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Istanbul Shore Excursion: Private Full-Day Jewish Heritage of Istanbul Tour

Istanbul, Turkey

From $172.92

Price varies by group size

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Number of travelers
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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon7 hours  (Approx.)
Pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English


Hop off at the port and delve into a guided full-day exploration of Istanbul’s historical Jewish heritage during this private shore excursion. This tour presents the rich history and significant landmarks of Sephardic Jews (originating from Spain) who were received with open arms to Istanbul in 1492. Along your city expedition, visit old Jewish neighborhoods such as Balat, Galata Tower, and four emblematic synagogues. Plus, enjoy the Jewish Museum of History with personalized attention from your guide.
  • Full-day private shore excursion around Istanbul's historical Jewish landmarks and districts
  • See inside the city’s famous Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue, Neve Shalom and the 15th-century Ahrida Synagogue
  • Explore colorful, cobbled Balat, the historical hub of Istanbul’s Jewish community
  • Visit the Jewish Museum of Turkey and enjoy the views from the Galata Tower
  • Enjoy lunch (own expense) in the Ortaköy district, where exiled Jews first landed in the city in 1492
  • Receive in-depth attention from a professional guide on this private tour
  • Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship
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Port pickup and drop-off
Transport by private, air-conditioned minivan
Professional guide
Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy
Food and drinks, unless specified

Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered


  • Istanbul Port

Departure Time

Depends on cruise docking time
Please contact your local supplier to agree on your departure time. Contact details will be provided in your voucher
Disembark from your ship at the port and start your full-day shore excursion of Istanbul’s Jewish heritage as you hop into your air-conditioned minivan. Take a comfortable ride to Karaköy and discover Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue (aka Austrian Temple) in this former Jewish neighborhood. As you admire the elegant interior, learn how this synagogue was established in 1900 by Ashkenazi Jews (people of central European and Austrian descent) and is the only one currently in use by Ashkenazis today. Afterward, head close by to the biggest synagogue for Sephardic Jews, Neve Shalom which was constructed in the 1950s.

Hop back in your minivan and continue over the Golden Horn to the old Jewish neighborhood of Balat. Relish the old world atmosphere as you stroll along cobbled streets and view vibrant homes. Hear how this area spent 500 years as a prominent Jewish area and even observe a few houses that still float the Star of David in their windows. Stop at Ahrida Synagogue, Istanbul’s oldest synagogue, and marvel at this building erected in the 1430s.

Next, take an elevator ride to the top of Galata Tower and gaze over the city from this 14th century fortification. Then, step into the Jewish Museum of Turkey (once known as the Zülfaris Museum) and see a well documented history of Jews dating back to 1492 when Sultan Beyazid Khan II helped exiled Sephardic Jews enter the city.

Finally, arrive in the Ortaköy district and see where Sephardic Jews docked for the first time after a long sea journey in the 15th century. Here, take a break for lunch at one of many cafes and restaurants that populate this charming suburb (own expense). 

Following lunch, voyage back to your cruise ship where your tour concludes. 

Please note: on the day of your tour, the order of each activity visited above may be modified.

Worry-free Shore Excursion:Don’t worry, this tour ensures you will get back to Istanbul cruise port! In the unlikely event that your ship has departed, we will prepare transportation to the next port-of call. Plus, you can book worry free. If by chance your ship is delayed to arrive and you cannot attend the tour, we will refund your money. See our terms and conditions for full details.
Stop At:  
Askenazi Synagogue
Meet your private guide at the port and board your air-conditioned minivan to begin your full-day shore excursion of the city’s Jewish heritage. Head first for the old Jewish neighborhood of Karaköy and its Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue. Founded in 1900 and known as the Austrian Temple, the building is Istanbul’s only working synagogue for Ashkenazi Jews (those of Austrian and Central European origin). After viewing its ornate interior, visit the nearby, 1950s-built Neve Shalom, the city’s largest synagogue for Sephardic Jews. Next, cross the Golden Horn to the traditional Jewish area of Balat. See the cobbled, stepped streets and colored houses — some bearing the Star of David — as your guide explains how the district has been the hub of the Jewish community for over 500 years. Along the way, call at the Ahrida Synagogue, the city’s oldest synagogue, that dates way back to the 1430s. Enjoy stunning views of the city from the 14th-century Galata Tower and then visit the Jewish Museum of Turkey, formerly the Zülfaris Museum. Inspect the exhibits that chart the history of Jews in Istanbul to learn how exiled Sephardics were first welcomed into the city in 1492 by Sultan Beyazid Khan II. Finish in the Ortaköy district, the site of the Sephardic Jews’ first landings in the 15th century. If you wish, stop for lunch (own expense) in this trendy suburb, where the streets and quaysides are lined with restaurants and cafes. Afterward, return to the cruise port, where your tour ends. Please note: the order of activities as described above may be subject to change on the day of your tour. Worry-free Shore Excursion: We will ensure your timely return to Istanbul cruise port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.
Duration: 7 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 2 days of travel. In this case confirmation will be received within 48 hours, subject to availability
  • It is highly recommended that you wear comfortable clothes and shoes
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
  • OPERATED BY Fez Travel

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during Istanbul Shore Excursion: Private Full-Day Jewish Heritage of Istanbul Tour?
This activity will have a maximum of 9 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Istanbul Shore Excursion: Private Full-Day Jewish Heritage of Istanbul Tour.

Product code: 5739PRTISTJEW

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