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Our well-planned Highlights of Istanbul itinerary completely immerses you into Sultanahmet. Visit the Basilica Cistern, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace all in one fascinating tour.
See the Sultan's Palace, Topkapi Palace and Harem, from an expert’s perspective
We meet at Ersoy Bufe. This is a small food kiosk just by the side of the Hippodrome in Sultanahmet Square. It is across the German Fountain. Here is the Google Maps Link.
This tour runs every day except Tuesdays
Topkapi Palace is a vast complex with multiple sections open for visit. During our tour, we’ll visit the most magnificent masterpieces. However, if you wish to explore all sections at your leisure, we recommend booking a morning tour and allocating the afternoon to explore the Palace grounds.
Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace is opulent, complex, mysterious, and awe-inspiring. It was the home of the Ottomans for nearly 400 years, and was this dynasty’s most significant achievement.
Our guided tour of Topkapı Palace and its Harem will immerse you in the heart of the great Ottoman Empire. As you stroll through the palace, imagine the ruling Sultans who lived in its hundreds of rooms with their vast family and countless servants.
Topkapı is not a palace in the traditional European sense, but a complex of low buildings, pavilions, kiosks, and courtyards. It was more like a self-contained city that most of its inhabitants rarely left.
Today, Topkapı Palace offers a romantic setting with its views of the Bosporus in Istanbul. It takes a few hours to enjoy it properly, as thankfully much of its expansive territory is accessible to the public.
Our tour of Topkapi Palace includes the Holy Relics, Treasury sections, and the outer terraced gardens (sadly, it’s rarely included in other tours). We climb up to the highest terrace, past flowerbeds ablaze with colorful tulips, for an unmissable view over the Golden Horn. As you do so, your guide will help you filter myths from reality, and stories from official archives.
The very seat of the Ottoman Sultan’s power in Topkapı Palace lies within the deepest reaches of the Harem, inside the famous house of the Monarchy.
The Harem in Topkapı Palace was ruled by the Queen Mother, who wielded both domestic and political power (there was no queen in the Ottoman Court).
The Harem housed hundreds of women, mostly prisoners of war, family members, and hundreds more eunuchs who performed a range of administrative and personal duties. We pass first through the sections where the eunuchs lived and were educated. Then we move down the hallway to the courtyard of the concubines and the Queen Mother’s rooms.
Take a moment to spot the cupboard doors inlaid with mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell. Our walk through the Harem is also the only way to see the very early, exceptionally-crafted Iznik tiles decorated with floral designs and verses from the Quran.
You can get to know this extraordinary palace and the royal Ottoman family in a private tour, or share the experience with a small group (maximum 12 people).
Transport to or from the meeting spot