Istanbul Old City Tour will make you discover the wonders of Sultanahmet, the historical peninsula of Istanbul where for thousands of years great empires have flourished. Riding our bikes in the ancient Constantinople, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we will see mosques, palaces, churches, parks and traditional districts. Besides seeing the most iconic monuments we will gain an insight of Istanbul’s daily life, discovering some aspects of the city which tourists normally don’t get to see.
During our bike tours, all places in the tour itinerary will only be seen from outside. If you plan to make an interior visits to the historical monuments and to get more detailed information we recommend you to book for our walking tours organised by our official travel agency, Tourever Travel
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The tour starts from our meeting point located in Balat district and draws a circle route in Sultanahmet, the historical and world heritage area of Istanbul. In about 4 hours we will visit all the must-see and iconic monuments (Topkapi, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Suleymaniye Mosque, Grand Bazaar), less-known great sights (Spice Bazaar, New Mosque, Aqueduct of Valens, Sehzade Mosque, Rustem Pasha Mosque), as well as traditional districts (Kumkapi and Yenikapi) and green areas (Gulhane Park, Sultanahmet Square). The route is very scenic as we get spectacular views of the city throughout the ride.
- Fener Orthodox Patriarchate & Church of St. George
- Fener Greek Orthodox College
- Rustem Pasha Mosque
- New Mother Mosque
- Spice Bazaar
- Galata Bridge
- Galata Tower
- Sirkeci Train Gar (Terminal)
- Gulhane Park
- Topkapi Palace
- Hagia Sophia Museum
- Hurrem Sultan Turkish Bath
- Blue Mosque
- Basilica Cistern
- Hippodrome of Constantinople
- Theodosian city walls
- Kumkapi Fish Restaurants
- Yenikapi district
- Valens Acquaducts
- Sehzadebasi Mosque
- Suleymaniye Mosque
Monuments will be seen only from outside
The route may be subject to change depending on traffic, weather conditions and other factors.
Duration: 4 hrs. approx.
Distance: 20 km approx.
Difficulty level: Challenging
Included: Guide service, rent a bike, helmets
Not included: Lunch
DESCRIPTION OF ITINERARY
1. Sirkeci Terminal
The point of arrival of the famous Orient Express, the passenger railway line which from 1883 to 1977 linked Paris and Istanbul. Built by a Prussian architect, the terminal building is a striking example of European Orientalism.
2. Gulhane Park
Riding along the Golden Horn waterfront we get to Gulhane Park, an oasis of peace in bustling Istanbul. The park, which extends over the slope of Topkapi Palace, used to be the private garden of the Sultans. Leaving the park on our right we can catch a glimpse of the Sublime Porte, the former gate of the Grand Vizier’s residence.
3. Sultanahmet Square
A short ride and we get to Sultanahmet Square. Here we are just in the middle of two authentic wonders: St. Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque), heritage and symbols of two great civilizations standing aside each other.
We run the full lap of the Hippodrome, just like the Roman horsed-chariot used to. As we do so we can admire the mystic obelisks which stand out in Istanbul’s sky, adding a touch of mystery to it.
5. Topkapi Palace
We reach the imposing gate of Topkapi Palace, for nearly 400 years the magnificent residence of the Sultans from which they ruled the empire.
6. Kumkapi district
From Topkapi we proceed downhill to the Marmara waterfront. Here you can see some still-standing stretches of the Theodosian walls which protected the city. We reach the bustling seaside district of Kumkapi which has been a fishing center since ancient times. Here you can taste the best fish of Istanbul either buying it from the fish market or eating in one of the numerous fish restaurants lining the streets.
7. Yenikapi district
Moving further we get to the ancient port of Yenikapi where an extraordinary archeological site has been found in recent years. A huge number of shipwrecks and associated artifacts are currently under investigations here.
8. Aqueduct of Valens and Sehzadebasi Mosque
The silhouette of the massive Aqueduct of Valens awaits us as we climb up the hill. Soon after we encounter Sehzadebasi Mosque (Prince’s Mosque), which was built on the order of Sultan Suleiman to commemorate his eldest son.
9. Suleymaniye Mosque
Some more thrusting on the pedals and we reach the impressive Suleymaniye Mosque, the masterpiece of Mimar Sinan, the greatest architect of Ottoman time. The mosque (1558), the grandest of the city, testifies the splendors reached by the Ottoman Empire under Suleiman’s reign. The view of the city from here is magnificent just like the epithet of the great sultan.
10. Grand Bazaar
Next stop is the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest closed markets in the world. Here one can lose himself in the maze of galleries and bargain for handmade carpets and antiques.
11. Rustem Pasha Mosque
The way to Rustem Pasha Mosque is all downhill. This beautiful mosque, another masterpiece of Sinan, was built for the Grand Vizier Damat Rustem Pasha, husband of a daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent.
Here your sight embraces some outstanding monuments: the Galata Bridge, the New Mosque, the Spice Bazaar and on the opposite shore of the Golden Horn, the district of Beyoglu.