Istanbul
Churches & Cathedrals

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Our most recommended Istanbul Churches & Cathedrals

Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

1. Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

You will start at the old Hippodrome of Constantinople which was the sports and social center of the old city. Discover major works of art including the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the fountain of Willhelm II, constructed by the Germans. From there, continue to the Blue Mosque, whose six minarets are a key fixture of Istanbul’s skyline. Next, head for the Topkapi Palace, which was home to the Ottoman emperors between the 15th and 19th centuries. Marvel at the jewel-stuffed treasury and priceless displays of Oriental porcelain. Move on to the Hagia Sophia Mosque. Behold the dome and stunning Byzantine mosaics of this architectural gem as your guide recounts its turbulent history. Then visit the Grand Bazaar with over 3,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry to ceramics and leather goods. Also stroll around the Spice Bazaar with its incredible smell from almost every spice imaginable, as well as dried fruits and nuts, sweets and the ubiquitous Turkish Delight.

Istanbul: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour

2. Istanbul: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour

Check out Istanbul's greatest Islamic monument on this small walking tour. Meet your guide in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, at a hot spot for traditional Turkish delicacies where you can purchase water or snacks. Then let your guide lead you to the Blue Mosque, the most visited monument in Istanbul.  Marvel at this imperial Ottoman Mosque, commissioned by Sultan Ahmet. Witness the evocative power and splendor of its past as you enjoy a comprehensive guided tour of the Blue Mosque and its complimentary buildings with a professional guide. Afterward, enjoy the courtyard for breathtaking views of modern Istanbulites and take a gentle stroll around the neighborhood.  Walk through the Hippodrome, the social and political center of the city, and learn about the significance of the famous obelisks. Visit the Hagia Sophia and witness the most significant site of the Greek Orthodox religion in Istanbul and learn how it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. On this 3-hour tour, you’ll explore the museum with a licensed guide. In the interiors of each building, you’ll see elements of a mosque and a church standing next to each other. Admire the basilica’s stunning dome and minarets, and countless mosaics, paintings, columns, and mosaic gallery. Learn how the impressive İznik tiles were added over time in the Mosque, how the stunning Virgin Mary mosaic was made, and why the Ottomans chose to bury their sultans in the courtyard.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi & Basilica Combo Ticket

3. 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.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar Tour

4. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar Tour

Like most visitors to Istanbul, especially first-time visitors; you will want to see and photograph the Blue Mosque. Complete with its 6 minarets and ornate glass windows, this site is a must when visiting Istanbul. Following that, you will travel next door to the Hagia Sophia Museum. A magnificent Byzantine Church, it is one of the finest and largest architectural works of art in the world.  After the Hagia, you'll find your way to the entrance of the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. In addition to its historical importance, it's a bazaar that will tempt even those without an interest in shopping with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewellery, leather, and souvenirs.

From Istanbul: 2-Day All-Inclusive Trip to Cappadocia

5. From Istanbul: 2-Day All-Inclusive Trip to Cappadocia

Get an insider’s view of Cappadocia’s most iconic spots on an all-inclusive trip from Istanbul. Float above volcanic spires and honeycombed hills on a hot air balloon. Be accompanied by a guide to Goreme Open Air Museum, Avanos, Pasabag, Uchisar, and Kaymakli Underground City, and more. Day 1 Depart from your hotel in an air-conditioned minivan and make your way to Istanbul airport. Catch your domestic flight to Cappadocia. Upon your arrival to Cappadocia, meet your guide and begin your tour of North Cappadocia. Walk in the land of fairy chimneys. Visit Goreme Open Air Museum, Red River, Devrent Valley, and Pasabag. Make your way to Avanos Village for a traditional lunch and pottery demonstration. Get to the top of the Uchisar Castle, the highest point of the region, a perfect vantage point for a panoramic view of the stunning Cappadocian landscape. After sightseeing, be driven to your hotel. Spend the night in Cappadocia. Day 2 You can opt to join a balloon flight in the morning. Your day tour will be organized according to the balloon flight hours. After breakfast at the hotel, embark on a full-day tour of South Cappadocia. Go off the beaten path to visit Cavusin. See its famous rock churches. Head to Goreme Panorama for views of fairy chimneys. Hike in the Red Valley. Visit Old Greek Love Valley, Kaymakli Underground City, and Pigeon Valley. Walk through a picturesque maze of rock formations. Witness an onyx demonstration by local experts. Savor a typical Turkish lunch. Conclude the day tour by 5 PM. Then, be driven to Kayseri Airport for your domestic flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your driver and taken to your hotel.

2-Day Cappadocia Tour From Istanbul Optional Balloon Flight

6. 2-Day Cappadocia Tour From Istanbul Optional Balloon Flight

Start the first day by visiting Devrent Valley, also known as 'Imagination Valley', this is the most surreal-looking landscape. Your next stop will be Pashabagi also called the Monks Valley. Proceed to Avanos the pottery centre of Cappadocia, this village is set on the banks of the Red River. You will have lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to Goreme Open Air Museum. The world’s most important Byzantine cave churches are found in these once remote valleys where monks and nuns pursued monastic life from the 3rd century on. Here you can see the best preserved Byzantine cave wall paintings and frescos from the Iconoclastic period through to the end of Seljuk rule.  Then admire a spectacular view over Goreme, you can see fairy chimneys, rock formations, and cave houses. You have the option of also booking a pre-sunrise hot-air balloon flight for the next morning. While your guides complete the final preparations for your flight, you are served breakfast. Your pilot will show you all the unique beauties of Cappadocia from the Red Valley to Goreme. While witnessing an amazing sunrise up in the air, you will get to see perfect panoramic views of Urgup, Goreme, Ortahisar,Uchisar, Avanos, and Nevsehir. After the landing, a celebration with refreshing drinks (non-alcoholic) will be waiting for you. On the Blue tour you hike along the Red and Rose Valley, the most breathtakingly and mysteriously beautiful valleys in the region. Conclude your hike at the Cavusin Cave Village. Marvel at the rock castle and troglodyte dwellings where people lived until the 20th Century. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Descend towards the center of the earth with a trip to the Underground City of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s many such settlements. Discover this underground city and its stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, and wineries. Visit the Pigeon Valley. See spectacular view of dovecotes (pigeon or dove houses), old abandoned cave homes, and old Greek houses of Uchisar and Ortshisar Castle, as well as the biggest mass of fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.

Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Walking Tour

7. Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Walking 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.

Hagia Sophia: Guided History Tour

8. Hagia Sophia: Guided History Tour

Enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful building, which was once a church, then a mosque, and now a museum. Meet your local local tour guide and take a detailed look at the architecture, events, characters, and decoration from the past and today that tell the story of the Hagia Sophia. During the tour, you will learn about the history in the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Then take a look at the construction of the building and the Imperial dome, the traces of the centuries on the building's striking details. The tour ends on the first floor and you can discover the mosaics and masterpieces in the upper galleries at your own pace.

From Istanbul: Private Cappadocia Day-Tour Including Flight

9. From Istanbul: Private Cappadocia Day-Tour Including Flight

Your full-day tour programme starts with a pick-up from your Hotel in Istanbul, followed by a flight to Cappadocia for a full-day tour with lunch, before boarding a return flight back to Istanbul. Itinerary: • 3:30 AM: Get picked up from your hotel in Istanbul and board your transfer service to the airport • 6:00 AM: Board your flight from Istanbul to Kayseri Airport • 7:30 AM: Arrive at Kayseri and get transferred to Cappadocia for the tour During your tour of Cappadocia, you will get to visit a number of popular landmarks, ensuring your experience in this unique city is fun and informative. Take a trip to the Goreme Open Air Museum, a structure that resembles a vast monastic complex composed of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, each with its own fantastic church. See the Ortahisar Castle, a central building among the Cappadocian town of Goreme, Urgup, Uchisar and Nevsehir, and only a few kilometers from the Goreme Open Air Museum. Marvel at Uchisar Castle, a troglodyte town situated right in the middle of Cappadocia. It is named after the enormous piece of rock in the center of the town, which was once used as a castle. This extraordinary rock is the highest peak of the area with the view of the whole of Cappadocia and Erciyes (Argeus) Mountain. You'll also get to see the Pasabag Fairy Chimneys in Pasabag Valley, formerly known as "The Monks Valley". This place is located on the right of the Goreme-Avanos road. Witness the landscape which is dotted with peculiar fairy chimneys. Stop by Devrent Valley, also known as Imaginary Valley and Pink Valley. The churches in this location are like none other in the valleys of Cappadocia. Here you will see many different rock formations, only a 10-minute drive from Goreme.  Throughout the day you'll also get the chance to see a Pottery demonstration in Avanos and a carpet demonstration. Your tour will end around 4:30 to 5:00 PM, at which point you will be transferred back to the airport for a flight to Istanbul. 

Istanbul: 6-Hour Highlights Tour

10. 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. 

Frequently asked questions about Istanbul Churches & Cathedrals

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What people are saying about Istanbul

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 224 reviews

Kenan was helpful, knowledgeable and professional. Nice sense of humor as well, my husband and I had a nice experience overall and felt we were able to squeeze a lot in one day, and Kenan was flexible enough to adapt to our wants and needs… It was amazing how he seems to know the Grand Bazaar like the palm of his hand! I wanted to see fabrics and he took me to three exquisite small stores, had tea with the owners, made me feel like a local, not a tourist. At Topkapi he knew so much about the architecture, the time frames, and very interesting anecdotes and folk legends… and hey I am an Art Historian! Recommend

Absolutely amazing tour! We were taken on a walking tour around the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofia, the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. We were also shown traditional Turkish rug artisans at work, which was fascinating. Our guide, Baris was fantastic - he gave the full history and background of each place visited and answered all our questions. Couldn't have asked for a better tour or guide! Cannot recommend enough :)

Great walking tour with a great guide! Met our expectations and then some. Beware that the Blue Mosque is being restored inside and is mostly under scaffolding.

Wonderful guide, informative, English was perfect and knew his way around the busy old town area.

Kaya was an excellent guide. Highly recommended experience!