You will be met by your guide at Istanbul International Airport and transfer to your hotel by private vehicle. Check into your hotel with some time to relax. In the mid-afternoon, you will begin your half-day tour of the wonderful highlights of Istanbul. First you will visit the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum situated in the historical palace of Ibrahim Pasha, opposite the Blue Mosque. The museum opened in 1983 after 15 years of restoration. This unique collection was previously on display in the soup kitchen of Suleymaniye Mosque! Next, you will visit the Underground Cistern.This amazing underground cavern measures roughly 210 feet wide and 420 feet long, with a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters of water. The 336 beautiful columns that support the cistern were salvaged from pagan temples destroyed during the Roman Empires conversion to Christianity. At the end of the day, you will return to your hotel.
After breakfast, meet your guide in the hotel lobby for your full-day tour of Istanbul and surroundings. First, you will visit the Byzantine Hippodrome to see its famous Egyptian Obelisk, the Obelisk of Constantine, the Serpentine Column and the German Fountain. Then, you will proceed to the Blue Mosque, completed in 1616- a triumph of harmony, proportion and elegance. The mosque was a part of a complex that consisted of a mosque, tombs, fountains, kitchens and a bath. Its colorful 260 windows enable the sunlight to reach inside. The blue Iznik tiles covering the walls lend the mosque its name. Next, visit the magnificent Topkapi Palace-residence of the sultans for almost three centuries. It is located on the promontory between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. This setting provides a magnificent view. As the imperial residence of the Sultan and his court, the palace was also the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire. 4.000 people lived here. Visit the general exhibitions and the Treasury Section displaying the priceless pieces of jewelry that once belonged to the Otoman Sultans. You will stop for lunch. After lunch, you will visit one of the greatest buildings in the world: St. Sophia, the Church of the Divine Wisdom. It was built during the reign of Emperor Justinian (AD 537) and remained the greatest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. Sultan Mehmet II ordered the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a Mosque. The great dome, the semi-domes, the north and south tympana and the vaults of the narthex, aisles and gallery were all covered with gold mosaics, many of which are still intact today. Continue to the famous Grand Bazaar, where you will explore some of its 92 streets and 4,000 shops. A variety of Turkish handicrafts, oriental carpets, rare jewels and inexpensive souvenirs are all sold here. The streets are named according to the trades, such as gold and silver sellers, carpet sellers, booksellers, etc. At the end of the day, you will return to your hotel.
Enjoy breakfast and a transfer to your ship in the afternoon.
A deluxe air-conditioned vehicle with a professional driver (private)
All arrival and departure transfers (private)
Licensed professional tour guide in preferred language (private)
Entrance fees of all the sites and museums as marked on the itinerary (private)
Accommodation at 4 stars hotel in double/twin shared STANDARD room – (Pls,ask for single difference or upgrate)
Gratuities to guide and driver
Items of a personal nature
Any items not specifically mentioned as included
Meals that are not indicated on the itinerary.