Experience an in-depth insight into Istanbul’s vibrant local cuisine on this short but sweet exploration of this ancient city. Explore the aromatic Spice Bazaar, visit the ancient Aya Sofia, journey from Europe to Asia and wander the streets of this great city.
Day 1 - Istanbul
Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Istanbul, the only city in the world to straddle two continents. It’s no surprise that this vast metropolis is home to a beguiling mix of different cultures and traditions, blending the influences of both east and west.
Your tour will commence at 6pm with a welcome meeting. On arrival at the hotel, please check at reception for a note about where this meeting will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
With the housekeeping out of the way, it’s time to get a taste of Istanbul, beginning with a walking tour that introduces you to the diverse culinary influences in this city. Walk across the Galata Bridge to the lively neighborhood of Karaköy, grabbing one of the cities best Balik Ekemek's (fish sandwich). Next, enjoy a piece of perfect sweetness with Baklava from Istanbul's premier spot. These guys know just the right amount of syrup to add. Jump on a ferry and arrive in Asia 30 minutes later.
Take a wander around the hip Kadikoy neighbourhood, slurping down midye (stuffed mussels) and finishing with kokorec, a offal surprise and beloved late-night snack. Wash it all down with a thick rich Turkish Coffee best enjoyed as you people watch on the Meydan. Linger as long as you like and soak up the night-time atmosphere of Istanbul or return to your hotel.
Day 2 - Istanbul
This morning, head to the Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Market. Enjoy a local breakfast of ‘su borek’ (‘water’ pastry), ‘peynir borek’ (feta cheese pastry), and tulip glass of sweet tea. Once sated, meet a spice merchant who’ll share the secrets of the best spice blends and teach you how spice is used to elevate Turkish dishes. Then learn to make the perfect Turkish coffee and satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to a ‘Turkish delight’ merchant. For an insight into Islam, visit the magnificent Ottoman-built Suleymaniye Cami (Suleymanie Mosque), which sits high above the natural harbour of the Golden Horn and is the largest mosque in Istanbul. Then, enjoy a local lunch of kuru fasulyeci (Turkish baked beans) in a historic han (inn). After refuelling, explore the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar, maybe getting into some good-natured haggling with local artisans at one of over 3,000 stalls of handcrafted jewellery, textiles and books. Then stop by the jaw-dropping giant church/mosque/museum of the Aya Sofya, touring a building whose stunning construction is said to have changed the history of architecture. The afternoon is free to continue your own exploration of the city
Day 3 - Istanbul
Your bite-sized break comes to an end today, after check-out you can leave at any time.