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In a nutshell Half a day to visit some of the most famous and representative places of Istanbul’s history and culture such as the majestic Blue Mosque and the remains of the ancient Byzantine hippodrome, the amazing Hagia Sophia and the characteristic Grand Bazaar.

Main stops
  • Blue Mosque
  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Grand Bazaar

The programme
  • Our excursion starts with one of Istanbul’s largest and most important mosques: the Sultan Ahmed Mosque known as the Blue Mosque because of its elegant blue and turquoise majolica tiled interiors.
  • Nearby, we spot the few remains of the ancient Hippodrome built during the 2nd century at the request of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus and inspired by Rome’s Circus Maximus. The Hippodrome represented the hub of the city’s public life starting from Byzantine times. In addition to the few remains, the monuments that used to decorate its centre have also survived to this day, such as the Obelisk of Theodosius and the Serpent Column.
  • We then head to the magnificent Hagia Sophia, a majestic 6th-century cathedral that was turned into a museum during the past century, and end our excursion by venturing into the folkloristic maze of alleyways, stalls and shops of the characteristic Grand Bazaar: a city within the city divided into sections selling all kinds of products and services ready to be admired, captured with a photo and taken home with you.

Good to know
  • Dress code that is appropriate for the places of worship to be visited is recommended.
  • To enter the mosque, it is mandatory to cover your shoulders and legs (down to the knees) and remove your shoes.
  • Wheelchairs are not allowed to enter.
  • This excursion is not recommended for guests with limited mobility.
  • The itinerary may be subject to change.
  • There may be long queues to enter the sights.
  • We recommend carrying a bottle of water and wearing a sun hat.
  • The Hagia Sophia Art Gallery is not included in the tour.
  • Topkapi palace is closed until 1 pm during religious festivities.
  • The Blue Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque and New Mosque are closed Friday mornings until 2.30 pm.
  • The Blue Mosque may be closed to the public during the month of Ramadan. In this case, the excursion will include a visit to another historic Mosque.
  • The Grand Bazaar and Spice Markets are closed on national holidays and during religious festivities.