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Private Tour: Ottoman Istanbul Full-Day Tour

star-4.58 Reviews
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Istanbul, Turkey
Private Tour: Ottoman Istanbul Full-Day Tour

Select Date and Travelers

Number of travelers
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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon8 hours  (Approx.)
Hotel pickup offered
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Overview

Witness the must-see wonders of Ottoman Istanbul on this full-day private tour. With your own expert guide, explore top Istanbul attractions including the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Grand Bazaar, and visit the glorious Hagia Sophia, the 6th-century basilica turned into an Ottoman mosque in 1453. Learn about Istanbul’s fascinating history from your guide, and stop midway for a delicious included lunch at a local restaurant. Upgrade to make your visit to the Hagia Sophia in the early morning or evening, so you can enjoy its treasures without the crowds.
  • Full-day private tour of the highlights of Ottoman Istanbul
  • Visit the top Istanbul attractions of the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia
  • Absorb the sights, sounds and aromas of the chaotic Grand Bazaar
  • Ogle Istanbul’s skyline from the Bosphorus waterfront
  • Break for a delicious, included lunch at a traditional restaurant
  • Upgrade to visit the Hagia Sophia before or after opening hours for a crowd-free experience
  • Enjoy undivided attention and in-depth commentary from your own private guide
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Hotel pickup and drop-off
Transport by private minivan
Professional guide
Lunch
Turkish coffee
Drinks, unless specified
Gratuities
The Marmara Taksim , Osmanli Sokak No: 1/B Taksim Square, Istanbul 34437 Turkey
8:00 AM

Please arrive 45 minutes before your selected start time for pickup. Your operator can coordinate exact time and location.

We pick up city center located hotels. If your hotel is located outside of our city limits, we might need to apply a supplement. Please contact us to check your hotel location before arrival.
Select your tour option when you book, and on the day, begin with a pickup from your central Istanbul hotel. Meet your private guide, receive a blue-and-white ‘evil eye’ token as a gift, and settle into your private, air-conditioned minivan.

If you’ve chosen to visit the Hagia Sophia during its regular opening hours, make your way first to this incredible UNESCO-protected building for a 1-hour guided tour. Step inside with your guide and marvel at the soaring dome and glittering mosaics as you hear about its tangled history. Constructed as a Christian basilica by the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century, this astonishing edifice was converted to a mosque by the Ottomans in 1453.

Continue to the exquisite Blue Mosque, whose six minarets are a famous fixture on Istanbul’s skyline. Head inside for a guided tour of the stunning interior — a vision of bright blue, delicately painted Iznik tiles. Next, stop by at the Hippodrome, the city's former Ottoman chariot-racing arena, and then pay a visit to the Topkapi Palace. This opulent palace was the power base of the Ottoman sultans for more than 400 years, and boasts ornamental courtyards, rich chambers and lavish treasures that bear witness to the sultans’ wealth and pampered lives.

After lunch at a local restaurant (see the Itinerary for a sample menu), dive into the Grand Bazaar. Delve into the chaotic corridors and browse the colorful stalls hawking carpets, lanterns, leather and other goodies. Refuel with a Turkish coffee along the way, and then finish with a waterfront stroll to admire stirring views over the Bosphorus Strait and city skyline.

Your tour then concludes with a hotel drop-off.

Optional Early Morning or Evening Visit to Hagia SophiaUpgrade to enjoy an early morning or evening visit to the Hagia Sophia and enjoy a 1-hour tour with your private guide, but without the crowds!

Choose to arrive before the official 9am opening time and be one of the first of the day to experience its glorious interior. Alternatively, select an evening visit as the last port of call on your private tour. Arrive after the official closing time of 6pm in winter (November to March), or 8pm in summer (April to October), and make the most of the interior free from the noise and bustle of the main daytime crowds.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque, an incredibly beautiful mosque known for its blue Iznik (Nicaean) tiles and unique for the fact that it has six minarets.
Duration: 45 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar, the vast and legendary covered market that is the biggest souk in the world with nearly 4000 shops of antiques, jewelry, and carpets.
Duration: 45 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Hagia Sophia Mosque
Hagia Sophia, the Church of Divine Wisdom. Ranking as one of the greatest marvels of world architecture, this awe-inspiring building was constructed as a basilica in the 6th century by Byzantine Emperor Justinian.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Topkapi Palace
This visit to the imperial palace of the Ottoman Sultans will include tours of the imperial treasury, the Chinese porcelain section, the calligraphy section and many more. We will also visit the optional Jewelry Collection segment of the palace.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • BLUE MOSQUE (SULTANAHMET MOSQUE) will be closed to the touristic visits between 01/03-15/05/2018 due to restoration work inside the mosque. Mosque visit will be kept but will be allowed to use the garden part only.
  • A minimum of 2 people per booking is required
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • We as KARAVAN TRAVEL, want to ensure the minds of travelers that, all the necessary safety measures and precautions will be maintained at all times; hand sanitizer will be available, masks will be given out, seats will be blocked out on coaches, reduced groups sizes and social distancing measures will be taking against COVID-19 infections. We will follow up the new regulations/restrictions permanently and update our procedures accordingly.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Clients should to wear suitable clothing and bring their own head scarf before enter to Hagia Sophia.
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
  • OPERATED BY Karavan Travel
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Private Tour: Ottoman Istanbul Full-Day Tour?
A:The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Face masks provided for travelers
See all safety measures taken by Private Tour: Ottoman Istanbul Full-Day Tour.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Private Tour: Ottoman Istanbul Full-Day Tour?
A:The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Private Tour: Ottoman Istanbul Full-Day Tour.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Private Tour: Ottoman Istanbul Full-Day Tour?
A:The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Private Tour: Ottoman Istanbul Full-Day Tour.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Private Tour: Ottoman Istanbul Full-Day Tour?
A:The policies on staff health & safety are:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
See all safety measures taken by Private Tour: Ottoman Istanbul Full-Day Tour.

Traveler Tips


  • "The Grand Bazaar is not worth a visit if you are pressed for time." See review

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
8 Reviews
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-7 of 8 reviews
star-4
Nice Tour
Daniela_P
, Jul 2019
We were late to this tour because our flight was delayed and our tour guide was nice enough to wait for us. This was a nice quick tour of Istanbul and is best suited if you want a quick glance of the city on the European side. Also, the lunch was delicious!
star-3
First time in Istanbul
MORNE_S
, May 2019
Our guide picked us up from the hotel and we traveled by van to our first stop. With the traffic being so hectic, i would suggest that you opt to rather walk (if your hotel is within walking distance) than waste precious time in traffic. The guide moved the itinerary around so that we could visit Topkapi palace first and missed the crowds. This was a good call from the guide. If you like taking photos, you should note that no taking of photos are allowed within the buildings of the palace, which is a bit disappointing. The gardens however are beautiful and a number of nice spots to take photos. Aya Sophia had a long queue at the security check and they are currently busy with refurbishments inside. The Grand Bazaar is totally over rated and very expensive. We bought items there and bargained about the pricing and still paid almost double for the same (or better quality) at shops and stalls around the city. If you don't want to be hassled by store keepers, do not stop to look at something and most of all do not point at. The Grand Bazaar is not worth a visit if you are pressed for time. Most of the stalls sell the same items. The lunch offered was at a good restaurant and the food was delicious. The guide was very informative, but gave the impression that she was in a rush and a bit impatient at times. We didn't go to the Blue Mosque as the guide advised that it was also under refurbishment and we would not be able to see most of it.
star-5
We had an amazing time in Istanbul...
MARISA_J
, Jun 2018
We had an amazing time in Istanbul, and this is very much thanks to this tour and our excellent tour guide, Selcuk. There is so much to see, but the itinerary is a perfect set of landmarks for the traveler who may not have weeks available to explore. Due to Ramandan, certain attractions were only open during certain hours, yet Selcuk was very agile in helping restructure the agenda so we could still see it all and spend enough time at each site. Our favorite was Hagia Sophia, what an impressive place! The Blue Mosque was a must see for us, as was the Bazaar. Oh, and lunch was delicious! Selcuk was by far one of the best tour guides we've had. He was very informative, engaging, and was open to our questions. He was very accommodating to our requests, and we left the day falling in love with Istanbul and all it had to offer. We definitely want to go back!
star-5
The tour and our guide was great. He...
Jonathan P
, Dec 2017
The tour and our guide was great. He was very knowledgeable and added great context to the sites we were visiting. He also allowed us to make slight changes to the agenda because of our schedule. Highly recommend.
star-5
Our tour guide Hande was awesome...
James_D
, May 2016
Our tour guide Hande was awesome!!! She was very knowledgeable and full of very interesting information about all of the stops on our tour, and we chatted about all things Istanbul in between the stops. Since this was our first full day in Istanbul, we had not yet ventured past the Taksim Square area. What a beautiful and interesting city so full of history and beauty!!! We always had plenty of time to see everything and ask questions. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market were absolutely amazing and so unique!!! Hande is such a natural tour guide, and she is hands down one of the best that we have ever had in any country!!!
star-5
Fantastic tour-our guide Hamde was...
Debra C
, Apr 2016
Fantastic tour-our guide Hamde was lovely and very knowledgable. We had plenty of time in each attraction. The included lunch was very yummy. Well worth it.
star-5
The tour was excellent! We would...
Yasemin B
, Apr 2015
The tour was excellent! We would definitely recommend it for those who have limited time in Istanbul. Our guide was also very knowledgable on the sites we visited. Be aware that your guides will take you to their preferred retailers as they gain profit from your purchases. Other than that, great!

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