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7 nights
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Glories of Byzantium - 2019

A seven night escorted exploration of Istanbul & its surrounds

  • 5 October 2019
  • History and Culture
  • Blue Mosque interior

Founded by the Greeks in the seventh century BC, Istanbul served as the victorious capital city for both the Byzantine Empire, when it became known as Constantinople, and the Ottoman Empire and for centuries has been a bustling metropolis. It is blessed with a magnificent natural setting on the Bosphorous Strait and, having operated voyages around the Black Sea for over twenty years, we thought it was time to devise an escorted tour which allows for more time to discover the many facets of this deeply fascinating and historically important city where East meets West.

Our in-depth tour will explore Istanbul’s relatively compact Old City with its outstanding architectural history including the glorious mosaics in the Byzantine sixth-century cathedral of Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace and the beautiful Blue Mosque. We will stroll through the labyrinth of shops and markets in the Grand Bazaar, and the Greek and Jewish quarters, to learn more of the city’s diverse cultural heritage. We will enjoy a private cruise on the breathtaking Bosphorus, from where we can admire the incredible skyline dotted with Mosques and minartes, as well as a full day tour to the idyllic Princess Islands. A highlight for many will be our visit to the astonishing town of Edirne, once the thriving capital of the Ottoman Empire, where we will visit the great Selimiye Mosque, one of Sinan’s finest.

During the course of our stay there will be ample time to explore independently or relax at the hotel and we have devised the itinerary so that you can chose where you dine on several evenings, perhaps soak up the atmosphere at one of the Bosphorusfront fish restaurants or dine alfresco in one of the city’s many rooftop restaurants. Difficult to convey in words, the essence of Istanbul has to be experienced and our escorted visit offers the ideal opportunity.

Useful links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  


Glories of Byzantium

Glories of Byzantium

MARMARA PERA HOTEL

Located in a fantastic elevated position in the historic Pera District, close to the shopping and entertainment hub of Istiklal Street, the Marmara Pera Hotel is the ideal starting point from which to discover the fascinating city of Istanbul. Its rooftop pool area offers stunning views over the Bosphorus and Sultanahmet, whilst its proximity to both Taksim Square and the Old City make it a convenient base for independent exploration. We will be accommodated in the stylish and comfortable Superior Sea View Rooms.

View accommodation details

Itinerary

  • Galata Bridge
  • Hagia Sophia

Day 1 - London to Istanbul, Turkey.

Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive in the late afternoon and transfer to the Marmara Pera Hotel for a seven night stay. A welcome dinner will be held in the hotel this evening.

Day 2 - Sultanahmet.

After breakfast at the hotel we start our exploration of Istanbul at the Hippodrome, the centre of civic life in the capital of the Ottoman Empire and the site of speeches, chariot races, and riots. Next, visit the nearby Blue Mosque, named for its glorious 17th century painted tiles; and the Hagia Sophia, first a Byzantine patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque and today a museum. Known for its massive domed roof and colourful mosaics, this structure is widely regarded as the world’s finest example of Byzantine architecture. A short walk brings us to the Basilica Cistern, which dates back to the 6th century and is supported by 336 Corinthian columns making it one of the most magnificent covered cisterns in Istanbul. Lunch is taken at a local restaurant before returning to the hotel for an afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 3 - Fener and Balat.

Our day begins with an orientation tour along the ancient walls of Istanbul and a stop at Fener Greek Quarter, visiting the Greek Patriarchate and Orthodox Church and Balat, the Jewish Quarter, which dates back to the Byzantine period. Continue on to the small yet lavishly decorated Chora Church, which is part of a Byzantine monastery complex (now a museum) originally built outside the city walls of Constantine the Great, and view the many frescoes and mosaics depicting the beginnings of Christianity. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, sampling fine Ottoman cuisine before driving to the Suleymaniye Mosque, the largest in the city and a masterpiece of the 16th century architect Sinan. Spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring Istanbul independently.

Day 4 - Prince's Islands.

There is no better way to escape the bustle of Istanbul for a day than with a visit to the idyllic Prince's Islands. Enjoy cool breezes and charming sights along the way to Buyukada, the largest island in the chain. Famous for their mild climate, lush vegetation, and ornate Ottoman houses, all the islands are unspoiled by traffic. Instead of cars there are carriages, called phaetons, which we will use to tour the island and its beautiful scenery studded with elegant mansions draped with purple bougainvillea, reminiscent of a more leisurely and graceful era. We will take lunch at one of the many fish restaurants that line the waterfront, gazing across the Asian shore of Istanbul, so close - though it feels worlds away. Returning to Sultanahmet by local boat, a short coach transfer will return us to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 5 - Topkapi Palace & the Grand Bazaar.

Start the morning with a tour to the Istanbul Archaeological Museum that houses over a million ancient objects originating in all parts of the Mediterranean region. These include the Alexander sarcophagus, said to have been created for Alexander the Great; remnants of the Ishtar Gate in Babylon, and the 8th century BCE Siloam inscription from Jerusalem - among the oldest existing record of its kind written in Hebrew. Continue on to the impressive Topkapi Palace, a complex of buildings and annexes that was used as the Imperial residence of the Ottoman Sultans for nearly 400 years. Since 1924 it has been preserved as a museum, and it is noted for its beautiful shaded courtyards and elegant architecture. Enjoy a local lunch followed by a visit to the Grand Bazaar. Originally constructed in 1464, it is one of the largest covered markets in the world, comprising an amazing 4400 shops and 40 inns along 64 streets. Enjoy some free time here, perhaps sharpening your bartering skills, before returning to the hotel.

Day 6 - Edirne.

Today we will drive to Edirne, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire, located on the European border of modern day Turkey. Sinan, the most famous architect of the Ottoman era, chose this city for the construction of the spectacular Selimiye Mosque, nowadays a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Semiz Ali Pasa Bazaar, also the work of Sinan. Completed in 1589, it is a long tunnel-like building with shops on both sides. We continue to the Sultan Beyazit II Mosque Complex, the largest set of religious buildings in Edirne. Besides the mosque and religious school, the complex boasts a hospital, with famously skilled surgeons, and an impressive octagonal dome. Last but not least, see the New Bridge constructed at the junction of Maritsa and Tunca rivers between 1842 and 1847. Return back to Istanbul, arriving in the evening.

Day 7 - Beyoglu & Pera.

This morning venture into Istanbul’s famous Spice Market to enjoy the sounds and smells before heading out on a private cruise on the Bosphorous. Heading north and following the European shore we will pass Dolmabahce and Yildiz Palaces and sail as far as the Rumeli Fortress before crossing to the Asian side and returning past Beylerbeyi Palace. Returning to Karakoy Pier, we take the historic underground funicular train up to Beyoglu for lunch, before walking down to the iconic Galata Tower, built by Genoese merchants in 1303 as a watch tower to warn of approaching pirate ships. This afternoon take a walking tour of Istiklal street, the most famous avenue in Istanbul. This 1.8-milelong pedestrian avenue is the heart of the entertainment and shopping district of Beyoglu, which dead-ends at Taksim Square. This evening enjoy a farewell reception and dinner to celebrate the end of our glorious week in Istanbul.

Day 8 - Istanbul to London.

After breakfast transfer to the airport for our return scheduled direct flight to London.

  • Rumeli Fortress
  • Bosphorus Bridge

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
5 to 12 October 2019
Category Price
Twin £2475
Single £2995

Tour Reference Code: LABYZANTIUM

PRICE INCLUDES: Economy class scheduled air travel • Seven nights at the Marmara Pera Hotel in a Superior Sea View Room with breakfast daily • Six lunches and two dinners as indicated • Wine, beer and soft drinks with included meals • Excursions as described • Gratuities • Tour Manager • English-speaking local guide • Transfers • Entrance fees.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visa.

NB. Some of the excursions will include extended periods of walking including steps and over uneven terrain. We therefore do not recommend this tour for those with walking difficulties.

Group Size: We are restricting the group size to just 25 participants.

Glories of Byzantium

MARMARA PERA HOTEL

Located in a fantastic elevated position in the historic Pera District, close to the shopping and entertainment hub of Istiklal Street, the Marmara Pera Hotel is the ideal starting point from which to discover the fascinating city of Istanbul. Its rooftop pool area offers stunning views over the Bosphorus and Sultanahmet, whilst its proximity to both Taksim Square and the Old City make it a convenient base for independent exploration. We will be accommodated in the stylish and comfortable Superior Sea View Rooms.

 
  • Your Space

    Your Space

    The hotel facilities include a rooftop pool with comfortable sun loungers offering amazing city views as well as a gym and fitness centre. Dining options include the Marmara Café, renowned for its handmade chocolates, pastries and delicious food, and which offers a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the Beyoğlu district. There is also the Mikla Restaurant with its rooftop setting and magical views over the city which stretch to the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace. The restaurant has an urban, stylish design of chrome 50s and 70s furniture and a stunning wooden rail-sleepers bar. The dishes feature on the menu combine quality locally sourced ingredients with masterful cooking techniques.

  • Your Accommodation

    Your Accommodation

    The Superior Sea View Rooms average 22 square metres and offer wonderful views of the Bosphorus. The rooms feature a chic bedroom dresser, large working desk and armchair, and sliding wardrobes or wall wardrobe rails. The en-suite bathrooms offer a walk-in shower or bathtub with overhead shower and a vanity unit. The facilities include 24 hour in-room dining, complimentary Wi-Fi, telephone, hairdryer, mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, satellite TV and a safe. The rooms are non-smoking.

  • Hotel Directory

    Marmara Pera Hotel

    Hotel Directory

    The Marmara Pera Hotel is situated in the historic Pera District, close to both Taksim Square and the Old City making it the ideal location from which to discover the fascinating city of Istanbul. The stylish and comfortable Superior Sea View rooms offer wonderful views of the Bosphorus as well as all of the modern conveniences including complimentary Wi-Fi, mini bar and satellite television. When not exploring, enjoy the hotel facilities including a rooftop pool with sun loungers, a gym and fitness centre or simply relax at the rooftop restaurant and enjoy the panoramic views.

    ADDRESS & CONTACT DETAILS

    Mesrutiyet Caddesi Tepebasi 34430 Istanbul Tel: +90 212 334 0300 Email: pera-info@themarmarahotels.com

    AIR CONDITIONING

    Air conditioning is available in all rooms and public areas of the hotel.

    CHECK IN/CHECK OUT

    Check in time is from 2:00pm and check out is by 11:00am. If required, there is a luggage storage facility at the hotel.

    COMMUNICATIONS

    If you wish to contact the hotel please call +90 212 334 0300. This is a Turkish number so calls to this number are charged at an international rate. There is a phone in all bedrooms with access to an outside line. Outgoing call costs will be advised by Reception. You can make room-to-room calls free of charge (see section on Telephone Directory). You can contact the hotel by email at pera-info@themarmarahotels.com  Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.

    DAILY PROGRAMME

    Your Tour Manager will confirm the following day’s arrangements as well as any specific information about the day’s activities the previous evening.

    DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

    If you have any dietary requirements such as vegetarian, gluten free or low cholesterol, please notify the Reservations Department at Noble Caledonia. We will endeavour to accommodate your needs. Once checked in, please speak with the Maitre’D on your first night to reconfirm your needs.

    DINING AND DRINKING

    Café Marmara is open daily from 6:30am to 12:00am. A buffet breakfast is served here daily from 6:30 am to 10:30am (weekdays) and 6:30am to 11:00am (weekends). Mikla Restaurant is open daily for dinner from 6:00pm to 2:00am

    DRESS CODE

    You may dress however you feel comfortable, whether it be casual, summery or smart.

    ELECTRICITY

    The voltage in the hotel is 220 volts.

    EMERGENCY PROCEDURE

    In the unlikely event that an emergency should occur during your stay, we ask that you remain calm and follow the instructions of the staff. We request that as soon as you enter your room, you carefully read the safety instructions fixed on the inside of your hotel room door.

    END OF STAY QUESTIONNAIRE

    Your comments are important to us therefore we ask that you fill in the questionnaire sent with your final documents. We are always looking for ways to improve your holiday and in order to do this we welcome feedback from our guests.

    LAUNDRY

    Laundry and dry cleaning services are available in the hotel. Laundry bags and a price list can be found in your room.

    LIFT

    There is a lift which services all areas of the hotel.

    LOST PROPERTY

    Before you check out, please check your hotel room to ensure you do not leave anything behind. If you discover you have left any items behind, please contact Noble Caledonia directly. If we are able to recover your item(s) we will contact you to arrange delivery or collection, and any costs incurred will be at your own expense.

    MINI BAR

    All hotel rooms have a Mini Bar. Costs of items will be displayed in your room. Two bottles of complimentary water are provided daily.

    ROOM ACCOUNT

    All guests will have their own “room account” and can settle their bill at the Reception at the end of their stay. Prices are shown and charged in Turkish Lira. Your room account can by paid by: • Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard or American Express) • Cash (Turkish Lira)

    ROOMS

    The Superior Sea View Rooms average 22 square metres and offer wonderful views of the Bosphorus. The rooms feature a chic bedroom dresser, large working desk and armchair, and sliding wardrobes or wall wardrobe rails. The en-suite bathrooms offer a walk-in shower or bathtub with overhead shower and a vanity unit. The facilities include 24 hour in-room dining, complimentary Wi-Fi, telephone, hairdryer, mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, satellite TV and a safe. The rooms are non-smoking.

    SAFE

    All rooms have in-room safes for your use. Should you require any assistance please contact reception. Valuable items can also be deposited in the hotel safety deposit box at reception, the hotel cannot be held responsible for items left in the rooms.

    SMOKING POLICY

    Smoking is only permitted in designated areas. We kindly request that smokers take the comfort of other guests into consideration.

    TELEPHONE DIRECTORY

    Reception/Concierge Dial 0 Room Service Dial 2 Room to Room Dial 8 (If the room number is 3 digits, please dial 80 followed by the room number, if the room number is 4 digits, please dial 8 followed by the room number). Outside Line Dial 9 followed by the number including area code In Case of Emergency Dial 0

    TELEVISION

    All hotel rooms are equipped with a flat-screen television that has access to satellite TV.

    TOILETRIES

    All hotel rooms are supplied with the following complimentary amenities: • Shampoo • Conditioner • Soap • Shower caps • Vanity kit • Sewing kit

    WAKE UP CALL

    Wake up calls can be requested through the Reception.

    WATER

    Water from the taps in your room is safe to use, however we recommend drinking bottled water.

  • View all tours
  • Your Space

    Your Space

    The hotel facilities include a rooftop pool with comfortable sun loungers offering amazing city views as well as a gym and fitness centre. Dining options include the Marmara Café, renowned for its handmade chocolates, pastries and delicious food, and which offers a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the Beyoğlu district. There is also the Mikla Restaurant with its rooftop setting and magical views over the city which stretch to the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace. The restaurant has an urban, stylish design of chrome 50s and 70s furniture and a stunning wooden rail-sleepers bar. The dishes feature on the menu combine quality locally sourced ingredients with masterful cooking techniques.

  • Your Accommodation

    Your Accommodation

    The Superior Sea View Rooms average 22 square metres and offer wonderful views of the Bosphorus. The rooms feature a chic bedroom dresser, large working desk and armchair, and sliding wardrobes or wall wardrobe rails. The en-suite bathrooms offer a walk-in shower or bathtub with overhead shower and a vanity unit. The facilities include 24 hour in-room dining, complimentary Wi-Fi, telephone, hairdryer, mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, satellite TV and a safe. The rooms are non-smoking.

  • Hotel Directory

    Marmara Pera Hotel

    Hotel Directory

    The Marmara Pera Hotel is situated in the historic Pera District, close to both Taksim Square and the Old City making it the ideal location from which to discover the fascinating city of Istanbul. The stylish and comfortable Superior Sea View rooms offer wonderful views of the Bosphorus as well as all of the modern conveniences including complimentary Wi-Fi, mini bar and satellite television. When not exploring, enjoy the hotel facilities including a rooftop pool with sun loungers, a gym and fitness centre or simply relax at the rooftop restaurant and enjoy the panoramic views.

    ADDRESS & CONTACT DETAILS

    Mesrutiyet Caddesi Tepebasi 34430 Istanbul Tel: +90 212 334 0300 Email: pera-info@themarmarahotels.com

    AIR CONDITIONING

    Air conditioning is available in all rooms and public areas of the hotel.

    CHECK IN/CHECK OUT

    Check in time is from 2:00pm and check out is by 11:00am. If required, there is a luggage storage facility at the hotel.

    COMMUNICATIONS

    If you wish to contact the hotel please call +90 212 334 0300. This is a Turkish number so calls to this number are charged at an international rate. There is a phone in all bedrooms with access to an outside line. Outgoing call costs will be advised by Reception. You can make room-to-room calls free of charge (see section on Telephone Directory). You can contact the hotel by email at pera-info@themarmarahotels.com  Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.

    DAILY PROGRAMME

    Your Tour Manager will confirm the following day’s arrangements as well as any specific information about the day’s activities the previous evening.

    DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

    If you have any dietary requirements such as vegetarian, gluten free or low cholesterol, please notify the Reservations Department at Noble Caledonia. We will endeavour to accommodate your needs. Once checked in, please speak with the Maitre’D on your first night to reconfirm your needs.

    DINING AND DRINKING

    Café Marmara is open daily from 6:30am to 12:00am. A buffet breakfast is served here daily from 6:30 am to 10:30am (weekdays) and 6:30am to 11:00am (weekends). Mikla Restaurant is open daily for dinner from 6:00pm to 2:00am

    DRESS CODE

    You may dress however you feel comfortable, whether it be casual, summery or smart.

    ELECTRICITY

    The voltage in the hotel is 220 volts.

    EMERGENCY PROCEDURE

    In the unlikely event that an emergency should occur during your stay, we ask that you remain calm and follow the instructions of the staff. We request that as soon as you enter your room, you carefully read the safety instructions fixed on the inside of your hotel room door.

    END OF STAY QUESTIONNAIRE

    Your comments are important to us therefore we ask that you fill in the questionnaire sent with your final documents. We are always looking for ways to improve your holiday and in order to do this we welcome feedback from our guests.

    LAUNDRY

    Laundry and dry cleaning services are available in the hotel. Laundry bags and a price list can be found in your room.

    LIFT

    There is a lift which services all areas of the hotel.

    LOST PROPERTY

    Before you check out, please check your hotel room to ensure you do not leave anything behind. If you discover you have left any items behind, please contact Noble Caledonia directly. If we are able to recover your item(s) we will contact you to arrange delivery or collection, and any costs incurred will be at your own expense.

    MINI BAR

    All hotel rooms have a Mini Bar. Costs of items will be displayed in your room. Two bottles of complimentary water are provided daily.

    ROOM ACCOUNT

    All guests will have their own “room account” and can settle their bill at the Reception at the end of their stay. Prices are shown and charged in Turkish Lira. Your room account can by paid by: • Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard or American Express) • Cash (Turkish Lira)

    ROOMS

    The Superior Sea View Rooms average 22 square metres and offer wonderful views of the Bosphorus. The rooms feature a chic bedroom dresser, large working desk and armchair, and sliding wardrobes or wall wardrobe rails. The en-suite bathrooms offer a walk-in shower or bathtub with overhead shower and a vanity unit. The facilities include 24 hour in-room dining, complimentary Wi-Fi, telephone, hairdryer, mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, satellite TV and a safe. The rooms are non-smoking.

    SAFE

    All rooms have in-room safes for your use. Should you require any assistance please contact reception. Valuable items can also be deposited in the hotel safety deposit box at reception, the hotel cannot be held responsible for items left in the rooms.

    SMOKING POLICY

    Smoking is only permitted in designated areas. We kindly request that smokers take the comfort of other guests into consideration.

    TELEPHONE DIRECTORY

    Reception/Concierge Dial 0 Room Service Dial 2 Room to Room Dial 8 (If the room number is 3 digits, please dial 80 followed by the room number, if the room number is 4 digits, please dial 8 followed by the room number). Outside Line Dial 9 followed by the number including area code In Case of Emergency Dial 0

    TELEVISION

    All hotel rooms are equipped with a flat-screen television that has access to satellite TV.

    TOILETRIES

    All hotel rooms are supplied with the following complimentary amenities: • Shampoo • Conditioner • Soap • Shower caps • Vanity kit • Sewing kit

    WAKE UP CALL

    Wake up calls can be requested through the Reception.

    WATER

    Water from the taps in your room is safe to use, however we recommend drinking bottled water.

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