Istanbul is the biggest city of Turkey, a real metropole and a meeting point for many cultures throughout history. A lot of modern areas of Istanbul today has been small fishing towns before. Being located by the Bosphorus, a seafood dinner is a great feast for Istanbulers along with Greek/Turkish/Armenian mezes and lion’s milk “raki”. In our Istanbul culinary break tour, we will combine beautiful historical sites of Istanbul with great tasting and cooking stops.
Day 1 - Arrival
Welcome to Istanbul! Upon arrival you will be met by a Unison Turkey representative at the airport and escorted to your hotel. Along the way, you will be given a small brief about Turkey and it’s culture as well as the schedule of the rest of your trip. Tonight is free at your leisure. You can explore the restaurants around your hotel or enjoy one of our recommended restaurants, where we provide table reservation and transfer service.
Day 2 - Must see these sites
Your day will start in the Hippodrome Square, where was considered the heart of Constantinopole and the chariot races were held. We will see the Obelisk and the Serpentine Coloumn. Next proceed to Topkapi Palace, to visit the spacious grounds, four courtyards, treasury and you also have the option of visiting Harem (entrance fee to be paid locally). We are having a special lunch today in a local restaurant which is mostly preferred by the locals working in nearby shops (Esnaf Lokantasi). We will taste a selection of mezes, and samples of kebabs including famous Beyti. After lunch, continue with the visit of Blue Mosque, 17th century imperial mosque famous for its six minarets and its interior blue tiles and the Hagia Sophia, the 6th century Byzantine basilica, the largest church of its era and the architectural glory of the Byzantines. Our day will end in Grand Bazaar, the largest and oldest covered market in Istanbul with more than 3000 shops selling carpets, leather, jewellery, spices, antiques, and more.. You will test your bargaining skills while getting lost in many streets of this market.
Things To Know
- Topkapı Palace Museum is closed on Tuesdays
- Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays
- Closed museums will be replaced with a substitute
Day 3 - Breakfast in Europe & Lunch in Asia - Tasting, seeing, smelling, listening in Istanbul
Today we recommend light breakfast, since this tour includes some sampling of Turkish specials, topped by a lunch in an extremely good indigenous Turkish restaurant in Asian Istanbul. We will begin our day with a stroll on New towns historical Istiklal Street. Our half hour experience will introduce the highlights of the street, with local fish and vegetable street market, famous pastry & Turkish bagel (Simit) shops, borek( Turkish flaky pasty ) places.
We will continue by exploring Spice Market and its environs. Some rare or famous Turkish specials will be available: classical Turkish delight with roasted pistachio, mastic Turkish delight, apple tea will be among our early morning experiences. Various Ottoman paste and fig & nut combinations bare a sign on the stands reading Turkish Viagra. All sorts of spices including Saffron is also available; there will be a session of smelling: Turkish rose oil is exported to France for the famous perfumes.. You will also see a number of special ingredients to Turkish meals like pepper paste, dried Eggplant-tomato-pepper skin, and at lunch time you will experience the cooked version of these ingredients. After Spice Market we will proceed to the Archaeological Museum. The museum is rather famous for its Sarcophagus collection; and our highlights tour is limited to 1.5 hour. Then we will cross to Asia for lunch: Lunch is at a relatively famous restaurant catering mainly the residents of Asia district of Istanbul; the restaurant is highly regarded by the members of Turkish media who dine here in their articles; yet it is not discovered by tour groups; so you would be the only foreign visitors there. The restaurant cooks homemade vegetable dishes daily; (30 to 40 cold served starters and 15 warm courses to choose from; but each is cooked to the exact high quality taste requirements of the Turks dining here) and these are displayed at warm and cold sections accordingly; and before giving your order a presentation on the selections will also be possible. After lunch we are scheduled to be on time for a half hour concert of Mehter Band - Ottoman Military Band with their 50 performers in their Original Ottoman costumes with native Ottoman instruments at 3 oclock; the band influenced composers like Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, or Mozart: The music called A la Turca originates from their music. The concert is in the Military Museum of the New Town, which houses superb collection of Ottoman arms, flags, banners, helmets, models and miniatures; after the concert before heading back to hotel, brief stop to see the artefacts will also be available.
Things To Know
- Archeology Museum is closed on Mondays
- Military Museum is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays – Band performs in alternative spot
- Closed museums will be replaced with a substitute
Day 4 – Time to cook your own dish!
After enjoying a relaxed breakfast, your guide will meet you in your hotel about 10:00am. First, you will get a brief lecture about Turkish cuisine, our menu and cooking styles in Turkey. Then head to one of many amazing street markets of Istanbul. Depending on the season and our menu, you will enjoy a late morning shopping either in fish bazaar of Taksim, or narrow streets of Egyptian Market or lively and colourful Kadikoy of Asia (Only one of the street shop areas will be visited depending on the menu and the season).
After hand picking your fresh ingredients, we will head to Old City to our kitchen located inside a boutique hotel and start preparing a 4 course Turkish style menu with mezes, hot starters, main course and top it up with a delicious dessert. After a challenging few hours in the kitchen, it’s time to enjoy fruits of our hard work along with a nice glass of Turkish wine.
After lunch, we will drive along the Bosphorus and will then take our cruise from old fisherman’s town Ortakoy. For 1 hour, we will be enjoying the beautiful views of mosques, palaces and old houses along the shore. We will finish our day after having a cup of Turkish tea in one of the street cafes of Ortakoy.
Day 5 – Never enough..
Today after breakfast, we will transfer you to the airport for your flight to the next destination.
Prices include 4 star accommodation in each destination. We can change the hotel standard according to clients' preference and budget.
Rates are based on private services and include transportation, guide services and entrance fees as per itinerary.
Rates do not include meals as we assume the clients would rather order from ala carte menu than being limited by set menus.
All prices are in EUR and NET.
Domestic flights are not included in above prices. Domestic flight rates are to be added on top of the tour rate. As prices vary due to availability, domestic flight rates will be advised at the time of enquiry.
Above prices are given for guidance only. Prices may change according to the changes in the programs according to clients’ wishes, when preparing tailor made itineraries.