UNV/101 - Taste of Istanbul

UNV/101 - Taste of Istanbul (3 Nights / 4 Days)


Duration                    : 3 Nights / 4 Days

Hotels                        :

Conrad Bosphorus Hotel (5-star) OR Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus Hotel (5-star)

Gezi Bosphorus Hotel (5-star)

Levni Hotel (Special Class) OR Radisson President Istanbul Hotel (4-star)

Avicenna Hotel (3-star)

Meal Plan                  : 3 breakfasts + 2 lunches + no dinners

Domestic Flights       : None

Remarks                    :

-        Depending on the availability, similar 4 OR 5 star hotels may be used.

-        The tour will be operated multilingual basis. In some cases the some guide speaks two languages and in some cases there may be two guides in the bus.

-        For all tour departures, guests will be picked up from their hotels and at the end of the program they will be dropped off back to their hotels.

-        Duration of each day is mentioned in below itinerary.

-        Year around guaranteed departure program with minimum of 2 guests required.

-        Beverages during the meals are not included.

Day 1 – Arrival in Istanbul

Arrival in Istanbul and transfer to the hotel.

The remaining of the day is at leisure.

Day 2 – Full Day Classical Istanbul Tour with lunch

After breakfast, drive to old town and visit Hippodrome Square, the scene of Chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life which was originally built by Roman Emperor Septimus in 203 AD. Then visit Blue Mosque, built in early 17th century and know as Blue Mosque because of its magnificent interior decoration with blue Iznik tiles. It is also unique in the world to have 6 minarets.

Continue to St. Sophia, built by Emperor Constantius is 360 AD. St. Sophia was for many centuries the world’s largest church and today is the fourth largest one after St. Paul’s in London, St. Peter’s in Rome and Duomo in Milan.

Throughout its Byzantine history, St. Sophia served as the cathedral of the city where emperors were crowned and victories celebrated.

After his conquest of the city in 1453, Sultan Mehmet II ordered for the building to be converted into a mosque by the addition of Islamic elements such as a mihrab, a mimber, minarets etc.

After having served this time as a mosque for 481 years, the building become a museum in 1934 by the order of  Ataturk, the founder of the Repuplic of Turkey.

Next stop will be at famous historical Grand Bazaar, the largest “souk” covered oriental shopping mall in the world, where you will find 4,400 shops under one roof where each trade has its own street. There is a wide selection of leather, jewelry, antiques, copperware, souvenirs, and  famous hand-made Turkish carpets displayed in this historical shopping center.

After lunch visit Topkapi Palace, built by Sultan Mehmet II after the conquest of Istanbul in 15th century. The palace housed the sultans and their exotic entourage until mid 19th century. The complex is a group of structures which incorporates works from successive periods of Ottoman reign. Today the museum displays priceless collections of the imperial treasury, numerous pieces of Chinese porcelain, traditional costumes of the sultans and their families and special section for the preservation of the relics of Prophet Mohammed.

After Topkapi, we shall visit, Hagia Eirene, the Church of the Holy Peace, is one of the few churches in Istanbul that was never converted into a mosque, as it was used as an arsenal until the 19th century. Hagia Eirene reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple and has the distinction of being the first church built in Byzantium as it was converted into the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. From there, we visit Gülhane Park, once a part of the outer gardens of Topkapı Palace, where the Edict of Gülhane, a declaration of rights and liberties that played an essential role in the modernization of the Ottoman Empire. After the proclaimation of the Republic, Gülhane Park was for many years home to the Istanbul Zoo.

Overnight in Istanbul

Duration                                 : 08h00-18h00

Meal Plan                               : Breakfast & Lunch

Grand Bazaar: Closed on Sunday

Topkapı Palace: Closed on Tuesday

Day 3 – Full Day Bosphorus & Asia with lunch

Start a leisurely day, drive to pier in Eminonu area for a short visit to historical Spice Market (Egyptian Bazaar). This bazaar was built in 1664 as a part of Yeni Mosque complex situated nearby and named Egyptian Bazaar because spices and herbs brought from or via Egypt were sold in it.

Then, board a private boat for the cruise along the Bosphorus, a narrow strait between the continents of Europe and Asia connecting Black Sea in the north to the Sea of Marmara in the South. In the Byzantine and early Ottoman days, there was little settlement on either sides of the Bosphorus but as of the 18th century, it became a favorite place for the sultans and their entourage where they built their kiosks and waterside residence.

Meet with your guide at the lobby and drive to the Asian Side of Istanbul via transcontinental Bosphorus Bridge, unique in the world connecting two continents Asia and Europe. The bridge was built in 1973, the 50th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. It’s length is 1.560 m (1,074 m over the sea) and height from the sea is 64 m. It is the fourth longest suspension bridge in the world.

Visit Beylerbeyi Palace, situated on the shore at the Asian end of the Bosphorus Bridge and built between 1861 and 1864 by Sultan Abdulaziz. The palace is a three- story structure set on terraced grounds planted with trees brought from the entire world. The interior was decorated in a style typical of the 19th century – Europe and the original furniture is still in display. The building itself, constructed in the Fench Baroque style, is made of stone and marble. It was used by the Ottoman sultans as a summer residence.

Then, drive to Camlica Hill, highest one in Istanbul, to enjoy the panoramic view of the city.

Our next stop is the Grand Çamlıca Mosque, the largest mosque in Turkey, opened in 2019 and was designed by two female architects, Bahar Mızrak and Hayriye Gül Totu.

Overnight in Istanbul

Duration            : 08h00-18h00

Meal Plan          : Breakfast & Lunch

Overnight          : Istanbul

Beylerbeyi Palace: Closed on Monday

Day 4 – Departure

After breakfast, transfer to airport for your departure flight.