Day 01 : Istanbul Arrival
Upon arrival to Istanbul Ataturk Airport & clearing customs, you will be met by one of our staff at the exit gate of arrivals hall & accompanied during your transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 02 : Istanbul
We will leave hotel in the morning to visit the Sultanahmet Square & the spectacular Blue Mosque decorated with beautiful 17th century Iznik tiles. Then stroll around the historical Hippodrome where chariot races were once held. Continue with the Hagia Sophia / St. Sophia & Museum. An early Christian church, later converted to a mosque under Ottoman rule, this magnificent temple now serving as a museum with all the artefacts from the Byzantine era intact, is especially famous for its mosaics. After lunch, we will visit the Topkapi Palace Museum, the residence of the legendary Ottoman Sultans, now converted into a museum. It consists of several exhibition halls, such as the Treasury, the porcelain section, Armoury & Holy Relics. We will complete this historical day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar & return to the hotel for overnight.
Day 03 : Istanbul
We will take you to Spice Market, still in use as one of the world’s largest spice bazaars since 1665. Next, we will board the ferries across the Bosphorus which will take us to both European & Asian sides of the city. This beautiful voyage will take you along the shores of Bosphorus & you will see the Rumeli Fortress from the 15th century as well as the seaside summer palaces & unique wooden houses of the area, as well as the natural beauty of the forests above. The last stop on the cruise is the fishing village of Sariyer, close to the Black Sea. From there on we will drive you by coach via the world’s only Intercontinental Bridge Bosphorus Bridge to take you to Camlica Hill on the Asian side. Camlica is the highest tip in Istanbul where you will enjoy breathtaking views of Istanbul. We will visit the Dolmabahce Palace, the residence of the royal Ottoman family with original furniture & magnificent gardens. After the tour, you will be transferred your hotel.
Day 04 : Istanbul
Today you will take a morning ferry ride to Buyukada, the biggest of the Princess Islands which used to be the summer resort for the wealthy non-Muslim community. There will be a tour of the Island by horse drawn carriages, a wonderful patio lunch & free time to do shopping, walking around the island (where there is no motor vehicles traffic). You will feel as though you have stepped back into a more leisured & gracious age, almost expecting grand 19th century ladies & gentlemen to come strolling down to the waterfront on an afternoon promenade. Or, you may just lie down in the sun & relax. Lunch will be at one of the many excellent traditional fish restaurants on the waterfront, gazing across the water at the Asian shore of Istanbul, so close though it feels worlds away. A ferry ride in the evening will take us back to the city hotel for overnight.
Day 05 : Istanbul
Meeting your guide at hotel lobby & continue to Taksim Square & walk to Istiklal Caddesi. When 19th-century travellers spoke of Constantinople (Istanbul) as the Paris of the East, they were thinking of the Grande Rue de Pera (Istiklal Caddesi) & its half-European, half-Asian culture. See the Church of St. Anthony, established in 1725 to serve transient foreigners & the many families who stayed on in the Sultan's dominions. Afterwards, walk to the historic Pera Palas Hotel, built to accommodate the pampered travellers arriving aboard the Orient Express including Agatha Christie. Afterwards walk to the Galata district & see the Galata Tower, which has dominated Beyoglu's skyline since 1348 & still offers stunning panoramic views of the city. You then take the tram built in 1875, which is Europe's 2nd oldest & perhaps the world's shortest subway Tunel, 573 meters, the trip takes 1.5 minutes rather than a 20 minute walk down the steepest streets of Istanbul. From there we walk back to hotel via Galata Bridge & Sirkeci Train Station.
Day 06 : Istanbul Departure
Option to extend package with additional night(s) in Istanbul or transfer directly on to Istanbul Airport for return international flight.