to the church of St Sophia, which is more than 1000 years older than the Blue Mosque. Highlights include a number of glistening mosaics dating from the Byzantine period.

    Topkapi Palace Museum is a walled complex that surrounds the Bosphorus. Explore the harem section before enjoying luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel.

    Prior to visiting the Grand Bazaar, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a carpet-weaving demonstration to learn about this Turkish art. Afterwards, explore the narrow alleys of the famous Grand Bazaar filled with shops offering souvenirs, jewellery, ceramics and much more.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There are several steps to negotiate throughout the tour and due to the popularity of the venues, they can become crowded. Shoulders and knees must be covered in the mosques and shoes must be removed, ladies must also wear a head covering. Professional and flash photography are not permitted. Please be aware of the ongoing restoration of the Topkapi Palace, which may result in some exhibits being closed or some artifacts may be on temporary loan to other museums. The order of highlights may vary. Due to the size and nature of the Bazaar you will not be accompanied by your guide inside.

    Tour code

    IST_011

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    8½ hours

  • Leisurely Istanbul and Grand Bazaar

    This panoramic introduction to exotic Istanbul is ideal for those who prefer to tour at a slower pace with minimal walking.

    Leisurely Istanbul and Grand Bazaar

    Your panoramic tour begins by passing through the Imperial Gate of Dolmabahçe and the Besiktas/Yildiz District. You will then reach the Bosphorus Bridge and cross over to the Asian side of Istanbul.

    While passing under the bridge, your tour guide will point out the Beylerbeyi Palace and other historical sites located on the coast of the Bosphorus. The scenic drive will include the old districts of Istanbul such as Kuzguncuk.

    Drive across the Galata Bridge, enjoy views of the Golden Horn, and pass under the imposing ancient Roman aqueducts that remain standing within the city. Enjoy a refreshing cup of tea or coffee in one of the city’s hotels before continuing onto Old Istanbul, passing by the beautiful Hagia Sophia and impressive Blue Mosque, for a photograph stop.

    Marvel at the Hippodrome Square, once a huge stadium. A quarter of a million spectators would cheer on their favourite charioteers as they raced four-horse teams around the track.

    Complete your tour with a visit to the Grand Bazaar. Your guide will escort you to a store just outside the Grand Bazaar, your rendezvous after visiting the market. Here you’ll have the opportunity to attend a carpet-weaving demonstration to learn about this Turkish art. Afterwards, explore the narrow alleys of the famous Grand Bazaar filled with shops offering souvenirs, jewellery, ceramics and much more.


    This excursion will operate by coach and involves approximately 20 minutes of walking, there is a 10 minute walk from the coach to the Grand Bazaar.

    Tour code

    IST_008

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4¼ hours

  • Byzantine Highlights & Grand Bazaar

    Visit the magnificent underground cistern and enjoy time for shopping at the Grand Bazaar.

    Byzantine Highlights & Grand Bazaar

    Cross the Galata Bridge to reach the Byzantine Hippodrome. Ancient entertainment including gladiator fights and chariot races took place here through the history of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a beautiful elliptical-shaped park.

    A short walk will then take you to the remarkable Underground Cistern. Built during the reign of Justinian, this 6th century subterranean water reservoir is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul, and boasts a ceiling supported by 336 marble Corinthian columns. This ’Underground Palace’ with its illuminated interior was used in the 1963 James Bond film ‘From Russia with Love’.

    Visit the famous St Sophia Church. After several conquests and pillages, the building was converted into a mosque, but fell into disrepair as the centuries passed. The mosaics were uncovered in the 1900s and the church was then dedicated as a Byzantine-Ottoman museum.

    Prior to visiting the Grand Bazaar, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a carpet-weaving demonstration to learn about this Turkish art. Afterwards, explore the narrow alleys of the famous Grand Bazaar filled with shops offering souvenirs, jewellery, ceramics and much more.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot and involves approximately 1½ hours of walking over uneven, cobblestoned ground, therefore flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. There are approximately 50 steps to negotiate at the entrance to the underground cistern and a further 50 steps to exit. Professional and flash photography are not permitted. The order of highlights may vary. Due to the size and nature of the Bazaar you will not be accompanied by your guide inside.

    Tour code

    IST_030

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4¾ hours

  • Bosphorus Cruise & Dinner

    Enjoy an evening dining out on the shores of the Bosphorus, viewing the magnificent city of Istanbul by night.

    Bosphorus Cruise & Dinner

    After a short transfer by coach you’ll board a motorboat for your leisurely evening cruise. Sit back and relax on board your boat as the beautiful shores of the Bosphorus strait with its illuminated monuments and skyline come into view. Your local guide will enlighten you with the history of the Bosphorus, the palaces, fortress and the old pavilions from Ottoman times whilst you enjoy your dinner.

    You’ll have the opportunity to view both sides of this marvellous city, on the Asian side, view the many palaces, old mansions, and modern villas. Watch for the first intercontinental bridge that connects Europe and Asia. On this side view the stunning Beylerbeyi Palace, one of the finest summer palaces of the Sultans.

    Your boat will turn around at Tarabya fishing village and cruise back along the European side. Pass by Dolmabahce Palace, formerly an opulent 19th-century Rococo palace, and now a museum.


    This excursion will operate by coach and boat. There are approximately 12 steps to negotiate to embark and disembark the boat. Two glasses of wine are included with dinner; any further drinks must be purchased.

    Tour code

    IST_025

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    Duration

    3½ hours

  • Imperial Istanbul

    Explore Istanbul's monuments on a walking tour, from the Hippodrome to the Blue Mosque, and from St Sophia to Topkapi.

    Imperial Istanbul

    The Ottoman sultans lived in the rambling Topkapi Palace and Treasury for nearly 400 years amidst luxury and splendour. The Treasury is filled with priceless jewels. (Due to the size and nature of the Treasury rooms, your guide will not provide commentary inside).

    Visit St Sophia Church, formerly a basilica, then a mosque and now a museum. (Some internal restoration work is currently underway).

    The Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet houses 20,000 blue-glazed tiles, which shine as the daylight streams through beautiful stained-glass windows.

    The inspiration for the Hippodrome Square was the great Circus in Rome and was the scene of exciting chariot races and contests. Statues from every corner of the Roman Empire decorated the Hippodrome and you can still view the two obelisks, the Serpentine Column and the Ottoman Fountain.

    Prior to visiting the Grand Bazaar, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a carpet-weaving demonstration to learn about this Turkish art; during the demonstration a light snack will be offered. Afterwards, explore the narrow alleys of the famous Grand Bazaar filled with shops offering souvenirs, jewellery, ceramics and much more.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot and involves approximately 4½ hours of walking and several steps. Due to the popularity of the venues, they can become crowded. Shoulders and knees must be covered in the mosques and shoes removed, ladies must also wear a head covering. Professional and flash photography are not permitted inside the mosques. There is ongoing restoration of the Topkapi Palace, which may result in some exhibits being closed.

    Tour code

    IST_002

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    6 hours

  • Best of Istanbul by Private People Carrier

    A private tour is the perfect solution for guests who wish to tour together and discover Istanbul.

    Best of Istanbul by Private People Carrier

    An air-conditioned people carrier with an English-speaking guide and local driver is offered on this tour. This is a private vehicle; those accompanying you are family or friends with whom you agree to share costs. We do not match groups of guests to form a private group for the vehicle. Vehicles and guides are extremely limited and so early reservation is recommended to avoid disappointment. No deviations to duration, venues if included or departure and return times can be made.

    The tour fare is per vehicle and only one person in the party should book a ticket. The entire cost of the vehicle and tour will be charged to that person’s credit card. Once on board, you’ll receive a request for the names of each individual in your party. This information is required to allow your party to disembark the ship for the tour.

    People Carriers will take up to four guests.

    Your scenic drive takes you across the Galata Bridge to the heart of the old city arriving at the ancient Hippodrome. This large, open square was once the site of a Roman circus that rivalled the Colosseum in size and held a quarter of a million spectators. The next stop is the world famous Blue Mosque, where you can marvel at the 20,000 blue-glazed tiles that decorate the interior and the six graceful minarets that reach skyward.

    A short walk takes you on to the church of St Sophia, which is more than 1000 years older than the Blue Mosque. Highlights include a number of glistening mosaics dating from the Byzantine period.

    Topkapi Palace Museum is a walled complex that surrounds the Bosphorus. Explore the harem section before enjoying luncheon at a local hotel.

    Visit the Grand Bazaar for an optional carpet-weaving demonstration and then explore the narrow alleys filled with shops offering jewellery, carpets and much more.


    Private tours are non-refundable once confirmed. Actual vehicle type varies depending on availability and the number of guests in your party. Only one person in the party is required to book a ticket. Vehicles are air-conditioned and come with an English-speaking guide and local driver. No deviations to tour content, duration, departure or return time can be made.

    There is approximately 2½ hours of walking over uneven, slippery and cobblestoned ground, flat comfortable shoes are recommended. The removal of any pieces from the site is strictly forbidden. Entrance fees are included. Refreshments and gratuities are not included. There are several steps to negotiate throughout the tour and due to the popularity of the venues, they can become crowded. Shoulders and knees must be covered in the mosques and shoes must be removed, ladies are required to wear a head covering. Professional and flash photography are not permitted. Please be aware of the ongoing restoration of the Topkapi Palace, which may result in some exhibits being closed or some artifacts being on temporary loan to other museums. The order of highlights may vary. Due to the size and nature of the Bazaar you will not be accompanied by your guide inside.

    Tour code

    IST_701

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    8½ hours

  • St Sophia, Blue Mosque & Grand Bazaar

    Have your camera at the ready as you are guided around the fabulous sights of this bustling city.

    St Sophia, Blue Mosque & Grand Bazaar

    Your scenic drive travels across the Galata Bridge, the oldest recorded bridge in Istanbul and situated in the heart of the old city. It is here your knowledgeable guide will take you through the historic streets to the Blue Mosque and St Sophia.

    The Blue Mosque is one of the city’s most recognised landmarks and more than 20,000 blue Iznik tiles highlight the superb interior. You cannot fail to be impressed at the six graceful minarets that adorn the elegant mosque.

    St Sophia was built by the Emperor Justinian in the time of Constantinople. This magnificent example of Byzantine architecture boasts a massive dome and an interior decorated with marble, precious stones, and pillars from Ephesus.

    Prior to visiting the famous Grand Bazaar, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a carpet-weaving demonstration to learn about this Turkish art. Afterwards explore the narrow alleys, filled with shops offering jewellery, carpets, leather ware, copper goods and much more. Bargaining is expected and half the fun of this bazaar experience.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Total walking time is two hours and there are steps to negotiate throughout. Shoulders and knees must be covered in the mosque and shoes removed, ladies must also wear a head covering. Professional and flash photography are not permitted within the St Sophia Museum. Due to the size and nature of the Bazaar you will not be accompanied by your guide inside.

    Tour code

    IST_004

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4¼ hours

  • City Sights & Grand Bazaar

    An effortless option offering you the opportunity to take in the highlights of this amazing city including the famous Grand Bazaar.

    City Sights & Grand Bazaar

    Your scenic drive takes you through the modern area of Istanbul, travelling to the heart of the new city passing Taksim Square. View the Dolmabahçe Palace and the famous five star hotels as you drive through modern Istanbul and on to the old city where you will view the Suleymaniye Mosque, Roman Aquaducts and the old city walls.

    Enjoy a photograph stop to take in the magnificence of The Blue Mosque, also known as the ‘Sultan Ahmet Mosque’. View the obelisks in the Byzantine Hippodrome. Once at the heart of Constantinople’s political and sporting life, it is now a tranquil city park. St Sophia, built in the 6th century is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. Prior to becoming a museum in the early Republican years it was previously a church and mosque. On the return drive enjoy a panoramic view of the Marmara Sea. Afterwards relax with a soft drink, coffee or tea in the old city at a local café.

    Prior to visiting the Grand Bazaar, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a carpet-weaving demonstration to learn about this Turkish art. Afterwards, explore the narrow alleys of the famous Grand Bazaar filled with shops offering souvenirs, jewellery, ceramics and much more.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot and involves walking at your own pace at the Bazaar and a ten minute walk from the coach. You will not be accompanied by your guide inside the Grand Bazaar.

    Tour code

    IST_029

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4½ hours

  • Best of Istanbul by Private Minibus

    A private tour is the perfect solution for guests who wish to tour together and discover Istanbul.

    Best of Istanbul by Private Minibus

    An air-conditioned minibus with an English-speaking guide and local driver is offered on this tour. This is a private vehicle; those accompanying you are family or friends with whom you agree to share costs. We do not match groups of guests to form a private group for the vehicle. Vehicles and guides are extremely limited and so early reservation is recommended to avoid disappointment. No deviations to duration, venues if included or departure and return times can be made.

    The tour fare is per vehicle and only one person in the party should book a ticket. The entire cost of the vehicle and tour will be charged to that person’s credit card. Once on board, you’ll receive a request for the names of each individual in your party. This information is required to allow your party to disembark the ship for the tour.

    Minibuses will take up to eight guests.

    Your scenic drive takes you across the Galata Bridge to the heart of the old city arriving at the ancient Hippodrome. This large, open square was once the site of a Roman circus that rivalled the Colosseum in size and held a quarter of a million spectators. The next stop is the world famous Blue Mosque, where you can marvel at the 20,000 blue-glazed tiles that decorate the interior and the six graceful minarets that reach skyward.

    A short walk takes you on to the church of St Sophia, which is more than 1000 years older than the Blue Mosque. Highlights include a number of glistening mosaics dating from the Byzantine period.

    Topkapi Palace Museum is a walled complex that surrounds the Bosphorus. Explore the harem section before enjoying luncheon at a local hotel.

    Visit the Grand Bazaar for an optional carpet-weaving demonstration and to explore the narrow alleys filled with shops offering jewellery, carpets and much more.


    Private tours are non-refundable once confirmed. Actual vehicle type varies depending on availability and the number of guests in your party. Only one person in the party is required to book a ticket. Vehicles are air-conditioned and come with an English-speaking guide and local driver. No deviations to tour content, duration, departure or return time can be made.

    There is approximately 2½ hours of walking over uneven, slippery and cobblestoned ground, flat comfortable shoes are recommended. The removal of any pieces from the site is strictly forbidden. Entrance fees are included. Refreshments and gratuities are not included. There are several steps to negotiate throughout the tour and due to the popularity of the venues, they can become crowded. Shoulders and knees must be covered in the mosques and shoes must be removed, ladies are required to wear a head covering. Professional and flash photography are not permitted. Please be aware of the ongoing restoration of the Topkapi Palace, which may result in some exhibits being closed or some artifacts being on temporary loan to other museums. The order of highlights may vary. Due to the size and nature of the Bazaar you will not be accompanied by your guide inside.

    Tour code

    IST_702

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    8½ hours

  • Complete Istanbul Two Day Package

    A wonderful opportunity to visit the main highlights of Istanbul over 1½ days.

    Complete Istanbul Two Day Package

    Make the most of your time in the vibrant city of Istanbul by joining this excursion; the perfect way to encompass the main highlights over your two day stay in Istanbul.

    Day 1 (approx 8 hour duration, including luncheon)

    Embark on a scenic drive to the old city to visit Hagia St Sophia, a former church, later an imperial mosque and today a museum. As the principle mosque of Istanbul, this impressive structure served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques including the Blue Mosque. Marvel at the impressive dome as well as the wonderful mosaics of the upper galleries.

    Continue to the oldest palace in the city, Topkapi Palace. Listen carefully as your knowledgeable guide provides you with a fascinating insight into this opulent complex of buildings that formed the residence of the Sultans and the women of the Harem for 400 years.

    A short walk will then bring you to the extraordinary Underground Cistern. An underground chamber that was constructed in the 6th Century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian to hold the water supply for the Great Palace.

    Afterwards, a delicious luncheon will be served at a local hotel.

    Round off your first day in Istanbul with a visit to the Spice Market, where you’ll have time to browse the abundance of stalls selling a range of dried herbs, spices and exotic condiments, as well as freshly made Turkish Delight, before returning to the ship.

    Day 2 (approx 4¼ hour duration)

    Your second day in Istanbul begins with a stop at the Hippodrome, which was one of the largest chariot race grounds of the Byzantine Empire. You’ll then visit the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, known to most as the Blue Mosque due to the beautiful blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.

    Complete your day with a stop at the Grand Bazaar for an optional carpet-weaving demonstration, followed by free time to explore the narrow alleys with their array of shops selling carpets, jewellery and much more.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This excursion is a two day option, consisting of a full day tour on the first day for approximately eight hours, and a half day tour on the second day for approximately 4¼ hours. Luncheon is included on the first day only. There are several steps to negotiate throughout the tour and due to the popularity of the venues, they can become crowded. Shoulders and knees must be covered in the mosques and shoes must be removed, women must also wear a head covering. Professional and flash photography are not permitted. Please be aware of the ongoing restoration of the Topkapi Palace, which may result in some exhibits being closed. Due to the size and nature of the Bazaar you will not be accompanied by your guide inside.

    Tour code

    IST_037

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    2 days

  • Picture Perfect Istanbul

    Experience Istanbul through the eyes of a photographer on this wonderful full day tour.

    Picture Perfect Istanbul

    Join your photographer/guide on a walking tour to Galata Tower, to experience wonderful panoramic views of the city.

    Tunel is an underground funicular with two stations connecting the quarters of Karakoy and Beyoglu. Inaugurated in 1875, Tunel is the second-oldest subterranean urban rail line in the world after the London Underground (1863). Your journey on the underground funicular will take you from Karakoy to Tunel.

    Your guided walking tour continues along the Galata Bridge. Take a brief drive to Eminonu Square, a beautiful waterside city centre attraction, from where you’ll have the opportunity to briefly visit the Spice Bazaar.

    Prepare to take great photographs of Hagia Sophia. Built in the 6th century, at the time, Haiga Sophia's dome was the largest in the world. Afterwards enjoy some free time to purchase luncheon on your own.

    After meeting back up with your guide, your next photograph stop will be the Hippodrome and Blue Mosque, which is also known as ‘The Sultan Ahmed Mosque’.

    Journey to Beyazid Square, and walk to the Grand Bazaar to enjoy some free time exploring this impressive covered market.


    This excursion will operate by minibus, tram and on foot and involves 5½ hours of walking over some cobblestoned streets. There are 69 steps to negotiate to reach the balcony at Galata Tower. Shoulders and knees must be covered and shoes removed when visiting mosques, ladies must also wear a head covering. Guests should know how to use their cameras; your guide will provide advice on ideal photograph opportunities but not give assistance on using your camera.

    Tour code

    IST_031

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    7¾ hours

  • Imperial Istanbul by Private Minibus

    A private tour is the perfect solution for guests who wish to tour together and discover Istanbul.

    Imperial Istanbul by Private Minibus

    An air-conditioned minibus with an English-speaking guide and local driver is offered on this tour. This is a private vehicle; those accompanying you are family or friends with whom you agree to share costs. We do not match groups of guests to form a private group for the vehicle. Vehicles and guides are extremely limited and so early reservation is recommended to avoid disappointment. No deviations to duration, venues if included or departure and return times can be made.

    The tour fare is per vehicle and only one person in the party should book a ticket. The entire cost of the vehicle and tour will be charged to that person’s credit card. Once on board, you’ll receive a request for the names of each individual in your party. This information is required to allow your party to disembark the ship for the tour.

    Minibuses will take up to eight guests.

    The Ottoman sultans lived in the rambling Topkapi Palace and Treasury for nearly 400 years amidst enviable luxury and splendour. The Treasury is filled with priceless diamonds, emeralds and gold. (Please be advised that due to the size and nature of the Treasury rooms, your guide will not give a commentary inside).

    Visit St Sophia Church, formerly a basilica, then a mosque and now a museum. (Some internal restoration work is currently underway).

    The Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet houses 20,000 blue-glazed tiles, which shine as the daylight streams through beautiful stained-glass windows.

    The inspiration for the Hippodrome Square was the great Circus in Rome and was the scene of exciting chariot races and contests. Statues from every corner of the Roman Empire decorated the Hippodrome and you can still view the two obelisks, the Serpentine Column and the Ottoman Fountain.

    Your last stop will be the famous Grand Bazaar. Your guide will escort you to a store just outside the Grand Bazaar, your rendezvous point after experiencing the marketplace. Take in a carpet-weaving demonstration and explore the Grand Bazaar.



    This excursion will operate by private minibus and on foot. Private tours are non-refundable once confirmed. Actual vehicle type varies depending on availability and the number of guests in your party. Only one person in the party is required to book a ticket. Vehicles are air-conditioned and come with an English-speaking guide and local driver. No deviations to tour content, duration, departure or return time can be made.

    There is approximately 4½ hours of walking and several steps to negotiate on this tour. Due to the popularity of the venues, they can become crowded. Shoulders and knees must be covered in the mosques and shoes must be removed, ladies are required to wear a head covering. Professional and flash photography are not permitted inside the mosques. Please be aware of the ongoing restoration of the Topkapi Palace, which may result in some exhibits being closed. The order of highlights may vary due to local traffic conditions.

    Tour code

    IST_704

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    6 hours

  • Bazaars of Istanbul

    A great opportunity to visit the most famous and unique bazaars of Istanbul.

    Bazaars of Istanbul

    After a short panoramic drive to the old city, your first visit will be the Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar. Built in 1663, the Spice Market is still the second-largest covered bazaar in Turkey and it is still the best place to buy Turkish delight, dried fruit, exotic herbs and all the spices of the East including cardamom, turmeric, saffron, rose water and much more.

    Continue onto the Grand Bazaar, where your guide will escort you to a store just outside the Grand Bazaar, which will be your rendezvous point after experiencing the marketplace. Take in a carpet-weaving demonstration and explore on your own, where the shops are organised by the wares they sell. The narrow alleys are filled with shops offering jewellery, carpets, leather ware, copper goods and more. Bargaining is expected and half the fun.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Please be advised that the surfaces are cobblestoned and uneven in places at both Bazaars.

    Tour code

    IST_026

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4 hours