All-inclusive tour of Sultanahmet in Istanbul with many highlights focusing on geography, politics, culture, and history. Do not miss a single site!
- Highlights of Istanbul tour covers Sultanahmet in just seven hours.
- Blue Mosque + Hagia Sophia + Topkapı Palace + Grand Bazaar
- We buy admission tickets and skip the line with our priority admission.
- Choice of a private tour or a shared group of eight people max.
- Local and professional tour guides
See Istanbul’s Most Important Sites
Our Highlights of Istanbul itinerary completely and efficiently immerses you into Sultanahmet with visits to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapı Palace in a single day.
The Sultanahmet District in Istanbul is an awe-inspiring hotspot for visitors, with three prestigious hillside monuments and much more.
In a single day, our Highlights of Istanbul tour covers the Hill of Dreams quickly, bringing you to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, and Grand Bazaar. These are Istanbul’s most important sites.
You can choose to join our Istanbul highlights tour as a shared tour (with a maximum of eight people, so the experience is always intimate) or book a private tour and have one of the most fascinating touring experiences of your life!
Note: This tour doesn’t include the Harem in Topkapı or the Gallery in the Hagia Sophia. If you’d like to have more time at these two sites, consider booking our Two-Day Walking Tour of Istanbul.
Istanbul Highlights Itinerary
(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 still a working mosque with fascinating tile work — 21,043 tiles, to be precise — in every shade of blue. The Blue Mosque is an essential part of our Istanbul highlights tour that lets us cover mosque architecture and the basics of Islam in a very relevant setting.
Witness the glory of the Ottomans. Topkapı Palace is a place of opulence, complexity, and mystery that inspires awe and is a must-see in our Highlights of Istanbul tour.
Topkapı Palace was the home and seat of the government of the Ottomans for nearly 400 years. It’s the heart of the great Ottoman Empire, ruled by the monarch who lived in Topkapı’s hundreds of rooms with a vast family and servants.
We include the outer terraced gardens (not covered in any other tour), where flowerbeds blaze with tulips of many colors, and we climb the high terrace to admire the view over the Golden Horn.
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 alone justifies a visit to Istanbul. The church of the Divine Wisdom is eternally impressive and important, with its extraordinary dimensions and daunting beauty.
Its dome was a daring engineering feat in the sixth century, and engineers still marvel at the building’s many innovations. It remains the most popular museum in the city. All of our guides love Hagia Sophia personally, so you can expect to have in-depth explanations of the monument as part of our Istanbul highlights tour.
Mehmet II built Grand Bazaar in Istanbul in 1463 after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.
Grand Bazaar is a classical example of Ottoman civil architecture in Istanbul and deserves a visit not only for the shopping experience but also to see the way it was built. This ultimate medieval shopping center is a monstrous hive of little shops all under one roof and cut up into labyrinthine alleys, which are arched overhead.
Grand Bazaar is Turkey’s largest and oldest covered market, offering excellent shopping opportunities: Iznik tiles of glass crystal and quartz; traditional woven items in organic cotton, linen, and silk; kaftans of many colors; endless jewels; pashmina throws; leather jackets; inlaid backgammon sets; magic carpets; golden bangles; copper plates; good books; and good conversations over Turkish tea in small glasses.
Grand Bazaar is a great way to end any tour in Istanbul. We include shops that we like but also give you enough information so that you can choose to stay on your own for a more extended period or come back when you have more time.
- Skip-the-line admission for Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace
- Expertly led by a professional tour guide
- Small group tour
- Walking tour
- Transport to Sultanahmet
- We meet at the House of Medusa Restaurant in Sultanahmet.
- Highlights of Istanbul Tour runs every day, 09:30 – 16:30
- Topkapı is closed on Tuesdays.
- Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.
- On these days, we visit the Spice Market instead.