Classical Istanbul Tour

Private Guided Istanbul Old City Tour

Classical Istanbul Tour

On your first visit to Istanbul, you should really spare some time to join a private old city tour in the historical center of the Old Istanbul, the Sultanahmet district, where most of the Ottoman and Byzantine heritage remains.

The Sultanahmet district is the heart of the historical areas of Istanbul, where a synthesis of multiple cultural and religious influences of centuries is situated.

It is also a very good starting point for general sightseeing activities, since many other major attractions are within a 5-minute walking distance from here. It may just be the most efficient way to see all the highlights of Old City in one day.

As your private Istanbul tour guide, I will pick you up from your hotel.

Istanbul Classics - Private Guided Istanbul Tour

Guided tour of the Hippodrome in Istanbul

Hippodrom Egyptian Obelisk Hippodrom - Egyptian Obelisk

The first step on our private walking tour in old city is Hippodrome. The ancient horse-racing track from the Byzantine Empire, is now the Sultanahmet Square with only a few monuments of the original race-track. During the Byzantine era the Hippodrom was the centre of civil activities. Not only chariot races and gladiator fights, but also celebrations in honour of the emperor took place here. Monuments such as the Serpent Column, Egyptian Obelisk and the Constantine Column are located in this main square.

Guided tour of the Blue Mosque Istanbul

Blue Mosque Istanbul Blue Mosque

After visiting the Hippodrome, we walk for just 5 minutes to the Blue Mosque. One of the most beautiful and grand mosques in Istanbul, the Sultanahmet Mosque rises to the east of the Hippodrome, opposite Hagia Sophia. It was founded by Sultan Ahmet I in the early 17th century and is also known as the Blue Mosque because of its blue-green tiles.

Private guided tour of Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia Istanbul Hagia Sophia

A short walk (5 minutes) from the Blue Mosque takes us to Hagia Sophia, the largest cathedral in Byzantium. It was the center of the Eastern Christian Church in its time and was dedicated to Hagia Sophia or Holy Wisdom. After the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in the 15th century, it served as a mosque for nearly 500 years.

Istanbul Basilica Cistern: Private Tour

Basilica Cistern Istanbul Basilica Cistern - Istanbul

After Hagia Sophia, we visit the Basilica Cistern (Cisterna Basilica), an enormous underground water reservoir that was designed to serve the Great Palace of Constantinople and its surrounding buildings. It is the largest surviving Byzantine cistern in the city and includes 336 columns. Even James Bond was once rowing through the darkness of this underground cistern.

Topkapi Palace private guided tour with skip-the-line tickets

Topkapi Palace private guided tour Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace, the great palace of the Ottoman Sultans, is the most extensive and fascinating monument of Ottoman architecture in existence. The palace you see today has served as the residence of the sultan and the administrative seat of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years. In addition to its historical interest, it contains, as a museum, collections of porcelains, armor, fabrics, jewels, manuscripts, and calligraphy.

Guided tour of Grand Bazaar

Guided tour of Grand Bazaar Grand Bazaar

The final stop on our walking tour is the Grand Bazaar, one of the world's most picturesque and enchanting bazaars. This fantastic Covered Market has played a significant role in the commercial life of Istanbul for centuries. The Grand Bazaar was established in the 15th century. Today, the domed building surrounded by a wall occupies an area of 200,000 square meters. Approximately 4000 stores spread out in a giant labyrinth of small streets and passages.

After visiting the Grand Bazaar, we will finish our tour and I will drop you back to your hotel.

Please feel free to contact me.

Please check out my other private guided Istanbul tours below.