- Must-see site in Istanbul
Immerse yourself in Istanbul’s most important monument on this well-planned tour led by an expert guide. Discover Ottoman history in the Palace and learn about the life of the Sultan’s family in the Harem.
Discover two splendid monuments: the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque is closed between 1 January – 22 April 2023 and will be replaced with the Suleymaniye Mosque.
We meet at the House of Medusa Restaurant in Sultanahmet. Here is the Google Maps Link.
Please note that if you are arriving by car or taxi, the street near the meeting point is closed to traffic, so you must walk the last 10-20 meters.
This tour runs every day.
*This tour is not available on the following dates: 31 December, 01 January, 21 April, and 28 June.
Summer departures: 09:30 / 13:30
Winter departures: 09:00 / 13:00
Fridays: Tours run in the afternoon only.
( Blue Mosque is closed between 1 January – 1 April 2023 and will be replaced with the Suleymaniye Mosque. )
After you meet your friendly and informative guide, you will get the adventure started with a tour of the Blue Mosque. The Blue Mosque is the most visited monument in Istanbul–and you will soon understand why. Your tour begins in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, which takes its name from the mosque.
Marvel at this imperial Ottoman mosque, commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I, which is the last to be built in such grand proportions. Witness the evocative power and splendor of its past as you enjoy a comprehensive guided tour of the Mosque and its complementary buildings, enriched by in-depth knowledge from your guide. Afterward, head to the courtyard for breathtaking views of modern Istanbul, after which you’ll take a relaxed stroll around the neighborhood.
Follow your expert guide to the Hagia Sophia to admire the most significant site of Greek Orthodox religion in all of Istanbul. Listen as your guide explains how it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.
Inside, you can spot elements of both a mosque and a church standing side by side. Admire the stunning dome and minarets, and countless mosaics, paintings, and columns. 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.
Walk the length of the Hippodrome, and enjoy a scenic stroll around Sultanahmet as local life goes on around you. Ask about the obelisks that adorn the square.
Pause for a last glance at these two important monuments while you learn the significance of the hippodrome to Istanbul during the Byzantine era.
*The Mosque is closed Friday mornings until end of noon prayer. Expect long lines at high season.*
The world-famous Blue Mosque is one of Istanbul’s premier sights. Sultan Ahmet’s imperial mosque is a working mosque even today. It is decorated with fascinating tile work–21,043 tiles in total, to be precise–in every shade of blue. The Blue Mosque is an essential part of our Istanbul highlights tour which allows us to cover both mosque architecture and the basics of Islam in a very relevant setting.
Hagia Sophia alone justifies a visit to Istanbul. Also called the Church of Divine Wisdom, it is eternally impressive and undeniably important, with its extraordinary dimensions and haunting beauty.
The Church’s dome was a daring engineering feat in the sixth century, and engineers still marvel at the building’s many innovations. In addition, it remains the most popular museum in all of Istanbul. All of our guides adore the Hagia Sophia, so you can expect to have in-depth explanations of the monument as you take part in our Highlights tour.
Your tour guide will also touch upon the significance of the monument with regards to Islam and Christianity, and explain how the structure was converted from a church into a mosque.