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Glories of Byzantium

A seven night escorted exploration of Istanbul & its surrounds

  • 7 May 2022
  • History and Culture
  • The Blue Mosque

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 minarets, as well as a full day tour to the idyllic Princes’ 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 Bosphorus front 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.  


Pera Palace Hotel

Pera Palace Hotel

The Pera Palace Hotel was established in 1892 by the French-Ottoman architect Alexander Vallaury to accommodate travellers arriving on his Orient Express train from Paris, and it has accommodated many distinguished guests including Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie and Greta Garbo. Designed in Neoclassical, Art Nouveau and oriental styles, the hotel offers stunning views of the Golden Horn and is ideally located in the historic Pera district within walking distance of the famous Istiklal Street.

View accommodation details

Itinerary

  • The Blue Mosque
  • Hagia Sophia

Day 1 London to Istanbul, Turkey.

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

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. This afternoon take a walking tour of Istiklal street, the most famous avenue in Istanbul before returning to the hotel for an evening at leisure. (B, L)

Day 3 Fener & Balat.

Our day begins with a visit to the Suleymaniye Mosque, the largest in the city and a masterpiece of the 16th century architect Sinan. 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. Later enjoy 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. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, sampling fine Ottoman cuisine and spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring Istanbul independently. (B, L)

Day 4 Princes’ Islands.

There is no better way to escape the bustle of Istanbul for a day than with a visit to the idyllic Princes’ 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. (B, L)

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. (B, L)

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. Visit the mosque and underground Bazaar followed by lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards 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. (B, L)

Day 7 Beyoglu & Pera.

This morning walk to the iconic Galata Tower, built by Genoese merchants in 1303 as a watch tower to warn of approaching pirate ships. Afterwards we will 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 to return to our hotel. This evening enjoy a farewell reception and dinner to celebrate the end of our glorious week in Istanbul. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Istanbul to London.

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

 

  • Galata Tower
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Buyukada

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
7 to 14 May 2022
Category Price
Deluxe Golden Horn View £2995
Deluxe Golden Horn View for sole use £3595

Tour Reference Code: LABYZANTIUM22

PRICE INCLUDES: Economy class scheduled air travel • Seven nights at the Pera Palace Hotel • Meals as indicated (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner) • Wine, beer and soft drinks with included meals • Excursions as described • Gratuities • Noble Caledonia Tour Manager • English-speaking local guide • Transfers • Entrance fees.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visa.

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

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.

 

Pera Palace Hotel

The Pera Palace Hotel was established in 1892 by the French-Ottoman architect Alexander Vallaury to accommodate travellers arriving on his Orient Express train from Paris, and it has accommodated many distinguished guests including Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie and Greta Garbo. Designed in Neoclassical, Art Nouveau and oriental styles, the hotel offers stunning views of the Golden Horn and is ideally located in the historic Pera district within walking distance of the famous Istiklal Street.

 
  • Your Room

    The hotel features 115 rooms and suites and combines 19th century elegance, such as high ceilings, chandeliers and Neoclassical furniture, with modern luxury and comfort. We will be accommodated in the spacious deluxe rooms which offer 30 square metres, city views over the Pera or the Golden Horn and a French balcony. The facilities include a king size bed, which can be configured as twin or double, and marble bathroom with a walk-in shower or shower over bathtub. For your comfort, the rooms also provide a safe, air-conditioning, ironing facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi and a 49” flat screen cable TV.

  • Your Space

    The hotel facilities include an indoor pool and Jacuzzi, a well-equipped fitness studio and a luxurious spa with three rooms devoted to treatments, a marble-clad Turkish hammam and a sauna. Dining options include the Agatha Restaurant featuring inventive dishes of French, Italian and Turkish cuisine in a fine dining setting. Guests can also enjoy an English Afternoon Tea at the Kubbeli Saloon Tea Lounge and the Orient Bar serves a selection of wine and cocktails throughout the evening.

  • Hotel Directory

    Hotel Directory

    Please find below further details pertaining to the hotel or click on the booklet to download.

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

    The Pera Palace Hotel was established in 1892 by the French-Ottoman architect Alexander Vallaury to accommodate travellers arriving on his Orient Express train from Paris and has accommodated many celebrated guests including Ernest Hemmingway and Agatha Christie. The hotel is ideally located in the heart of the historic Pera district within easy walking distance of Istiklal Street and Taksim Square and is beautifully furnished in a Neoclassical style.

    For our stay we will be accommodated in the Deluxe Rooms which offer spectacular views over either the Pera or the Golden Horn as well as the usual modern amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, mini bar and satellite television. The hotel also has an array of other facilities for you to enjoy including an indoor pool, a fully equipped gym and a luxurious spa with a Turkish Hammam and sauna.

    ADDRESS & CONTACT DETAILS

    Mesrutiyet Caddesi No.52 Beyoglu 34430 Istanbul, Tel: +90 212 377 400, Email: info@perapalace.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 12:00pm. If required, there is a luggage storage facility at the hotel.

    COMMUNICATIONS

    If you wish to contact the hotel please call +90 212 377 40 00 or e-mail info@perapalace.com 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). 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 regret that not all dietary requests can be guaranteed. If you have any specific or special foods that you require we recommend that you take some with you although we will endeavour to accommodate your needs. Once checked in, please speak with the Maitre’D to reconfirm your requirements.

    DINING & DRINKING

    The Agatha Restaurant is open daily from 6:30am to 10:30pm and features inventive dishes of French, Italian and Turkish cuisine in a fine dining setting. A buffet breakfast is served here daily from 6:30am to 10:30am (weekdays) and 6:30am to 11:00am (weekends).

    Guests may also enjoy an English Afternoon Tea at the Kubblei Saloon Tea Lounge accompanied by gentle piano music from 3:00pm to 6:00pm daily.

    The evocative Orient Bar is located on the lower floor and offers a snack menu and a wide selection of drinks.

    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 complete the questionnaire that will be provided to you by your Tour Manager. We are always looking for ways to improve our holidays and the services provided and in order to do this we welcome feedback from our guests.

    GRATUITIES

    Gratuities have been included in your holiday price.

    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.

    ROOM ACCOUNT

    All guests will have their own “room account” once credit card details have been given to Reception on arrival which allows you to sign for any expenses and then settle your bill at the Reception Desk at the end of your stay. Prices are shown and charged in Turkish Lira or Euro. Your room account can be paid by:

    • Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard or American Express) • Cash (Turkish Lira or Euro)

    ROOMS

    Deluxe Rooms offer wonderful views of the Pera or look out over the spectacular Golden Horn. All rooms average 30 square metres and feature a king-size bed (which can be configured as a twin or double), French balcony, 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. Both smoking and non-smoking rooms are available.

    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 2222, Room to Room Dial “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/shower gel • 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 Room

    The hotel features 115 rooms and suites and combines 19th century elegance, such as high ceilings, chandeliers and Neoclassical furniture, with modern luxury and comfort. We will be accommodated in the spacious deluxe rooms which offer 30 square metres, city views over the Pera or the Golden Horn and a French balcony. The facilities include a king size bed, which can be configured as twin or double, and marble bathroom with a walk-in shower or shower over bathtub. For your comfort, the rooms also provide a safe, air-conditioning, ironing facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi and a 49” flat screen cable TV.

  • Your Space

    The hotel facilities include an indoor pool and Jacuzzi, a well-equipped fitness studio and a luxurious spa with three rooms devoted to treatments, a marble-clad Turkish hammam and a sauna. Dining options include the Agatha Restaurant featuring inventive dishes of French, Italian and Turkish cuisine in a fine dining setting. Guests can also enjoy an English Afternoon Tea at the Kubbeli Saloon Tea Lounge and the Orient Bar serves a selection of wine and cocktails throughout the evening.

  • Hotel Directory

    Hotel Directory

    Please find below further details pertaining to the hotel or click on the booklet to download.

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

    The Pera Palace Hotel was established in 1892 by the French-Ottoman architect Alexander Vallaury to accommodate travellers arriving on his Orient Express train from Paris and has accommodated many celebrated guests including Ernest Hemmingway and Agatha Christie. The hotel is ideally located in the heart of the historic Pera district within easy walking distance of Istiklal Street and Taksim Square and is beautifully furnished in a Neoclassical style.

    For our stay we will be accommodated in the Deluxe Rooms which offer spectacular views over either the Pera or the Golden Horn as well as the usual modern amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, mini bar and satellite television. The hotel also has an array of other facilities for you to enjoy including an indoor pool, a fully equipped gym and a luxurious spa with a Turkish Hammam and sauna.

    ADDRESS & CONTACT DETAILS

    Mesrutiyet Caddesi No.52 Beyoglu 34430 Istanbul, Tel: +90 212 377 400, Email: info@perapalace.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 12:00pm. If required, there is a luggage storage facility at the hotel.

    COMMUNICATIONS

    If you wish to contact the hotel please call +90 212 377 40 00 or e-mail info@perapalace.com 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). 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 regret that not all dietary requests can be guaranteed. If you have any specific or special foods that you require we recommend that you take some with you although we will endeavour to accommodate your needs. Once checked in, please speak with the Maitre’D to reconfirm your requirements.

    DINING & DRINKING

    The Agatha Restaurant is open daily from 6:30am to 10:30pm and features inventive dishes of French, Italian and Turkish cuisine in a fine dining setting. A buffet breakfast is served here daily from 6:30am to 10:30am (weekdays) and 6:30am to 11:00am (weekends).

    Guests may also enjoy an English Afternoon Tea at the Kubblei Saloon Tea Lounge accompanied by gentle piano music from 3:00pm to 6:00pm daily.

    The evocative Orient Bar is located on the lower floor and offers a snack menu and a wide selection of drinks.

    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 complete the questionnaire that will be provided to you by your Tour Manager. We are always looking for ways to improve our holidays and the services provided and in order to do this we welcome feedback from our guests.

    GRATUITIES

    Gratuities have been included in your holiday price.

    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.

    ROOM ACCOUNT

    All guests will have their own “room account” once credit card details have been given to Reception on arrival which allows you to sign for any expenses and then settle your bill at the Reception Desk at the end of your stay. Prices are shown and charged in Turkish Lira or Euro. Your room account can be paid by:

    • Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard or American Express) • Cash (Turkish Lira or Euro)

    ROOMS

    Deluxe Rooms offer wonderful views of the Pera or look out over the spectacular Golden Horn. All rooms average 30 square metres and feature a king-size bed (which can be configured as a twin or double), French balcony, 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. Both smoking and non-smoking rooms are available.

    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 2222, Room to Room Dial “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/shower gel • 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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Glories of Byzantium

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