Turkey: Istanbul: Straddling Two Worlds
Strategically situated between Europe and Asia, Istanbul’s appeal also lies in its dual soul.
You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel, which is stunningly located on the waterfront in the old part of the city. Based on your arrival time, check in, and your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby, ready to introduce you to one of the world’s most exotic and exciting cities.
Begin your exploration of Istanbul in the old city where its most famous monuments are located. The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Underground Cistern, and the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts will steep you in a cultural world of graceful architecture, elaborate decoration, and deep faith. Lunch locally and, in the afternoon, cross the Bosphorus to the Asian shore where you will walk in leafy waterfront neighborhoods. End your full day at Beylerbeyi Palace, a magnificent 19th century imperial palace with opulent interiors.
We will provide you with dining suggestions that range from hip and trendy restaurants and bars to simple fish spots frequented by the locals.
Start the day once again with your guide in the old city at Topkapi Palace, the home to the Sultans and harems for 400 years and a fine example of Ottoman architecture. Wander the pavilions, courtyards and gardens and see treasures from the Sultans’ collections that include dazzling jewelry, the crown jewel being the 86-carat Spoonmaker Diamond. In the afternoon, drive along the European shore of the Bosphorus, through residential neighborhoods that, not so long ago, were Istanbul’s summer getaways. Stop in Emirgan at the Sebanci Museum, which is located in a lovely mansion of the 1920’s and houses an important private collection of Ottoman calligraphy and arts.
Dine at one of our suggested restaurants this evening.
Your guide will meet you this morning in the hotel lobby to take you to the Grand Bazaar, a city in miniature with its own mosques, courtyards and fountains. This legendary covered market consists of a labyrinth of passages framed by vendors selling everything from clothes to gold to food. There are over 3,000 shops here, providing one of the most fascinating spectacles in the whole city. Visit the spice market and stop at the tiny Rustem Pasa mosque nearby, gloriously clad in Iznik tulip tiles.
Leave the old city for the famous pedestrian way, Istiklal Street, and its shops, cafes and historical memories. Visit Pera Museum, another private museum with a wonderful collection of Orientalist paintings of Istanbul. End your day with your guide on a cruise on the Bosphorus aboard the ferry.
Private transfer to the airport.
This is just the beginning.
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