ISTANBUL ON TWO CONTINENTS (4 days/3 nights, by Orion Tour)
Istanbul: Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Sancta Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus Cruise, Süleymaniye Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and free time orioto explore the city on your own
ORION TOUR has devised the ideal tour for the traveler who wishes to experience the exotic flavor and history of majestic Istanbul within the time span of one weekend. A complete journey through the senses of sight and sound, taste and smell as you discover the old Istanbul of cobbled streets, glittering palaces and ancient monuments; married to a modern Istanbul of delicious restaurants, bustling bazaars and friendly people.
Day 1 – Welcome to Istanbul!
We meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to gather priceless first impressions of the imperial city as you like.
Day 2 – Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Sancta Sophia, Topkapi Palace
Following breakfast, we drive to the ‘Old City’ where we visit the Byzantine Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, famous for its delicate blue ceramic tiles, and Sancta Sophia. This church – turned mosque – turned museum takes the breath away with the sheer architectural size of its interior and magnificent dome and next we will visit the spectacular Topkapi Palace. Built on one of the seven hills of Istanbul, this huge complex commands views of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It was the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire for many centuries (1453-1852) and we will see the extravagant Treasury, the priceless Chinese porcelain. (BL)
Day 3 – Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus Cruise, Mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent, Grand Bazaar
Our morning starts with a visit to the aromatic Spice Bazaar, where the smells of cinnamon, cloves and thyme, rise from hundreds of colorful muslin bags at every store-front. We then board our ferryboat for a relaxing cruise along the shores of the legendary Bosphorus, the natural gateway that divides Asia and Europe. As you sit back and enjoy Turkish coffee or well-brewed tea from traditional small cups, numerous summer palaces and palatial homes will pass by on either side. Disembarking at the northern end of the Strait, we proceed to a restaurant for a tasty meal of local fish. Following lunch we will travel by coach to the Suleymaniye Mosque, built by master architect Sinan during the reign of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, the Lawgiver. The last stop will be Grand Bazaar which is a most attractive shopping center and the biggest “souk” in the world with nearly 4000 shops of antiques, jewelry, gold, carpets and leather apparel. (BL)
Day 4 – Departure
We escort you to the airport for your onward or homeward flight. (B)
(Tour code: ORNDTIC2)