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Sitting on two continents, Istanbul is a city rich in history and vibrant culture. With lots of historical structures and breathtaking architecture from its ancient inhabitants, Istanbul is the perfect place for a family tour. Strengthen that family bond as you cruise along the Bosphorus, explore magnificent Byzantine and Ottoman buildings, and a tower from the Genoese arrival in the city.
As you explore the city’s spectacular sights and attractions with your family, be prepared to learn a lot about Turkish heritage and Istanbul’s rich history.
Strengthen the family bond at this all-time capital of the world.
Arrive in Istanbul, and our representative will take the family to your hotel for a stay overnight. There is an option to enjoy the relaxing Turkish Bath (Hamam). Your tour of the historic city will begin on the next day.
Your tour of Istanbul begins today; together with your family, our guide will lead you to the top highlights of this beautiful city.
We begin the day by visiting one of the largest and most iconic mosques in Istanbul, the Blue Mosque. Explore this representation of Ottoman architecture’s full grandeur, with its magnificent six minarets that adorn the city’s skyline. On the inside, this 17th-century phenomenon is decorated with breathtaking blue Iznik tiles that attract thousands of visitors yearly. The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I, who wanted to build a monument that would surpass the Hagia Sophia in beauty and splendor to Placate Allah.
Opposite the Blue Mosque is the building it was built to surpass, the Hagia Sophia- a magnificent building where Ottoman and Byzantine architecture mix. This architectural marvel with a 1500-year old history started as a Christian cathedral before being converted into a mosque when the Ottoman Turks conquered Istanbul.
Marvel at the building’s breathtaking design and explore the interior lined with a dazzling blend of Christian and Islam style decorations.
Our next stop is the largest of the several hundred cisterns lying beneath the city of Istanbul- the Basilica Cistern. Finished in 532 AD, this cathedral-sized cistern served to supply water to the Great Palace of Constantinople. Later on, after the Ottomans conquered the city, the cistern continued to provide water to Topkapi Palace. It can store 80,000 cubic meters of water delivered via a connection of aqueducts from the Egrikapi Water Distribution Center in Belgrade Forest.
Descend 52 stone steps into the entrance of the cistern- you will want to hold on to your little ones as you explore this massive underground structure. Marvel at the ingenuity of the Byzantine architects who designed the facility, including its waterproof fire brick wall and the massive marble columns supporting the ceiling. The Hen’s Eye column and two other columns with bases carved with the head of Medusa are some of the columns that will blow your mind.
We end the day with a glimpse of the luxurious lives of the Ottoman royal families at the Topkapi Palace. For nearly 400 years, this delightful palace was the primary residence of the Sultans. The building now serves as a museum, the most visited museum in Turkey, that treats visitors with a taste of royal extravagance. From the outside, its architectural design is one to behold, although this is just a taste of the beauty to expect once you are on the inside.
Enjoy the many collections on display- from beautiful jewelry and fabrics to Ottoman weapons that will blow the mind of any ten-year-old boy and unique Japanese and Chinese porcelain. There is a chamber containing Holy relics from Islam and Christianity and the breathtaking Harem where the wives and concubines of the Sultan resided, among other beautiful rooms in the palace. Explore all these while the Sultans look on from their portraits as your family enjoys a taste of the life they once had.
We start our third day at the Galata Tower, which towers 66.9 meters above the neighborhood it borrows its name from. The tower is widely believed to date back to when the Genoese arrived and functioned as a surveillance tower. Its stunning architecture is an intricate mix of Genoese, East Roman, and Ottoman styles.
Inside the tower is a museum where you will learn the building’s history and a restaurant cafe that serves delicious food. Perhaps the most exciting section is the conic top with 14 windows that serves as a restaurant. The terrace here will give you a panoramic view of Istanbul, the Golden home, and the Bosphorus Strait.
We then head to the only Industrial Museum in Turkey, the Rahmi Koc Museum. This splendid museum sits on two historic buildings; a 19th-century dockyard and a restored Byzantine stone building -the Lengerhane. The exhibits in the museum let you admire a vast collection of classic cars, historic trams, and even a 1944 US naval Submarine that will leave your kids wide-eyed. There are a Turkish restaurant, a café and a French restaurant within the museum, and a children’s carousel and playground that the little ones will love.
After a glimpse into Turkey’s transport and industrial history, we proceed to the Maritime Museum situated in Besiktas. This magnificent museum was established in 1961 and consists of centuries-old Ottoman wooden rowboats, ship models, figureheads, caiques, and other naval objects.
Learn Turkey’s naval history and marvel at the old maritime objects, including an ancient Byzantine chain, that blocked enemy ships from entering the Golden Horn.
Once our share of museums for the day is over, proceed to the Bosphorus for a scenic cruise along the strait. The cruise gives you striking scenes deep in the heart of the city, away from Istanbul’s main attractions. Get the best view of the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, including breathtaking views of sumptuous palaces, mosques, ornate timber mansions, and suspension bridges before proceeding to your hotel for your stay overnight.
We will spend this day exploring the peaceful Princes’ Islands of Istanbul, a chain of nine small islands in the Sea of Marmara. Here, you and your family will enjoy the sound of silence, peace, and tranquility away from Istanbul’s hectic day-to-day city life. Even better, the kids can now run and play around since all motorized vehicles are banned in the islands -bicycles and e-vehicles are the main modes of transportation.
Spend a day in these oases of peace as you walk or ride along the narrow streets surrounded by fine Victorian cottages and untouched pine forests.
After days of family bonding and fun touring Istanbul’s top attractions and treasure, proceed to the airport for your flight back home or to your next destination. If there is enough time before your flight home, we can arrange some more fun and easy family activities.
In addition to some extraordinary places that we would like to include for this city, note that the population of Istanbul is around 20 million, and toddlers make up %10 of this population while the total number of children is almost 4 million in the city.