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Private Istiklal Street And Grand Bazaar

Explore the everyday life of Istanbul, its people, culture, and shopping on this half-day program that will show you the highlights of this city where Europe meets Asia.

Private Istiklal Street and Grand Bazaar

After meeting your professionally trained guide, you will take a short drive to Taksim Square, the heart of modern Istanbul. The square was laid out in the late 1800s near a Taksim (branching-point) in the city's water distribution system. At the southern end of the square is a statue of the founder of modern-day Turkey, Kemal Ataturk.

Walking to the far side of the square you come to the beginning of Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue) which is the main artery of the Beyoglu district. Now a pedestrian way, it is the city's most popular strolling, shopping, and meeting street. Many of the buildings date back to the 19th-century when this area was referred to as the Paris of the East, with its half-European, half-Asian culture. The storefronts are lined with boutiques, cafes, consulates, restaurants, galleries, cinemas, and banks, with residential apartments above. During your walk, you will visit one of the many wine houses where you will have the opportunity to taste a glass of local wine.

There are two churches on the street. St Maria Draperies and the Italian church St. Antoine dates back to 1906 and is the most important Catholic church in Istanbul. Halfway along Istiklal Caddesi is Galatasaray Square, named after the Galata Palace, the first official European-influenced high school in the Ottoman Empire. Other sites you will see in this area include the Galatasaray Bath, which dates back to 1482, I Ek Pasaj - the flower passage, Pera Palas, which is one of the oldest hotels in Istanbul, and the Nostalgic Istiklal Caddesi Tram, a 19th-century tram that was restored and placed back into service when the street became a pedestrian street. At the end of Istiklal Street, is the area called Tunel, where French engineers built Istanbul's Tunel underground train in 1875. It allowed European diplomats and businessmen to ride between their waterside offices in Karakoy and their hilltop residences in Beyoglu. It was only the third underground railway built in the world at that time.

The final stop on the tour is the exotic Grand Bazaar area where you will have the opportunity for exploring some of the 4,000 shops. After free time in the Bazaar, you will be returned to the pier.

Please note: The covered area of the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays; a visit to the Spice Market will be substituted.

Starting At
 
Tour Type
Private
 
Group Size
Private
 
Activity Type(s)
Cultural, Scenic
 
Tour Duration
4 Hours
 
Activity Level
Moderate
 
Tour Leaves From
Cruise Ship Pier
 
Food/Beverage Provided
Wine Tasting
 
Special Instructions
Comfortable clothing and sensible walking shoes are recommended. Sun screen and sun glasses are suggested.
 
Restrictions
Guests under 18 years of age will be served a soft drink at the wine house. This walking tour is over paved as well as cobblestone surfaces.
Location Overview
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About Shore Excursions Group
ABOUT US
Shore Excursions Group was created with one goal in mind: to provide exceptional travel experiences to cruise passengers in the ports they visit around the world. To accomplish this, we have compiled an exceptional array of tours delivered by local experts with decades of experience serving travelers and delivering excellent tours. Our owners and management team are comprised of seasoned travel industry executives who leverage their considerable experience to deliver memories of a lifetime.

We are experts in providing exceptional shore excursions. We understand that in today's fast paced world, vacations have become an increasingly important way to relax, reconnect with family and friends, and experience new and interesting places. With this in mind, we provide the highest quality tours by performing extensive research, and detailed reviews. While other companies also offer excursions, we strongly believe our expertise and approach set us apart. The large cruise lines sell shore excursions - typically in very large groups visiting high traffic sites. We focus on smaller groups visiting more interesting and authentic locations using more personalized local operators. While the cruise lines are experts in delivering cruises, we are experts in delivering shore excursions.

Our Approach
We believe quality service is not only highly valued by customers, but ultimately leads to better experiences and higher satisfaction. Unlike the cruise lines and other tour companies that rely almost entirely on websites, we encourage customers to call us. We want to invest our time answering your questions, providing input, and selecting the excursions that best meet your needs.

Our Tours
Our goal is to provide customers a wide array of exciting, appealing, and enriching tours. For those customers who prefer to travel in smaller groups with more personalized service, we offer a wide variety of small group tours around the world. These tours generally range in size from 2-12 people compared to larger tours which can number up to 50 people. While exploring the destinations and ports on this website, feel free to search for these "Small Group Tours". For those customers interested in private tours, we offer many outstanding excursions that allow you to travel with your party alone and, in many cases, to fully customize your tour. Search for "Private Tours" if you are interested in this experience. Our "Scenic" tours provide up close and personal access to some of the most spectacular natural environments on Earth from majestic glaciers in Alaska to spectacular reefs in the Caribbean. Our "Cultural" tours allow customers to experience local customs, entertainment and culinary delights ranging from tribal dances in Alaska to an outstanding local meal in Santorini, Greece. Our "Active" tours offer a multitude of exciting and adventurous ways to experience our destinations. Our customers can kayak the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, hike to a spectacular waterfall in Hawaii, or bicycle through quaint villages in France. Our "City" tours allow travelers to see the highlights of great cities around the world with unique insights provided by our expert tour guides.

Our People
In our experience, exceptional travel experiences are almost always delivered by exceptional people. With that in mind, we utilize a comprehensive approach to select and employ the leading tour guides and tour providers around the globe. We hold our people to very high standards which we measure by our comprehensive Quality Control process and, most importantly, by our customer feedback, which we will actively seek from each of our customers.

Our Owners
Shore Excursions Group is owned by seasoned travel executives possessing extensive experience across many sectors within the travel industry.

Bradford J. Miller
Mr. Miller is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Abercrombie & Kent, the World's leading luxury travel company. In that role, Mr. Miller was responsible for contributing to Abercrombie & Kent's international growth through the development and acquisition of tour products and travel experiences around the world with a specific focus on cruising and land based experiences. Prior to joining Abercrombie & Kent, Mr. Miller held a variety of executive positions with Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises for more than a decade. These positions included Vice President of Guest Sales & Service, Vice President of Brand Development, and Vice President of Onboard Revenue (which included shore excursions). Mr. Miller also led Celebrity Expeditions, a collection of outstanding and unique tours around the World.

Michael Bonner
Mr. Bonner has over a decade of experience working in the cruise industry in a variety of roles for both Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Viking River Cruises. Most recently, Mr. Bonner was the Chief Operating Officer for The Scholar Ship, a Royal Caribbean program aimed at providing college students onboard educational programs in conjunction with enriching shore excursions around the world. Mr. Bonner also helped co-manage Viking River Cruises U.S. Operations, and he ran the corporate, strategic, and deployment planning functions at Royal Caribbean. While at Royal Caribbean, Mr. Bonner was responsible for forming Royal Celebrity Tours, Royal Caribbean's land-based tour operation in Alaska, which takes cruise passengers on multiple day tours through the interior of Alaska either before or after their cruises. Prior to working at Royal Caribbean, Mr. Bonner was a consultant for Booz Allen & Hamilton.

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Prices are per-person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted.