Enjoy the best of Istanbul in 5 days. The city is also known as the "Pearl of the East and the Jewel of the West". It stands on the divide between two very different cultures, religions, and social views.
Historically and geographically this great city has the weight of a nation behind it.
Visit and discover some of the magnificent Bazaars, Mosques and Palaces.
At a glance
|Day 1||Welcome to Istanbul|
|Day 2||Morning Ottoman Relics Tour|
|Day 3||1/2 day Bosphorus cruise|
|Day 4||Istanbul: day at leisure|
|Day 5||Services end with transfer to Istanbul Airport|
> Daily departures
> Visit the Topkapi Palace, built on a hill and overlooking the Golden Horn
> Get insider perspective on tour of the Suleymaniye Mosque dominating the city's skyline
> Leisurely morning cruise on the Bosphorus
> Private return transfers between Ataturk Airport and hotel
Best time to go
The best times to visit Turkey’s archaeological sites and cities are in spring (Apr-May) and autumn (Sep-Oct) as the temperature is warm, but not too hot.
High summer (Jun-Aug) can be hot: best time for beach holidays. Winters can be cold and many hotels though city breaks are still an option. Turkey does offer ski options during the winter months
Turkey food & drink
Turkish food is varied and delicious. It’s often meze style – lots of small dishes to sample, including aubergine dips, calamari, borek (stuffed pastries), mashed broad beans and stuffed vine leaves – plenty of options for vegetarians, too. Local food involves a lot of meat, often in kebab form – the smell of charcoal-grilled beef, lamb and chicken permeates Turkey.
A Turkish menu includes wonderful breads, super-sweet baklava (pistachio and syrup pastry) and salty white cheeses. Despite being a Muslim country, alcohol is easy to find in Turkey, especially in the touristy coastal regions. Efes is the Turkish beer of choice. Raki, grape spirit, is potent.
Turkish coffee is pitch black, very strong and often sweet. Tea is widely drunk and served black
Culture and Language
Turkish is the official language, however, English, French and German are widely spoken in all major cities and tourist areas. Shaking hands is the common form of greetings. Hospitability is a top priority. Pointing fingers at a person a considered rude. Declining an offer is done by putting your hand over your heart. Observe dress code when visiting Islamic sites
Train travel is a very popular mode of transport between the major cities. It may be slow but can sometimes offer you some inspiring scenic moments. Coach travel is the most used way of getting around Turkey. Bus routes are relatively cheap and are most comfortable. Just about any city is connected by coach. On certain upmarket coaches, extra legroom and Wi-Fi is offered. If your journey is more than 5 hrs, a 30-minute stop is made about every three hours. Taking a taxi is by far the most convenient way of travel in major cities, but not always the quickest way. Taxis can easily be hailed on the street. Important: only take the official bright yellow taxis. If they do not have a meter, then it is a no go
The basic rule is: tip 5-10% in restaurants, cafes and bars. Hotel staff does however expect a tip between 5 and 20 Turkish Lira. Do not tip taxi drivers but round up the fare. Tour Guides do not depend on tips, however, if a tour has really gone beyond what your expected, a tip of between 20 and 30 Tl will be greatly appreciated
Witness the classic sites of heritage and history that abound in Istanbul on a 5-day tour. Visit architectural masterpieces, marvel at awe-inspiring, Byzantine-era tile-works, and see the imperial treasures of Ottoman sultans.
Meander through the regal rooms of the Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries. See the imperial treasury and its collection of Chinese porcelain, costumes, and weaponry.
See the courtyard with its four minarets at the Suleymaniye Mosque.
Istanbul Arrival Day
- Welcome to Turkey Istanbul Airport.
- Meet with our representative at the arrival Hall for transfer to your hotel & check-in.
- There are two airports in Istanbul.
- Istanbul Ataturk airport is 20 km away from city center and;
- Sabiha Gokcen airport is 55 km away from city center.
- Transfer from Ataturk airport to your hotel is included. If you arrive at Sabiha Gokcen airport please contact us for transfer rates.
Istanbul City Tour (B)
- After breakfast, depart on a morning tour visiting the Ottoman relics
- See the Topkapi Palace and the Suleymaniye Mosque
- The afternoon will be free
Bosphorus Cruise (B)
- Pick up at 08:30 am from the hotel and depart for the Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise and Shopping Tour.
- Visit the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar); the air here is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon; caraway; saffron; mint; thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice.
- Bosphorus by Boat - a traditional excursion by boat along the waterway separating Europe and Asia. The shore is lined with old wooden villas; palaces of marble; fortresses; and small fishing villages. During the excursion, you will see the magnificent sights of the following attractions from your boat.
- Dolmabahce Palace; and further along; the parks and imperial pavilions of Yildiz Palace.
- On the coastal edge of this park; is Ciragan Palace; 300 meters of its marble facade faces the shore.
- At Ortakoy a great variety of artists gather every Sunday to display their work along the street. Ortakoy is a symbol of tolerance with a church; a mosque and a synagogue existing side by side for centuries.
- Rumeli Fortress; built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 prior to the conquest of Istanbul was completed in only four months to control and protect the infamous Bosphorus passage. It is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture anywhere in the world.
- Beylerbeyi Palas (Palace) is the summer residence of Ottoman sultans exists in its original renovated glory featuring original antique furniture and magnificent gardens with the Harem on the Asian side of Istanbul.
- Bosphorus Bridge; enjoy a unique chance to step from one continent (Asia) to another (Europe).
- Camlica Hill; the highest point in Istanbul; at the top of it you can rest and admire the magnificent panorama of Istanbul and the Bosporus from the beautiful gardens; landscaped in traditional Turkish Ottoman style.
- After the tour; you are taken back to your hotel
- Meet and assist on arrival and departure by our local representative
- Accommodation in selected hotels in double/twin sharing
- Meals: as mentioned
- Local English Speaking Guide
- Entrance fees
- International/Domestic flights – Departure & Fuel taxes (Contact us for best airfares)
- Personal expenses, meals and drinks unless otherwise specified
- Travel insurance
- Turkey visa fee
- Services not stated in the itinerary
- Rate valid for travel between 15 APR and 15 OCT 2018
- Seasonal supplements may be applicable