DAY 1: ISTANBUL
Your Istanbul Short Break Vacation starts at Istanbul airport. Upon your arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. The balance of the day at leisure.
DAY 2: ISTANBUL – FULL DAY OLD CITY TOUR
We begin our tour from the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul at Agia Sophia. Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD this church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Its massive dome dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses.
Next, we visit the Blue Mosque, which owes its name to the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Dating from the 17th century, it is the only imperial Mosque with six minarets. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100.000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. After a lunch break, we continue our tour at Topkapi Palace which, from the 15th to 19th century, was the principal residence of the Ottoman Sultans.
The final visit will be to the Grand Bazaar which was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4.000 shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewellery, ceramics, icons and leather goods.
DAY 3: ISTANBUL – FULL DAY BOSPHORUS CRUISE + CONTINENTS TOUR
We will depart to visit City Walls. The first breach of the walls was by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the second by the cannons and troops of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453. Then you will go for Golden Horn. As a natural and extremely secure harbour, the Golden Horn has played an important role in the development of Istanbul. The inlet separates the European shore into two. It is approximately 8 km long, and the widest part is the entrance from the Bosphorus. Two streams drain into this inlet at its far end.
The next stop will be Spice Bazaar(Egyptian Bazaar). The air here is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice.
After that, you will go on a boat trip to the Bosphorus. A traditional excursion by boat along the waterway separating Europe and Asia. The shore is lined with old wooden villas, palaces of marble, fortresses, and small fishing villages. During the excursion, you will pass the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace, and further along, the parks and imperial pavilions of Yildiz Palace. On the coastal edge of this park, is Ciragan Palace, 300 meters of its marble facade faces the shore. At Ortakoy a great variety of artists gather every Sunday to display their work along the street. Ortakoy is a symbol of tolerance with a church, a mosque and a synagogue existing side by side for centuries. You will see Rumeli Fortress (from the sea, no interior visit). Built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 before the conquest of Istanbul, was completed in only four months to control and protect Bosphorus. It is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture anywhere in the world.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Then we will go to Beylerbeyi Palace. The summer residence of Ottoman Sultans with its original furniture and magnificent gardens with the Harem on the Asian. Bosphorus Bridge is a unique chance to step from one continent (Asia) to another (Europe). After that Camlica Hill is the highest point in Istanbul. At the top of it, you can rest and admire the magnificent panorama of Istanbul and the Bosphorus from the beautiful gardens, landscaped in traditional style. Also, there is a possibility of shopping at Bedesten exhibits the traditional silk weaving girls at the carpet weaving courses authorized by the Ministry of National Education Possibility to see jewellery, handicrafts centre and leatherware show. Free time provided for shopping.
DAY 4: ISTANBUL – FULL DAY PRINCES ISLANDS TOUR
If you feel the need to escape from the bustle of Istanbul for a day, nothing could be easier. You simply join us abroad on a ferry boat for the charming Princes’ Islands. Our destination is Büyükada (Pringipo), the largest island chain. All are famous for their mild climates, lush vegetation and ornate Ottoman houses and all of the cars are banned. The preferred means of transportation is the charming horse-drawn carriage known as the Phaeton. Lunch will be at one of many excellent traditional fish restaurants on the seaside
DAY 5: ISTANBUL – AIRPORT
Today is the last day of your Istanbul Short Break Vacation. According to your departure flight, you will be transferred to the airport.
STARTING POINT: Istanbul, daily January to December
TRAVEL PLAN: 5 DAYS/ 4 nights
– 4 nights accommodation in Istanbul
– Full-day Istanbul Old city tour with lunch
– Full-day cruise of the Bosporus + 2 Continents excursion
– Full-day Princes Islands tour with lunch
– Entrances to historical sites during guided excursions
– All transfers as per itinerary
– Daily breakfast
– Hotel taxes