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12 Best Top Day Tours In Istanbul, Turkey - Updated 2020

day tours in istanbul
Anupama
Anupama
Updated

The vibrant Turkish capital Istanbul is a perfect amalgamation of culture, tradition and modernity. Istanbul is a popular tourist destination and people from all over the world throng to this magical city. Art lovers enjoy a visit to the Hagia Sophia Museum, where they can admire the Byzantine architecture. History enthusiasts enjoy browsing through the vast breadth of history of Turkey at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Take the elevator to reach the top balcony at the Galata Tower, where tourists can admire the stunning panoramic views of the city. Visitors can enjoy a tram ride on the Istiklal Caddesi street, which is teeming with restaurants, cafes, hotels and shops. Shopaholics can visit the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Bazaar, from where they can gather souvenirs for friends and family back home. Check out the list of top day tours in Istanbul, happening in the amazing country of Turkey.

1. Full-day guided tour of Istanbul with lunch (from USD 58.86)

day tours in istanbul | full-day guided tour of istanbul with lunch

Explore the incredible city of Istanbul, which is defined by the marvelous architecture of its ancient stadiums, magnificent mosques and magical grand bazaars in this six-hour guided trip. Start the day by admiring the eighth wonder of the world - Hagia Sophia - a beautiful architectural masterpiece featuring towering minarets and beautifully handcrafted mosaics. Head to the Blue Mosque which boasts over 20,000 Iznik blue tiles that adorn its facade and interior. Tourists are then taken to the famous sports arena of Hippodrome. Next stop is the Grand Bazaar where you can go on a shopping spree. Last but not least, visit the Şerefiye Cistern after lunch, which was built by Roman Emperor Theodosius II.

Istanbul: Full-Day Guided Tour

Duration: 5 to 6 hour

239 reviews

2. A small group tour of Istanbul (from USD 107.0)

Enjoy this small group tour in your air-conditioned minivan, which will take you back to Constantinople’s history. Arrive at the neighborhood of Sarachane and explore the carved remains of St Polyeuktos church, learn how the monastery Church of Pantocrator was converted to a mosque. Pay a visit to Fethiye Mosque and admire the funerary chapel’s stunning array of Byzantine mosaics. Head to the Monastery Chapel of St. John the Forerunner, which is known to be Istanbul’s eldest standing church, before relishing delicacies at a local eatery. Stop by Chora Church next, to click pictures of distinguished mosaics and detailed frescoes. The trip ends with a walk through the kingly Tekfur Palace, featuring archways, courtyards, houses, dungeons, and huge gardens.

Constantinople Small-Group Tour of Istanbul with Lunch

Duration: 400 to 450 minutes

10 reviews

3. Small group tour of Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque (from USD 37.08)

day tours in istanbul | small group tour of hagia sophia and blue mosque

Discover the beautiful attractions in the Sultanahmet district along with Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in this morning tour. Board an air-conditioned vehicle which will take you to Sultan Ahmet Square. Explore the magnificent Hagia Sophia by skipping the long line (thanks to the tour) at the entrance, which was built under the orders of the Emperor Justinian I. This was built on the site of an earlier church, but later it was converted to a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. Head to the Blue Mosque where you can admire the minarets and the blue Iznik tiles.

Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque Small Group Tour

Duration: 5 hour

60 reviews

4. Full-day Princes Island tour with lunch (from USD 47.09)

day tours in istanbul | full-day princes island tour with lunch

Cruise across the Sea of Marmara on this nine-hour trip as you set out to explore Büyükada, which is the largest of Turkey’s Princes islands. Admire the stunning landmarks of Topkapi Palace, and the Kiz Kulesi which were filmed in the famous James Bond movie – The World is Not Enough, from the comfort of the boat. Stop by the island and take a leisurely stroll through the streets while learning about the history of Turkey’s Byzantine-Christian period from your guide. Explore the island’s late Ottoman-era architecture and feed the seagulls with simits, before heading for lunch in a seafood restaurant. Enjoy the rest of the day in your own way on the island.

From Istanbul: Full-Day Princes Island Tour with Lunch

Duration: 9 hour

68 reviews

5. Explore historic landmarks and local cultural hubs of Istanbul (from USD 67.0)

Gather around at Pudding Shop Lale Restaurant, to go on a full-day tour in order to discover the historic landmarks and cultural hubs of Istanbul. Explore the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the Theodosius Cistern - Serefiye Sarnici, the Nuru Osmaniye Mosque. Pass by the chaotic Grand Bazaar - Kapali Carsi, before stopping for Turkish coffee, pastry and hookah (tobacco pipe). Visit the Second Hand Book Bazaar of Sahaflar Carsisi, before taking a tour of the Istanbul University. Marvel at the beauty of the Suleymaniye Mosque and Cathedral Church of St George, but not before you pause to click pictures of the triangular spice piles at the Spice Bazaar. Lastly, snake your way through the districts of Balat and Fener, which were previously known to be Greek Orthodox and Jewish neighborhoods.

Historic Off the Beaten Path Tour of the Real Istanbul

Duration: 7 hours

10 reviews

6. Istanbul food walking tour of Kadikoy with breakfast (from USD 119.0)

This five-and-a-half-hour culinary walking tour is ideal for food lovers. You stroll across the streets of Kadıköy to discover Istanbul’s tastiest and most traditional foods. Pass by baklava shops and tea-houses, before relishing a heavy Kahvalti (Turkish breakfast), Menemen, Kaymak, and spicy sausage known as Sucuk. Ride a ferry across the Bosphorus to reach the buzzing food scene. Soak in the charm of the cobbled lanes, lively markets, and animated taverns as you absorb the atmosphere. Head to the bustling fish market, wander around the stalls and taste freshly grilled fish and juicy olives. Once done, enjoy your lunch at one of Kadıköy’s most popular restaurants - Çiya Sofrası. Here you get to taste regional Turkish staples like Güveç (meat and vegetable stew), Ezogelin (red lentil soup) and Katmer (flaky pastry stuffed with pistachios), along with a cup of rich, dark Turkish coffee.

Istanbul Food Small-Group Walking Tour of Kadikoy, Asian Side

Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes

5 reviews

7. Vialand theme park and shopping mall tour (from USD 75.0)

Adrenaline junkies and shopaholics will have a gala time in this eight-hour tour, where you will get to explore a famous theme park, visit the 30 different entertainment zones and splurge your cash on shopping and food at the Vialand Mall. Head to the very first theme-park in Istanbul – the magical Vialand, filled with thrilling and adrenaline-fueled rides. From the Breath Taker roller coaster to the high-velocity Drop Tower to the Safari Tunnel, there is something for every age group. The high-end Aqua Florya Shopping Mall is also stationed here in Vialand. Shop till you drop and enjoy your day to the fullest!

Vialand (Istanbul) Theme Park and Shopping Mall Tour

Duration: 8 Hrs Duration

2 reviews

8. Private guided tour of Istanbul (from USD 114.77)

private guided tour of istanbul

A private-guided trip always gives you the benefit to choose the spots you would like to visit at your own pace. Pre-arrange your trip and meet your personal guide at the hotel lobby to get a brief introduction about the places before the commencement of the journey. Explore the museums, local markets, and restaurants and learn interesting anecdotes from your guide. Stop to pose and click Instagram-worthy pictures at leisure without the hassle of waiting for other people or feeling rushed. Discover Istanbul on a walking tour, or you can also use the public tram and subway metro at your own convenience.

Istanbul: Private Guided Tour

Duration: 8 hour

23 reviews

9. Byzantine and Ottoman relics tour (from USD 83.0)

Enjoy a perfect sightseeing tour of Istanbul by immersing yourself to the wonderful history and culture of this enigmatic city. Take a short ride in an air-conditioned vehicle before stopping at the Blue Mosque, where you can admire the blue tiles of the interior, the six towering minarets, and 260 windows, as well as the stunning architecture. If you want a picture-perfect view of this mosque, head to the Hippodrome, which was an ancient stadium during the Byzantine era. The next stop is the Grand Bazaar, where you can explore the jewelry, pottery, and leather goods markets if you want to buy souvenirs for friends and family back home. After a yummy lunch at an authentic Turkish restaurant, learn about fascinating facts about the famous sites that were preserved from the Byzantine and Ottoman Relics. Apart from that pay a visit to the Topkapi Palace, the Tombs of the Sultans in Hagia Sofia, and cross the Galata Bridge to reach the Golden Horn.

Byzantine and Ottoman Relics Full Day Tour

Duration: 7 Hrs Duration

17 reviews

10. Jewish heritage tour of Istanbul (from USD 136.0)

Enjoy a half-day tour as you visit the Jewish District of Istanbul, where you can learn about the lives of Jewish people living here in peace for over 500 years after they were deported from Spain. Visit the century-old Jewish neighborhood of Galata, where you can see the iconic tower built by the Genoese. After this, drop by the Ashkenaz Synagogue, the only active synagogue of its kind, and where you can learn about the Austrian Jews, who built the structure for the Ashkenazi Jewish sect. Also, you should explore the Zülfaris Jewish Museum of the Quincentennial Foundation and the “Oldies House” at Hasköy. Tourists are then taken to the Jewish Cemetery and the Ortaköy, which was the first point of arrival for the Sephardic Jews. Lastly, end this beautiful trip with a visit to the Etz Ahayim Synagogue in Ortaköy.

Private Tour: Istanbul's Jewish Heritage

Duration: 4 hours

10 reviews

11. Experience Turkey at its best in a 6-day cross country tour (from USD 810.0)

Those with a life-long dream of seeing the beautiful country of Turkey can check out this amazing 6-day Turkey Viator tour. For just USD 810.82, travelers who book this travel tour will get to witness 10,000 years of history and see how Persians, Greeks, and the Roman Empire made an impact on Mediterranean culture. Sites that will be featured on this tour include Istanbul, Ephesus, and Pamukkale to name a few scenic spots.

They will also be going on a cruise between Bosphorus and Izmir, and leave from Istanbul. Inclusions of the trip are breakfast for five days, lunch for three days, air-conditioned vehicles, arrival, and departure transfers, as well as necessary fees and taxes for the whole of the trip. Experience real Turkish delight in just six beautiful days in the Mediterranean.

6 Days Istanbul & Aegean Turkey Tour

Duration: 6 days

12. Sail through the Mediterranean waters on an Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise (from USD 41.44)

sail through the mediterranean waters on an istanbul bosphorus cruise

Take your significant other on board and enjoy sailing through the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean on an Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise. Experience entertainment and a scrumptious meal while seeing the most iconic parts of Turkey for five hours. Pick-up and drop-off arrangements, three-course dinner, unlimited drinks, a belly dancing show, henna ceremony, and folk dances are some of the amazing perks of this tour. Spend some quality time with your loved ones in this beautiful Turkish sailing experience for just USD 31.38 on GetYourGuide.

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise with Dinner and Entertainment

Duration: 4 hour

292 reviews

Soak in the immanent charm of Istanbul

Brimming with history, art, culinary heritage, and vibrant local life, the Turkish city of Istanbul is perfect for a wonderful getaway. With an unending list of famous attractions such as the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarniçi), Dolmabahçe Palace, and Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (Türk ve Islam Eserleri Müzesi), Istanbul beckons travelers to absorb its rich history and charm.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Anupama Passary has written for several online publications and loves all things tech and travel related. She is a self-confessed chocoholic, stargazer and dreamer who loves to pen down poems.

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