Things to do in
Basilica Cistern

Enter your dates to find available activities

Basilica Cistern: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi & Basilica Combo Ticket

1. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi & Basilica Combo Ticket

After signing up for this experience, your name will be on the list for each of the monuments for 3 days. Be free to visit at the available times, gathering at the meeting points in front of the museums to skip the line with an authorized host. You can choose to visit all 3 museums in 1 day, or the three of them separately on different days. Once inside the museums, get tips on how to discover the museums in the best way. Afterward, you can stroll through the museums at your own pace as you listen to your audio guide app and explore for as long as you like. If you have any questions about the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, the Cisterna Basilica, or Istanbul in general, please do not hesitate to ask your host.

...
Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3 Day Private Guided Tour

2. Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3 Day Private Guided Tour

Discover the best of Istanbul on this 1, 2, or 3-day private tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. A few of the possible attraction you'll visit on your tour include: The Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul's in London, St. Peter's in Rome, and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Blue Mosque, more officially known as the "Sultanahmet" Mosque has striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop in to the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. The Hippodrome is the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handcraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name — in Turkish, Dolma means "filled" or "stuffed," and bahce means "garden". Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars, and from there, it's an interesting and scenic 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area. See this and more depending on which length tour option you select. Possible Itinerary for each day of the tour: Day 1: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hippodrome Day 2: Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal, Galata Tower Day 3: Suleymaniye Mosque, Chora Church, Fener/Balat Districts, Pierre Loti Hill

...
Istanbul: 3 Day Skip-the-Line Ticket to Main Attractions

3. Istanbul: 3 Day Skip-the-Line Ticket to Main Attractions

Enjoy hassle-free access to the main attractions of Istanbul. Get the most important information from a guide and benefit of an audio guide app. Meet your guide at the museums and get inside the fastest way. Inside each museum enjoy a 30 min. highlights tour with a local guide. After the tours and orientation tips stay inside the museums as long as you want and listen to the exciting stories and information in the included audio guide on your own smartphone. Saver Combo Ticket for Istanbul is valid for 3 Days: Your name will be on the list for 3 days. You can come at the available times, to the meeting points and visit with your local guide these top museums. You can visit and experience all 3 museums and the Bosphorus cruise in one or more days. Hagia Sophia Meeting Times Daily at: 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM Topkapi Palace Meeting Times Daily except Tuesdays at: 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 14:00 PM, 15:00 PM Basilica Cistern Meeting Times Daily at: 12:30 PM, 13:30 PM, 15:00 PM Bosphorus Cruise Departure Times: Daily at: 13:00 PM, 15:00 PM and 17:00 PM

...
Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Guided Tour

4. Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Guided Tour

This private experience is the perfect introduction to Istanbul for first-time visitors. Enjoy a guided full-day tour to discover the best of the city. The tour can be fully customized to suit your needs, simply tell your guide what interests you the most.  Visit the historic Hippodrome, the exquisite Blue Mosque and the iconic Hagia Sophia. Experience the lavish lifestyles of the Ottoman Sultans with a tour of Topkapi Palace, or browse the colorful stalls of the Grand Bazaar. The choice is yours. Benefit from pickup and drop-off at your centrally-located hotel. With your private guide you’ll enjoy priority entrance to all the sights, so standing you won’t waste time standing in queues.

...
Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Tailor Made Private Tour

5. Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Tailor Made Private Tour

Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this 1-3 day walking tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. A few of the possible attractions you'll visit on your tour include the Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or "divine wisdom," it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque, has striking blue tiles that give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace is a relic from the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace once boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop into the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. The Hippodrome is the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from eight marble columns. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handicraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because, during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave it its name — in Turkish, Dolma means "filled" or "stuffed," and bahce means "garden" Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars, and from there, it's an interesting and scenic two-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area. See this and more depending on which length tour option you select. Your guide will work with you to create an itinerary that suits you, leaving you satisfied that you have seen all of Istanbul.

...
Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Istanbul Tour

6. Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Istanbul Tour

Explore Istanbul according to your own interests on a tailor-made sightseeing tour. A licensed guide will meet you in your hotel or port and work with you to create an itinerary that suits you best, leaving you satisfied that you have seen all of Istanbul. Marvel at monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, such as Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern on the first day. On day two, take the public ferry to Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides. From here, visit Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street and the spice market. Day three takes you on a walk through the streets of Fener-Balat neighboorhood. Enjoy a cable car ride and soak up views of Pierre Loti Hill, then visit Chora Church to see the mosaics and frescoes.

...
Istanbul: The Highlights of Istanbul Tour

7. Istanbul: The Highlights of Istanbul Tour

Explore the highlights of Istanbul according to your interests with your professional tour guide. Upon meeting your guide at your hotel or port, walk to the Sultan Ahmet where many of the attractions are located. Visit the Blue Mosque, also known as Mosque of Sultan Ahmet, which boats a unique feature of 6 minarets. View its glorious interiors and distinctive blue tiles and proceed to the only remains of Hippodrome of Constantinople, which consist of 3 monumental columns and a fountain. This is where chariot races took place in the past. Next, visit Topkapi Palace, once the seat of the Ottoman Empire. Presently, its a museum palace with a wide collection of porcelain, antiques, holy relics and other treasures. Next, proceed to Hagia Sophia, the church of Divine Wisdom, one of the greatest marvels of architecture, constructed as a basilica in the 2nd century by Emperor Justinian. Finally, it's off to the Grand Bazaar. Following the introduction by your guide at Turkey’s biggest oriental carpet export center you will have some free time to browse its 1200 spice and gold shops.

...
Istanbul: 6-Hour Highlights Tour

8. Istanbul: 6-Hour Highlights Tour

This is a fully guided tour inside the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Orient Express train station, Galata Bridge and Spice Bazaar. Along the way, stop to hear the stories of the Roman Hippodrome (including the Egyptian Obelisk and Serpent Column German Fountain), mausoleums of Ottoman sultans and Constantine’s Column. Learn about the famous Orient Express. Take a break for lunch and enjoy traditional Turkish cuisine in a friendly setting at a nontouristy restaurant where your gourmet guide will choose some memorable food for you. Please note the itinerary will change slightly on certain days due to changes in the opening hours. 

...
Istanbul Imperial: Full-day Private City Tour

9. Istanbul Imperial: Full-day Private City Tour

Explore the highlights of imperial Istanbul on a private 7-hour tour that takes in the major attractions of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being a private tour, the itinerary can be adjusted to fulfill your specific needs and wishes. From the iconic Hagia Sophia to the Blue Mosque, and from the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, to the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople, you will learn about Istanbul and Turkey's history, culture, and traditions, and gain an insight into the daily life of its inhabitants, discovering aspects of the city that tourists often miss. Start your tour at the Hippodrome, the former circus where Roman horse-chariots used to race to the cheers of the crowds. Three monuments survive from the original building, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Continue to the Blue Mosque, a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture that combines Islamic and Byzantine elements. Officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque, it is the mosque’s striking blue tiles that give it the more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Move to the nearby Topkapi Palace, former residence of the sultans of Turkey for 400 years and a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. In its heyday the palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people and was home to 25 different sultans. Hagia Sophia embodies the mix of the 3 great civilizations - Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic - and is the next stop on your tour, before going to the fascinating Basilica Cistern, where you will descend into its depths and stare at 1001 columns in the magical subterranean atmosphere. End at the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest closed markets in the world. Explore the maze of stalls and galleries and try you hand at bargaining for handmade carpets, evil eye trinkets, and antiques. Listen out for the babble of more than 100 languages, and try a strong Turkish coffee to set you on your way.

...
Istanbul: Museum Pass and Bosphorus Boat Tour

10. Istanbul: Museum Pass and Bosphorus Boat Tour

You can visit up to 10 of Istanbul's museum. You do not need to wait in long queues to get admission tickets so you will save time and save money. The museums included are the Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem, Chora Church Museum, Hagia Irene Church Museum, İstanbul Archaeological Museums, İstanbul Mosaic Museum,  Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam, Fethiye Church Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, and Rumeli Hisar Museum.  The 1.5-hour Bosphorus boat tour is a guided cruise and departs at 10:00 AM or 2:00 PM.  The Bosphorus Strait connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and splits the European and Asian sides of Turkey. This romantic cruise along the Bosphorus will allow you to admire the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Beylerbeyi Palace, and the Ciragan Palace. See ancient wooden villas and bridges and all the wonderful unique maritime landscapes.

...

Other Sightseeing Options in Basilica Cistern

Want to discover all there is to do in Basilica Cistern? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Basilica Cistern

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 392 reviews

Outstanding 3 days with Semih as my guide to Istanbul, saw all the major sites, but also lots of places that I probably wouldn't have got to without a guide. Semih's had lots of information on each site, and I came away with a much better understanding of the history of the city. This was the best way to get to learn about the city

Highlight the work and attention of our guide çiçek, a charming woman with a very pleasant conversation and always attentive to everything. He adapted the tour perfectly with the closing days so that we could visit everything planned. Thank you very much çiçek !!

It was great and very interesting. Our guide, Murat, knew a lot about all the places we visited. He was very kind and pacient… he answered every question we had and helped translate for us. His Spanish was terrific and we understood him perfectly.

Excellent time, very attentive guide who speaks perfect French, without his sympathy. His explanations, his implication was irreproachable. Thank you very much for this wonderful day

An unforgettable, impressive experience. Tour guide Ayla is just SENSATIONAL .... I can only recommend it !!