Istanbul
06/02/2020 12:00 AM
06/02/2020 12:00 AM

Optional Private Excursions available for purchase

Avoid the crowds and hustle and bustle associated with a group activity. For a memorable trip ashore, we invite you to consider a private shore excursion. Enjoy the undivided attention of your own driver/guide and the flexibility of experiencing the aspects of the local culture that most interest you. Below are just some samples of the private shore excursions we can arrange for you. Give us a call or email us. Let us personalize your experience!

Istanbul Full Day Sightseeing plus Private Bosphorus Cruise - 8 hours
Highlights/Description:
  • Dolmabahce Palace
  • Cruise on Bosphorus
  • Rüstem Pasha Mosque
  • Spice Bazaar
 
Your English-speaking, private guide will meet you at the cruise pier for your full day sightseeing tour of Istanbul.
 
First, you will proceed to explore the 19th Century Dolmabahce Palace to experience its eclectic style of architecture with Baroque and Rococo touch. Compared to Topkap? Palace, Dolmabahçe is more westernized in its architectural style. You will enjoy its elaborate interior decoration.
 
You will next board a private motor yacht for a relaxing cruise on the Bosphorus, which has been a geopolitically important strait between Europe and Asia connecting the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. You will pass by some magnificent palaces, old mansions and fortresses.
 
Next, you will see the Rüstem Pasha Mosque, which is among the city's architectural gems. This is the first example of the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan building a mosque to an octagonal plan. Beautifully proportioned and the interior is covered in some of the most exquisite Iznik tiles ever produced. The tiles, made at the height of Iznik's supremacy, have a good deal of the famous red color that was the envy of other tile makers (blue, yellow, white and green were easy colors to produce, but red was extraordinarily difficult.
 
You will explore the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar). It was constructed in the 17th Century as a part of the New Mosque complex. This oriental market is the best place to buy Turkish delight, exotic spices, herbs, Turkish coffee and tea.
 
Before you will be transferred back to the port, your guide will take you to the backstreets of the Spice Bazaar to taste a traditional Ottoman drink: Boza (fermented millet) at the famous Vefa Bozacisi.
 
At the end of the tour, your private guide will transfer you back to your hotel or cruise pier.
 
Tour Duration: 8 Hours
Tour can operate: Morning
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Physical Activity Level: Moderate
Inclusions:
  • Officially licensed, private guide
  • Transfers to/from port in an air-conditioned luxury vehicle
  • Parking fees and entrance fees of the sites/museums stated in the tour program
  • Bottled water
  • Welcome package
  • Applicable taxes
Not Included:
  • Meals, unless otherwise noted
  • Gratuities
  • Personal expenses
Jewish Heritage Half Day Tour (Istanbul) - 4 hours
Highlights/Description:
  • Galata Quarter
  • Ahrida Synagogue
  • Jewish Museum
  • Grand Bazaar
 
Your English-speaking, private guide will meet you at the cruise pier for your half day sightseeing tour of Istanbul.
 
Your private tour will start with a visit to the old Galata Quarter, a Jewish quarter for centuries. Visit to the Galata Tower, which was built in 1303 by immigrants from Genoa, Italy. A medieval stone tower in the heart of Pera quarter just to the north of the Golden Horn. One of the city's most striking landmarks, it is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and affords a panoramic vista of Old Istanbul and its environs. You will enjoy the spectacular view of the city.
 
Next visit will be to the Ottoman Baroque style Ahrida Synagogue originally built in the 15th century and is the earliest synagogue in Istanbul.  The original 20-foot long oak bimah (teva), shaped either like Noah’s Ark or, like the Ottoman ship which brought the Sephardim to freedom from Spain to Turkey, can still be seen. 
 
Your private tour will continue with a visit to the Jewish Museum of Turkey, which is housed in the former Zulfaris Synagogue, aims to “collect, preserve, exhibit, interpret and disseminate knowledge about the cultural heritage of the Turkish Jews.” It captures 700 years of amiable relations between Jews and Turks, beginning in 1326 with the Ottoman conquest of Bursa. The building itself dates from the early 19th century, although there is evidence of a Synagogue in the same spot in the 17th century. The Synagogue functioned as a place of worship for over a century, and was reopened as the Quincentenial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews (Jewish Museum of Turkey) in 2001.The Museum contains various exhibits relating to Jewish history in Istanbul and is fitted with information panels, maps and some touch screen information booths.
 
Lastly visit the famous Grand Bazaar, the largest and the oldest covered Bazaar in this part of the world with more than 4000 small shops. You will see a great variety of Turkish handicrafts, handmade oriental carpets, jewelry and many souvenirs within the old market.
 
At the end of your tour, you will be transferred back to the cruise pier.
 
Tour Duration: 4 Hours
Tour can operate: Morning or Afternoon (not available on the Sabbath or Jewish Holidays)
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Physical Activity Level: Moderate

Inclusions:
  • Officially licensed, private guide
  • Transfers to/from port in an air-conditioned luxury vehicle
  • Parking fees and entrance fees of the sites/museums stated in the tour program
  • Bottled water
  • Welcome package
  • Applicable taxes
Not Included:
  • Meals, unless otherwise noted
  • Gratuities
  • Personal expenses
Old City of Istanbul Full Day Tour - 8 hours
Highlights/Description:
  • Roman Hippodrome and Egyptian Obelisk
  • Blue Mosque
  • Haghia Sophia
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Grand Bazaar
 
Your English-speaking, private guide will meet you at the cruise pier for your full day sightseeing tour of Istanbul with a deluxe air-conditioned mini-van.
 
You will first visit the Roman Hippodrome, along with the Egyptian Obelisk, and then proceed to the Blue Mosque, which was built in between 1609-1616. The Blue tiles cover the walls have given its popular name “Blue Mosque”.
 
Next visit will be to one of the great monumental buildings of the world Haghia Sophia that was built by Emperor Justinian in 537. It has remained as the greatest church until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II. The great dome and its gallery were covered with gold mosaics and still survive.
 
Proceed to the magnificent Topkap? Palace, which has been the residence of the Ottoman Sultans for almost four centuries. Besides being the residence of the Sultan and his family, Topkap? was also the seat of the Ottoman Divan. 5000 people lived in the palace. You will see the Sultan’s Treasury and the Holy Relics exhibition.
 
You will continue to the Underground Cistern (Basilica Cistern), which is the most unusual structure in the city. This was a vital part of defense system of the city as a big water reservoir, which can hold 18 million gallons of water.
 
Lastly visit the famous Grand Bazaar, the largest and the oldest covered Bazaar in this part of the world with more than 4000 small shops. You will see a great variety of Turkish handicrafts, handmade oriental carpets, jewelry and many souvenirs within the old market.
 
Before you are transferred back to your hotel or the cruise pier, you will visit the best baklava factory to taste this awesome dessert.
 
At the end of your tour, you will be transferred back to the cruise pier.
 
Tour Duration: 8 Hours
Tour can operate: Morning
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Physical Activity Level: Moderate

Inclusions:
  • Officially licensed, private guide
  • Transfers to/from port in an air-conditioned luxury vehicle
  • Parking fees and entrance fees of the sites/museums stated in the tour program
  • Bottled water
  • Welcome package
  • Applicable taxes
Not Included:
  • Meals, unless otherwise noted
  • Gratuities
  • Personal expenses
Old City of Istanbul Half Day Tour - 4 hours
Highlights/Description:
  • Roman Hippodrome
  • Egyptian Obelisk
  • Blue Mosque
  • Haghia Sophia –OR– Topkapi Palace
  • Grand Bazaar
 
Your English-speaking, private guide will meet you at the cruise pier for your half day sightseeing tour of Istanbul with a deluxe air-conditioned mini-van.
 
You will first visit the Roman Hippodrome, along with the Egyptian Obelisk, and then proceed to the Blue Mosque, which was built in between 1609-1616. The Blue tiles cover the walls have given its popular name “Blue Mosque”.
 
*Next visit will be to one of the great monumental buildings of the world Haghia Sophia that was built by Emperor Justinian in 537. It has remained as the greatest church until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II. The great dome and its gallery were covered with gold mosaics and still survive.
 
OR
 
*Next visit will be to the magnificent Topkap? Palace, which has been the residence of the Ottoman Sultans for almost four centuries. Besides being the residence of the Sultan and his family, Topkap? was also the seat of the Ottoman Divan. 5000 people lived in the palace. You will see the Sultan’s Treasury and the Holy Relics exhibition.
 
Lastly visit the famous Grand Bazaar, the largest and the oldest covered Bazaar in this part of the world with more than 4000 small shops. You will see a great variety of Turkish handicrafts, handmade oriental carpets, jewelry and many souvenirs within the old market.
 
At the end of your tour, you will be transferred back to the cruise pier.
 
* You have the option to choose Topkapi Palace or St. Sophia
 
Tour Duration: 4 Hours
Tour can operate: Morning
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Physical Activity Level: Moderate

Inclusions:
  • Officially licensed, private guide
  • Transfers to/from port in an air-conditioned luxury vehicle
  • Parking fees and entrance fees of the sites/museums stated in the tour program
  • Bottled water
  • Welcome package
  • Applicable taxes
Not Included:
  • Meals, unless otherwise noted
  • Gratuities
  • Personal expenses
Istanbul: Edirne Highlights - 11 hours

An English speaking private lecturer/guide will meet you at Istanbul cruise pier at 8 am and you will be driven to Edirne (approx. 3 hours), known formerly as Adrianople and was the second capital of the Ottoman Empire. Edirne is situated in Thrace, in westernmost Turkey on the border of Greece and is known for the Selimiye Mosque, built in the 16th century by the famous architect Sinan. The mosque's main structure comprises 18 small domes dominated by a huge central dome on 8 columns with 3 balconied minarets on 4 sides.

The tour will include visits to Selimiye & Complex (Vakiflar), Turkish - Islamic Works Museum The works are exhibited in the room numbered 14 in Dar - ül Tedris Madrasa in the courtyard of Selimiye Mosque with the Archaeological and Ethnographical Museums, In the hand works part, there is a village kitchen, Carpet, Kilim and Rush Mat weaving looms are located and other incredible mosques such as the Yildirim Mosque, Uc Serefeli Mosque and the Beyazit II Mosque.

Lunch will be served at local restaurant close to the sights, at your own cost.

There are also impressive caravanserais such as the Rustem Pasha and the lively restored Arasta and Bedesten bazaars. You may also see some beautiful Ottoman bridges in Edirne and around the area, such as Uzunkopru, which was also built by the architect Sinan. In the evening You will be transferred back to your cruise ship around 7 pm.

Added Value:

*Great introduction to the former Ottoman capital city of Edirne

*The tour covers the main highlights of the city

Tour Duration : 10-11 hours

Tour can operate: Starting mornings

Wheelchair Accessible: Partial

Physical Activity Level: Moderate

Included: Transportation by a cheaffeur driven a/c private vehicle, an officially licensed bilingual private lecturer/guide, entrance fees to the sites/museums

Not Included: Gratuities to the guide and driver, meals and personal expenses

Istanbull: Highlights - 7 hours
 An English speaking officially licenced lecturer/guide will meet the guests at the exit of the Istanbul cruise pier at 08:30 am, with a sign reading their names, for a private sightseeing tour of Istanbul.

The private tour program will start with the Roman Hippodrome that was a colossal stadium housing horse races around which the socio-political life of the Roman capital was centered. In its great days, it was 1575 feet long, 384 feet wide and held 100,000 spectators. It was the site of chariot racing, gladiator fights, circuses, inaugurations and triumphal parades.

The tour will continue with a visit to the Blue Mosque- the masterpiece of 17th century Ottoman Architecture, famous for its unique hand made original Iznik Tiles impressing the guests with their rich dominant blue colors and oriental patterns. They have become collectors’ items today, auctioned at celebrated houses like the Sotheby’s.

Next visit will be to the Topkapi Palace and its Imperial Treasury Section that was the center of Ottoman Empire’s Government Seat ruling most of the Middle East and the Eastern Europe from this palace for 500 years.

Lunch will be served at a recommended local/select restaurants close to the sites.

In the afternoon, visit the World famous Hagia Sophia (The Church of Divine Wisdom), one of the extraordinary masterpieces in the history of World architecture. When a previous church on this site was burned during the Nikka Revolt in 532, Justinian ordered his architect, Isidorus, to build a structure worthy of his empire. Hagia Sophia was completed in only five years and was dedicated on Christmas Day of 537. The building inspired countless generations by its innovations in weight support and construction techniques and what a dome it was: the popular belief was that ‘the dome was suspended from Heaven by an invisible golden chain’. In reality it was work of men, but a worldly simulator of the Heavens

Finally, visit the Grand Bazaar, more dazzling than any other oriental bazaar, built in 1461 and in service ever since. It contains 3,500 shops employing more than 20,000 people all under one roof. Everything imaginable in the world is for sale here, glittering gold and silver jewelry, antique tiles, leather, and souvenirs. Just seeing and experiencing this fascinating bazaar is a memorable experience.

At the end of today’s private tour, the guests will be transferred back to the cruise pier.

  • Closed weekly days for sites/museums:
  • St. Sophia is closed on Mondays
  • Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays
  • Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays and official holidays.

Highlights:

  • Great introduction to Istanbul's history and culture

  • The tour covers the main highlights of the city
Tour Duration : 7 hours

Tour can operate: Starting mornings

Wheelchair Accessible: Partial

Physical Activity Level: Moderate

Included: Transportation by a chauffeur driven a/c private vehicle, licensed bilingual private lecturer/guide, entrance fees to the sites/museums

Not Included: Gratuities to the guide and driver, meals and personal expenses

Istanbul: Jewish Heritage Tour - 7 hours
An English speaking officially licenced lecturer/guide will meet the guests at the exit of the Istanbul cruise pier at 09:00 am, with a sign reading their names, for a private sightseeing tour of Istanbul.

First visit of the day is to the Galata Tower which was built in 1303 by immigrants from Genoa, Italy. While sipping your Turkish coffee there, you will be amazed at the spectacular view of the Golden Horn and the old buildings located on its shores depicting how Istanbul looked hundreds years ago.
The private tour will continue with a visit to the Neve Shalom and the oldest Synagogue in Istanbul- the Ahrida Synagogue, built around 1470 by Jewish immigrants from Macedonia.
Lunch will be served at a local restaurant close to the sites.

The guests will be then taken to the Jewish Museum of Turkey. There is evidence that this building as a former synagogue existed in 1671. However the actual building was re-erected over its original foundations presumably in the early 19th Century. Zulfaris Synagogue has opened its doors as the Jewish museum in 2001. Continue to visit the Balat section, where the Star of David appears.

At the end of the day,a private lecturer/guide will take the guests back to the cruise pier.

Closed weekly days for sites/museums:
• Synagogues are closed on Saturdays and Sunday
* Neve Shalon Synagogue is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
• Zulfaris Synagogue (Jewish Museum) is closed on Saturdays.

* Please forward us a copy of your guests’ passport page with the photo, as required by the Chief Rabbi of Istanbul, to obtain His official approval for the synagogue visits in Turkey.

Added Value:

*Great introduction to Istanbul's Jewish history and culture

*The tour covers the main highlights of the Jewish Heritage in Istanbul

Tour Duration : 7 hours

Tour can operate: Starting mornings

Wheelchair Accessible: Partial

Physical Activity Level: Moderate

Included: Transportation by a cheaffeur driven a/c private vehicle, a licensed bilingual private lecturer/guide, entrance fees to the sites/museums

Not Included: Gratuities to the guide and driver, meals and personal expenses

Istanbul: Private Art Collections - 7 hours

An English speaking private lecturer/guide will meet you at at the Istanbul cruise pier at 9 am for departure by chauffeur driven a/c deluxe minivan, to start your private sightseeing tour of Istanbul.

Today’s private tour will start with a visit to the Istanbul Modern Museum of Art, situated at the shores of the Bosphorus. Istanbul Modern Museum of Art exhibits Turkey’s art heritage, and creates a platform for Turkish peoples’ creativity, dynamism, cultural identity and universal values.

A drive along the scenic Bosphorus Avenue will take you to the Family Villa of the Sabanci’s, the Internationally successful Turkish industrialist, now housing Mr. Sabanci’s lifetime collection of rare art pieces and celebrated paintings by Int’l and local masters, displayed in his former Family Home, recently donated to his Foundation as a Private Museum.

Lunch will be served at a local seafood restaurant by the shores of the Bosphorus (at your own discretion and cost).

After lunch, you will visit Private Museum of Lady Sadberk, donated to the nation by art-loving wife of Vehbi Koc, another leading industrialist. The beautiful, late-Ottoman wooden mansion contains a fabulous collection of Turkish arts and crafts, including jewelry, silverware, and Iznik ceramics of the classic period.

At the end of the tour, you will be transferred to your hotel/cruise pier by 4 pm.

Closed weekly days for sites/museums:

• Istanbul Modern Museum is closed on Mondays.

• Sabanci: Museum is closed on Mondays.

• Lady Sadberk Han Museum is closed on Wednesdays.


Added Value:

*Great introduction to Istanbul's art culture

*The tour covers the main highlights of art in the city

Tour Duration : 7 hours

Tour can operate: Starting mornings

Wheelchair Accessible: Partial

Physical Activity Level: Moderate

Included: Transportation by a chaeffeur driven a/c private vehicle, an officially licensed bilingual private lecturer/guide, entrance fees to the sites/museums

Not Included: Gratuities to the guide and driver, meals and personal expenses

Istanbul: Private Yacht Cruise along the Bosphorus - 7 hours

An English speaking officially licensed lecturer/guide will meet the guests at the Istanbul cruise pier at 09:00 am for a private sightseeing tour of Istanbul.

Today’s tour will start with a visit to the Dolmabahce Palace- the largest and the finest example of Ottoman Baroque Architecture, a monument to the Ottomans’ westernization process in the 19th century. The Ottoman response to the overwhelming changes in the post-renaissance world was rapid westernization, initiated in the imperial lifestyle at first that gave way to the creation of a series of baroque-style European-fashion palaces on the shores of the Bosphorus.

You will then board a private boat for a cruise on the Bosphorus against the majestic skyline of Istanbul. Your private boat will cruise along the romantic Bosphorus visiting both the Europe Side and the Asia Side of Istanbul by the shores of local fishing villages, en route when it is possible to take memorable photos of the fascinating environments including the 15th century Rumelihisar? Fortress, the Summer Palaces of Lady Ottoman Sultans, and the historical Wooden Houses (Yalis) of famous Turkish families. The cruise ends on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Lunch will be served at a local seafood restaurants in Kanlica Village by the Bosphorus.

After lunch, you will proceed to the top of the Grand Camlica Hill, where you will enjoy the panoramic view of the European side of Istanbul.

Your private tour will continue with a visit to the Beylerbeyi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman Sultans in late 19th and early 20th century.

After this visit, a scenic drive on the Asian shores of the Bosphorus will take you to the Kanlica Village where you will have a taste of the famous “local yogurt” and “apple tea” in a local café by the Bosphorus.

At the end of the day, the lecturer/guide will take the guests back to the hotel/cruise ship by 4 pm.

Closed weekly days for sites/museums:

• Dolmabahçe Palace is closed on Mondays and Thursdays.

• Beylerbeyi Palace is closed on Mondays and Thursdays.


Added Value:

*Great introduction to Istanbul's history and culture

Tour Duration : 7 hours

Tour can operate: Starting mornings

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Physical Activity Level: Moderate

Included: Transportation by a chauffeur driven a/c private vehicle, an officially licensed bilingual private lecturer/guide, entrance fees to the sites/museums

Not Included: Gratuities to the guide and driver, meals and personal expenses

Istanbul: The 16th Century Masterpieces of Sinan the Architect - 7 hours

Your English speaking private guide will meet you at the Istanbul cruise pier at 9 am for a private full day sightseeing tour of Sinan the architect’s Istanbul buildings.

The private tour will start with a visit to Rustem Pasha Mosque. It was designed by famous “Sinan the Architect” for Grand Vizier Rustem Pasha. Rustem Pasha Mosque is famous for its exquisite Iznik tiles, set in beautiful floral and geometric designs, which cover not only the facade of the porch but also the walls and columns.

Continue to Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent, which is the most important of all the imperial mosques in Istanbul. Suleyman the Magnificent and his wife are both buried here and the mosque is considered the most beautiful of the city’s Imperial mosques. It was built between 1550 and 1557 by Sinan, and is erected on the crest of a hill. The mosque is conspicuous by its great size, and has four minarets – one in each corner of the courtyard. The interior is also spectacular; the mihrab (prayer niche facing Mecca) and the mimber (pulpit) are finely carved in white marble, and there are magnificent stained glass windows.

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant close to the sights (at your own discretion and cost).

In the afternoon, you will visit the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque located in the Edirnekapi neighborhood near the Byzantine city walls. Located on the peak of the Sixth Hill near the highest point of the city, the mosque is a prominent landmark in Istanbul. The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque was designed by "Sinan the Architect" for the favorite daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent, Princess Mihrimah.

Last visit of the day will be to the Sehzade Mosque which was commissioned by Sultan Suleiman in memory of his eldest son by Hürrem, Prince Mehmet, who died the age of 21. It was the first major commission by the Imperial Architect Sinan and was completed in 1548. It is considered by architectural historians as Sinan's first masterpiece of classical Ottoman architecture.

At the end of the tour, you will be transferred to your hotel/cruise ship by 4 pm.

Added Value:

*Great introduction to Sinan the Architect's masterpieces

*The tour covers the masterpieces of Sinan the Architect in Istanbul

Tour Duration : 7 hours

Tour can operate: Starting mornings

Wheelchair Accessible: Partial

Physical Activity Level: Moderate

Included: Transportation by a chauffeur driven a/c private vehicle, an officially licensed bilingual private lecturer/guide, entrance fees to the sites/museums

Not Included: Gratuities to the guide and driver, meals and personal expenses

Istanbul - At Your Leisure Tour - 8 Hours (Provided by Travelive)

At Your Leisure Option: Please see below for details on this option.

You decide where to go and what to see.

Included:

  • Private Luxury Sedan with English-Speaking guide and driver for 8 hours
  • Bottled water in the vehicle
  • Gratuities to guide and driver**

Excluded:

  • Cost of meals and refreshments other than bottled water
  • Entrance fees
  • Items of personal nature
*Mileage restrictions may apply.
**Gratuities have been prepaid. Additional gratuities are at guest’s discretion.

Destination Guide