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Highlights of Istanbul Private Tour

Discover the most iconic, important sites in Istanbul with a local guide

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Private Tour Base price for 2 people

See Istanbul’s Most Important Sites

Immerse yourself in the district of Sultanahmet by visiting the Basilica Cistern, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and Topkapı Palace in the company of one of our expert guides.

The Sultanahmet District in Istanbul is an awe-inspiring hotspot for visitors with its aforementioned prestigious hillside monuments–and much more.

Our Highlights of Istanbul tour covers the Hill of Dreams in a fun but efficient manner, giving you the chance to admire and appreciate all of Istanbul’s most iconic monuments before continuing the rest of your vacation.

Book a private tour with us, and enjoy one of the most satisfying touring experiences of your life!

Blue Mosque

(The Mosque is closed on Friday mornings until the 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.

Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace is opulent, complex, and mysterious. This awe-inspiring monument is a must-see, as it provides the perfect opportunity for our visitors to discover and understand the glory of the Ottomans. Topkapı Palace was the home and government seat of the Ottomans for nearly 400 years.

It was at the heart of the great Ottoman Empire, ruled over by the monarch who lived in Topkapı’s hundreds of rooms with his vast family and countless servants. We include the outer terraced gardens (not covered in any other tour), its flowerbeds ablaze with tulips of many colors. We always stroll up to the high terrace to admire the stunning views over the Golden Horn.

Please note that our highlights tour doesn’t include the Harem. If you’d like to see the Harem, please consider booking our two-day tour of Istanbul, or the Topkapı Palace & Harem Tour.

Hagia Sophia

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.

Basilica Cistern

Wander around the “Subterranean Palace” and learn about its history. Benefit from our priority admission and head in faster. Travel back in time on a tour led by an expert guide.  See the underground pillars and learn about Byzantine architecture. 

Walk on the wooden walkways built over the water until the famous upside-down Medusa heads. As you explore the interior of the famous cistern, learn how it was used both by the Byzantines and the Ottomans in history. Admire the stunning pillars and Roman arches built to support the huge empty space to store fresh water for Constantinople.

Grand Bazaar

Mehmet II built Grand Bazaar in Istanbul after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1463.

The Grand Bazaar is a classical example of Ottoman civil architecture in Istanbul. It is well-deserving of a visit not only for the vast shopping experience it offers but also for the chance to see the spectacular way it was built. This medieval shopping center is a monstrous hive of little shops all residing under one arched roof and divided into labyrinthine alleys.

Grand Bazaar is Turkey’s largest and oldest covered market, in which you can find nearly everything: Iznik tiles of glass crystal and quartz, traditional woven items in organic cotton, linen, and silk, and kaftans of many colors. Also, golden bangles, copper plates, pashmina throws, leather jackets, inlaid backgammon sets, and even magic carpets! Don’t forget to stop for a nice conversation over Turkish tea in small glasses.

The Grand Bazaar is a great way to start or end any tour in Istanbul. We point out shops that we like, and you’ll want to come back to pick out souvenirs for friends and family. Ask our guides if you have any specific items you’d like to search for.