Turkey: Istanbul

Select Experience Tour, Turkey: IstanbulSelect Experience Tour, Turkey: Istanbul

Turkey

Istanbul

overview

Discover the sights, sounds, and tastes of Istanbul, an ancient and diverse metropolis offering up a wealth of architecture, markets, waterfront, and seagoing excitement. Two full days of in-depth guided walking lead you to its incomparable monuments and iconic streets. Wind your way through Roman foundations, past Byzantine mosaics, and amongst the grandeur of Ottoman mosques and palaces. Browse shops and chocolatiers in the colorful Pera district, where local “Istanbullu” gather. Your city-center, contemporary hotel is perfectly located for a quick jaunt to beautiful landmarks like the Hagia Sophia or Topkapi Palace and is ideal for relaxing between outings in this singular city.

Activity Level
Activities vary and
are accessible to
most fitness levels;
see full itinerary
Meet
Istanbul, Turkey
Depart
Istanbul, Turkey
Daily Itinerary
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itinerary
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3 days, 2 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Three breakfasts
  • Accommodations at a boutique hotel
  • Two full days of city touring with an expert bilingual guide (please note that entry fees to the sites are not included to allow for flexibility on the exact monuments guests wish to visit)
  • Basic travel insurance coverage
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW staff
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy
Single supplement + $0 

*Surcharges may apply for New Year’s, Christmas, or other national holidays

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Istanbul
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2
Istanbul
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3
Istanbul
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Day 1

Istanbul

Full-day walking tour of Istanbul: Suleymaniye Mosque, Kariye Museum, the Church of St. Saviour in Chora, Beyazit covered bazaar, spice market, Rustem Pasha Mosque, Galata Bridge, Karaköy, Pera District

A full-day walking tour provides a perfect overview of Istanbul—visiting sites from its many periods with both ample walking and time to linger at each stop. After breakfast at your hotel, your guide and driver meet you (at 8:30 a.m.) for the short transfer to the Suleymaniye Mosque, the 16th-century imperial mosque, where you tour its extensive complex. You continue to the Kariye Museum and the Church of St. Saviour in Chora, considered one of the world’s best examples of Byzantine architecture with its stupendous mosaics dating from the 11th century. Next, it’s just a short drive to Beyazit, where you enter the covered bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets, encompassing 61 streets and over 3,000 shops. A walk of about an hour and a half takes you through the bazaar to the spice market on the shore of the Golden Horn—the inlet of the Bosporus that is Istanbul’s famed and picturesque natural harbor. You pass by the Rustem Pasha Mosque with its magnificent tiles, then walk across the Galata Bridge, spanning the Golden Horn, to the historical neighborhood of Karaköy, to take the one-stop funicular to Istiklal Avenue in the Pera district. This wonderful pedestrian avenue, full of late Ottoman buildings of the 19th and early 20th centuries, stretches to Taksim Square with a vintage tram. Lined with cafés, markets, churches, boutiques, embassies, and pastry and chocolate shops, it was the cosmopolitan center of Istanbul in the 19th century, and is still the best place in the city to observe modern “Istanbullu” locals. You spend approximately 1½ hours exploring the colorful Pera district before being transferred back to the hotel, where you may relax at its spa before dinner on your own with your guide’s recommendations.

Levni Hotel & Spa

Istanbul, Turkey

In the heart of Istanbul, this four-plus-star hotel is within walking distance of the city’s main historical sites—Sultanahmet Square, the Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace—and the spice market and Sirkeci waterfront. Newly opened, it offers spacious contemporary rooms with plush fabrics and furnishings, an on-site restaurant, as well as a heated indoor pool, fitness center, Turkish hammam bath, and spa treatment rooms (with massage and other spa offerings available).

Day 2

Istanbul

Full-day walking tour of Istanbul: Sultanahmet district, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Sokollu Pasha Mosque, and Topkapi Palace; earlyevening ferry ride on the Bosporus

After breakfast, your guide meets you at your hotel at 8:30 a.m. for a walking tour and in-depth visit to more of the city’s main monuments in the historical Sultanahmet district. Today you visit the famous domed Hagia Sophia—a Greek Orthodox basilica from 360 till 1453, then a mosque until 1931, and a museum since its secularization in 1935. Next on the route is the Roman Basilica Cistern dating from the 6th century, then on to the Blue Mosque, built from 1609 to 1616 during the rule of Sultan Ahmed I, the last of the mosques of the classical period and incorporating Byzantine and Ottoman architectural elements. The route then takes you to the Hippodrome—the sporting “circus” and social area originally from about 200 AD and renovated by Constantine in the 4th century AD.

You may also choose to visit the 16th-century Sokollu Pasha Mosque, appreciated for its beautiful blue and green iznik tiles. And finally, the tour concludes at the Topkapi Palace, the massive compound that was the residence and ceremonial center of the Ottoman rulers for just under 400 years out of their total 624-year reign, from 1465 to 1856. Expanded over the centuries from its beginnings by Sultan Mehmed II who conquered Constantinople, the UNESCO World Heritage site comprises four main courtyards and numerous buildings and gardens. As a perfect atmospheric ending to the day, you board a ferry at dusk for a scenic ride up the Bosporus strait toward the Black Sea, and then return by car to your hotel.

Levni Hotel & Spa

Istanbul, Turkey

In the heart of Istanbul, this four-plus-star hotel is within walking distance of the city’s main historical sites—Sultanahmet Square, the Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace—and the spice market and Sirkeci waterfront. Newly opened, it offers spacious contemporary rooms with plush fabrics and furnishings, an on-site restaurant, as well as a heated indoor pool, fitness center, Turkish hammam bath, and spa treatment rooms (with massage and other spa offerings available).

Day 3

Istanbul

Departure from Istanbul

Following breakfast in the hotel, you check out and depart Istanbul at your leisure.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guest Comments

K. & G. Melton, North Carolina, May 2013

Our trip was walking and cultural with a native professiional and friendly guide. We experienced the sights that are famous in Istanbul and also had the native insights in the shops, lunches and current events in the country. We did a custom guided trip with Bihtar who was recommended by you. She was instructive, friendly, knowledgable and would highly recommned her again and again.

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