The Rickshaw Travel Group ("Rickshaw Travels") was founded in May 1988. From our humble beginnings as a small travel agency, we have grown and expanded into several countries and today have 28 years of experience in the travel business, both corporate and leisure... read more .
Istanbul is Turkey's most populous city as well as cultural and financial center. Located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea and bridges Asia and Europe both physically and culturally.
At first glance, Istanbul can be quite overwhelming as the Golden Horn divides the European side into two - Sultanahamet and Beyoglu and the Bosphorus into European and Asian. Depending on what you want to see will determine where in Istanbul you will stay, though getting around is quite easy. Walking or take the public transport.
The must see places in Istanbul are the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofia and Basilica Cistern, all near Sultanahamet. The Grand Bazar is also a short walk away from these monuments.
Eating street food is very much a part of the local culture so be sure to try some local flavours or visit the many quaint restarants tucked away in all the alleyways near Taksim Square.
Day 01: Upon arrival transfer to hotel and overnight stay in Istanbul free for leisure (-,-,-)
Day 02: Tour of "Sultan Ahmet Center", the heart of the "Old City" from where the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were ruled. Hagia Sophia, the Church of the Divine Wisdom, one of the greatest marvels of architecture, constructed as a basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian. Blue Mosque, facing Hagia Sophia, famous with its blue Iznik tiles and unique with 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet. Hippodrome, center of sportive events (chariot races, athletics) and political activities of the old city. Serpentine Column, Obelisk of Theodosius and German Fountain of Wilhelm II are the monuments decorating the Hippodrome. Grand Covered Bazaar, most attractive shopping center and the biggest "souk" in the world with nearly 4000 shops selling antiques, jewellery, gold, carpets, leatherware and souvenir. Lunch at a Turkish Restaurant. Topkapi Palace, residence of Ottoman Sultans exhibiting imperial treasury, sacred Islamic relics of Prophet Mohammed, kitchen, Chinese porcelain, weapons, calligraphy section etc. Live guide commentary is not allowed in special sections. (Harem is not included in the program) Rustem Pasa Mosque, designed by the court architect Sinan for the Grand Vizier of Süleyman The Magnificent. A typical sample of Islamic architecture amidst the rows of shops near the Spice Bazaar, famed with its exquisite and colorful tiles set in floral and geometric designs. (b,-,-)
Day 03: Golden Horn (from the bus), the arm of the Bosphorus and a natural harbour of the historical peninsula separating the old and the new parts of ?stanbul where the first colonies settled during the Byzantines. The residential area for Byzantine Jews, Italian traders and other non-muslim minorities. Drive along the traces of history at Balat viewing Metal Church of St. Stephen the Bulgarian, Jewish Hospital (Or-Ahayim), Fener Orthodox Patriarchate and 22 kms. Long Byzantine City Walls, strongest fortification of the middle age. Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar), mystical smells of different aromas of various spices. Shops selling fruits, vegetables, fish, flowers etc. Bosphorus Cruise, through the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia, with a possibility to take photographs of marble palaces, ancient wooden villas of Ottoman architecture besides modern residentials and luxurious apartments. Rumeli Fortress (from the boat – no interior visit), historical armament built by the Conqueror to control and protect the Bosphorus. A unique example of military architecture. Lunch at a Turkish Restaurant. Dolmabahçe Palace, recent residence for Ottoman Sultans built by two Ottoman architects Karabet and Nikogos Balyan on a 110.000 m2 area and served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire. Famous with great collection of European antiquity, furniture and 4.5 tons chandelier, the palace has 285 rooms and 46 halls. Bosphorus Bridge, unique chance to step from one continent (Europe) to another (Asia) in 2 minutes. Camlica Hill or Yeditepe, panoramic view of Istanbul and
Day 04: Cruise in the Marmara Sea to Princes' Islands by boat. Stop at Buyukada, the popular summer resort with pinewood scenery and wooden mansions, once the pleasure island of Bosphorus from one of the highest and most appealing place of the city (b,-,-)
Byzantine Princes. Tour of the island by horse-drawn carriages before lunch at a fish restaurant. Evening return to Istanbul, transfer to hotels.
Day 05: After breakfast leisure time and transfer to airport flight back home... (b,-,-)