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Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia

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Istanbul, Turkey

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon8 hours  (Approx.)
Hotel pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Keeping you safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Face masks provided for travelers
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
Gear/equipment sanitized between use
Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
More questions?
(888) 651-9785

Overview

Fit all of Istanbul's attractions at the top of your bucket list into one packed day, with the help of an expert local guide. Stroll Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet neighborhood, brimming with iconic buildings and storied streets. Tour the Blue Mosque, one of the most important sites in the Muslim world. Delve into history of the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Istanbul Hippodrome as well as the 'sunken palace' of Basilica Cistern. And you won’t want to miss the and the bustling Grand Bazaar or savory 3-course lunch.
  • Full-day Istanbul sightseeing tour around the Sultanahmet neighborhood
  • Visit top Istanbul attractions with a knowledgeable local guide
  • Refuel with a 3-course lunch at a traditional Istanbul restaurant in Sultanahmet
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of 14 people ensures personalized attention from a guide
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Air-conditioned vehicle
Lunch
Gratuities
Food and drinks, unless specified

Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered

Departure Time

9:00 AM
Your action-packed full-day Istanbul sightseeing tour begins with a pickup from your European-side hotel or by meeting your guide at a central location. Start with a brief orientation to the day ahead and then set off in your comfortable coach to your first destination. Keep in mind the order of places may change from what is described below. 

Venture to the Blue Mosque, one of the most stunning sights in Istanbul. Admire its six signature minarets and many ornate Iznik tiles that come together to form its dazzling blue walls. Listen as your expert guide tells you about the fascinating history of this Ottoman-era mosque. Then walk to the Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO-listed museum that was once a church and a mosque.

Next, stroll over to Topkapi Palace, a crown jewel of Istanbul. Explore its intricate corridors and intimate rooms where sultans once entertained elite guests—and were entertained by their harems. Your guide points out interesting bits of backstory to the rooms, bringing to life this ornamental palace and museum. Midway through the day, break for a traditional Turkish lunch (see Itinerary section for sample menu). 

Move on to the Hippodrome, where you can admire a granite Egyptian obelisk that was a gift to Istanbul. At one point, this location marked the epicenter of the city’s sports life and also served as a political center. Then it’s on to Istanbul’s sunken palace, the Basilica Cistern, one of the biggest ancient cisterns in Istanbul. Follow your guide as he tells fills you in on the history of these historic places. 

Your final stop is also one of the most iconic: the Grand Bazaar. Stroll through its colorful alleys, more than 60 in all, in awe of the crafts, smells, sounds and sights. As one of the most famous souks in the world, you won’t want to miss this. Duck into leather, jewelry, and ceramic stores as well as spice stalls and other unique outlets. Say hello to the friendly local shop owners and craftspeople. After, bid farewell to your guide and the rest of your group when your tour concludes with a convenient drop-off at your European-side hotel or in central Istanbul.

Please note:  Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays and the Grand Bazaar is closed Sundays. If your tour is on one of these days, an alternate, such as Chora Museum or another market, may be visited instead. Topkapi Palace, closed on Tuesdays, is replaced with Istanbul Archaeology Museum).
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Hippodrome
Continue through Istanbul Hippodrome, seeing the granite Egyptian obelisk that was gifted to the city, and hear how the site once represented the hub of the city’s sporting and political life. After stopping for photos.
Duration: 25 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Blue Mosque
Head to the Blue Mosque to marvel at its six minarets and the thousands of Iznik tiles that cascade a sea of blue over the building’s interior. One of the finest examples of classical Ottoman architecture, the mosque was built at the bequest of Sultan Ahmet I who demanded a mosque to rival the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Hagia Sophia Museum
Both a church and a mosque in its past life, Hagia Sophia (or Aya Sofya) is now a UNESCO-listed museum that showcases Ottoman- and Byzantine-era artifacts. Browse the interior’s architecture and historical exhibits with your guide, and then continue to Topkapi Palace.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Topkapi Palace
Like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace now exists as one of Istanbul’s premier museums, home to a collection of ornamentation that once belonged to the city’s 15th-century sultans and harems.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Basilica Cistern
Might be replaced with Serefiye Cistern. Visit Basilica Cistern — Istanbul’s ‘sunken palace’ — a site that famously featured in the James Bond movie From Russia with Love. The site is one of the largest of the city's ancient cisterns that lie beneath the ground.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Istanbul Handicraft Center
You'll have chance to see carpet making demonstration.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Kapali Carsi
Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s most famous souks. Comprising nearly 60 streets and thousands more shops, the bazaar can be overwhelming. Let your guide introduce you to its colorful (if chaotic) highlights, and shop for jewelry, leather, pottery, spices and more.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum age is 4 years
  • Children 18 years and under must be accompanied by an adult
  • Cover ups and head scarves are provided at the Blue Mosque
  • Guests must call 24 hours in advance for pick up times
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Not recommended for participants with walking difficulties
  • Not recommended for participants with walking difficulties
  • Travelers should have a strong physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Neon Tours

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia?
A:
The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Face masks provided for travelers
See all safety measures taken by Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia?
A:
The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia?
A:
The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia?
A:
The policy on staff health & safety is:

  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
See all safety measures taken by Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.
Q:
What is the maximum group size during Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia?
A:
This activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Small-Group Istanbul in One Day Tour Including Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips


  • "Highly recommended if you are going to be in town for a short period of time." See review
  • "It'll be great, if an email and other contacts has been arranged." See review

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
1,246 Reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 1,246 reviews
star-5
Great tour, but should only be a half a day
Nick
, Sep 2020
Fabulous Tour. The guide was amazing - best I have ever had and that is saying something as I’ve been all around the world! Could just have done this in half a day though and leave out the trips to all the shops in the afternoon
icon Response from Host , Oct 2020
Dear Nick, Thank you for your feedback. We arrange tour timings considering all ages so when/if we have older guests it's not possible to complete this tour in half day. Hope to see you again, Neon Tours
star-2
15,000 step walking tour with minimal time at sites
knikkih
, Feb 2020
This really should be advertised as a walking tour - although the ad states that users need to be able to walk, we didn't see the bus/van after it dropped us off at our first stop. My biggest issue wasn't the itinerary - the sites are absolutely amazing. But we were given 10 minutes of free time at Hagia Sophia and rushed out of the underground cistern without any free time whatsoever. Then he took us to a "bonus stop" to see how Turkish rugs are made, but it's really just a place for hard sales and took WAY too much time that I would have rather spent at the sites. Tour was nowhere close to eight hours, due to the minimal amount of time spent at each site. Absolutely would not recommend this tour company - so very disappointed in the entire day.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Dear our valued guest, It's clearly mentioned on our itinerary that this tour includes a lot of walking and carpet making demonstration is part of our itinerary that is written on product page. Hope to see you again, Neon Tours
star-5
Excellent
nohaqaid
, Dec 2019
The trip was perfect the places were amazing and rich with history, the guide was awesome and explained it in very interesting way
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
Dear our valued guest, We're glad to hear that you enjoyed your day with us. Please visit again soon and be our guest, Neon Tours
star-1
This tour operator subjects you to an hour long carpet sales pitch
missguam09
, Dec 2019
I take 20+ tours per year for work and this was one of the worst tours I've ever taken. Shame on this tour operator for limiting our time at the Hagia Sophia (Istanbul's crown jewel) to 20 minutes, but subjecting us to an hour long carpet sales pitch. You will notice the itinerary makes no mention about making an hour long stop at a government subsidized carpet shop. After rushing you through the Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern, your guide will subject you to an hour long carpet sales pitch in a show room full of pushy salesmen trying to sell you overpriced carpets and jewelry. Upon completion of the tour, I returned to my hotel with a bad taste in my mouth to be informed by the front desk staff that the tour operator takes a commission on carpet sales. Terrible experience -- do yourself a favor and book a tour with an alternative company that is transparent on its itinerary and what to expect.
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
Dear our valued guest, Thank you for your feedback. We'll make sure that our guests will be given more time at St. Sophia if requested. Carpet making is a part of our culture and we take our guests to a carpet making demonstration on our program in order to show a piece of our culture. It's already included on our program. We're sorry to hear that you didn'tenjoy it. Hope to see you again in Turkey, Neon Tours
star-3
The tour was almost exclus tur and so it was tiring for elderly persons. At times the information provid
Joe B
, Dec 2019
The tour was almost exclusively a walking tour and so it was tiring for elderly persons. At times we were left on our own to see things when we could have been accompanied and given explanations on what we were seeing instead of being provided with information only before entering to see things. The visit to the carpet outlet was a waste of time as was that to the Grand Bazaar.
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
Dear Joe, We're sorry to hear that you couldn't keep up with the group and got tired. It's clearly written on our product page that this tour includes a lot of walking and we visit carpet demonstration show. We didn't give any other services then promised on our page. We also like to give our guests some time for photo after giving all information. Just a few days ago one of our guests were complaining that our guide talked a lot. We recommend you one of our cruise programs which doesn't involve walking at all. Neon Tours
star-2
Talk to much
gtbp51
, Dec 2019
This is my second viator tour and most likely my last,these narcissistic guides are only interested in their speech ,to the point of rudeness. they don't want to stop running their mouths to even answer your question .I'm 68 yrs old and don't think I need to raise my hand to talk! And if they would just shut up once in a while then maybe they could show some reverence or at least let the customer
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
Dear our valued guest, Thank you for sparing your valueable time and writing your feedback. We'll request from our guides spare more time for questions. We're trying to give as many information as possible on our guests' limited time. Since this is a group tour unfortunately guides might ask guests to raise hands for their questions to avoid talking at the same time. We want to apologize you on behalf of our guide if you're offended by that. We hope to see you again, Neon Tours
star-5
Istanbul in a Day!
Roving13817601407
, Dec 2019
We enjoyed our tour of all the major sites in Istanbul. Our guide was friendly, very knowledgeable, and kept up on schedule to hit all the highlights. Highly recommend one confirms within 24-hours of the tour for pickup details.
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
Dear our valued guest, Thank you for sparing your time and writing this recommendation. We're glad to hear that our tour satisfied your expectations. We hope you can visit our beautiful city again soon, Neon Tours
star-4
A very good tour
aggelikigreg
, Nov 2019
It was a really nice tour, we visited all the attractions mentioned in the description. The tour guide was really good and he gave us information and history about each place. Of course because we visited many places in only 8 hours we didn't have much time to spend on each place but if you are looking for a one day your in Istanbul that includes everything I believe this is a very good option for you. Please note that this is a walking tour and also if you are not staying in the European side of Istanbul you need to call them to pick a meeting point. My only negative comments are that lunch was average and this tour is a bit overpriced since most of the places we visited had no entrance fee if you were to visit them alone.
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
Dear Aggeliki, Thank you for your kind review. We're glad to hear that you enjoyed our tour. All museums have entrance fees on this tour. There are no musuems in Istanbul which offers free entrance. You can check their web sites online and you'll see they're around 10 - 15 dollars for each. Hope to see you agin soon, Neon Tours
star-4
Beautiful Istanbul
lizdegutis
, Nov 2019
Our guide was very knowledgeable and kept us on time. We recommend this tour even though there was a lot of renovations happening. Istanbul has so much history that you need a guided tour like this .
icon Response from Host , Nov 2019
Dear Lizdegutis, Thank you for sparing your time and writing this kind review. It's a great pleasure to know that you enjoyed our services. Hope to see you again, Neon Tours
star-5
Sergin was an amazing tour guide
Voyager517587
, Nov 2019
Sergin was prompt at picking us up and started the tour on time. During the tour he provided great details regarding the history of Turkey and the buildings we visited. He was extremely knowledgeable and polite. We would recommend him over & over again! Thanks, Sergin!
icon Response from Host , Nov 2019
Dear voyager :) Thank you for your kind review. We're glad to hear your kind words and more than happy to know that you enjoyed our tour. Wish you a great weeık, Neon Tours

Product code: 3795IST01

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