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What is the trip fee?
The price of this trip will be €1049 per person, based on 2 people sharing a room and the below including items. All meals are included (except Sunday’s lunch), all transfer and transportation, entrance fees, and guided tours. You would just need some pocket money for an ice cream and some souvenirs. Since we have only limited spots, pre-reserving is essential. This trip will fill up.
What is included in the trip fee?
We have a smartly designed schedule that allows us to see as much as possible without having the feeling that you have to run. We just want to avoid unnecessarily losing time by planning things well beforehand, including lunches and dinners, so you won’t have to think what to do next. A worry-free trip that includes the following items:
Direct flights to/from Istanbul with Turkish Airlines
1 checked bag of 20kg (value about €60)
1 piece of hand luggage
3 nights in Galata Hotel Istanbul MGalery*****
3x buffet breakfast
Free Hamam entry (value €50)
Dinner on Thursday
Old Town lunch on Friday
Rooftop dinner on Friday evening
Taksim lunch on Saturday
Bosphorus dinner on Saturday evening
Private local transportation
2 full days of guided tours
Visit to Blue Mosque
Visit to Basilica Cistern
Visit to Hagia Sophia
Visit to Topkapi Palace
Visit to Grand Bazaar
Visit to Taksim Square
Visit to Dolmabahçe Palace
Visit to Asian side
All entrance fees for group visits
A great group of international people
A lifetime expat memory
What is optional during this trip?
Alternative outbound flight
Single room (surcharge €175)
Hamam massages / treatments
Who can join us?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people on its trips. This creates a special open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone feels comfortable.
Expat Club welcomes everyone, including families with children. However, due to the extended guided tours and the academic nature of this trip it is not meant for young children (we recommend at least 10-12 years old). Contact us if you are interested so we can ensure you get the right rooms and a family/child discount. These discounts are valid on the early-bird and regular trip fees (no further discounts apply, including pre-reservation discounts).
What is the group size?
We expect about 25-30 people.
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Enjoy Istanbul in 4K
As with all Expat Club trips we carefully think about the entire program to arrange a smooth trip for everyone. This includes the chosen flights, the location of our hotel, pre-reserved entrance times, organised lunches and dinners, good local transportation etc. In a city of 15 million, smart planning is more than essential because travelling from one place to another may take hours. Unforeseen things, such as traffic and road blocks, unexpected closed destinations etc, are likely to happen to stay. We always do our best to come up with the best possible alternative in collaboration with local guides, bus drivers, hotels and welcoming restaurants and museums. The below program is still tentative, but gives a good indication of what you can expect for this trip. The program will be updated as soon as we ultimately confirm this trip.
Thursday 30 September 2021 09h00 – Meeting at Brussels Airport
11h20 – Departure to Istanbul
15h50 – Arrival in Istanbul
17h30 – Check-in hotel and drinks
19h00 – Golden Horn dinner
Friday 1 October 2021
08h00 – Breakfast
09h30 – Guided Old Town Tour part I
12h30 – Lunch
14h00 – Guided Old Town Tour part II
18h00 – Return hotel
19h30 – Rooftop dinner
Sunday 3 October 2021 08h00 – Breakfast
09h30 – Anatolia program
12h30 – Lunch on Asian side
16h00 – Departure to Istanbul airport
19h15 – Departure to Brussels
21h50 – Arrival Brussels
Let’s just say it like it is … Istanbul is huge! Quickly going around and visiting a few places is simply not possible. Therefore we develop a smart “plan of attack” so we can explore different parts of the city one by one, and minimise time in TRAFFIC. Indeed, that’s in capital letters because spending 2 hours in traffic (one-way) is not unheard off. Either way, we know how to deal best with this and get you as smoothly as possible from one place to the next. Below you will find more information of most of the place we are going to visit.
Historic Areas of IstanbulWith its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. Its masterpieces include the ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia and the 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque, all now under threat from population pressure, industrial pollution and uncontrolled urbanization. (source: UNESCO World Heritage Website)
Basilica Cistern We begin in a highly mysterious place. If you don’t know about this, you may easily walk by. But it definitely needs to be part of our visit to the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul where we will also visit the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace.
The Blue Mosque
The beautiful Sultanahmet Camii mosque, or Blue Mosque, has been dominating the Istanbul skyline for 4 centuries. It provides space or 10.000 worshippers and is a major tourist attraction nowadays, together with the neighbouring Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.
The Hagia Sophia Few buildings in the world have a history that can match this 1500-year old domed structure. Finished in 537 AD, it was initially a Greek Orthodox Cathedral and later turned into an Ottoman mosque. Nowadays it is a museum and must be on the itinerary of any tourist visiting Istanbul.
To finish our day in this district we will visit the Topkapi Palace. It was built for the Ottoman sultanas and served as their residence and administrative buildings.
The Grand Bazaar You can, like James Bond, take a motor cycle and drive over the red terracotta roofs of the Grand Bazaar, or like any normal person take one of the many entrances and enjoy this incredible maze of little shops. This complex is not too far from the Blue Mosque, so we will be able to spend the late afternoon here.
North side Golden Horn Yesterday we saw the South Side of the Golden Horn, today we explore the other side of the Golden Horn, the old town of Istanbul with areas such as Karakoy, Taksim Square, Besiktas, and Ortakoy.
Dolmabahçe Palace Built in the mid 1800s, this super opulent palace is located in the Besiktas district right on the Bosporus. The power of the Ottoman’s Empire was based here from 1857 to 1887 and from 1909 until 1922. Another palace was used from 1887 until 1909. After the foundation of the Republic of Turkey the palace was primarily used as a national and international conference center. It consists of many buildings, which all can be visited nowadays.
Ortaköy A must-see little neighbourhood is Ortaköy, a part of town with a multi-religious historical background. Nowadays the main attraction is Ottoman Neo-Baroque Ortaköy Mosque, which is built right on the waterfront providing great photo opportunities with the bridge in the background.
Bosporus What the Thames is to London, or the Seine to Paris, is the Bosporus to Istanbul. Although this waterway does not concern a river, it runs through the city and is an unmistakable part of it. The Bosporus is also called the Strait of Istanbul and has a length of 31km. It is unique in the world, in the sense that it connects two salt water bodies, namely the Marmara Sea in the South and the Black Sea in the North. The width varies from 700 meters at its narrowest part and over 3km at its widest. The depth varies from 13 to 110 meters, and therefore it is open for large international sea ships. There are 2 massive suspension bridges connecting the European and Asian sides in Istanbul itself, and since 2016 there is another bridge at the Northern end, as well as a tunnel at the Southern end.
Turkish food One thing is for sure, the Turkish love and are very proud of their food. As a foreign guest you will quickly find yourself in the middle of a gigantic feast of all kinds of meats, fruits and vegetables, juices, teas, coffees and a wide range of desserts. Just be warned, if you join this trip your weighing scale will certainly not have good news for you on Monday morning 😉
Oops, the initial version of this page said: “we will be staying in a good 4* hotel in Istanbul.” Well, we lied… we namely stay in the Galata Istanbul Hotel – MGallery*****. Don’t count, those are 5 shiny stars! Indeed, we choose a hotel in the highest category to make it an unforgettable experience. MGallery is a Collection of high-end boutique hotels and each hotel stages with talent a unique personality and story, experienced through its architecture, interior design and services. This hotel will impress you.
When it comes to location, Istanbul is one of the most strategically situated cities in the world, and we think that our hotel should be equally strategically located. And what that concerns, it hardly gets any better. At just a stone’s throw from the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn, we can literally walk to the Old Town with the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace, as well as Taksim Square and the Dolmabhaçe Palace.
Besides comfortable rooms and suites (upgrades available), the hotel has much more to offer, including a nice lobby bar and a rooftop terrace restaurant with a great view over the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. But if you really like to indulge yourself, the hotel is home to an outstanding traditional Turkish Hamam. And it’s free for us to use! (reservation required, but we’ll take care of that).
The historical Çeşme Hamamı was built by Grand Admiral Kaymak Mustafa Pasha at the end of the 1720s, in the Tulip Era, and was used in turn by men and women at that time. It continued to be used as a bathhouse until 2017 when it was restored by preserving its original structure. Çeşme Hamam was reopened by The Galata Istanbul Hotel MGallery by Sofitel in accordance with its original style and maintains the 300-year-old tradition of wellness of water therapy. Why not book a session during the reservation process and enjoy the surprising benefits of the centuries-old bathing rituals of the Ottomans?
Choose your room In this hotel you can choose between various rooms. During the reservation process you can indicate your preference. Each room is spacious with 25 square meters or more, with refreshing traditional design, a private bathroom with amenities, and a super comfy bed.
Single room – 1 large bed for 1 person (surcharge applies)
Double room – 1 large bed for 2 persons (a couple or parent/child)
Twin room – 2 single beds for 2 persons (two friends sharing a room)
Twin room – 2 single beds for 2 solo travellers who share a room
Triple/family rooms – at request
Room sharing for solo travellers
If you travel alone, you can share a “twin room” with 2 single beds (only females shared rooms, male room upon request). We introduce you to the other travellers who also want to share a room. This means you don’t have to search for a friend who wants to join. We also do not assign you to a room, but you choose who you want to share the room with. You can select this room sharing option during the reservation processs. It is a perfect way to lower your costs and to meet another friendly expat.
For this trip we are in principle flying Turkish Airlines in collaboration with Brussels Airlines. Due to the relatively long flying time to Istanbul (for a European flight), scheduling our flight well is important. For the outbound flight there are a few alternative flights upon request, but they will come at the cost of you missing out part of the program. If you arrive on Friday, you will miss the Old Town program. We therefore advise taking the Thursday morning flight.
Thursday 30 September: Brussels 11h20 – Istanbul 15h50
Thursday 30 September: Brussels 14h50 – Istanbul 19h15 (alternative 1)
Thursday 30 September: Brussels 19h15 – Istanbul 23h40 (alternative 2)
Friday 1 October: Brussels 14h50 – Istanbul 19h15 (alternative 3)
Friday 1 October: Brussels 19h15 – Istanbul 23h40 (alternative 4)
Sunday 3 October: Istanbul 19h15 – Brussels 21h50
The trip will be carried out by Turkish Airlines in collaboration with Brussels Airlines
The trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are indicative and may change if required by circumstances.
The trip is sold as a package. You cannot go with your own transportation or arrange your own accommodation. If there are specific things that you do not want in the package, please let us know.
You are personally responsible for getting good cancellation and/or travel insurance that covers you for unforeseen emergencies and medical expenses before or during the trip.
You are personally responsible for using the hotel room in an appropriate way. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for unforeseen delays that influence the program (e.g. missed guided tours), neither can Expat Club be held liable for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with the coach, strikes, weather etc.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip, such as, but not limited to, things that happen during the guided tours. Joining this trip is safe but still at your own risk.
If you do not find a room partner on your own, we will find one for you (male/male, female/female). During the outbound trip we will connect you with others in the same position. If you decide to take a single room during the trip, then you will have to fully pay for it yourself.
If you book a double / twin room and your travel partner cancels, you will have to pay the single room supplement or share a room with another person (if available).