Want to plan the perfect tour to Istanbul or Turkey? A good place to start is with Vagobond Tours of Turkey. Read on for some of my favorite sites and pictures of some of my favorite experiences in wonderful Istanbul.
Istanbul itself is a place where you could spend your life exploring and never see all that this magnificent city offers. Of course, there are a few things that no visitor should miss. Starting in Sultanahmet, a visit to the Blue Mosque with it’s gorgeous 17th centrury Iznik tiles on the interior and an exterior that still strikes awe into all who see it.
While in Sultanahmet a stroll through the ancient hippodrome and it’s ancient monuments. With a bit of thought it’s easy to imagine what it was like to join superbowl size crowds for chariot races on the now traffic free streets.
The nearby Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) was the largest church in the world for 1000 years and still is among the largest buildings in the world. This ancient wonder is now a museum and holds many artistic and historical artifacts, not to mention the wonderous architecture of the building itself.
Further down the road near the peaceful Gulhane Park visits to Topkapi Palace the Istanbul Archeology Museum can easily fill a day each.
It’s not just Sultanahmet that is worth seeing in Istanbul though. The amazing bridges across the mighty Bosphorus join Europe and Asia and offer amazing views of the Marmara Sea and both continents of the city.
Another must see is the decadent and lavish Dolmabachce Palace which showcases the wealth and lifestyle of the Turkish Sultans with more than 250 rooms, eight Turkish Hammaams (Turkish baths) and all the trappings of the Ottoman Empire.
In terms of shopping, a trip to Istanbul is far from complete without a visit to the Spice Market which has been one of the world’s largest sweet and spice markets since at least 1665. The nearby Grand Bazaar is filled with everything you can imagine about Turkey and it is easy to get lost in this massive covered marketplace. Don’t forget to pay attention to the architecture! The interior of the Grand Bazaar is magnificent and offers a look at merchant life over the past 1000 years to those who take the time to look at it.
Of course, a boat trip up the Bosphorus is a requirement for visitors to Istanbul. Whether you take a private cruise or choose to take a public ferry, you will have an unforgettable cruise along the Bosphorus and its winding between green hills and massive ancient fortifications. Along the way you will see the many mosques, castles, yalis (19th century mansions) as well as scenic villages & the baroque palaces of the late Ottoman Sultans.
Want to plan the perfect tour to Istanbul or Turkey? Vagobond Tours of Turkey will show you all of this and much more. We work with the best guides, the most responsible companies, and the coolest people.