Istanbul Highlights Day Tour, Asian and European sides of Istanbul

Istanbul skyline

Tour Details

This tour starts with Chora museum or St. Savior, originally a beautiful Byzantium church built in the 4th century. The recent structure, the decoration and the beautiful mosaics and frescoes however dates back to 14th century. It is a very important church regarding the early Christianity and the Byzantium history. The mosaic panels and frescoes were plastered by Ottomans when the church was converted into a Mosque (Kariye Mosque) and they were recently unveiled during the world II. Chora finally became a museum in 1947. The themes of mosaics and frescoes mainly cover the life of Jesus Christ, Resurrection and Heaven and Hell and they are amazing evidences of the artistic level of Byzantium art.

After Chora museum, you will visit Pera region. Originally called as Rue de Pera, it is in fact a long street which forms today's Istiklal Caddesi. Surrounded by Galata, Karakoy, Tunel, Tophane, Cihangir, Taksim and Tepebasi districts, this street and its perimeters still reflect the 19th century style of living thanks to the capital accumulated back then by Christian and Jewish merchants living in Istanbul. It is the antithesis of the Old City and it is almost the second personality of Istanbul which makes this city so unique. Istiklal Caddesi or Pera cuts through the beautiful western style old buildings, churches, consulates, bars, restaurants and it is literally packed with people all the time. This is why this place is "the" night life district of Istanbul.

After Pera you will be driven across the Bosphorus bridge to get to the Asian Side of Istanbul where you will get a panoramic view of the city from the top of Camlica Hill. With an altitude of 288 meters, you will have the best perception of Istanbul with an uncut and clear view of Old City, Pera, Bosphorus shores, bridges, main roads and other hills. Cross your fingers for clear skies !

It is now time to cruise on Golden Horn and Bosphorus. Golden Horn (Halic) is an estuary in Bosphorus that extends 7.5 km towards south-west. The Northern shore of Golden Horn is the Pera shore and the Southern one is the natural frontier of the Old City. Golden Horn is not the Bosphorus but an inlet of Bosphorus and it is always a favorite natural port.

You will also visit the Pierre Loti cafe, named after the famous French writer, on top Eyup Hill by the Golden Horn. Pierre Loti was in fact stationed in Istanbul around 1876-77.

While you cruise on Bosphorus you will get to see Rumeli Hisari (Rumeli Fortress), Beylerbeyi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace, Ortakoy Mosque, Kiz Kulesi (Maiden's Tower) and beautiful old water front mansions along with the breathtaking natural beauty of this sea passage blessed with surrounding rolling hills, groves and sea gulls

Booking and further info requests

For other tours in Istanbul please see Istanbul Tours