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Sultanahmet Square

Sultanahmet Square: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket

1. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket

Discover the Topkapi Palace on a guided tour. Learn about Ottoman history in the Palace and the life of the Sultan's family in the harem.  Meet your dedicated guide at a hot spot for traditional Turkish delicacies, where there are restroom facilities and you can purchase water or snacks. Then let your guide take you to Topkapi Palace. Explore the splendor of Topkapi Palace, the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Discover the complex of buildings, pavilions, and courtyards was a self-contained city, which most inhabitants rarely left. Explore the outer-terraced gardens and admire the view over the Golden Horn. Visit the harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded domestic and political power. The harem housed hundreds of women and family members as well as hundreds of eunuchs, who performed a wide range of duties. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. The tour ends with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.

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

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

Be introduced to the city of Istanbul on this guided tour.Take pictures of the iconic Blue Mosque, enter the ancient Hagia Sophia, and peruse the colorful wares at the Grand Bazaar. Choose from a private or group tour.  Enjoy the convenience of being picked up from the comfort of your accommodation in the city. Sit back and relax as your driver navigates to the Blue Mosque. Get out and admire its 6 minarets and ornate stained glass windows.  Travel next door to the Hagia Sophia Museum. Explore this magnificent Byzantine Church that has transformed into a mosque. Appreciate its immense size and discover traces of its unique history.  Head to the entrance of the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. Hunt for bargains, haggle with shopkeepers, and capture picture of without a rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jeweler, leather goods, and souvenirs. 

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

3. 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.

Istanbul: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour with Commentary

4. Istanbul: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour with Commentary

Explore the beautiful city of Istanbul at your own pace with this hop-on-hop-off bus ticket including audio commentary in 8 languages. Your ticket is valid for 1 day and will let you spend more time discovering the highlights that most interest you. Jump aboard your double decker bus and enjoy a tour designed for those who want flexibility during their sightseeing exploration of Istanbul. With additional commentary from your audioguide, you will learn interesting facts about key sights whilst savoring delicious complimentary snacks on board. During the route you can stop at locations like Sultanahmet Square, Eminönü, Karaköy, Galataport, Dolmabahçe Palace, Naval Museum, Beylerbeyi Palace, Taksim Square, Beşiktaş Bazaar, Şişhane, and Egyptian Spice Bazaar.

Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

5. Best of Istanbul in 1 Day

Discover Istanbul's most iconic sights on a van tour. Listen to your guide recount tales of the city's colorful past as you pass by landmarks such as the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, and Hippodrome. Round off the experience with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. Start your tour at the Hippodrome of Constantinople, which was the sports and social center of the old city. Discover major artworks including the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the fountain of Willhelm II. Then, continue to the Blue Mosque, whose 6 minarets adorn Istanbul’s skyline. Next up is the Topkapi Palace, which was home to Ottoman emperors between the 15th and 19th centuries. Marvel at the jewel-stuffed treasury, the Ottoman Empire's imperial collections, and priceless displays of Oriental porcelain. If the Topkapi Palace is closed on your trip date, you'll visit the Nakkas Cistern instead. Continue to the Hagia Sophia Mosque, a monument of equal significance to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Behold the dome and stunning mosaics of this architectural gem as your guide recounts its turbulent history. Then, enter the Grand Bazaar with over 3,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry to ceramics and leather goods. Take a stroll around the Spice Bazaar and soak in the aroma of different spices, dried fruits, nuts, sweets, and lokum (Turkish Delights).

Istanbul: Small Group Skip-the-Line Luxury Day Tour

6. Istanbul: Small Group Skip-the-Line Luxury Day Tour

Discover the only city in the world on 2 continents - where east meets west - on a full-day sightseeing tour of Istanbul by luxury minibus. Following a pick-up from your hotel or cruise ship, visit the Hippodrome to explore the former center of sport and political activities in Constantinople. Marvel at the Obelisk from Egypt, Serpentine Column from Delphi, and fountain of Wilhelm II. Continue to the iconic Blue Mosque, known for its glorious blue Iznik tiles and 6 minarets. Admire the former imperial residence of the Ottoman sultans at Topkapi Palace, and learn how the Great Ottoman Empire was ruled. Today, the palace is a spectacular museum, with one of the largest collections of Chinese and Japanese porcelain, along with the famous treasury of the Royal Family. Next, go to the Hagia Sophia, a magnificent Byzantine Church that is considered one of the finest architectural works of art in the world. Stroll the alleys and warrens of the Grand Bazaar, and interact with the vendors selling their rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewelry, leather, and souvenirs. Transfer back to your hotel or cruise ship for the end of the tour services.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque Skip-the-Line Tour

7. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque Skip-the-Line Tour

Discover the classic monuments of Istanbul on a half-day guided tour of the city center, including skip-the-line entry to Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Visit the colorful and lively Grand Bazaar to shop unique local products. Start your trip with pickup directly from your chosen hotel or pickup point, and then make your way by air-conditioned vehicle to Sultan Ahmet Square. Skip the long lines to Hagia Sophia, built on the site of an earlier church under the orders of Emperor Justinian I. Learn how it became the largest cathedral in the world and was later converted to a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. Continue to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, commonly known as the Blue Mosque, and see the blue Iznik tiles and minarets of the city's most iconic attraction. Learn more about the former arena of the Byzantine Empire at the ruins of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. Round off your trip at the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world with more than 60 streets and 5000 shops. Stop into an authentic oriental atmosphere and see all kinds of gifts, leather clothing, rugs, antiques, jewelry, hand-woven fabrics, and more.

Private 7-Hour Istanbul Tour with Red Carpet Treatment

8. Private 7-Hour Istanbul Tour with Red Carpet Treatment

Your private guide and driver will meet you at your hotel or cruise ship, and you’ll head out for a full-day VIP tour of Istanbul. Visit the Hippodrome, the center of sporting and political activities of ancient Constantinople. See the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi, and the German Fountain of Willhelm II. Continue to the Blue Mosque, dating from the 17th century. This is one of the largest mosques in Istanbul and one of the principal features of the city skyline. It’s best known for its blue Iznik tiles and 6 minarets. Afterwards, you’ll visit Topkapi Palace, the former imperial residence that was the seat of the Great Ottoman Empire. Explore the spectacular museum and its vast collections of Chinese and Japanese porcelain and the treasury of the royal family. Continue to the Hagia Sophia, the magnificent Byzantine Church considered one of the finest and largest architectural works in the world. The last stop on the tour is the Grand Bazaar. In addition to its historical importance, this is a shopping venue that will tempt even the non-shoppers among you with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewelry, leather, and souvenirs. At the end of the tour, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel or cruise ship.

Istanbul: Full-Day Old City Tour with Cruise and Lunch

9. Istanbul: Full-Day Old City Tour with Cruise and Lunch

Start your tour of Istanbul at the Hagia Sophia Museum, often referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World. Wander through the building's interior, which has been converted into a museum, and admire its beautiful art pieces including several Byzantine mosaics. Next, head to the Blue Mosque and see the 20,000 magnificent blue-toned tiles that give the mosque its name.  Later, head to the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the former political center of the city, where you can learn more about the city's ancient history and see artifacts from the Constantinople era. Learn more about Turkish culture at the Caferağa Medresseh. In the Egyptian spice market, soak up the sights and smells of this bustling food market. During your cruise along the Bosphorus, admire the Dolmabahçe Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and the Ciragan Palace Kempinski. Stop for a traditional lunch of meatballs before continuing your cruise, taking in views of ancient wooden villas and bridges and other unique maritime landscapes.

Istanbul: Highlights & Grand Bazaar for Cruise Ship Visitors

10. Istanbul: Highlights & Grand Bazaar for Cruise Ship Visitors

Meet your local expert guide at the port after your ship has docked and join a hassle-free small-group walking tour of Istanbul. Take a short tram ride from the dock to the Old Town of Sultanahmet, and then benefit from a leisurely walking tour instead of sitting on a bus in traffic.   Start your tour in Sultanahmet Square to check out Istanbul's most significant monuments. Enjoy a scenic stroll around Sultanahmet and witness the local life. Visit the inspiring Hagia Sophia and avoid the long lines efficiently led by an expert guide. Witness the most significant symbol of the Greek Orthodox religion in Istanbul. Learn how it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. See the elements of a mosque and a church standing next to each other. Admire the basilica's stunning dome, minarets, mosaics, paintings, columns, and mosaic gallery. Continue your journey to the Blue Mosque, the most visited monument in Istanbul. Gaze in awe at the imperial Ottoman monument on a comprehensive guided tour. Afterward, take in breathtaking views from the courtyard and take a gentle stroll through the neighborhood.   Last, follow your guide to the Grand Bazaar in the Old Town. Discover the classic example of Ottoman civil architecture and indulge in some shopping at Turkey's largest and oldest covered market. Immerse yourself in the bazaar's intricate geography and swarming passageways. Learn about the oldest shops, exotic goods, and talented artisans. Get tips from your guide at the end of the tour about what to see next. At the end of your tour, choose to spend free time in the Grand Bazaar or follow your guide back to the ship.

Other Sightseeing Options in Sultanahmet Square

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

What people are saying about Sultanahmet Square

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 2,294 reviews

Great tour that gave us a lot of details and context that we wouldn't have without the guide. Our guide Çagatay Han was fantastic. He was very energetic and very resourceful. He knows countless stories. He made a great choice of sights that he covered in the full 4 hours. He let us explore the palace in our own pace and never hurried us. Highly recommended.

Fatih gave us a great tour of the old town. The information about the sights was detailed and extensive. We ate kofte together in a restaurant that we would never have dared to go to. As previously agreed, we said goodbye to him at Taksim Square and strolled back to the ship.

Ali, our guide was a charismaric Istanbulite, who has an immense knowledge of the city of Istanbul and it's forebear, Constantinople. Great tour to get a real feel for the history and culture of the city.

The guide, Mr. Tuncer, led us perfectly to the most important highlights, has very good knowledge of the history of the city and responded to our individual wishes. Highly recommended!

Very knowledgeable guide, detailed history and los of walking exercise