The following narrative is written for all our guests to get a glimpse of what awaits in Istanbul
If our 1-day Istanbul tour does not satisfy the travelers soul, you must take a journey with on a 3-day tour. We call it The Heart of Turkey because once you complete this tour, Istanbul will capture your heart. From East to West and from North to South, this city embodies stories of the past, present and leaves you with the urge to return in the future. That is exactly what it did for me, I left the city years ago after I completed a tour with Onur. I left knowing I would return to the city one day and make it a mission to tell the world what Istanbul can offer including the wonderful people you meet along the way – leaving a footprint in your travel journey. I feel nostalgic while typing this.
Like I said, I always had the desire to come back, as a history junkie who has always been fascinated by the contribution of this country to human civilization. In April of 2020, I had a trip booked for Istanbul but due to Covid19 lockdowns across the world, I had to cancel that trip. In November of 2021, the moment I had the opportunity to come back, I packed my bags and there I was in Istanbul soon after. The Hagia Sophia is by far my favorite site due to her history. I can sit in her presence for hours in complete awe. Might I add that the view from Pierre Loti Cable Car is one that will capture your eyes. Better yet the view from the Galata Tower – Oh my, does the view take your breath away!! The hustle and bustle of the Grand Bazaar made me think of how life must have been hundreds of years ago. Well, I can go on, but it is now your turn to let Istanbul steal your heart.
Let’s take a deep dive into this tour that awaits you, shall we.
Day 1 Tour
Site visitation – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Hippodrome, and Topkapi Palace.
9:00AM – You will be picked up at your hotel by our guide. Please make sure to inform us in advance where you plan to stay as we will need to schedule the time to pick you up. This 1-day tour in Istanbul will primarily be completed on foot, due to the close proximity of all the sites you will visit.
5:00PM – You will wrap up your tour and your guide will safely return you to your hotel.
Please note that we will be using public transit which is referred to as the tram. The ride is part of the experience so you can get a glimpse into the lives of the locals.
Day 2 Tour – Let’s Explore Some more
9:00AM – Your guide will meet you near your hotel or at your hotel, depending on where you are staying. Sites to visit today will include Pierre Loti Cable Car, Spice market, Bosphurus day cruise, Taksim square, and Dolmabahce Palace.
You will have an opportunity to grab a meal on the Bosphurus cruise. What way to enjoy the view with a bight to eat. I would suggest a nice cup of tea to go with your meal. If you prefer another option, please inform your guide as they have a number of options to share with you. If you are looking for a snack later, don’t forget to try roasted walnuts, which can be found along any street.
5:00PM – You will wrap up your tour and your guide will safely return you to your hotel. This time by your private car or minibus (depending on the size of your group).
Please note that between sites, you will be transported in a vehicle provided.
Day 3 – The Journey comes to an end
Balat and Fener District of Istanbul – The Colorful Story
I cannot put into words what this day will bring. This area isn’t always featured in tours but it’s worth every penny, every minute and every step of your visit to Istanbul. This area hosts a church, synagogue and mosque. Let me take you on a short history and description of what this entails – the rest, I will leave it to your guide to explain and help explore.
The Colorful Wooden Homes of Ballet
Fener’s name stems from the Greek word Fanari meaning lantern, although in Turkish, it means lighthouse. This is a Greek neighborhood housing wealthy citizens for about 300 hundred years from the 17th to 20th centuries; therefore, holds valuable history and architecture.
The most notable fact about Fener is that it is the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the spiritual centre for the Greek Orthodox religion and known locally as Fener Rum Patrikhanesi. The Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchy Church also referred to as the Church of Saint George that opened in the 1600s still runs services. You will make a visit here.
The church also sits near to Phanar Greek Orthodox College, a fully functioning school that implements the Turkish curriculum and additional subjects such as the Greek language. This is done in order to respect the Greek roots of the area.
Next, we head into Balat which encompasses the beautiful history of the Jewish people of the city. This indicates how diverse Istanbul is and what the locals continue to preserve as part of their magnificent history.
I would highly suggest stopping for lunch and try meatballs at Kofteci Arnavut. For my coffee lovers, I suggest heading over to Coffee Department and Forno. I personally can have a lahmacun and pide anytime of day. So, grab some for a snack later, you will thank me later.
Another beauty that is considered a hidden gem is the colorful neighborhood in Balat. The area is filled with stunning multi-colored wooden houses and little cafes that instantly lift your spirit and give you a boost of joyful energy.
Remember to take a tone of pictures, because the memories won’t be enough to hold onto this gem of an area.
5:00PM – This will be the end of your 3-Day tour. You will wrap up your tour and your guide will safely return you to your hotel.
Thank you for taking this journey with me, take this tour trust me, you won’t regret it. Istanbul will forever hold a place in your heart. You bet; Istanbul has already saved a spot for me this summer for yet another visit. If you book this July 2022, you will have a chance to meet Onur and I. So, what are you waiting for……
Written by a hopeful traveler.
INCLUDED in the Tour Price:
English speaking guide during the tours
Visits and entrances fees as indicated in the itinerary and transportation when applicable
Visa to enter Turkey.
Optional tours mentioned in the program, they will be provided at an additional cost.
Services not mentioned in the program.
Drinks with meals.
Travel insurance (recommended).
If you require additional support around hotels and excursions, please contact us and we will be happy to answer them for you and customize your tour.
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