Istanbul, ancient and epic, for centuries at the crossroads of religions. Once Greek Byzantium, then Constantinople of the Romans and Ottomans, Istanbul will forever be a cultural melting pot. An exciting destination for your students, contact us now to customise your tour.
Ted Savill Head of HistorySee all
- Art History
- Religious Studies
- Classical Studies
- Ancient history from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires to present day
- Architectural and archaeological heritage of Mosques and churches
- Islamic and Christian faiths
Few cities can claim to be as ancient or important to world history as Istanbul. It is from Istanbul, in its previous incarnation as Constantinople, that the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, extended its influence throughout Europe for more than a thousand years, before the city fell into the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Tour this once Greek-speaking, Christian metropolis, that today is distinctly Middle Eastern in language, culture and religion.
Istanbul offers your students a fantastic cultural experience like no other as it sits astride two continents; the Bosphorus, a strait that divides the city in two, marks part of the boundary between Europe and Asia.
Istanbul is without doubt a city of breathtaking beauty, combining important architectural elements from many of Europe’s major cities - from the ancient ruins of Rome to the Neo-Baroque, neoclassical and Art Nouveau buildings erected throughout 19th and 20th century Europe.
What is Included
- Airport transfers upon arrival and departure with your local TCBC guide
- Transportation to all scheduled activities by coach fitted with seatbelts
- Expert local TCBC guide in Istanbul throughout your tour
- 3 nights accommodation at 3 star hotel
- Breakfasts and dinners daily
- All admission fees to included sights as per “Suggested itinerary”
- Sightseeing tours as per itinerary
- ROOF charity donation
- Free staff places as requested
- 24 hour emergency contact numbers
What is not Included
- Flights (see FAQs)
- Turkish visa (£10 for British citizens)
- Medical, trip cancellation / interruption or baggage insurance (see FAQs)
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers (see FAQs)
- Tickets for evening activities (see FAQs)
4 DAYS - AT A GLANCE
- Day oneAirport transfer, check in, orientation walk
- Day twoByzantine Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar
- Day threeBosphorus Cruise, Underground Cisterns, Miniaturk Museum
- Day fourTurkish baths, Egyptian bazaar, flight home
ISTANBUL 4 DAYS
The 4 day itinerary below is a suggested itinerary only. We can customise any tour to Turkey to meet with your requirements, a popular option being to travel west of Istanbul to the area of Gallipoli to learn about the infamous Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War. Please contact us to discuss your needs further and to get a free quote.
DAY 1 ARRIVAL DAY
Arrive in Istanbul, meet your local TCBC guide at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy a brief orientation walk around Istiklal Street and the Beyoglu district. This is one of the busiest and most picturesque shopping areas of central Istanbul. If time permits, visit Galata Tower, one of Istanbul’s main landmarks, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the old town. In the evening, we can arrange for you to experience a traditional Turkish folkshow complete with belly dancing and live music.
DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS OF SULTANAHMET DISTRICT, GRAND BAZAAR
Head into the heart of old Istanbul today and visit the Byzantine Hippodrome, where an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of three entwined serpents from Delphi still survive. Continue on to the beautiful Blue Mosque, which gets its name from the exquisite blue tiles that adorn its interior. Next, visit one of the greatest buildings in the world, Hagia Sophia, the Church of Divine Wisdom. After lunch, tour Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans for almost three centuries and located on the promontory between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn providing visitors with magnificent views over Europe and Asia. Continue on to the famous Grand Bazaar, the largest and oldest covered bazaar in Turkey, and explore some of its 4000 shops. Tonight there will be an opportunity to take your group bowling and play pool.
DAY 3 BOSPHORUS CRUISE, UNDERGROUND CISTERNS
Today enjoy a breathtaking cruise along the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus bisects Istanbul, separating Europe and Asia, connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. Its shores showcase Istanbul’s beauty. Your motor-yacht will pass by magnificent palaces, old seaside mansions, and impressive fortresses. Later on, visit the Underground Cisterns – an amazing vast underground cavern holding a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters of water. The 336 beautiful columns that support the cistern were salvaged from pagan temples destroyed during the Roman Empire’s conversion to Christianity. If time permits, visit Miniaturk museum, housing magnificent miniature models of over 100 architectural works representing the rich historical and cultural heritage of Turkey.
DAY 4 RETURN HOME
Today's activities will depend on your flights, but if time, why not try a true Turkish experience – a traditional Turkish bath. Pay a quick visit to the Egyptian (Spice) bazaar, named for the exotic goods imported from or through Egypt. This is still the best place in the city to buy Turkish delight, dried fruit, exotic spices and herbs. Later on, transfer to Ataturk airport for your flight home.
Our Istanbul tours are very busy and take in the best that Istanbul has to offer and as such it is difficult to add any additional sightseeing to your tour. The evening activities we recommend in the "Suggested Itinerary" are all optional and can be confirmed closer to departure.
Istanbul has an excellent range of hotels at good prices for you to take advantage of. Listed below are the ones we make use of the most. If you have any preferences please let us know.
Mina Hotel is classed by many as a boutique hotel and is of a very good standard for our groups. It is also in a wonderful location in the centre of the old town district, overlooking the Marmara sea, within walking distance of some essential sightseeing including, Saint Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. All rooms are air conditioned and have free wifi available.
Erbil Hotel has a very traditional feel but with all the modern amenities you would expect including air conditioning and free wifi. Wonderfully located in the centre of Istanbul in the Sultanahmet district, and close to many of the important sights including Topkapi Palace and Saint Sophia.
Olimpiyat Hotel is a recently renovated 3 star hotel which is perfectly set up to work with our school groups. Handily located in the central old town district of Istanbul and within walking to distance to many key sights including, Saint Sophia and Topkapi palace. Olimpiyat hotel is ideal for exploring and learning more about the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. As with all our hotels in Istanbul you will have air conditioning and free wifi available plus a buffet style breakfast to set you up for the day.
Below are some handy links to help you plan your trip to Turkey. If you find a broken link or have a good addition to this section, please let us know. Please note that we are not responsible for the content of any external links.
Advice from the British Foreign Office on travel to Turkey
Vaccination information for people travelling to Turkey from the UK
The NHS site dedicated to Healthcare abroad with handy tips and information on the free European Health Insurance Card
A wealth of information about Turkey from a geographic perspective
Information on what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint whether at home or when you are travelling
How do I get more information or make a booking?
Please contact us here
Where can I find your booking conditions?
Please click here
Are flights included and what is your ATOL number?
Yes, ATOL 10834
Do we need a visa for Turkey?
A visa is required for British nationals to enter Turkey and this can be obtained upon arrival for GBP 10.00. Please let us know if you have non-UK citizens travelling in your group so we can advise on the visa price for them.
What is your free staff ratio?
We normally include 1 free staff place for every 10 paying participants, but we are flexible with this. Please contact us for more details.
Can you arrange travel insurance?
A fully comprehensive school group travel insurance is included in our quote. If your school provides you with your own policy then of course you are welcome to take advantage of that however, please note that no cost will be deducted from the tour price by using your own insurance. If you do decide to opt out from our policy, we will need to see a copy of your cover before departure. For more information please see our booking conditions, clause 10.
What is my luggage allowance?
Each airline has different policies on luggage allowance and it is best to visit your airline’s website to check the latest allowance. Here are some of the most popular airline links:
What are the current hand baggage restrictions?
This handy site details what you can and can't carry in your hand baggage, including current restrictions on the quantities of liquids and size and type of hand baggage allowed.
Where can I get the latest travel advice?
For the latest travel advice please visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website
Will I need any vaccinations?
Please click here for up to date travel health information provided by the NHS.
What money should I take?
It is wise to take some lira with you to Turkey, this will save the whole group needing to withdraw money on arrival, although ATM’s are not difficult to find.
What is the current exchange rate?
Please see this handy currency converter for the latest rates
How much should we budget per day?
All breakfasts and dinners are included, so you will only need additional money for lunches and snacks as far as meals are concerned. We suggest allowing around £5-£10 per person per day to cover this and allowing for any money for souvenirs your students may wish to buy.
Do we need to tip anybody?
We ask that you recognise the service your receive from your local guides and drivers. We will provide you with a gratuity guideline in our quote.
Are there any hidden expenses?
Never. Our aim is to include as much as possible in our quotes so you can work out exactly how much money your students will need in Turkey. There will be no hidden costs on tour - everything will be explained clearly beforehand. There are, however, some items we cannot include this far in advance, for example tickets for evening activities, as these are dependent on schedules and ticket availability which we usually will not know until two months before departure. Nearer your departure time we will look at all the options for your group and inform you of ticket prices. The only other items your students will need extra money for in Turkey will be their lunches, snacks, public transportation tickets and any souvenirs they may wish to buy. Gratuities are not included, but we suggest you collect this money in advance of departure.
Do you organise UK airport transfers?
Yes we do. Just let us know of this requirement at the outset
How will we get around Istanbul?
A coach is included for all your sightseeing activities
What is the time difference between the UK and Turkey?
Turkey is GMT +2hrs
Do I need to take an adaptor plug?
You will need to take a two pin adaptor plug for Turkey
What clothes should we bring?
If visiting over the autumn and winter months it is advisable to pack a good warm coat plus sensible shoes. Remember you’re likely to be outside a great deal as well as walking between sights of interest. Layers are best.
If travelling in spring and summer it is possible to pack lighter clothing. Again, sensible footwear is essential.
Will there be hairdryers in the rooms?
Some hotels provide hairdryers in some rooms although it is unusual for students to have one in their rooms. We would suggest where students are sharing a room they take one or two hairdryers between them.
What will the food be like?
Unless otherwise stated in your quote all breakfasts and dinners will be included. These are usually of a buffet style meaning that there will be various options to suit all tastes, but this is accommodation dependent. We will take details from you of any special dietary requirements to ensure that meals are arranged with these requirements in mind. Lunches are usually bought individually whilst on tour and your guide will suggest a range of establishments close to the group’s meeting spot to allow students and staff to find something to suit them.
Checklist of essential items to bring
- Photocopies of passports
- Spending money
- Standard European continental power adaptor 220v
- Camera (perhaps suggest not to bring expensive video cameras)
- Hairdryers if not supplied by your hotel
- Toiletries and travel tissues
- Medications and supporting prescriptions or letter from your GP
- Food supplements if you are on a special diet
- Small suitcase and daypack