For a sweeping overview of Istanbul, the world's only city that spans two continents, this tour serves extremely well. It begins with a spectacular drive across the city's first suspension bridge over the Bosphorus, linking the shores of Europe with Asia.
As you journey through this splendid city, you will observe its endless architectural variety that includes traditional Turkish wooden houses, churches, synagogues and mosques. The legacy of both its Christian and Islamic rule is highly evident throughout the city. In particular, there is the Blue Mosque, the only mosque in the world with six minarets. Built between 1609 and 1616 by Sultan Ahmed I, and named after him, the Mosque is now known as the Blue Mosque because of the 21,000 blue-green Iznik tiles that adorn the interior.
Finally, you will have time to meander through the Grand Bazaar, Turkey's largest and the oldest covered market place. The wealth of merchandise carried in its more than 4,000 shops is absolutely staggering.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 hour of walking plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time. It is available to wheelchair guests who are able to make their way on and off the coach; however, wheelchairs are not permitted in the Blue Mosque and wheelchair guests would have to wait outside in the garden. There are some steps to negotiate at the entrance to the Mosque and those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. The Blue Mosque will be closed to all visitors until after 2:30 pm on Fridays. Morning tours will have an exterior visit only. Conservative dress is required for visiting mosques. All female guests will be required to cover their heads, shoulders and arms and shorts above knee-length are not allowed for both male and female visitors. Comfortable, flat walking shoes are strongly recommended. The covered section of the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, so you will instead being given an orientation drive along the Golden Horn and city walls. The order of the sites visited may change to avoid the crowds. Please expect dense traffic conditions in Istanbul.