Explore the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace, witness the Golden Horn and take a relaxing cruise along the Bosphorus Strait during this full day Istanbul Tour. Experience the opulence of Turkey’s largest palace, built in a diverse mix of architectural styles, then drive along the edge of the Walls of Constantinople to the Golden Horn. Take in the sweeping views across this famous estuary and the city of Istanbul from the Pierre Loti Hill cable car, then get a sea view of the sprawling Rumeli Fortress and Leander’s Tower on a Bosphorus boat cruise. This full day tour includes the opportunity to shop and have lunch at a local Turkish restaurant, as well as return hotel transfers.
Located on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait, the elaborate Dolmabahce Palace served as the headquarters of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922 (except from 1887-1909 when the Yıldız Palace was used). It is Turkey’s largest palace, including 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 bathrooms and 68 toilets, with construction costing the equivalent of 35 tonnes of gold. It combines Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles with some distinctive Ottoman architectural elements, and is an exquisite place to wander and soak up the opulence that the Sultan’s demanded.
The Walls of Constantinople date back to the 4th and 5th centuries AD, and were built to protect the city of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) after it was founded as the capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great. Although some sections were dismantled in the 19th century, restoration work on these defensive stone walls has been ongoing since the 1980s.
Known in Turkish as Haliç, or “estuary”, the Golden Horn is an almost 8km long waterway and the main inlet for Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait. It forms a sheltered harbour that was used for Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman maritime purposes, with the capacity to produces 300 boats at any one time.
CABLE CAR & PIERRE LOTI HILL
Named after the famous French author, Pierre Loti, this hill offers breathtaking views across the Golden Horn and the city of Istanbul. You can ride the cable car up to the top of Pierre Loti Hill and visit the coffee shop which the author frequented in the late 19th century. His collection of journal entries about his experiences in Istanbul were anonymously published as Aziyadé in 1879.
BOAT TRIP ON THE BOSPHORUS
Travel between Europe and Asia on a Bosphorus Strait boat cruise, taking in the sights on both sides of the waterway. Cruise past the Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi Palaces, get a close-up view of the Leander’s Tower and be awed by the sprawling Rumeli Fortress.
THE RUMELI FORTRESS
Built in the mid-15th century by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, the Rumeli Fortress holds a commanding position on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait. It was built at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus to control sea traffic, preventing aid reaching Constantinople from the Black Sea, and Mehmed II’s army eventually went on to capture the city.
N.B.: The Rumeli Fortress is viewed from the Bosphorus cruise only.
THE LEANDER’S TOWER
Known as Leander’s Tower or the Maiden’s Tower, this Byzantine-era lighthouse sits on a small islet at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus Strait. Although destroyed by an earthquake and burnt during its long history, today it houses a popular restaurant which boasts fantastic views across the city of Istanbul.
N.B.: The Leander’s Tower is viewed from the Bosphorus cruise only.
This tour is not operated on Mondays and Thursdays
Available Days: Everyday (except Mondays and Thursdays)
Available From: Old City | Taksim Area.
Price Includes: Transport | Insurance | Guided Service | Entry Fees | Lunch | Ferry Ticket
Duration: Full Day 8 Hours
Pick up time: Old City 09:00 | Taksim Area 08:30
Drop off time: Approximately 17:00