Add dates
Golden Horn

Churches & Cathedrals

Our most recommended Golden Horn Churches & Cathedrals

Istanbul: Old Town Tour and Bosphorus Lunch Cruise

1. Istanbul: Old Town Tour and Bosphorus Lunch Cruise

After being transferred from your city center hotel between 8:30AM and 9:00AM, you will travel with your private guide to the Old City of İstanbul. Your tour will then begin with a guided tour of the Hippodrome, the Obelisk of Theodisius and the German Fountain. You will then proceed to the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque), also known as the Sultan Ahmet Camii (or Sultan Ahmed Mosque). This breath-taking building is one of the most majestic Ottoman mosques in all of Turkey. Following this mosque, you will head to Haigha Sophia. Often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya in Turkish) in Sultanahmet is easily one of Istanbul's most impressive sights. It also has one of the most turbulent histories of any museum in the world. To find out why, it's best to delve back through its previous incarnations with your guide. You will then have lunch on a private yacht while experiencing a Bosphorus Cruise. Places you will see from the Bosphorus while having your lunch will include the Dolmabahçe Palace (the main administration center of the Ottoman Empire), the Çıragan Palace, the Ortakoy Mosque, the Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Castle, and the Golden Horn. Your menu during this cruise will consist of 10 kinds of cold starters, a hot starter, a fresh seasonal Salad, a main course (grilled fish, chicken or meatballs with rice and garlic), fresh seasonal fruits, soft drinks and hot drinks. At the conclusion of the tour, you will be transferred to your hotel or anywhere of your choosing in the city center.

Istanbul: Guided Sightseeing Tour With Lunch

2. Istanbul: Guided Sightseeing Tour With Lunch

Experience the perfect immersion to the wonderful history and culture of Istanbul with this comprehensive sightseeing tour of the busy city. In the morning, get picked up at your hotel by an air-conditioned vehicle, then immediately head off to the Blue Mosque, which is also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and check out the blue tiles of the interior that gave the mosque its current name. Next, spend some time shopping for memorable souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest covered markets, before you rest and recharge with a delicious lunch at an authentic Turkish restaurant. In the afternoon, explore famous sites that were preserved from the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and learn fascinating facts and stories from your English-speaking guide. Stop by the Topkapi Palace, the largest and oldest palace in the world, along with the Tombs of the Sultans in Hagia Sofia. See several small buildings that look like miniature mosques and contain lavishly decorated tombs of five different sultans and their extended families. Next, cross the busy Galata Bridge, which has restaurants and cafes underneath it open all day and night, to get to the Golden Horn, a magnificent inlet bordered by city's domes and mosques. Finally, stop at Leander's Tower, one of the most iconic images of Istanbul, before you get dropped off back at your accommodation.

From Istanbul: 4-Day Small Group Istanbul & Cappadocia Tour

3. From Istanbul: 4-Day Small Group Istanbul & Cappadocia Tour

Your guide will meet you at your hotel between 08:00 and 08:30. Visit the Istanbul old city area which includes Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace. Have lunch during the tour. The average duration of this tour is 8-hours. At the end of the tour, your guide will leave you back at your hotel. On the second day, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby between 08:00 and 08:30. During this tour, you will visit the Golden Horn, the old city walls of Istanbul, the Spice Market and Dolmabahce Palace or Chora Museum. There will be a lunch stop during the tour. The tour will end at around 17:00. Please do not forget to take your luggage in the morning. After the tour, you will be transferred to airport for your flight to Cappadocia. Once you arrive in Cappadocia, you will have organized transfer from the airport to your hotel.  On your third day, your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at around 09:00. You will enjoy a tour of southern Cappadocia, also known as the Green Tour, which will include the following sites: Derinkuyu Underground City (the largest underground city in the area with 7 floors 85 meters deep; not recommended for claustrophobic guests) and Ihlara Valley (1.5-hour trekking). Have a lunch stop in the village of Bellisirma. Afterwards, you will visit Piegon Valley (panoramic visit), Selime Monastery and Esentepe (panoramic view). After the tour, you will be dropped back off at your hotel. On the fourth and last day, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at around 09:00 and take you on a tour of northern Cappadocia, known as the Red Tour, to Rose Valley, Goreme Open Air Museum (important early Christianity center), Monks Valley, Cavusin village (one of the oldest settlements in the area), Avanos village (with stop at a traditional pottery workshop), Uchisar Castle and Dervent Valley. The average tour duration will be 8-hours. After the tour, you will be transferred back to the airport for your return flight to Istanbul.

Istanbul's Golden Horn, Eyüp, Miniatürk & Pierre Loti Tour

4. Istanbul's Golden Horn, Eyüp, Miniatürk & Pierre Loti Tour

This half-day tour of Istanbul’s Golden Horn visits the city’s most sacred site and the 3rd most sacred site in the world after Mecca and Jerusalem. The Eyüp Sultan Mosque is visited by thousands of faithful people every day and you will join in as you explore the Mosque of Eyüp-El-Ensari, flagbearer of the Prophet Mohammed. Eyüp-El-Ensari died in Istanbul during the Arabic siege of the city in the 7th-Century. The old trees, pigeons, praying believers and the large crowd create a mystical and colorful atmosphere around the mosque. Continue via the Teleferique to the Pierre Loti Coffee House, located on a hill with beautiful trees. Enjoy the wonderful panorama of the Golden Horn and the bird’s eye view of the Horn from the cable car as you ascend 1,800 feet (550 meters) in less than 2 minutes. The coffee house takes its name from Pierre Loti, the French author and poet who was extremely fond of İstanbul and wrote as he sat in the coffee house while enjoying the views. Next visit Miniatürk, an open field of miniature scaled models of the best known masterpieces of Turkey that create a fairy-tale environment of İstanbul, Anatolia and the former Ottoman territories. It reflects the revival of Turkish culture and history in all its magnificence. Countless human models, situated throughout the park, such as a railroad worker, Muslims in a mosque courtyard, Jews praying in a synagogue, and flower sellers, portray the lifestyle of Turkish society through ages. Spend some time exploring the colorful shopping center, where you can find some of the best souvenirs in İstanbul, before the tour concludes.

Istanbul: Old Town Highlights Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

5. Istanbul: Old Town Highlights Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

Begin your 8-hour tour at Hagia Sophia, in the heart of old Istanbul. Known for its mosaics, Its massive dome dominates the Sultanahmet skyline. Visit the Blue Mosque, named after the exquisite tiles in its interior. It is the only imperial mosque with six minarets. The Grand Bazaar was the commercial heart of the city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures including carpets, silk, jewelry, icons, and leather goods. Indulge in some shopping before enjoying your lunch at a rooftop restaurant with Bosphorus views. After visiting the Spice Bazaar, explore the Golden Horn and take a Bosporus tour on a private boat. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this legendary waterway.

Istanbul: Orient Express Trail Walk

6. Istanbul: Orient Express Trail Walk

Imagine arriving in Constantinople by train traveling with the Wagon-Lits Company. Your tour into the nostalgia of the 19th century begins at the rail station where the Orient Express arrived in Istanbul. Your 3-hour guided walk (available on Tuesdays) will take you past old shops, markets, mosques, and churches, as your guide tells you stories about the train journey that began in Paris and inspired Agatha Christie to write her famous mystery, Murder on the Orient Express. The tour continues with a short Golden Horn boat ride and a short journey on The Tunnel, the oldest subway in the world. Finish off with a walking tour in the streets of Galata and Beyoglu.

Istanbul: Full-Day Golden Horn & Bosphorus Tour

7. Istanbul: Full-Day Golden Horn & Bosphorus Tour

Begin this full-day excursion with a stroll around Pierre Loti Hill. Hop-on a cable car and let it take you to another world where the ancient Byzantine walls of Constantinople, Tekfur Palace and the Castle of Seven Towers await. Learn about the history of this centuries-old metropolis and how it functioned as both the capital of the eastern Roman Empire and as the head of the Ottoman Empire.  Then, board the boat and cruise around the Bosphorus Strait which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea and separates Europe and Asia, making Istanbul one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the only one built astride two continents. This romantic cruise along the Bosphorus will allow you to admire the Dolmabahce Palace, the Beylerbeyi Palace, the Ciragan Palace and the Rumeli Fortress, ancient wooden villas, bridges and all the wonderful and unique maritime landscapes.

Istanbul: Golden Horn & Pierre Loti Hill Cable Car Day Trip

8. Istanbul: Golden Horn & Pierre Loti Hill Cable Car Day Trip

The Golden Horn, a horn-shaped estuary, is said to be the world’s best natural harbor. Its name is rumored to have been derived from the golden hue of the water due to the reflection of the sun during sunset. During the Byzantine period, the Golden Horn was a trading harbor as well as a popular residential area. By the time of the Ottoman period, the Golden Horn had become populated by immigrants from Spain, Armenia, Greek, etc. In this full day trip, you’ll explore the areas by the banks of the horn and learn about the many historic sites nearby and explore the picturesque parks and promenades that have popped up in recent years. Start with a stop at St. George’s Cathedral. This neo-classical church dates back to the 16th century when it was recognized as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Take a look inside the lavish interiors of the cathedral before heading to the Phanar Greek Orthodox College. Built in the early 1800s and said to be one of the oldest educational institutions in Turkey, this historic structure will remind you of the iconic Hogwarts Castle in the famous Harry Potter franchise. Up next, you’ll head to the districts of Fener and Balat, which are steeped in history and culture. Wander around the cobblestone streets and take in the colorful Ottoman architecture. Stop for lunch in one of the local restaurants in Balat before heading to the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church. Also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, this shrine’s design features prefabricated cast iron elements in the neo-Byzantine style. Marvel at the intricate details of the church before making your way to Pierre Loti Hill. To reach the top of the hill, you’ll board a cable car and take in the stunning 360-degree views of the Golden Horn. Once you reach the hill itself, take a breather and admire the breathtaking views of the wonderful city below.

Istanbul: Galata – Genoese Walking Tour

9. Istanbul: Galata – Genoese Walking Tour

The 3-hour tour takes place in the afternoon. Start with pickup from your hotel and then begin your tour by walking through the vibrant streets to the imposing Galata Tower. In the Byzantine period, the hillside where Galata now stands was covered with orchards and was named Sykai (The Fig Orchard), or Peran en Sykais (The Fig Field on the Other Side). It still commands impressive views of the Golden Horn. You will hear myths and legends, and learn the history of how Galata became a Genoese colony from the 6th to the 15th century. Today the area is awash with churches and synagogues, colorful stores and ancient walls, and your guide will provide you with fascinating facts as you stroll through the ancient streets and walk the winding Camondo Steps.

Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

10. Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

If you are interested in visiting a functioning Byzantine church or seeing the only church in the world constructed entirely of iron and steel, then do not miss this full-day walking tour through Fener and Balat in Istanbul. The name Fener is derived from a Greek word 'Fanari,' meaning 'lantern' or 'lighthouse' in Turkish, and this district was made up of predominantly Romaic (Greek Orthodox) families up until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, this UNESCO-project filled site is known as the part of Istanbul where the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is situated. On this tour you'll hear the story of Phanariotes who served as dragomans to the Ottoman government and to foreign embassies. Following the included lunch, you will visit Balat, which is located on the southern shores of the Golden Horn. It is one of the Jewish districts where the people re-settled during the time of the Ottoman Empire. We will take you through Balat, where you will find yourself walking down intriguing streets, full of color and life. Synagogues, Armenian churches, Romaic churches, Byzantine remnants, and Ayazmas are all part of the adventure.

Frequently asked questions about Golden Horn Churches & Cathedrals

What are other things to do than Golden Horn Churches & Cathedrals that are worth visiting in Istanbul?

The other unmissable things to do in Istanbul are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Golden Horn

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

What people are saying about Golden Horn

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 17 reviews

Very interesting tour in a small group, which we did after visiting the main sights in the center. We had the same tour guide all day and were a rather small group, which leaves more time and space for questions. The choice of sights was good for us, especially to the absolutely worth seeing Chora Church you probably would not have driven alone. The boat tour on the Bosphorus was great, although we had really great weather. For lunch there were Köfte, which I personally found rather medium, but that was rather a minor matter on the tour. Overall recommendable!

Excellent tour, the guide Emel and the driver are very nice. The guide explained to us the history of each place and leaves us free then, that's what I wanted. The only thing is that the tour was in English instead of French. To do especially for the view of the café (Pierre LOTI) and the miniatures of each monument beyond Turkey.

The guide at the top everything was perfect, good except Miniaturk a little short we had to leave before we even finished the visit a little bad seen it's so pretty .. but the rest top guide at the top few people so a good accompaniment .

Very well organized. Very professional Guide (many thanks again). From the beginning till the end everything was really perfect ! I recommand this private Tour.

we suggeat the tour. in one day you can see everything.we do not suggest the cruise.long...1h and 45 min and 5 stops around bosporus wirh no reason