After breakfast, meet your professional guide at the lobby for your private full day sightseeing. A scenic drive will take you across the Galata Bridge into the heart of Istanbul, where the historic area of Istanbul is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Byzantine Hippodrome, one of the largest chariot race grounds of the Byzantine Empire. See the Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, and Constantine Column then on to the Blue Mosque, with its six elegant minarets and exceptional Iznik tile work inside. Next, visit one of the greatest buildings in the world: St Sophia Mosque, built in AD 537 and remained the greatest church in Christendom until 1453. Visit the Underground Cistern measuring roughly 210 feet wide and 420 feet long, with a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters of water. The 336 beautiful columns that support the cistern were salvaged from pagan temples destroyed during the Roman Empire’s conversion to Christianity. Have lunch on your own at Seasons Restaurant located at the Four Seasons Sultanahmet Hotel. Enter the magnificent Topkapi Palace Museum, located on the promontory between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Steps away, visit the Harem section which offers a revealing look into how the sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived in private. At the end of the day, return to the hotel. Dinner is suggested at Mikla Restaurant (in walking distance).
Includes breakfast and overnight at Pera Palace Hotel)
Please note: Modest attire is required; when visiting the Ayasofya 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. There is ongoing restoration of the Topkapi Palace, which may result in some exhibits being closed. There are approximately 50 steps to negotiate at the entrance to the underground cistern and a further 50 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.