Private Guided Tour Istanbul

culture and literature in istanbul

with jeremy seal

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An Inspired Journey

An Exclusive Guided Tour with Jeremy Seal

Istanbul, one of the world’s great cities, is rich with historic monuments and cultural curiosities. Using both Jeremy’s and our experiences of the city, we have created a very special trip for a small group, which gives insight and context into the private lives of Istanbul’s cultural elite. Jeremy Seal is author, journalist and Turkophille, who has been exploring Istanbul for thirty years. This is an adventure which takes in both patriarchs and prisoners, revealing not only the magnificence but also the particular melancholy characteristic of this waterside metropolis. There will be memorable, afterhours visits to Nobel-Prize novelist Orhan Pamuk’s remarkable ‘nostalgia museum’ as well as taking a private sailing boat to have lunch at the island home of Owen Matthews, famous novelist and war correspondent.

“What I particularly love about this place is the way it so effortlessly calls to mind nothing so much as a historic and social collage rich in echoing details from each and every age.” Jeremy Seal

Our luxury hotels of choice are the Four Seasons Sultanahmet in the center of town, moments from some of Istanbul’s most celebrated attractions and the exclusive Four Seasons on the Bosphorus with its magnificent waterside terrace. The elegant interiors, excellent locations and award-winning spas ensure nothing short of the best. We have reserved tables at Istanbul’s star restaurants, which range from roof top bars serving trend-setting contemporary cuisine to more local haunts where the owners will ensure authentic Istanbul.

Jeremy has an infectious passion for his trade and the country he fell in love with thirty years ago. His much celebrated books about Turkey illustrate a lesser known side to the country and it is this insider knowledge which makes this once in a lifetime trip so extraordinary. With Jeremy Seal guiding us through the souks of the city, you have a rare chance to travel off the beaten track in a way that very few can offer.

9th September


We can arrange private transfers to the Four Seasons Sultanahmet, according to your flight arrival time. Much of the day is free for you to rest and relax before getting together in the early evening to meet Jeremy and chat about the week ahead.

Today’s highlights:

Settle into the peaceful surroundings of one of Istanbul’s finest boutique hotels.

A welcome drink on the roof terrace of the Four Seasons with views over the distinctive mosques and markets of the city below.


10th September

Main Attractions, Artists and Orhan Pamuk

After breakfast Jeremy and our expert guide will take you to see some of Istanbul's main attractions. During the day your luggage will be transferred to the stunning Four Seasons on the Bosphorus, where you will check in this afternoon with plenty of time to enjoy the terrace and swimming pool. We have left the evening free for you to rest or explore at your own leisure.

Some of Today’s highlights:

Discover some of the city’s main attractions such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and underground cistern.

Visit a contemporary art gallery exhibiting some of the city’s most interesting art.

A private, afterhours visit to Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence.

Main Attractions, Artists and Orhan Pamuk

11th September

Mosques and Markets

After a relaxing breakfast, you will begin a full day exploring some of Jeremy’s favorite parts of the city. This will be followed by time to relax back at the luxurious Four Seasons before meeting for dinner.

Today’s highlights;

Visit the holy district of Eyup, famous for its beautiful mosque, which was the first of its kind to be built in the city.

Enjoy tea at the Pierre Loti Café, with its magnificent views over Istanbul, where Jeremy will explain the fascinating story behind this renowned French writer.

Explore a 17th Century spice market as well as the famous Grand Bazaar, where we can arrange private, specialist personal shoppers for those looking for the best rugs, silverware or other artefacts.

Mosques and Markets

12th September

Private sailing and lunch with Owen Matthews

After breakfast your private yacht will anchor directly at the terrace of the Four Seasons, from where you will sail to the island of Buyakada. This evening we have arranged a memorable farewell dinner at what we believe to be one of the very best restaurants on the Bosphorus.

Today’s highlights:

Take in Istanbul’s coastline from a private sailing yacht for the day.

Lunch at the island home of Owen Matthews, writer and journalist. Owen has led a fascinating life in Asia and Russia, where he covered the second Chechen War.

Farewell dinner at one of the city’s finest restaurants.

Private sailing and lunch with Owen Matthews

13th September

Depart Istanbul

We can arrange private transfers to the airport according to your flight schedule. Do let us know if you would like to extend your time in Turkey as there are some beautiful regions we can recommend and we will be happy to put the arrangements together for you.

Some of Turkey’s highlights:

Cappadocia - an ancient land famous for its striking rock formations and hidden temples carved into the mountains.

Bodrum – with its stunning coastline and some fantastic hotels for time to relax at the end of your trip.

Depart Istanbul

12th September – 14th September

Four Seasons Sultanahmet

As a former Turkish prison, this beautiful and elegant neoclassical building has quite a history. Despite being stunningly renovated, its previous purpose is still engrained into the architecture of the building adding to its interest whilst offering a glimpse into its past. Along with a peaceful courtyard, there is a roof terrace with far reaching views overlooking the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. The hotel’s central location in Istanbul’s Old City means it is only a short walk to the buzz of the city whilst being the perfect retreat after a busy day exploring.

Four Seasons Sultanahmet

14th September – 16th September

Four Seasons Bosphorus

This renovated mansion feels intimate and traditional in style and the views of the Bosphorus from the terrace are unforgettable. There is an excellent spa as well as a refreshing outdoor pool with views over the water. The rooms are spacious and modern without losing a sense of place and local influences.

Four Seasons Bosphorus

Jeremy Seal

Jeremy Seal, 50, is a British travel writer who first fell in love with Turkey when teaching there in 1984. The country has since become the subject of his writing life. He has returned scores of times to research travel articles for numerous newspapers and magazines, and travelogues including A Fez of the Heart: Travels Around Turkey in Search of a Hat (1993) and Meander: East to West Along a Turkish River (2012). Jeremy, who combines some teaching and broadcasting with his writing, lives in Bath, England with his wife and daughters.

Jeremy Seal

Owen Matthews

Owen Matthews was born in London in 1971. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he read Modern History. He began his career as a foreign correspondent in Budapest, Sarajevo and Belgrade during the Bosnian civil war, working for a number of publications. In 1995 he moved to Moscow and became a correspondent for Newsweek Magazine, covering conflicts in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Chechnya. In 2001 Owen moved to Istanbul and reported from Turkey, the Caucasus, Syria and Iran, as well as covering US-led invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq. Owen's first book on Russian history was 'Stalin's Children', a family memoir, which was published to great critical acclaim in 2008. The book was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Orwell Prize for political writing, and selected as one of the Books of the Year by multiple newspapers. It has been translated into twenty-six languages and was shortlisted for France's Medici Prize and French Elle Magazine's Grand Prix Litteraire, as well as being selected as one of the FNAC chain's twenty featured titles for the Rentree Litteraire of 2009. Owen is currently a contributing editor for Newsweek magazine, based in Istanbul and Moscow.

Owen Matthews


We haven’t included international flights in our itinerary outline, however the best flight option is with British Airways.

We would suggest the following:
9th September 2014 Flight BA0676 London Heathrow to Istanbul 10.30 - 16.20
13th September 2014 Flight BA0679 Istanbul to London Heathrow 13.55 - 16.05

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