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Approximately 11.6 million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2012, two years after it was named a European Capital of Culture, making the city the world’s fifth-most-popular tourist destination.
Hotels – Istanbul International Airport
3 Hours Before Flight Time
In Istanbul you will have to be generous with time since it has so much to show. The old palaces, the great mosques with soaring minarets, ancient churches, museums, bazaars, and others sights are definitely worth seeing.
Transfer from airport or Hotel and start your day by visiting the magnificent Haghia Sophia, and then continue to the marvelous Topkapi palace, which served as the palace of the Ottoman Sultans between the 16th and 19th centuries. Optional visits: to the Treasury, where the extensive exhibits include priceless world-class collections of jewelry, porcelain, textiles and costumes of the Sultans, as well as to the Harem quarters, which is an absolute highlight. Have lunch in one of the special traditional restaurants in Topkapi. Then we continue to visit the famous Blue Mosque, the Byzantine Hippodrome and the incredible Underground Cistern. Check-in or return to your hotel. Overnight Istanbul (L)
Today, we get aboard a ferryboat for a cruise up the strait of Bosphorus, passing half a dozen Ottoman imperial palaces, traditional Yalis (waterside villas) and shore villages. Disembark at Sariyer for lunch. Then drive south, accompanied by your escorting guide you explore the Grand Bazaar (Kapalıcarsi), the world’s oldest “shopping mall“, to look for treasures in its 4000 shops and then dive into the colorful sights, vibrant sounds and intriguing scents of the Egyptian Market (Spice Bazaar). Return to your hotel. Overnight Istanbul (B, L)
Free morning for last minute shopping; time permits, before transfer to Istanbul airport for departure to ongoing destinations. (B)
*Important: If the Flight schedule in allowing time the DAY3 itinerary will be as the one below!
Morning Visit the Chora Museum housing masterpieces of Byzantine Art and some of the most magnificent mosaics ever seen before enjoying the Suleymaniye Camii (mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent) considered one of the finest achievements of Ottoman architecture Built in 1550 by the renowned architect Mimar Sinan (who served as court architect to three sultans). The Palace of Ibrahim Pasha is our last stop, now housing the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, which gives a true glimpse into the opulent life of the Ottoman upper class in the time of Suleyman the magnificent. (B)