hotels, transfers, bilingual guide, entrance fees
and meals are included for
each full day.
A guided tour of Istanbul
can be easily tailored to your specifications.
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what to visit because the city
has such a wealth of interesting sites.
Many visitors feel that 3-5 days are needed to adequately to visit the
city. Our Visitor-designed Tours, which
are only offered by Ekstra Tourism, are unique in that they give a short
description about each site which allow for easy and effective planning. To facilitate designing your tour, please
keep the following in mind:
items: Any 1 of these can be visited
during the morning or afternoon. A
total of 2 green choices can be made for one day.
items: Any 2 of these can be visited
during the morning or afternoon. A
total of 4 blue choices can be made for one day.
Combinations of green and blue choices can be made
for any given day.
YELLOW items: Choose any 1 of these for a full evening.
items: Choose any 2 of these for a
This part of our website can
be printed. Please contact Ekstra
Tourism if there are any questions or if a tentative program has been
designed. At that time a Program
Coordinator will be assigned and will continue to be of assistance throughout
each step of our system.
D A Y P R O G R A M S
GREEN items (1/morning or afternoon, or 2/day)
also called Sancta Sophia or The Church of the Divine Wisdom.
This is truly one of the world’s outstanding buildings and could easily
qualify as the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World. Find out why the Byzantine Emperor Justinian allegedly
exclaimed, “Glory to God that I have been judged worthy of
such a work. Oh Solomon! I have outdone you!” Open daily from 15 May to 31
October. During the other months,
closed on Mondays.
& Harem. Three hundred years of Ottoman Imperial rule
and family life happened here. It holds
an amazing collection of treasures, objects of court life, costumes and
oriental ceramics as well as items belonging to the Prophet Mohamed. This
museum ranks among the world’s greatest.
Open daily from 15 May to 31 October. During the other months, closed on Tuesdays.
Complex. These are excellent museums displaying
artifacts that cover five millennia of Asia Minor’s history. Exceptional objects from the Hittites,
Assyrians, ancient Greeks & Romans can be viewed. Some notable items include an extraordinarily fine sarcophagus
that is thought by some to be that of Alexander the Great, the defensive chain
used by the Byzantines to close the Golden Horn during times of siege, as well
as a stone from the Temple of Jerusalem that instructed gentiles not to pass. Best if visited on Tuesdays-Fridays. Closed Mondays.
Shopping in the
Grand Bazaar also called the Covered Market. Home
to some 4000+ shops, the Grand Bazaar is a world in itself. For centuries this was the largest single
shopping area in the world. Explore the
seemingly endless covered lanes and browse the many shops selling nearly
everything imaginable. Have fun, and do remember to bargain!
Dolmabache Palace. This
large palace is relatively modern, exquisitely decorated and beautifully
situated on the Bosphorus. No expense was spared when it was decorated! The palace is symbolic of the Ottoman
Empire’s efforts to modernize along western lines. Closed on Mondays and Thursdays.
Chora Church. Here
can be found one of the greatest collections of outstanding Byzantine mosaics.
The building itself is representative of Byzantine church architecture. Closed on Wednesdays.
Bosphorus cruise. Could a tour of Istanbul ever be complete without a Bosphorus
cruise? While viewing one of the
world’s most beautiful waterways, poised on the edge of Europe and Asia, you’ll
find it’s easy to contemplate the flow & ebb of history. It’s no surprise that the Bosphorus has been
seeped in legend and myth since the earliest of times! Available every day.
Eyüp Tomb &
Mosque Complex. This area is
very sacred for Muslims, as it has the tomb of one of Mohamed’s friends and
early disciples, Eyüp. The complex is richly decorated and has some items from
Mohamed. A moving experience awaits
those who have an interest in religion.
Open daily but Fridays are not recommended because it is crowded with
Military Museum. Among the many unexpected surprises here,
there’s a rich array of military-related items dating from the fall of
Constantinople, the period of the Janissaries, to the end of the Ottoman
Empire. The museum has an excellent re-enactment of the music and ceremony of
the first-ever military band. Open all day but is best if visited during
the afternoons Wednesdays to Sundays.
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Classical views of
the Bosphorus & Maiden’s Tower also called Leander’s
Tower. Visit the birthplace of legends and the point where the Bosphorus,
Golden Horn and Marmara Sea meet! The
views are unparalleled and exceptionally dynamic with the passage of ships to
and from many of the world’s ports. Open Daily.
Fortress of Europe. An important Bosphorus fortification was
needed in preparation for the conquest of Constantinople. This large fortress was completed in only 4
months and served its purpose beautifully. Closed Mondays.
Yildiz Chalet &
Park. “Chalet” in name only, this palace is a delight and is
surrounded by beautiful gardens. A
large peaceful & wooded park stretches from the palace almost to the
Bosphorus. Within the park are
sumptuous Ottoman kiosks that have superlative Bosphorus views. Closed
Mondays and Thursdays.
Beylerbeyi Palace. Cross the Bosphorus to visit a gem of an
Ottoman palace, which were the “guest accommodations” for
a glittering list of royal visitors.
The decoration and contents are truly overwhelming! Closed
Mondays and Thursdays.
Princes’ Islands. How
is it possible to have an island that is a garden with tasteful mansions
sprinkled on it? It’s best to explore
the largest of the Princes’ Islands with a horse-drawn carriage because cars
are not allowed! It is an exceptionally
peaceful and unique part of the city. Open daily.
techniques & carpet types.
This informative presentation
will explain all the stages in the creation of a traditional hand-made Turkish
carpet. Many examples of carpet styles
found through Turkey will be displayed.
Note: This item allows sufficient time for examining many carpets
for possible purchase. Open daily.
BLUE items (2/morning or afternoon, or 4/day)
Blue Mosque. Built
in only 10 years, this imperial mosque was intended to rival the grandeur of
Hagia Sophia, but you be the judge.
Both its exterior and interior are remarkable in their gracefulness and
symmetry. Open daily but can be crowded with
worshipers on early Friday afternoons.
was the focal point of civil celebration & discontent for the people of the
Byzantine & Ottoman Empires. It is
now a peaceful and beautiful park studded with notable monuments of those
empires. Open daily.
also called the Covered Market. Home to some 4000+ shops, the Grand Bazaar
is a world in itself. For centuries
this was the largest single shopping area in the world. Explore the seemingly endless covered lanes
and observe the many shops selling nearly anything imaginable.
Note: Time for this item allows for very little
Süleymaniye Mosque. This
imperial mosque is Istanbul’s largest.
It’s a masterpiece designed by the greatest Ottoman architect for the
greatest Ottoman Sultan. Its beauty,
symmetry and immensity will take your breath away. Open
daily but can be crowded with worshipers on early Friday afternoons.
Cistern Basilica. What a
surprising sight this is! Emperor
Justinian ordered the construction of an enormous water storage tank out of
recycled ancient columns, capitals and plinths. It’s a memorable experience to walk through a forest of columns,
listen to classical music & the sound of dripping water, and to see the
lighting effects. Open daily.
Bazaar. This 440+ year-old market, a colorful place
loaded with the sights, sounds and smells of an active spice market, once
received the caravans from Egypt. Closed
Rüstem Pasha Mosque. This
gem of a mosque has one of the greatest collections of outstanding Ottoman tile
work. It is guaranteed to overwhelm the
eye! It was designed by the greatest of
Ottoman architects. Open daily but can be crowded with
worshipers on early Friday afternoons.
visit to this mosque combined with the Egyptian Market
will allow time for exploring and shopping in amazingly colorful &
bustling street markets.
Galata Tower A landmark in the city since the 7th
century, this tower’s balcony has an outstanding panoramic view all
around. The current imposing tower was
built by the Genoese to help protect their commercial enclave. An elevator will swiftly lift you to the
top. Open daily.
Carpet & Kilim
Museum and Palace Mosaic Museum. These small museums feature fine examples of
antique Turkish carpets & kilims (flat weave rugs) and outstanding
Byzantine mosaic pavements. Best if
visited on Wednesdays to Saturdays.
Islamic Arts Museum. This museum has artifacts from the past
thousand years including examples of calligraphy, miniatures, illuminated
manuscripts and carpets as well as a number of ethnographic exhibits. Closed Mondays.
Little Aya Sophia
Mosque. This mosque was formerly a church built by
Justinian and Theordora in 527 AD. It
is “little” only when compared with its namesake. Its layout as an early Byzantine church is
very recognizable. Open daily.
Fortress of the
Seven Towers & City Walls. This fortress is the site of the legendary
Byzantine Golden Gate that was used for triumphal state processions. The fortress, along with the massive land
walls stretching from the Marmara Sea to the Golden Horn, served to protect the
city for many centuries. Closed Wednesdays.
techniques & carpet types. This informative presentation will explain
all the stages in the creation of a traditional hand-made Turkish carpet. Many examples of carpet styles found through
Turkey will be displayed.
for this item allows for very little shopping.
N I G H T P R O G R A M S
YELLOW items (1/night)
Turkish Night Show. Experience some of the richness and
diversity of Turkey’s folkloric & belly dancing and traditional music. Included in the show is a humorous
re-enactment of harem life. A nice
Turkish dinner with appetizers and drink is served during the show.
Note: If your group is large, the 1001
Nights Show may be a better
Show. This is a delightful and engaging extravaganza of comedy theatre, belly
& folk dancing, traditional Turkish music, and a full “Ottoman market place” where each guest can mingle and
participate. A full traditional Turkish
dinner including appetizers and drink will be served. The entire program typically lasts 4 hours.
Note: Group size must be 50+.
dinner and outstanding views from Maiden’s Tower (also called Leander’s Tower) where the Golden Horn, Bosphorus and
Marmara Sea come together.
RED items (2/night)
Neighborhood stroll. Visit
one of Istanbul’s oldest and most interesting neighborhoods. A stroll through the winding streets
featuring traditional architecture, colorful markets & businesses is sure
to be memorable.
& shopping on Indepencence Avenue. This pedestrian area has always been the
fashionable heart of Istanbul. It is “the” street for window shopping and browsing.
Lively street cafes. A
boisterous, fun experience is to be had while enjoying traditional Turkish
drinks & appetizers and people watching as they stream by. It’s where many fun-loving locals go to see
and be seen.
folk dances. See the
bright, colorful costumes and many lively folk dances from all over
Turkey. This stage performance has good
choreography and the costumes, dances and music are as authentic as can
be. Usually on Mon, Wed & Sat from
March-October. A performance can be
arranged any night for large group.
Classic views of
Istanbul. Cross the Bosphorus and enjoy a leisurely
and highly memorable stroll!
Discover Turkish flatweave rugs (kilims). Kilims are a beautiful, diverse & traditionalart form that is wonderfully
full of meaning for those who are ready to explore. With the guidance of a true & caring
devotee, much awaits both the initiate and the connoisseur alike! Maximum group size must be 15.
Available nightly except for Sundays.
dinner on the Bosphorus. Choose any number of appetizers from a wide
selection. This alone would be a
sufficient meal but it’s only the beginning!
You’ll see for yourself how diverse Turkish cuisine really is.
Fish dinner on the
Bosphorus. First choose any number of appetizers from a
wide selection and then savor them with your choice of drink. Afterwards you will have a large selection
of fish to choose from.
Outdoor Fish dinner
in a lively neighborhood. Imagine
a lively neighborhood full of fish restaurants with their immaculate tables
almost crowding the streets! This is
place to be to enjoy a traditional Turkish fish dinner and watch the street
entertainment (including belly dancers).
Dinner will be accompanied with drinks and a wide selection of
appetizers. This neighborhood has the
largest selection of fish!
on the Bosphorus. A wide selection of familiar dishes are
nicely prepared and served in a pleasant setting. However the Bosphorous view may distract you!