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The Best Shore Excursions With a Cruise to Istanbul

October 17th, 2013 | by Ashyln Molly

Istanbul is among the most populated cities in the world with approximately 13.5 million people calling the city home. With a history that dates back to 660 B.C. with rule by various civilizations and empires, Istanbul is truly a destination worth getting to know in more detail. With so much to offer, Istanbul is included as a port of call on many cruise ship itineraries to the eastern Mediterranean. While cruise ship passengers can explore the city on their own, many find it more convenient to take a shore excursion. There are multiple shore excursions to choose from, and these are among the best options available. Check out what Thomson Cruises have on offer right now!

1. Classical Istanbul

Cruise ship passengers who want to explore the ancient history of Istanbul in greater detail will want to take the eight and a half hour Classical Istanbul tour. This tour provides a convenient way to learn more about Istanbul’s rule under the Byzantines, at a time when the city was known as Constantinople, through to more of the city’s more recent history. Some of the many attractions to explore on this tour include the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Camii, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar. This full-day adventure is a wonderful way to visit the city’s most popular attractions in one day.

2. Topkapi Palace & Grand Bazaar

For those who want to enjoy the convenience of a guided shore excursion coupled with the some free time to shop at marketplaces and tour the city on their own, the five-hour Topkapi Palace & Grand Bazaar is an excellent shore excursion to consider. This tour visits two of the most popular attractions in the area. The Topkapi Palace is well-known for its rich history, beautiful gardens and the regal Imperial Treasury that is housed inside. The Grand Bazaar provides visitors with an opportunity to explore local culture and browse for souvenirs. This is a large marketplace with over 4,000 shops that sell everything from clothes to carpets.

3. Taste of Istanbul

The three and a half hour Taste of Istanbul tour is a morning shore excursion that includes visits to several popular attractions in Istanbul. This tour includes a visit to St. Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Underground Cistern. While shorter in length, this tour is an excellent way to learn more about Istanbul’s history and culture within just a few hours.

Many eastern Mediterranean cruises do include Istanbul as a port of call because of its important role in history and its status as a cultural mecca of the region. Take time to consider scheduling one of these popular shore excursions to enhance a visit to this vibrant city.

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