Istanbul Special
(6 Days / 5 Nights)



2 Travelers
4 Travelers
6 Travelers
10 Travelers

Prices are per person, in USD, and are based on double occupancy for 5 nights
A 10% discount  applies to the following period: November 15 - March 15
Single room supplement: +$300


Day 1: Arrival at Istanbul  Ataturk International Airport
Arrive at Ataturk International Airport and enjoy an included transfer to your centrally-located hotel. Travel along the ancient city fortification walls and learn a bit about this exciting city along the way. Depending on your arrival schedule, your guide may take you for a short walking tour according to your hotel’s location (see following):

Hotel location choice #1: Pera/Beyoglu
We will walk along Istiklal Street, a fabled pedestrian promenade for the last 100+ years, from Taksim to the Galatasaray Gate. Some of the noteworthy places you’ll see: the French and Greek Consulates, Christian churches, the Flower Passage, and the Produce and  Fish Market. On the way, we will stop to taste local “street food” while your guide  points out some restaurants  you may enjoy for dinner later.

Hotel location choice #2: Sultanahmet
Some noteworthy places we’ll see in this neighborhood include: the Little Hagia Sophia (formerly the Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus), Sokullu Mehmet Pasa Mosque, and the outdoor Hippodrome. While walking, we will stop to taste local “street food” and your guide will point out some restaurants that you may consider enjoying for dinner.

Day 2: Istanbul
We begin our morning with an extensive tour of Topkapi Palace, former residence of the Ottoman sultans. Later, we stop at Sirkeci Railway Station (terminus of the Orient Express), before visiting the Spice Market, a wonderful place to buy edible gifts such as nuts, coffee, teas and Turkish Delight. After some free time for lunch, we enjoy a an hour-long Bosphorus cruise along the shores of the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, disembarking at Uskudar, on the Asian side of the Strait. We will visit the produce and fish market and view the Mimar Sinan-designed Mihrimah Sultan Mosque as well as the Maiden’s Tower in Salacak. Return to your hotel with a ferry ride of twenty minutes, crossing the Bosphorus from Uskudar to Kabatas. (B)

Day 3: Istanbul
This morning, we visit more iconic sites in Istanbul, including the Byzantine-era Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern. In the afternoon, we”ll visit the Grand Bazaar, and then drive to the Galatasaray district and walk on to the Pera district. Notable buildings along the way include: several consulates, St. Antoine's Catholic Church, the Galata Whirling Dervish Hall, the Tunel district, Neve Shalom Synagogue and the Galata Tower, where you’ll delight in a bird’s eye view of Beyoglu, the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the historic peninsula. We end our walk at the Pera Palace Hotel and have a short drive back to the hotel. However, if you wish, you may stay here and dine on your own at any of the nearby local restaurants such as: Kivahan or Guney (Turkish/Ottoman cuisine), Fureyya (small fish restaurant) or the Pera Palace Hotel’s own Agatha Restaurant. (B) 

Day 4 & 5: Istanbul
Have two full days to spend at leisure enjoying Istanbul; you may also opt to take one of our custom optional tours, which include visits to some of the places of interest mentioned below. (B daily)

Day 6: Istanbul - Homebound departure
Transfer to Istanbul Ataturk Airport for your homeward flight. (B) 

Here are some more special ideas that we can suggest.  You can, of course, visit on your own, or, if you like, we can organize an optional tour on one or more of your free days to:

See / Visit:

  • The Prince Islands / Buyukada
  • The Turkish & Islamic Art Museum – Sultanahmet
  • The peaceful Garden of the Green House (Yesil Ev) Hotel for tea time - Sultanahmet
  • The Chora Church (Museum of St. Savior)
  • Cross the Galata Bridge, on foot, to watch the fisherman and check out the lively restaurant scene 
  • Istiklal Street
  • Istanbul Modern - Tophane
  • Ottoman-era homes and antique stores - Cukurcuma
  • The Jewish Museum and Zulfaris Synagogue - Karakoy
  • The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
  • The seafront promenade and neighborhood of Ortakoy 
  • Rahmi Koc Museum - great for families

Or why not try one of these quintessentially Turkish activities?

  • An authentic Turkish bath (hamam) for the ultimate in pampering
  • Shopping/haggling in the Spice Market and in the Grand Bazaar
  • A ride on the royal Ottoman rowboat (kayik) - on the Golden Horn 

Or you can take in…

  • A mesmerizing Whirling Dervish sema ceremony
  • A musical performance of the Ottoman Janissary Band at the Military Museum 
  • Authentic handicraft lessons like water-marbling painting (ebru), calligraphy (hat), embroidery and tile painting in the studios at the historic Caferaga Medresesi

Or explore Turkish culinary traditions at:

  • With a traditional Turkish lunch with a hands-on lesson  in a private home 
  • Aegean and Anatolian Turkish cuisine  at Nar Restaurant(near the Grand Bazaar)
  • Kebabs and lahmacun (Turkish pizza) at Seyhmuz Restaurant (near the Grand Bazaar)
  • Seafood at Giritli Restaurant or Balikci Sabahattin - in Ahirkapi (near Sultanahmet)
  • Turkish desserts at Saray Muhallebicisi - in Eminonu (near the Spice Market)
  • Kebabs at Akcanlar Restaurant (near Taksim Square)
  • Traditional home cooking at Haci Abdullah Restaurant (Istiklal Street)
  • Imroz Restaurant – (Istiklal Street)
  • Sevic Restaurant -  in the Cicek Pasaji (Flower Passage) – (Istiklal Street)
  • Maras-style ice cream or sahlep (a hot, rich winter drink) at Mado – (Istiklal Street)
  • Ciya Restaurant near the fish and produce market – serves regional Turkish cuisine - in Kadikoy (Asian side of the Bosphorus)
  • Kanaat Restaurant for traditional homestyle cooking – in Uskudar (Asian side)

Price of the package includes:

  • Accommodation: 
    5 nights in Istanbul: Hotel Ottoman Imperial (in the historic Sultanahmet district) - Standard Room
  • Meals as indicated by (B, L, D) - B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner 
    5 meals: 5 breakfasts
  • Private, licensed, professional English-speaking guide throughout
  • All transfers and travel in a non-smoking, modern, air-conditioned vehicle with a driver
  • All entrance fees to the sites and museums mentioned in the program
  • Parking, ferry, and toll road fees

Price of the package excludes:

  • Airfare
  • Optional gratuities to tour guide(s), driver(s)
  • Tipping for porters at hotels
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas, laundry, and personal items

If you have less time, this program can be reduced to 3 or 4 nights.Please ask us!