Lonely Planet Experiences: Istanbul Full-Day Tour and Lunch
- Visit the ancient site of Hagia Sophia and marvel at this masterpiece of Byzantium history
- Take in the majestic Blue Mosque and learn about the delicate, intricate workmanship
- Enjoy a tasty Turkish lunch with locals at an out-of-the-way café
- Haggle with local vendors and explore the labyrinth of alleys that make up the Grand Bazaar
- Listen to colourful stories of sultans at Topkapi Palace and explore all the site’s ancient treasures
Take a journey from Byzantium to Constantinople to Sultan Mehmet Fatih city of Islam on this historical tour that stops at some of the most iconic sites in Turkey while also showing you Istanbul’s exciting present.
Start your full-day Istanbul tour with a visit to Justinian the Great’s Hagia Sophia. This masterpiece of Byzantine architecture stands tall and proud in downtown Istanbul, and is the repository of over 1,500 years of Turkish history. The structure has lived its long life as a church, a mosque, and now as a museum.
Head just across the street to the Sultan Ahmet I Blue Mosque, the jewel in Istanbul's crown, and one of the most striking sights of the city. Admire its iconic blue-tiled walls, 260 windows, and 6 minarets.
Next on your itinerary is a visit to the ancient Hippodrome. Today, this charming promenade is a popular meeting point for locals, but it is also an integral part of Turkish history. Chariot races once took place along this strip, which was also the site of the notorious Nika Revolt of 532 A.D.
Take a break for lunch and step back into the present day, as you join locals at a popular café. Enjoy friendly conversation with residents of the neighborhood and learn about daily life in Istanbul.
Topkapi Palace awaits. This opulent complex overlooking the Bosphorus is a true Istanbul treasure, and is the source of many colorful stories about the sultans who lived there from 1453 to 1839.
Lastly, you’ll seek out treasures of a different kind at Istanbul’s famed Grand Bazaar, which offers 3,000 shops to explore along its 61 streets. Meet a few of the local characters, perfect your haggling skills, have a traditional Turkish coffee, and shop ‘til you drop.
- Local English-speaking guide
- Admission fees
- Lunch, tea, and coffee
- Extra drinks
- Tip/gratuity for your local guide
Prepare for the activity
Pudding Shop/Lale Restaurant, Divanyolu Caddesi No.6 34400, Sultanahmet, Istanbul With the Sultanahmet tram stop as a reference, the restaurant is located on the street where the tram line runs through Sultanahmet, about a 3-minute walk from the Sultanahmet tram stop.Open in Google Maps ⟶
Note that at the Blue Mosque, women are required to cover their hair (it is recommended that you bring a scarf with you), and both men and women will need to remove their shoes.
Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.
Note that the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, so if you choose a Sunday departure, you will explore the vibrant Spice Market, located near the bazaar, and filled with Turkish spices, coffees, teas, and treats.
Please note that the Blue Mosque in Istanbul will be closed from 1 March to 15 May for renovation. The visit to this monument will be replaced with a visit to the Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque, which was built in 1572.