Following disembarkation, meet your guide at the port and depart to the old city for a full day of sightseeing starting with a scenic drive across the Galata Bridge into the heart of Istanbul, where the historic area of Istanbul is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the newly restored Serefiye Cistern, one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Visit the Byzantine Hippodrome, one of the largest chariot race grounds of the Byzantine Empire. See the Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, and Constantine Column. View the Blue Mosque, with its six elegant minarets and exceptional Iznik tile work inside. Visit one of the greatest buildings in the world: St. Sophia Mosque, built in AD 537, the greatest church in Christendom until 1453. Lunch is on your own possibly at recommended Konyali Restaurant. Following lunch enter the magnificent Topkapi Palace Museum, located on the promontory between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Steps away, visit the Harem Section offering a revealing look into how the sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived in private. At the end of the day, you will be transferred to the hotel. Dinner is suggested at Mikla Restaurant (in walking distance).
( Includes overnight at Pera Palace Hotel )
Please note: Modest attire is required; when visiting St. Sophia Mosque, knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered and women must cover their head with a scarf, provided at the Mosque. Shoes must be removed and shoe bags will be provided for the visit. There is ongoing restoration of the Topkapi Palace, which may result in some exhibits being closed. There are approximately 25 steps to negotiate at the entrance to the Serefiye Cistern and a further 25 steps to exit. Professional photography and flash are not allowed. All tours in the old town require considerable walking, as it is closed to traffic.