Itinerary - Istanbul Express
Welcome to Istanbul
International flights to and from the UK are not included in the package, so you can decide where to leave from, at what time and with the airline you prefer. This is to give you maximum freedom of choice!
Check-in at the hotel in Istanbul and welcome meeting with the Tour Leader. Let's start warming up the engines by taking a stroll through the streets of this sparkling city. We can start discovering local products (from fish to books!) and then reach the seafront to relax in the sun waiting for our first Turkish sunset. And in order not to miss anything, we'll take care of the welcome drink!
Welcome drink included in the travel fee. Local transport (public and/or private) included in the common fund. Other meals and drinks to be paid by the individual participants.
Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia
It's time to immerse ourselves in the heart of this fabulous city starting from one of its symbols: the Blue Mosque, the most photogenic building in Istanbul; the name derives from the more than 20,000 turquoise ceramic tiles that decorate the walls of the dome. Even the outside is no joke: large arches, curved lines and an almost surreal symmetry make this place magical. After the visit to the Blue Mosque we go down to the Basilica Cistern, built at the behest of the Emperor Justinian, which will enchant us with its extraordinary architectural symmetry. Then we continue towards the Hagia Sophia, which until the fifteenth century was the most imposing Church of Christianity: but even today we will remain breathless in front of the majesty and grandeur of the interior, especially the dome! The plays of light that are created thanks to the windows and the golden decorations make the atmosphere mystical, and the dome seems to almost hover in the air above the nave.
Balik Ekmek and Grand Bazaar
For lunch we move towards the Galata Bridge: how about a succulent Balik Ekmek? The famous fish sandwich is a must-try in these parts! With a full stomach we then move towards the Grand Bazaar, the ancient market that still today offers stalls for even for the most demanding shopper. Let's not forget to pick up a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and taste the famous Turkish sweets - did someone say baklava?! Before returning to the hotel to prepare for the evening, we cannot miss the sunset, perhaps comfortably seated on one of the many rooftops in the city.
Typical dinner and nightlife
After some well-deserved relaxation, we'll be ready for another memorable dinner to spend together: we'll treat ourselves to a typical café and then continue towards the pinnacle of Istanbul's nightlife, at Istiklal Kaddesi.
Entrance fees and local transport (public and/or private) included in the common fund. Meals and drinks to be paid by the individual participants.
Istanbul: beyond the Bosphorus
Discovering the Asian districts: Üsküdar, Kuzguncuk and Kadıköy
Üsküdar is one of the oldest districts of Ottoman Istanbul and still today it retains its original character: there are more than 180 mosques in the neighborhood, some of these date back to before the Ottoman conquest, so are among the oldest in Istanbul.
Not far from Üsküdar stands Kuzguncuk, a neighborhood inhabited by the Jewish population since 1500 and which later also welcomed the Greek and Armenian population. Kuzguncuk is one of our absolute favorite neighborhoods: it's only here that you can see a mosque next to an Armenian church, and a synagogue next to an Orthodox church. Kuzguncuk is a symbol of tolerance and harmony in Ottoman Istanbul in the past…something to think about and learn from!
The last district we will visit is Kadıköy, which is now to all intents and purposes one of the most modern and lively districts of Istanbul.
A traditional turkish bath
Wait a minute... turkish bath?! But what exactly is it?
A traditional Turkish bath is a more humid variant of the sauna so don't worry, it's nice and relaxing :-)
In Istanbul we will find hundreds of hammams: in the vast majority we are talking about traditional Turkish baths but in recent years spas have also started to appear, with a more western style; but since we are in the heart of ancient Constantinople, we will let you experience a traditional Turkish bath!
Turkish bath included in the travel fee. Local transport (public and/or private) included in the common fund. Other meals and drinks to be paid by the individual participants.
Istanbul: "the unexplored"
Fener and Balat
We could not spend our last morning on Turkish soil without seeing the true soul of Istanbul. The less known districts of Fener and Balat with their coloured wood, narrow and cobbled alleys and the smell of freshly baked bread… So let's wear comfortable shoes and give space to the Indiana Jones we have hidden inside us! We will then visit the local spice market and recharge our batteries with an excellent local lunch.
After lunch we'll have a nice coffee - obviously Turkish - and the afternoon will be totally at your disposal: you can take advantage of it to discover the Suleiman Mosque and the typical neighborhood of Fatih, with its little-known but beautiful mosque, or you can take advantage of the free time for some shopping - even if it wouldn't hurt to nice aperitif overlooking the Bosphorus which, with the colors of the sunset, becomes even more suggestive.
Farewell dinner and fiesta!
Finally, we all meet for the farewell dinner; the evening?! Well, we are in Istanbul, a city that never sleeps so how about a little fiesta?
Farewell dinner included in the travel fee. Local transport (public and/or private) included in the common fund. Other meals and drinks to be paid by the individual participants.
Check-out and goodbyes
Check-out and goodbyes. Time has flown by, it always does when you have new adventures!
End of WeRoad services. NB The tour program may undergo variations, compared to what has been published, for unforeseeable reasons and external to WeRoad's will (weather conditions, holidays, strikes, etc.).