Experience all the wonders of both ancient and modern Istanbul on a Big Bus Tour. With fantastic views from the top of an open-air double-decker bus, you will have an opportunity to marvel at the majesty of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, drink in the atmosphere of the Old Town and Egyptian Spice Bazaar; explore Taksim and the waterside. Prepare to be stunned as Big Bus takes you literally from one continent to another across the Bosphorus Bridge, high above the water with surrounding views in all directions. With 17 hop-on, hop-off stops, you will be able to discover the delights of this enchanting city at your leisure. Your tour ticket is valid for the entire day and includes a choice of two exciting routes and a complimentary map. Your personal recorded commentary explains the history and culture of this beautiful city and is available in 8 languages.
Red Tour – The Red Tour City Loop begins in Sultanahmet Square, home to some of Istanbul’s most treasured highlights including Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Basilica Cistern. Your next stop is Galata Bridge, departure point for several River Cruises and a short walk to the New Mosque and Egyptian Spice Bazaar. At stop 3, you will have an opportunity to visit the Istanbul Modern Art Museum and stop 4 is the location for all cruise ships arriving into Istanbul. The highlight of stop 5 is Dolmabahçe, a glamorous palace built in the 19th Century by Ottoman Armenian architects. You will then make your way across the Bosphorus Bridge connecting the European and Asian continents. Returning toward the city, stops include Beylerbeyi Palace, the W Hotel, Taksim Square, Hard Rock Café and the Egyptian Bazaar. Should you remain on the bus for the entire loop, the Red Route is approximately 2 hours in duration. Frequency of buses is every 20 minutes April-September and every 30 minutes October-March. The last bus to depart from stop 1 is at 5:00 pm November-February, 6:00pm in March and October, and 7:00pm April-September.
Blue Tour – The Blue Tour goes right around the Golden Horn, which is an inlet of the Bosphorus Strait, that divides the city of Istanbul. The Golden Horn forms a natural harbor that has sheltered Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman ships for thousands of years. It has witnessed many tumultuous historical incidents, and its dramatic vistas have been the subject of countless works of art. The Blue route will take you around the horn and includes the following stops; Sultanahmet Square, Galata Bridge, Patriarchate, Cable Car, Miniatürk, Transport Museum, and the Egyptian Bazaar. Should you remain on the bus for the entire loop, the total duration of the Blue Loop is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Frequency of buses is every 30 minutes March-October and every 60 minutes November-February. The last bus to depart from stop 1 is at 4:15pm November-February, 5:45pm in March and October, and 6:15pm April-September.
Please note: Walking on this tour is primarily at the guests’ discretion at any chosen stops. Guests must be able to negotiate a step to enter and exit the bus and there are approximately 6-8 steep, narrow steps to negotiate to reach the upper deck seating. The upper deck is open and is not air-conditioned. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the bus and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays and the covered section of the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays. The Hagia Sophia Museum is closed on Mondays and the Blue Mosque is closed on Fridays after 2:30 pm. Conservative attire is required when visiting any mosques. Female guests are required to cover their heads, shoulders and arms. Shorts above the knee are not allowed for men or women. Depending on weather conditions, the top of the bus may be covered with a retractable roof and the side windows may be enclosed with plastic side flaps.