Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursion
Private Air Conditioned Vehicle
Private Chauffeur and Private Guide
This is the perfect add on to your Mediterranean cruise. Combine with your Crystal Cruise, Royal Caribbean Cruise, NCL Cruise, Princess Cruise or any other Mediterranean cruises!
Add Izmir Shore Excursion. Extensions are available to Cappadocia, Bodrum or you may start your land tour in Kusadasi. More cruise shore excursions in Greece, or Egypt. Please click here for Half Day Tours. Compare with group and walking tours in Istanbul.
Imperial Istanbul: Full day 9 AM- 4 PM
Always on a private basis, you may change the times (of course time permitting). “Imperial Constantinople in the Belle Epoque” (late 19th century), the exotic romance of the “Paris of the East”:
Morning walking tour: We start with our guide in Karaköy where the foreign bankers and shipping companies had their headquarters, then take the Tünel up to istiklal Caddesi; stop in the whirling dervish tekke, and walk past the various old embassy buildings (now consulates), and point out the architecture. Stop for tea (included) at the famous Pera Palace Hotel.
Walk at least as far as Galatasaray Square, and have lunch in the Çicek Pasaji (Flower Passage); then walk up to Taksim Square and be picked up for the afternoon tour.
Lunch is included at a local restaurant. In the afternoon the tour visit Yildiz Palace Park and the Ihlamur Kasri, a mini-palace south of Yildiz, and finish up with a visit to the Military History Museum in Harbiye in time to hear the “Mehter,” or Ottoman military band (mid-afternoon).
Tour of Istanbul – The Dolmabahçe Imperial Ottoman Palace and Beylerbey Sultan Palace – Bosphorus Cruise & Asian Side
After meeting with your guide, proceed through the commercial area passing Ottoman monuments to the famous Egyptian Spice Bazaar (closed on Sunday) for a short visit. Then take the local ferry to start an unforgettable excursion between two continents, Europe & Asia. The cruise takes you along the latest palaces of Ottomans, The Dolmabahçe Palace and Beylerbeyi, as well as 19th and 20th century, beautiful wooden Kiosks. Mansions and modern villas which form the elegant section of the city. Enjoy the scenery. After lunch, a pleasant drive to the Asian part of Istanbul through suspension Bosphorus Bridge. Visit Beylerbeyi Palace. The palace was the famous summer residence of the Ottoman Sultans with its magnificent gardens and breathtaking richness. The Beylerbeyi Palace lying on the beautiful shores of the Bosphorus is fully furnished and it is a perfect example of the late Ottoman architecture. Continue to the highest hill of Istanbul called Çamlica where you will enjoy a very impressive panoramic view of Istanbul.
Tour of Istanbul: Old City and Topkapi Jewels
Meet with your guide in front of the Istanbul port passenger Terminal at 8.30am, or your hotel in Istanbul. Drive along the old city walls and under the ancient Roman aqueduct on the way to view the best of Istanbul’s stunning architecture and attractions. The impressive Hippodrome is your first stop. Then visit the Blue Mosque named for the vivid Iznik tiles which line its interior. Browse the amazing Topkapi Palace-official residence of the Ottoman Sultans-with courts, pavilions, mosques, fountains and a treasury (Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesday , if/when touring on a Tuesday then you will tour instead the Dolmabahçe Palace). Finally, you will stop at the jewel in Turkey’s Byzantine crown-the Museum of St Sophia (Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays). This splendid Church of Divine Wisdom was originally built in the 4th century AD and was lovingly restored in the 1900s, reflecting the true history of the glorious city of Istanbul. Enjoy some time at the Grand Bazaar for some shopping and touring this charming mosaic of old Ottoman life style.
Istanbul From Galata Tower to Tekfur Palace
Cross over Galata Bridge. First visit the Hippodrome where once the Chariots thundered the skies. See Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius brought from Karnak, the Serpentine Column and the German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Then walk into famous Blue Mosque which is the symbol of Istanbul with its six minarets. See the grandeur of the 16th Century old masterpiece. In the afternoon visit the largest sanctuary of the 6th Century which is known as St. Sophia (Holly Wisdom). See the largest dome which was covering a church, then a mosque and the kaleidoscope of colors. Afterwards drive to the outskirts of the Old Town. See the old city walls and the ancient Roman aqueduct. On the way, view the best of Istanbul’s stunning architecture and attractions: the shores of the Marmara Sea, the Theodosian land walls where people work in their small gardens and horse cart is still being used for transportation, Tekfur Palace, one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture existing in Turkey and possibly the remains of Blachernae Palace and dungeon.
Bazaar. Palaces. The Orient Express – Agatha Christie’s Istanbul
Drive to the Old Town. Cross over Galata Bridge to the heart of the town. Arrive to Topkapý Palace Museum. The Palace was the seat of the Ottoman Empire for almost four centuries. Walk thru the courtyards of the Palace, view the Chimneys of the Royal kitchens, the Harem Tower, the Ceremonial Halls, Throne Room, see the Costumes of the Sultans, the Treasury of the Ottoman Empire, the Library and the Pavilions. After lunch proceed to the Grand Bazaar, where handicraft from all over Turkey is displayed in 3.000 shops and stores . Enjoy shopping within this bustling maze of glittering jewels, the sweet scent of incenses, radiant Turkish carpets and the vivid sheen of brass and copper. Afterwards drive to Taksim. Walk on the main road of Istiklal Street. See the 19th century buildings, consulates, shops, restaurants, small snack bars, cinemas, etc…End your tour at Pera Palas Hotel, a late 19th century hotel which was built for the use of Orient Express passengers. Pera Palas had been frequented by well-known and highly-placed figures in the world such as: Agatha Christie, Edward V111 of England, Ataturk, Yehudi Menuhin, Marie Bell, Jacqueline Kennedy, Mata Hari Cicero ….
Byzantine Churches, Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul, Synagogues and Suleyman the Magnificent’s Mosque
Cross over Galata Bridge, to visit the Mosque of Suleyman, the masterpiece of Turkey’s greatest architect, Mimar Sinan. His patron was Sultan Suleyman, for whom the mosque was named. This magnificent landmark crowns one of Istanbul’s many hills and dominates the Golden Horn. The building is breathtaking in size and pleasing in its simplicity. It features some very fine Iznik tiles and exceptional stained-glass windows. Drive through Fener and Balat, neighborhoods midway up the Golden Horn, whole streets full of old wooden houses, churches, and synagogues date from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The Orthodox Patriarchy resides here at Fener. Eyüp, a little further up, reflects Ottoman architecture. Continue to the famed Spice Market which is also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, sample spices and witness the local life. After lunch proceed to the Military Museum where you may see armor, weapons, and displays of Turkish military uniforms from the ages, At 3pm enjoy the concert performed by the colorful military ‘Mehter’ band …..
Panoramic Tour of Istanbul and Asia Mediterranean Shores!
Discover the riches of Istanbul on the Asian side. Boarding your coach drive over Bosphorus Bridge from European to the Asian side. First visit the Beylerbeyi Palace on the banks of Bosphorus. The Palace was built during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz and was elaborately decorated. Walk thru the beautifully designed rooms and halls, see the wonderful art of East and West in this Palace. Drive to Üsküdar, see the local market and witness to the Turkish lifestyle. View the Old Town and the European side from Asia. Enjoy lunch in Uskudar. Continue to the highest hill of Istanbul called Çamlica where you will enjoy a very impressive panoramic view of Istanbul. Afterwards continue to explore Asian side of Istanbul.See the famous Bagdat Boulevard, Haydarpasa Train Station with Prussia architectural style.
Horhor Market & Pera Palas and the Turkish Bath Experience
Arrive at a hidden place within the old city center called the Horhor Flea Market. Actually, Horhor is not really a flea market; it is a collection of antique shops that sell collectibles and furniture of varying age and value and a very good place for making interesting finds. After completing your exploration at Horhor, you will move on to the opposite side of Golden Horn, passing the Sirkeci train station, the last stop of the original Orient Express.
We leave the vehicle at Karaköy, the old commercial harbor of the Ottoman Empire, and get on the underground train which connects the shores of Golden Horn to the Pera district on the hill. Opened for service in 1880, this is the second oldest underground train in Europe. You will leave the train in the Pera district which houses a wealth of fascinating buildings including churches, historical buildings, picturesque arcades, old Ottoman Hans, consulate buildings, and fine cafés. It is the best example of Istanbul’s rich cultural and ethnic mosaic. After a short walk on Istiklal Street, “Grand Rue de Pera,” visit the Pera Palas Hotel. The hotel was opened in 1896 in Istanbul next to the old American Consulate building, built in order to host the passengers of the Orient Express train. The train was designed by the French architect Valloury and was renovated keeping all the valuable and unique furniture in the original form. The original Orient Express started its service 120 years ago in 1883. Agatha Christie authored her famous book “Murder on the Orient Express” in one of the rooms at Pera Palas Hotel.
From there, drive to Cemberlitas Hamami to experience the centuries old tradition of the Turkish bath. Although the date of the construction and the name of the Hamam are not known, it is said to have been built in the beginning of the 18th century.
It is also said that this construction is one of Sinan’s works of art. These double baths where only the changing-rooms have been changed, now consist of two parts, one for women and the other for men in a 2,834 square meter area.
The Sultans, important people of the palace, and the high class of the society used this magnificent monument. It is a temple for bathing that has also provided service to important and famous statesmen who have visited or lived in Istanbul. Besides King Edward VIII, Kaiser Wilhelm, Franz Liszt, and Florence Nightingale there are also many of today’s well-known personalities including King Fahd, Rockefeller, Tony Curtis, and Richard Harrison who came to Cagaloglu Hamami during their visits to Istanbul. Rudolf Nureyev, the famous ballet dancer, visits this historical monument every time he comes to Istanbul. Here you will sample the traditional bath experience with Ottoman ambiance.
Please note that any additional service including scrubbing, bathing, massage is additional cost and to be paid directly locally at the Hamam / Turkish Bath. Please note: This is not recommended for children due to the steam and nature of the experience.
All Full days, include Lunch at a charming local restaurant
Rates per person in USD $
Full Day Istanbul
| Guests : 2-6
(Rate is per person)
|Guests : 7-15
(Rate is per person)
| Guests : 16-20
(Rate is per person)
Starts every day. Rates are per person and do not include: Hotels, any airfare, or tips.
- Private Guided sightseeing
- Private air conditioned vehicle
- Parking fees where applicable at sites
- Any road / bridge tolls
- All entrance fees.
- Meals as listed: L = Preset menu, lunch
- Roundtrip transfers)
Rate doesn’t include:
- Any International air fare.
- Any fees for the Turkish Hamam Bath/Massage
- Visa Fee
- Trip/travel insurance
Where would we have lunch?
Lunch will be served in a charming local restaurant
- Seasons Salad
- Fried Eggplant with Tomato Sauce
- Barbecued Meat Balls
- Local Fruits
Please advise us in advance for any vegetarian meal request
Sometimes guests ask us for suggestions for restaurants in the Sultanahmet area in Istanbul. The problem is that we don’t really recommend many restaurants in Sultanahmet. We find them either overpriced or mediocre in quality—the usual culprits in a tourist area. However there are a few places that you may wish to consider:
BLUE HOUSE HOTEL – TERRACE RESTARAUNT
In our experience the rooftop Terrace Restaurant at the Blue House (Mavi Ev) Hotel has good food and the view of the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque is spectacular. It’s right across the street and illuminated at night.
The hotel’s other restaurants have the same quality cuisine, but not the VIEW, and therefore may seem a bit overpriced (because of the location).
PASAZADE OTTOMAN CUISINE
We like Pasazade (PAH-shah-zah-deh) Ottoman Cuisine, down the hill toward Eminönü. They have a young chef with interesting takes on some little-known traditional Turkish country dishes.
ORIENT EXPRESS HOTEL – IMBAT RESTAURANT
You may want to ask for their superb seafood and service at the Imbat Restaurant — the rooftop terrace restaurant in the Orient Express Hotel.