Classical Constantinople

Turkey

Culture | Silk Road

Discover the exotic charms of this eternal city

Dates & Prices

Intro


"If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul."
- Alphonse de Lamartine

Call it Constantinople, Istanbul or Byzantium. Whatever way, discover the ancient history and traditions of this proud city that for thousands of years has straddled the East-West divide. Marvel at the stunning Blue Mosque and the incredible Hagha Sophia. Take time to learn about life under the Ottoman sultans rule in Topkapi Palace, and join the hustle and bustle in the world`s ultimate market, the Grand Bazaar. Don`t forget to reward your palate with wonderful kebabs, hummus, olives and much more.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Admire the stunning Blue Mosque
  • Learn about life in Ottoman times in Topkapi Palace
  • Appreciate the genius in the design of Hagha Sophia
  • Experience the Grand Bazaar, the most colourful of markets
  • Enjoy world class cuisine in this foodie heaven

Places Visited

Istanbul

What's Included

International return flight (where indicated)
Airport pick-up & drop-off
Accommodation and breakfasts
Entrance fees to sites
90 minute boat ride on the Bosphorus
English-speaking guide
Itinerary
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Day 1 : Istanbul

Arrival & transfer to hotel. Rest of the day free to explore. Overnight in hotel in Istanbul.

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 2 : Istanbul

Full day walking tour of Sultan Ahmet. Return back to the hotel. Evening free. Overnight in hotel in Istanbul. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The tour will start with Sultan Ahmed Square and the Hippodrome. You will visit Sultan Ahmet Mosque, also known as “the Blue Mosque” famous for its striking blue Iznik tiles and 6 minarets. On the opposite side of the Sultan Ahmet Square you will visit Hagha Sophia; once the grandest church of its era and a work of engineering genius, Hagha Sophia also has one of the most highly regarded mosaics of Christ and the Mother Mary. After Hagha Sophia, you will visit Topkapi Palace, home to the Ottoman Sultans for hundreds of years. With its extensive collection of Ottoman artefacts and an incredible jewellery collection you will get an insight into the lives of the Ottoman sultans. The Palace also commands an outstanding location overlooking the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn so that you can look across to Asia. After visiting Topkapi Palace you will be taken to Grand Bazaar to see one of the oldest and most colourful souks of our time.

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Day 3 : Istanbul

Full day sightseeing tour of Istanbul starting with the Spice Market and Rustem Pasha Mosque, followed by a 90 minute boat ride in the famous Bosphorous river. Have a lunch in Ortakoy Village on the banks of the Bosphorous. After lunch visit the stunning Dolmabahce Palace. Evening is free to explore further or simply relax. Overnight in Istanbul.

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 4 : Istanbul

Morning free. Transfer back to the airport.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Arena Hotel

Ideally located in Sultanahmet, a listed World Heritage site considered one of the world’s greatest open air museums, the Arena Hotel is the perfect base for exploring the rich history of Istanbul. The Arena hotel offers all modern facilities including a welcoming spa and free wireless connection in all rooms.

Visit hotel's site
Extensions

Istanbul Extensions (5 days)

Extend your trip from Istanbul

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Archaeology of Western Turkey (11 days)

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Silk Road through Turkey (17 days)

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The Magic of Cappadocia (4 days)

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Eastern Turkey Snapshot (10 days)

A glimpse of Turkey's hidden charms

Eastern Turkey Explorer (14 days)

Discover Turkey's most hidden secrets

Classical Constantinople (4 days)

Discover the exotic charms of this eternal city

Classical Turkey (10 days)

Journey through Turkey's iconic sites

Reviews

Charming people organising the trip and acting as guides. An inspirational visit taking us to out of the way places we would never have had the chance to visit. The personal touch Travel the Unknown brings sets them apart.

Caroline & Peter , Eastern Turkey Snapshot, Turkey

A great way to travel to some of the more remote and interesting places in the world. It was a very interesting area and we saw a lot that we would never have managed on our own. I would recommend the holiday to others.

Marion McCallum , Eastern Turkey Snapshot, Turkey

This trip was an amazing and very exhilarating experience. We had high hopes of Gobekli Tepe, which were totally fulfilled- it is utterly amazing, but we had not anticipated some of the other gems to be so exceptional as well. We were a small group, which made the trip very personal. Altogether it was a marvellous week, helped by having a caring guide and an excellent driver.

Joy Lawley , Eastern Turkey Snapshot, Turkey

Arda, our local guide was absolutely the best. Always a smile, always running (literally) to fulfill every request, treating every member as his personal responsibility, and going way way above and beyond to assist and accommodate. He is a so remarkably knowledgeable, and seemingly found no question beyond his ability to answer & explain. And his English is impeccable. KEEP HIM!!! Very special individual. Andrew is an incredible guide, with such a wealth of information and passion for his subjects. He never tired and made the trip fascinating and exciting due to the perspectives and explanations he shared continuously based upon years of research. Felt very fortunate to be in his presence for 2 weeks in such places that we were able to visit. Same for Hugh. And Hugh`s constant humour was delightful. These two balance each other well, and make a great team

Peggy Roberts , Tailormade Turkey

This was a very exciting itinerary including fantastic historic and prehistoric site visits, as well as visits to wonderful towns, restaurants and markets. The attentiveness of the guide ensured that everything went smoothly, even in very out-of-the way places. It was possible to fall in love with the drama of the landscape, the character of the architecture, the colour, sights and sounds of the towns, the friendliness and honesty of the people - and I did!

Jane Neild , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey

We greatly enjoyed visiting the ancient sites of Western Turkey with an experienced guide and seeing the remains of so many different periods and cultures. The scenery was spectacular and we felt that the tour gave us a wonderful introduction to the country.

Michael Wilson , Archaeology of Western Turkey, Turkey

I had a lovely time in Turkey. Both of the tours that were part of the package were fabulous, both tour guides were very knowledgeable and made the trips very interesting providing plenty of information, and the places where we went for lunches as part of the trip were superb. David McGuinness is a credit to Travel the Unknown, he goes that `extra mile` to keep customer happy. I`d like to say a huge `thank you` for all the help you gave me organising and planning my trip. I certainly will recommend anyone to use you for planning their `unknown` destination holiday. The emails, telephone calls were all spot on, well done :-) :-)

Jane Kimberley , The Magic of Cappadocia, Turkey

We covered many miles and saw some fantastic sites and sights. The special access that our tour leader provided really enhanced the experience for me - I`ll certainly never forget tracking down an inscription in Van with his help - and to see Gobekli Tepe and Nemrut Dag on the same day was marvelous. At the end of the trip, the Zeugma Mosaic Museum was a wonderful surprise - the best mosaics I`ve ever seen, in a truly world-class setting.

Jim Cleary , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey

Travel the Unknown provide good friendly advice and information before travel. They are very approachable and helpful. The accommodation is of a high standard as are the meals. Local guides are knowledgeable and anxious to ensure that travellers have a good and rounded experience.

Anthony Twohig , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey

I would not hesitate in using Travel the Unknown for any future journeys to off the beaten track destinations.

Andrea Selfridge , Tailormade Turkey

I went on this trip rather than all the other interesting possibilities in the world because I wanted to go to Gobekli Tepe. Being there was all I could have hoped for. It was a stunning experience and I was moved to tears. Thank you so much for the opportunity. Regarding the food, the olives were the best I`ve ever tasted. And the yoghurt is fabulous. Also the cheese and pistachios and apricots. Oh yes, and the watermelon : ) Thanks to David too for being so patient with my endless questions

Cynthia Bishop , Eastern Turkey Explorer, Turkey
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