There is no metropolis in the world that is founded on two continents. One should spend days in order to follow its traces from the three great empires it served as the capital in its old palaces, monumental mosques challenging the time, antique churches and in its museums resembling treasures. Istanbul has a unique geography. A bridge, where not only connects East and West, but also the past and today the antiquity and the modern meet.
ARRIVAL TO ISTANBUL (WD)
Arrive in İstanbul, only city on the world that is founded on two continents. Meet with your guide and transfer to the hotel. This evening welcome dinner will be served at hotel.
We begin our morning with an extensive tour of stunning Topkapi Palace, former residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Later, we stop at Sirkeci Railway Station (last stop of the Orient Express), before visiting the Spice Market, a wonderful place to buy edible gifts such as nuts, coffee, teas and Turkish Delight (lokum). After some free time for lunch, we enjoy a an hour-long Bosphorus cruise along the shores of the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, disembarking at Uskudar, one of the largest towns on the Asian side of the Strait. We will visit the produce & fish market and view the Mihrimah Sultan’s Mosque as well as the Maiden’s Tower in Salacak. Return to your hotel with a steamboat ride of twenty minutes, crossing the Bosphorus from Uskudar to Kabatas.
This morning, we visit more iconic sites in Istanbul, including the Roman Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern. In the afternoon, we visit the Grand Bazaar then drive across the Galata Bridge to the Tophane area to see the unique “Museum of Innocence”, created by Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk. We then continue our walk from Galatasaray to Pera. Notable buildings along the way include: the British Consulate, St. Antoine’s Catholic Church, the Consulates of the Netherlands, Russia and Sweden, Galata Whirling Dervish Hall, the Tunnel area, The Galata Tower and Neve Shalom Synagogue. We end our walk at the Pera Palace Hotel and have a short drive back to the hotel. You may also wish to stay back and dine on your own at any of the local restaurants such as: Kivahan or Guney (Turkish/Ottoman cuisine), Fureyya (small fish restaurant) or the Pera Palace Hotel’s own Agatha Restaurant.
DEPARTURE FROM ISTANBUL (B)
After breakfast you will have free time shopping in Istanbul until our transfer to Ataturk airport for your flight home.
This sleek contemporary hotel is a 2-minute walk from the nearest tram stop, 10 minutes on foot from the Grand Bazaar and 1.8 km from Hagia Sophia, a renowned museum in a former mosque.
Hotels are subject to change with a similar hotel based on availability