Days
4
Price from
FR620CHF

Tour the Grand Bazaar, witness Whirling Dervishes and cruise the Bosphorus on this 4-day tour dedicated to exploring Turkey's most entrancing city

Uncover the multi-layered city of Istanbul; the continent-straddling metropolis that so many civilisations have called home over the past nine thousand years. Get an intimate and local feel for the city with an expert guide, surrounded by the remains of great fallen empires. In the streets and laneways between the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, a cosmopolitan modern world thrives. Mix with Istanbulites at the Grand Bazaar that lies at the end of the historic Silk Road. Discover the Ottoman architecture of the city’s mosques and cruise along the Bosphorus taking in the sights to the Black Sea. Istanbul is a city that takes the best of the East and West and infuses it with its own unique character. Discover it on this illumining independent experience.


Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Country
Turkey
Style
Independent Experiences
Theme
Independent Experiences
Code
PEIEX
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 3

Why we love this trip

  • Be mesmerised by the hypnotic rituals of the devout Whirling Dervishes

  • In an ancient han, watch artisans perfect the skills passed down over the centuries

  • Explore the Grand Bazaar, a web of vaulted passages packed with thousands of stalls

  • Soak up the sight of the magnificent Suleymaniye Mosque as the whole city stretches beneath

  • Cruise between continents on trip up the Bosphorus to the Black Sea

Is this trip right for you?

  • Turkey can get hot in the summer months of July and August but this is normally a dry heat and easier to cope with than humidity, while the heat also makes for pleasant evenings.

  • Be sure to pack walking shoes, a hat and some sunscreen to enjoy the sites of Istanbul in comfort.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to Istanbul, Turkey! If you arrive at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport (IST), you will be met and transferred to your starting hotel. If you arrive at Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) airport please make your own way to the hotel (unless you have booked a transfer). Today is an arrival day and you are free to arrive at the joining point hotel at any time before 6pm. Please ask for your welcome note when checking in and be available in the hotel lobby at 6pm for your evening experience. Until then, head out and get your first taste of this continent-straddling metropolis that so many civilisations have called home. In the streets and laneways, discover the cosmopolitan modern world that thrives between the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. This evening you will experience a unique traditional ritual that has been proclaimed as Intangible Cultural Heritage, or Human Treasures, by UNESCO. You will visit the Hodjapasha Cultural Centre and witness a performance of the Sema, the ceremony of the Whirling Dervish. The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony represents the mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to perfection. The ceremony involves poetry, Turkish classical music, chanting of the Koran and precise twirling that seeks to summon the divine. Dating back over 700 years, it forms an important part of the heritage of Turkish culture. After the ceremony, take the opportunity to try your first taste of local Turkish cuisine.
Accommodation
  • Golden Horn Hotel - Sirkeci or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Sema Whirling Dervish Performance at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Meet your local guide early this morning to journey in the footsteps of the city’s most famous ruler and conquer Istanbul in just a day. Head to Sultanahmet (the Old City, formerly Constantinople), where ancient empires based themselves and historical sites intertwine with backstreets filled with hidden gems. Here you’ll visit the jaw-dropping giant church/mosque/museum of the Hagia Sofia, whose stunning construction is said to have changed the history of architecture. Don’t miss the excellent mosaics found inside. Gaze upon the beauty of the cascading domes of the Blue Mosque, so called for the blue tiles found on its interior walls, and maybe gain a deeper insight into Islam from your guide. When not erecting splendid buildings the Byzantine Emperors loved a bit of entertainment, and the hippodrome was their stadium. Inspect some of the decorative statues and obelisks that remain from a time when this now tree-lined land would hold thousands of chariot racing fans. Eat a tasty Turkish lunch with locals at a hidden café, and then listen to stories of how generations of sultans lived at the grand Topkapi Palace. The palace consists of four courts, each more lavishly decorated than the last, and the fourth has spectacular views across the Bosphorus Strait. Next, head to the edges of the Grand Bazaar, perhaps peering in to an ancient han – former inns transformed into shops dedicated to a merchant’s particular craft. Finish it all off with a backstreet tour and some good-natured haggling with local artisans in the Grand Bazaar, packed with over 3,000 stalls of handcrafted jewellery, textiles and books. This evening is free for you to explore more or just sit at a cafe and take in the unique atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Golden Horn Hotel - Sirkeci or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace
  • Istanbul - Hagia Sophia
Optional Activities
  • Istanbul - Night Tasting Trail Urban Adventure - EUR75
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning you will leave the hotel at 9am, joining other travellers to sail between Asia and Europe on a full day cruise down the Bosphorus and in to the Black Sea. Disembark first at Ortakoy, a chic, arty neighbourhood on the European side. Explore the narrow streets of trendy boutiques and take in the view of the Neo-Baroque style mosque. Continue on to Kucuksu Palace, an elaborately decorated Ottoman imperial hunting lodge on the Asian side, before stopping at the impressive Rumeli Hisari Fortress – constructed by Mehmet the Conqueror – for panoramic pictures at the narrowest point of the passage. After a traditional Turkish lunch on-board, continue to the very northern end of the Bosphorus Strait, at the mouth of the Black Sea. Stop at a hidden cove and take a swim or just enjoy the sunshine. End the cruise at the picturesque fishing village of Anadolu Kavagi, with time to stroll the streets or climb the hill to a nearby fort. Return to the port of Kabatas, when you will be dropped back at your hotel. This evening, maybe end your time in Istanbul in ultimate relaxation at a traditional Turkish hamam.
Accommodation
  • Golden Horn Hotel - Sirkeci or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Full Day Bosphorus & Black Sea Cruise Icl. Lunch and Swimming
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Your independent Istanbul exploration comes to an end after breakfast. Perhaps choose to extend your stay and take your haggling skills back into the Great Bazaar.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

3 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Transport

Local Transport, private transfers

Accommodation

Comfortable Hotel (3 nights)

Included Activities

  • Istanbul - Sema Whirling Dervish Performance at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace
  • Istanbul - Hagia Sophia
  • Full Day Bosphorus & Black Sea Cruise Icl. Lunch and Swimming

Dates & availability

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Important notes

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

Independent Experiences
Independent travel, without the stress. Peregrine’s Independent Experiences are a range of short ‘mini tours’ that you can add to other Experiences or as an extension to a longer tour, to craft your perfect holiday itinerary. Independent Experiences are for 1-3 travellers, come accompanied by a local Peregrine guide and depart daily

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.