Constantinople & Istanbul: A Tale of Two Cities
30 Sep-06 Oct 2022 Led by Sue Rollin Special Interest


Constantinople & Istanbul: A Tale of Two Cities
30 Sep-06 Oct 2022 Led by Sue Rollin Special Interest

Constantinople and Istanbul, two names for one city, capital of the mighty Byzantine and Ottoman empires, a city where East meets West, astride two continents, Europe and Asia. Its shores are lapped by the Sea of Marmara, the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus and its monuments are ranged over seven hills. Minarets and domes dominate the famous skyline and a stroll through the streets reveals the city's diverse and magnificent heritage. Haghia Sophia, great cathedral of Byzantium, with magnificent marbles and mosaics, Ottoman mosques clad in beautiful Iznik tiles, the Topkapi palace, luxurious residence of the sultans, elegant fountains, bathhouses and bustling covered markets make Istanbul one of the most fascinating cities in the world. This tour includes a day trip to Edirne, in Turkish Thrace, a charming, small town and early Ottoman capital which is crowned by the Selimiye mosque, the culmination of the Ottoman classical style.

Sue Rollin is an archaeologist, historian and linguist with 30 years’ experience in leading tours to Central Asia, India, the Middle East and countries around the Mediterranean. Her personal interests include art and architecture, comparative religion, gastronomy and walking. She is co-author of two travel guides: the ‘Blue Guide to Jordan’ and ‘Istanbul: A Traveller’s Guide’.

Since Sue led her first tour of Classical Turkey in 1987, she has designed and led over 60 cultural tours in 10 countries and 3 continents and travelled in many more. ‘I enjoy meeting adventurous and open-minded travellers and renewing old acquaintances, sharing my knowledge as we visit interesting sites, travel through beautiful landscapes. It is a privilege to be able to introduce others to some of my favourite places,’ says Sue, ‘and to share some unforgettable experiences.’

7 days from £1,995.00 per person
London - Istanbul - Edirne - Istanbul - London

Contact a
specialist consultant

020 8901 7320 Enquiry
Itinerary View Map
Play video

Day 1:

Friday 30 September

Fly from London Heathrow to Istanbul by Turkish Airlines TK1980 at 11:30, arrive 18:20 and transfer to our hotel. Welcome dinner and then retire for the night. D

Day 2: Istanbul

Saturday 1 October

A day spent exploring the Byzantine monuments, beginning with the Hippodrome, once Constantinople's great arena for chariot races and other public entertainment followed by the majestic 6C cathedral of Haghia Sophia, a remarkable testament to Byzantine architectural geometry. Continue to the Yerebetan Saray, an extraordinary underground cistern with a forest of over 300 columns. The nearby Mosaic Museum houses original ornamental pavements from the Great Palace of the Byzantine emperors. In the afternoon we visit the little church of St. Saviour in Chora, a jewelhouse of Late Byzantine mosaics and frescoes, then continue to the market area for a walk through the fascinating Covered Bazaar originally founded by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. There is some free time for independent exploration and shopping. B

Day 3: Istanbul

Sunday 2 October

We continue our exploration of the Ottoman city with a morning visit to the Topkapı Palace, opulent residence of the Ottoman sultans and political centre of the empire. We see the magnificent displays of Chinese porcelain and Ottoman textiles as well as the Imperial Treasury with its wealth of gold and jewels and the harem, centre of the sultan's private life. In the afternoon we visit the imposing Süleymaniye mosque complex, masterpiece of the great Ottoman architect Sinan, and the later mosque of Sultan Ahmet, also known as the 'Blue Mosque', unique in Turkey with its 6 elegant minarets. B

Day 4: Istanbul

Monday 3 October

Morning private boat trip along the Bosphorus, the straits separating Europe and Asia, past castles and ornate Ottoman mansions and palaces. We visit the Sadberk Hanım museum, which displays both a fine archaeological collection spanning the Anatolian Neolithic to Byzantium and a magnificent range of Ottoman textiles, ceramics, calligraphy and metalwork. After lunch by the Bosphorus we return to the Golden Horn and see the mosque of Rüstem Pasha, Süleyman the Magnificent's grand vizier, its interior covered from floor to ceiling in high quality Iznik tiles. Finally we walk through the colourful Spice Market and there is free time to stroll around the bustling market area. B, L

Day 5: Istanbul

Tuesday 4 October

A full day excursion to Edirne, for a time capital of the Ottoman empire until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. This charming town of Turkish Thrace boasts some fine early Ottoman mosques: the Eski Cami (Old Mosque) is in the central market area, the Üçserefeli mosque experiments with a large dome and outer courtyard and the Beyazidiye complex, on the banks of the River Tunca, included a clinic which now houses displays of Ottoman medicine. Edirme's crowning glory is the Selimiye, the most audacious of Sinan's sultanic mosques and the culmination of the Ottoman classical style. B

Day 6: Istanbul

Wednesday 5 October

Morning visit to the Dolmabahce Palace to see the opulent state rooms and ostentatious ceremonial hall. Its extravagant 4.5 ton chandelier was a present from Queen Victoria to the Sultan. Return to the Hippodrome area for the Palace of Ibrahim Pasha, grand vizier of Süleyman the Magnificent, which now contains the excellent Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art. Free afternoon to explore independently. Enjoy a Farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B, D

Day 7: To London

Thursday 6 October

Drive beside the majestic Land Walls of Constantinople and cross the Golden Horn to Pera, the former European district of the city, now known as Beyoglu. Walk from Taksim Square to the Pera Palas hotel along the former Grande Rue de Pera, the height of fashion among 19th century European residents and still lined with the imposing façades of their former embassies. Visit the Pera Museum, a private museum which houses an interesting collection of Orientalist painting. Transfer to the airport for the return flight to London. Fly Turkish airlines TK1971 departing Istanbul at 14:55 and arrive Heathrow at 16:05. B

Dates & Prices

Dates Price per person (Double/Twin share) Single room supplement
30 Sep - 06 Oct 2022 £1,995.00 £492.00
Cost includes:
  • International flights with Turkish Airlines
  • Airconditioned accommodation with private facilities
  • Daily breakfast. Welcome & Farewell dinners in Istanbul and lunch by the Bosphorus
  • All transfers and sightseeing arrangements
  • Services of a local guide for sightseeing
  • Services of Sue Rollin as trip scholar
  • Services of Stuart Young as tour manager
  • All tips and Gratuities
  • 100% protection of your payment by our ATOL and ABTA licences
Cost does not include:
  • Travel Insurance*
  • Any expenses of a personal nature

Sightseeing arrangements may vary according to local circumstances at each place on a day to day basis. Trip scholars may decide to alter the programme where they feel it is necessary.

We aim to be as flexible as possible for new bookings and have reduced holiday deposits to £250 per person until further notice, and made it possible to request a refund or postpone travel plans at no extra cost, in the event that a trip can’t go ahead due to Foreign Office advice or overseas government restrictions. All tour payments to Indus Experiences are 100% protected by our ATOL and ABTA Licences.

Travel Insurance*

It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.

• Make sure it includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
• Make sure it provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
• Make sure it covers you for all activities.
• Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
• Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.

If you have any doubts about your cover, check with your insurer. Please note Covid-19 cover is now available.
For a competitive quotation please visit

020 8901 7320

What our clients say

As promised, here is our feedback on the holiday. You have our permission to use any quotes on your website. We would recommended your services to anyone without hesitation – and have already done so to all our friends.

The holiday was absolutely brilliant and quite magical. From sunrise over the desert to sunset over the Nile, we loved every minute. We packed so much…

Wendy and Di - Egypt Holiday