Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosphorous strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical centre lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives on the Asian side. The city's biggest attraction is its historic centre that is partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its cultural and entertainment hub which can be found across the city's natural harbour, the Golden Horn in the Beyoğlu district.
Welcome to Turkey, Istanbul Ataturk airport. Meet with our representative and transfer to hotel. Standard check in time is 14:00 hrs. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast proceed for a city tour of Istanbul. Visit St. Sophia (closed on Monday), this ancient basilica built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century. It is one of the architectural marvels of all time. Topkapi Palace (closed on Tuesday), the great palace of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries housing an exquisite collection of crystal, silver, and Chinese porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the Imperial Treasury, miniatures, the Holy Mantle; enshrining relics of the Prophet Mohammed. Sultanahmet Imperial Mosque across from St. Sophia built in the 16th century by the architect Mehmet, is known as the Blue Mosque because of its magnificent interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles. Hippodrome, the scene of chariot races with the three monuments i.e. the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. After that proceed to Grand Covered Bazaar (closed on Sunday). In this labyrinth of streets and passages are more than 4,000 shops with each trade having its own area: the goldsmiths' street, the carpet sellers, Turkish arts and crafts, such as hand painted ceramic plates, hand-honed copperware, brassware and trays, water ewers, onyx-ware and meerschaum pipes. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast enjoy the Bhosphorous cruise and visit to the Spice Bazaar. In Spice Bazar the air is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and various other conceivable herb and spice.
Bosphorus, a traditional excursion by boat along the waterway separating Europe and Asia. The shore is lined with old wooden villas, palaces of marble, fortresses, and small fishing villages. During the excursion you will see the magnificent sights of the following attractions from your boat. See Dolmabahce Palace, and further along the parks and imperial pavilions of Yildiz Palace. On the coastal edge of this park, is Ciragan Palace. At Ortakoy - a great variety of artists gather every Sunday to display their work along the street. Ortakoy is a symbol of tolerance with a church, a mosque and a synagogue existing side by side for centuries.
Rumeli Fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 prior to the conquest of Istanbul was completed in only four months to control and protect the infamous Bhosphorous passage. It is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture anywhere in the world.
Beylerbeyi Palas (by the boat) the summer residence of Ottoman sultans exists in its original renovated glory featuring original antique furniture and magnificent gardens with the Harem on the Asian side of Istanbul. Bosphorus Bridge enjoy a unique chance to step from one continent (Asia) to another (Europe) Camlica Hill the highest point in Istanbul. At the top of it you can rest and admire the magnificent panorama of Istanbul and the Bosporus from the beautiful gardens, landscaped in traditional Turkish Ottoman style. Shopping tour (after cruise) Experience the traditional silk weaving skills of Turkish women at the carpet weaving courses provided by The Ministry of National Education. You will get the opportunity to see jewellery, handcrafts centre and a modern leatherwear show. Enjoy the experience of shopping whilst gaining the knowledge of the ancient craftsmen with local escort full of knowledge about how to haggle the streets of Istanbul. The rest of the evening is yours to explore Istanbul. Overnight stay at hotel.