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.