Istanbul Extension
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Istanbul Extension

5 Days • 1 Cities


Why Go

Istanbul: where Europe meets Asia, the Middle East meets the Mediterranean, and your face meets all the döner kebabs you can imagine. This storied Turkish city adds thousands of years of history, endless photo ops of its minaret-dominated skyline, and a little kick of spice to a typical Eurotrip. Go inside the world-famous Hagia Sophia, under the city into ancient caverns, and say yes to the full-sultan treatment that you deserve. We stan a traveling legend who experiences all that Istanbul has to offer.

What are the top highlights?

  • Immerse yourself in Istanbul—one of history’s most important cities—at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.
  • Stuff your face with your new favorite late-night snack: döner kebabs.
  • Go under the city into an ancient Roman water-collecting cavern called the Basilica Cistern.
  • Capitalize on a chance to walk to Asia and cross a new continent off your bucket list.
  • Learn to smoke a nargile pipe and play traditional Tuskish café games with the locals.
  • Enter the iconic 1,500-year old church-turned-mosque-turned-museum Hagia Sophia.

Your trip includes

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers
  • Multilingual Tour Director & local guides
  • Private deluxe motorcoach
  • Flight from Athens to Istanbul
  • 4 nights in hand-picked accommodations
  • Welcome Mixer with appetizers & drinks
  • Daily breakfast & three-course Farewell Dinner
  • Entrance to select attractions


You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.

Click here for examples of where you'll stay.


Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:

  • Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
  • Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
  • Flights are booked with major airlines
  • 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
  • One checked bag included on most flights
  • Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure

Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.


Day 1: Travel to Istanbul + Sightseeing in New Town

Say goodbye and then hello again to Europe as you travel to a city that’s simultaneously in both Europe and Asia. That’s right: for nearly 2,500 years, Istanbul has straddled two continents, withstood multiple name changes, and blossomed into a beautiful melding of Turkish, Ottoman, Greek, Roman, Islamic, and Christian culture.

Today’s Highlights:

  • Board a short morning flight from Athens to Istanbul.
  • Get to know the New Town—“new” meaning mostly from medieval times—with a walking tour including historic Taksim Square and the main shopping street: Istiklal Avenue.
  • Crane your neck at the famous Galata Tower—a nine-story stone observation tower built by the occupying Genoese in 1348.

In the evening, get ready to break the ice with your fellow travelers with a Turkish café night. Partake in a traditional nargile pipe smoking lesson, learn how to play Turkish café games, and enjoy authentic food and drinks.

Day 2: Sightseeing in Old Town Istanbul

Out with the new, in with the old. Leave your history textbooks at home (not sure why you would travel with them anyways TBH) and experience thousands of years of Istanbul’s history firsthand today as you navigate Old Town with a local expert.

Today’s Highlights:

  • Gasp audibly at the magnificence of the Hagia Sophia, its iconic dome, and its 1,500-year life as a church, mosque, and museum.
  • Enter the newer (as in: built in the 1600s) Blue Mosque—no need to compare, both this and the Hagia Sophia are equally beautiful.
  • Get under the city’s skin with a visit to an ancient underground cavern, the Basilica Cistern, built to collect rainwater during Roman rule.
  • Take a peek at one of the most picturesque and oft-painted waterways in the history of humanity—the Golden Horn of Istanbul.
  • Haggle your way through the Grand Bazaar like a local.

Day 3: Free Day in Istanbul + Optional Bosphorous Cruise & Walking Tour

A free day in Istanbul is the original Turkish delight: 24 hours to explore, sightsee, eat, and get lost on your own (read: with your new travel pals) in one of the world’s most exciting cities. Take full advantage of the locals’ ample hospitality and make yourself at home amongst the many minarets of the skyline.

Free Time Suggestions

Topkapi Palace: Part-castle, part-palace, part-museum, Topkapi Palace was the royal residence for the Ottoman Empire for over 400 years, beginning in the 1400s.

Döner kebabs: Like their Greek cousin, the gyro, döner kebabs—lamb, chicken, or beef with lettuce, tomato, onion, and sauces in a warm pita—are absolutely delicious and found absolutely everywhere. The perfect meal on the go!

Dolmabahçe Palace: In the 1800s, the sultans decided they required a more lavish palace, so they built Dolmabahçe. And, hoo boy, is it lavish. Go see it for yourself, count the chandeliers you find, and live your fanciest life.

Bosphorus Cruise & Walking Tour(extra cost)

Go big today starting with a spice market taste-testing. Next, cruise the Bosphorous Strait that divides Europe from Asia and take in Istanbul's iconic skyline by boat. Finally, feast on mouthwatering Turkish street food.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 4: Free Day in Istanbul + Optional Hammam Spa Visit + Farewell Dinner

On your final day in Istanbul, will you answer the phone when adventure calls? Of course you will! Hit any sights you missed, become pen pals with a local, and most importantly: start planning your next trip with your new travel family.

Free Time Suggestions

Meze: Turkish tapas! Try a smattering of small plates that will satisfy even the largest of appetites. Sample cheeses, cold eggplant salad, grilled octopus, stuffed grape leaves, and anything else your stomach desires.

Visit Asia: BRB just casually walking to another continent. Yep, you can walk across the Bosphorous Strait from Europe to Asia. Or, if you want, take a ferry. Either way: cross the Earth’s largest continent off your bucket list.

Baklava: Sure, you can find baklava at Greek and Middle Eastern restaurants in America. But can you eat this delicious dessert of honey, nuts, and fillo dough while admiring the sunset over the Bosphorous Strait back home? Didn’t think so.

Farewell Dinner

Share some last laughs and revisit the best moments of the trip at this included farewell dinner with the group.

Hammam Spa Visit(extra cost)

Get the full sultan treatment today at a hammam spa. Enter an ancient bath house and indulge in a full body scrubbing and bubble massage common to traditional Turkish spa days—soul-cleansingly relaxing.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 5: Fly Home

Hoşçakalın arkadaşlar!

Translation: Goodbye, friends. Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, make sure to take one more group photo and grab that final drink. But this isn’t goodbye because you can always get the gang back together for another trip soon. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, we have a couple ways to keep your vacation going.


1. Double the fun
Many of our trips line up back to back. Give us a call and we’ll help you add another destination—and save big while you’re at it.

2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy. During checkout, you’ll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for a $30 fee. We’ll adjust your flights accordingly, but you’ll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside the tour.

Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.

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