Your six days are filled with enough exotic sights, sounds, scenes and scents to make it seem like weeks. We'll even provide you with the Lonely Planet guide to Istanbul so that you can explore the city on your own, as you like, in your free time! Daily Arrival. Choose your own date! Add Edirne the Earlier Capital of the Mighty Ottomans. Add Ephesus.
DAY 1 - ISTANBUL - Daily - Private Tour - Choose Your Own Dates
Our local rep. meets your flight, or cruise line (Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Sea Dream II Luxury Yacht, Crystal Cruises or other Mediterranean cruises), and escorts you to your hotel.
Our local representative, who sees you to your hotel, will be happy to answer any questions you may have about getting to know the city. As you ride into the great metropolis from the airport, two thousand years of history are revealed: towering Roman walls, ancient Byzantine churches, slender minarets framing the bulbous domes of graceful mosques. These ancient monuments float on the skyline of a bustling modern metropolis of ten million people.
DAY 2 - ISTANBUL (BL)
The center of ancient Constantinople and Istanbul was on Seraglio Point, framed by the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. We visit the Blue Mosque, built by Sultan Ahmet III to challenge the architectural primacy of neighboring Sancta Sophia. We then walk next door to compare achievements in Justinian's great Sancta Sophia. Right behind Sancta Sophia is our next stop, sumptuous Topkapi Palace, the sultans seraglio for centuries, filled with breathtaking exhibits of priceless jewels, golden thrones, delicate colored tiles, and lavish court costumes. After lunch in a local restaurant, we finish up in the bustling Grand Bazaar, where you can find jewelry, carpets, goat-hair rugs, hand-painted ceramics, copper and brass in labyrinthine streets holding nearly 4000 shops.
This evening your guide will call on you for a leisurely walk ( if the hotel is in Sultan Ahmet area, otherwise we will drive of course )to the Whirling Dervishes Ceremony in Istanbul, with entrance fees included. The ceremony held in Sirkeci area within an historic Turkish Bath structure, it will be your choice that we walk both ways or use the tram one way or even ride the tram both ways ( for guests who are in the Sultan Ahmet Area) , tram tickets are included and will be purchased by your guide with our compliments.
We will follow the main street passing through the hearth of old city or using the tram down to Sirkeci station where also legendary final stop of Orient Express is located. The ceremony starts at 19.30 but we recommend getting to the place by 18.30, for the introduction ceremony. The Whirling Dervishes ceremony takes about one hour.
DAY 3 - BOSPHORUS (BL)
Istanbul's history was formed by the Bosphorus, the winding strait that separates Europe and Asia, connecting the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. Now, as in ancient times, it is a maritime vital link between the countries bordering the Black Sea and those in the rest of the world. Today we take a leisurely cruise northward along this historic waterway. Along its shores are ranged palaces great and small-Topkapi, Dolmabahçe, Beylerbeyi, Küçüksu, Hünkar Iskelesi. Four great fortresses rise on the hills, reminding us that to control the Bosphorus was to control the destinies of nations. Our afternoon cruise (morning cruise for Oct-Apr season) of two continents, crossing from Europe to Asia and back, includes visits to the Navy's Museum (showing some magnificent boats used by the Ottoman Sultans), the Bosphorus Bridge, Çamlica Hill lookout, and stupendous Dolmabahçe Palace. Lunch is included at a charming local restaurants. Hotel Room amenity: Complimentary Turkish Lokoom pastries.
DAY 4 - ISTANBUL (BL)
Istanbul has more to offer, today we stroll along the restored 19th-century thoroughfare of Istiklal Caddesi, once known as the Grand Rue de Péra. We will search (with your private guide) for spices and folk remedies in the Egyptian Bazaar. Admire the medieval mosaics in the city's many Byzantine churches. Shop in the chic boutiques around Taksim Square. Climb the Galata Tower, built by the Genoese six centuries ago, for a panoramic view of Old Istanbul. Lunch is included at a charming local restaurant. We conclude our day with a tour of "SALT GALATA" and the Ottoman Bank most charming Museum and Building, the Ottoman Bank as inaugurated in 1892. The building is a landmark unique to Istanbul with surprisingly distinct architectural styles—neoclassical and oriental.
French Levantine architect Alexandre Vallaury designed the original building of SALT Galata to house the Ottoman Bank as inaugurated in 1892. The building is a landmark unique to Istanbul with surprisingly distinct architectural styles—neoclassical and oriental—applied on opposite façades.
The redesign of the building, also undertaken by Mimarlar Tasarim, involves the introduction of major new structural interventions, while the office’s architectural approach clears the building of later surface additions to reveal original contemporary features.
SALT Galata is organized to enable a challenging, multi-layered program that includes SALT Research, which offers public access to thousands of print and digital resources; a 219-capacity Auditorium; the renovated Ottoman Bank Museum; Workshop spaces; an Open Archive where archival research projects are interpreted and discussed; a temporary exhibition space; as well as a Café, Restaurant and Bookstore.
The Ottoman Bank Museum, located within SALT Galata, is the first museum to be founded by a private bank in Turkey. It became active in 2002 as part of the Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Centre. Organized in and around the bank vaults of the building that served as the Ottoman Bank Headquarters after 1892, the museum sheds light on the history of the Ottoman Bank, formerly the central bank and treasurer of the Ottoman Empire.
The objects and documents in the collection of the Ottoman Bank Museum, as well as the design of the museum itself, reflect the little-known world of the late-Ottoman and early-Republican periods, in which the bank played a central role. The museum chronologically highlights the significant changes, developments and crises experienced over an 80-year period—from the Ottoman Bank’s founding until 1933, when it gained private bank status. Particular focus is given to the branch buildings, customers and areas of activity of the same period.
Every item at the Ottoman Bank Museum can be studied within the context of the politics, economy, society and even the daily life of its era. The Ottoman Bank Museum not only narrates the story of an institution, but also offers a representation of life during this period. The archives and the museum’s conceptual framework were developed by Edhem Eldem; their design was conceived by Bülent Erkmen. The design and exhibition of display units was conceived and realized by Yesim Bakirküre and Ypsilon.
Day 5 - Cooking class then tour : "Imperial Constantinople in the Belle Epoque" (late 19th century), the exotic romance of the "Paris of the East:" (BL)
This morning we'll venture where few ordinary visitors ever tread... Cooking Ala turka: Turkish Cooking Class and Restaurant:
Learn How to Cook Authentic Turkish Foods in Between Visiting Istanbul’s Many Sights, classes are generally held from 10:30 to 14:30. We prepare 5 typical Turkish dishes in a group of 6-10 persons and then have them for lunch in our restaurant. We have aprons at your disposal and you will get the recipes to take with you. Private classes are held as well (supplement applies). For private groups, evening classes can be considered as well, starting at 16:30, with dinner served from 19:00 to 21:00: Cooking with Chef Eveline Zoutendijk.
Later in the day — walking tour: We start with our guide in Karaköy where the foreign bankers and shipping companies had their headquarters, then take the Tünel up to istiklal Caddesi; stop in the whirling dervish tekke, and walk past the various old embassy buildings (now consulates), and point out the architecture. Stop for tea (included) at the famous Pera Palace Hotel.
Walk at least as far as Galatasaray Square, and have lunch in the Çicek Pasaji (Flower Passage); then walk up to Taksim Square and be picked up for the afternoon tour. In the afternoon the tour visit Yildiz Palace Park and the Ihlamur Kasri, a mini-palace south of Yildiz, and finish up with a visit to the History Museum in Harbiye in time to hear the "Mehter," or the Ottoman Sultan Imperial music band (mid-afternoon).
DAY 6 - ISTANBUL- Departure (B)
There are many more things to see and do in this fascinating city, but they will have to wait for your next visit. After breakfast, our representative escorts you to the airport for your homeward flight — until next time!
Rates per person in USD $
Private basis - Choose your own dates. Daily - Year Round
Minimum 2 Guests RATES (per person) - Private Touring
Sultanhan, Arena or similar
Hilton , Hyatt or similar
Rate doesn't include
Our walking tours offer a more intimate look at Istanbul. Enjoy a leisurely paced tour that offers you a fascinating behind the scenes experience at a great value. Click for more information about our Istanbul Walking Tours.
Trip to Istanbul Aug 2012
Hi. We had an excellent time in Istanbul and the organisation was flawless. Our guide was excellent as was our driver. Many thanks for your organisation. Kind regards.