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.
Istanbul: Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia Tour
Cultural and historical highlight of your visit in Istanbul
- Languages: We offer English group or private tours.
- German language is only offered in private tours.
- Discover the two major highlights of historical Istanbul in an efficient and informative manner.
- Visit the world-famous Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern.
- Learn about the Ottomans as you walk through Topkapi Palace and visit the Harem.
- Be inspired by a professional local guide.
- Enjoy priority museum admission.
- Choose a small group or private tour for a more personalized experience.
- Adult (Ages 9+)
- Child (Ages 3-8)
- Infant (Ages 0-2)
- Private Tour for 2 people
Guided Tour In Istanbul: Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, and Hagia Sophia
Explore Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul in one of our small group or private guided tours. Skip the longest lines with priority admission at the ticket office, and start learning about the fascinating lives of the Ottomans sooner.
Meet your guide in the Sultanahmet neighborhood and then stroll towards the Basilica Cistern. Wander together to the “Subterranean Palace,” where you’ll learn about Byzantine architecture and the area’s intriguing history as you gaze upon underground pillars. Walk on the wooden walkways over the water with an eye out for the famous upside-down Medusa heads.
Next, visit the Hagia Sophia, the most significant site of the Greek Orthodox religion in Istanbul. As you explore the interior, learn how it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Admire the stunning monument and its mixed elements mosque and a church coexisting side by side. Admire the basilica’s stunning dome, minarets, countless mosaics, paintings, and Roman columns. Discover how the impressive İznik tiles were added over time in the Mosque, how the stunning Virgin Mary mosaic was created, and why the Ottomans chose to bury their sultans in the courtyard.
Continue to Topkapi Palace to gaze upon the splendor of the Ottoman Empire. Your guide will explain that the complex of buildings, pavilions, and courtyards was less like a palace and more like a self-contained city whose inhabitants rarely left. Exit the palace briefly to see the outer terraced gardens and admire the view over the Golden Horn.
Visit the Harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded enormous domestic and political power. As you pass through, imagine the harem as it once was: housing hundreds of women and family members, and hundreds more eunuchs who performed a wide range of duties. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell and stunning Iznik tiles decorated with verses from the Quran.
The tour ends with a visit to see the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.
- Skip-the-line admission tickets to Topkapi Palace and the Harem
- Skip-the-line admission tickets for the Basilica Cistern
- Professional and local guide with a license
- Small-group or private tours for a more intimate experience
Transport to the meeting spot
- We meet at the House of Medusa Restaurant in Sultanahmet. Here is the Google Maps Link
- Please note, if you will be arriving by car or taxi, that there is a small distance (10-20 meters) from the taxi drop-off to the meeting point that is closed to traffic. Therefore, you will have to leave the taxi and arrive on foot.
- This tour runs every day (except Tuesdays) at 09:00 am.
- Expect long lines at the Hagia Sophia during local holidays
- Sites may be closed without notice for high-level state visits
- This tour is not available on the following dates: 31 December, 01 January, 21 April, and 28 June