If you don’t like to take packaged tours. If you don’t like to join a crowded, all-inclusive tour that herds gawking tourists from sight to sight while glossing over the important facts in favor of cramming in as much as possible into one day.
If It's not just your style.
Our private guides have great experience and high level of professionalism, competence and excellence on their job.They are well versed in Ottoman-Turkish history and culture takes you on a highly informative guided tour of Istanbul’s major sights that you selected and wanted to see, without rush and feel of structured. Let’s leave your days open and unstructured.
We are able to tell you things about The Topkapi Palace, Haghia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar and the Cistern that you never would have known if you had winged it on your own or joined a large tour group.
All private tours organized by our tour guides always include pre-reserved museum tickets when museum tours are included in the tour itinerary. In this way visitors avoid waisting time waiting in line in front of museums ticket offices. We also can work with you together to put an itinerary that best fits your needs and interests.
You may be skeptical about taking a private guided tour, but after a few minutes with your private guide’s delightful personality, you believe that you made the right decision and your day with us is not different more like spending a day with a well-informed friend than taking a tour.
You can make decisions on the spot and change your plans anytime as you go along.
If you really want to understand the wonderful attractions of Istanbul, rather than just looking at them, your guide meets you at 9 am at your hotel and share a nice lunch together as well and day ends with tea at the Grand Bazaar. You pay €150 for a full day, include pre-reserved museum tickets so you will leave Istanbul with knowing that you did not visit the city blindly, and thank to us for wonderful narration.Istanbul is quite a metropolis, like New York, Paris, Rome and London and like all these magic cities, she has a lot to offer to its visitors. When I refer to Istanbul, I say “she” because I feel like Istanbul is like a beautiful, charming and smart woman who is lovable, caring, embracing but also full of surprises. She may become capricious, unpredictable and heartbreaking at times where you get puzzled about her. It is hard not to fall in love with her at first sight, but if you do not, then you’ll fall in love with her on your second time. She is addictive, it is hard to give up on ISTANBUL… She is one of the cities where thousands of poems were written on, thousands of songs composed on, hundreds of books written on…She is ready to embrace you, so please get ready to get lost in her little old back streets or her modern face. She has everything you may imagine or beyond imagination.
Read on if you want to find out,
• Must things to do in Istanbul
• Things to do in Istanbul in 1 day, 2 days, 3 days or more…
• Walks in Istanbul
Please check “Daily Tours or Istanbul walk” section if you like to have Group guided tours.
!!!! Do not come back without……
• Without having breakfast from the terrace of one of the Old City Hotels,
• Taking a ferry ride on the Bosphorus,
• Trying Turkish Çay (black tea) in a tulip shape glass with the local crowd,
• Trying sisha (Hubble-bubble or nargilah) , waterpipe (with fruit essences) in Çorlulu Ali Medresesi.
(located in the old city, between Çemberlitaş and Beyazıt Tram Stops),
• Trying medium sweet Turkish Coffee and double roasted pistachhio Turkish delight candy,
• Tasting delicious Turkish kebabs,
• Sitting in a cafe by the Bosphorus and peoplewatching,
• Tasting a pistachio “baklava” which is out of this world,
• Trying Turkish “Raki” (like liquorish or ouzo)
• Trying street food, like Doner Kebab (gyros) in a wrap with Turkish Ayran (salty yoghurt drink diluted with water)
• Doing the Classical Highlights Tour…
What To Do In Istanbul If You Have Only 1 Day?
Classical Old City Tour – Highlights of Istanbul Tour
This tour includes the very basic highlights of the city, as Hippodrome Square, The Blue Mosque, The Hagia Sophia Church, The Underground Cistern, a Lunch Break and afterwards the imperial Topkapi Palace and finally the Grand Bazaar. The tour usually starts at 9 a.m and finishes at 4-5 p.m. Organized tours are accompanied by a professional tour guide and a van depending on the location of the hotel. The Underground Cistern may be replaced by the Suleymaniyye Mosque in some itineraries. If you have a limited time in Istanbul, this tour is definitely for you. Local Guides in Hagia Sophia or Topkapi Palace are also available. Among the guidebooks, "The Blue Guide Istanbul" or "Strolling Through Istanbul" by John Freely is strongly recommended. These books give a general framework as well as practical information. If you like to be totally independent, “Rick Steves’ Istanbul Guide” will be your greatest help. In the high season or shoulder season, there may be long lines to buy tickets for the museums, to hiring a tour guide will save you time and enrich your experience.
What To Do in Istanbul If You Have 2 Days?
1st Day – Classical Old City Tour – Highlights of Istanbul Tour
2nd Day- Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise and Taksim District
After you visited the highlights of the old city, you are ready to have a glance of the new city as well. 2nd day itinerary recommendation will be the Spice Market, the Bosphorus Cruise with the public boat and a great fish meal on the Bosphorus, taking a public bus or catch a taxi to Taksim District (Times Square of Istanbul) and walk through the Istiklal pedestrian Street. Don’t forget to sit down and relax by one of the cafes overlooking the street, enjoying your Turkish coffee and a Turkish dessert. You may dig into the little alleys and back streets of the main drag, visit the Fish Market (Flower Market) and Avrupa Pasaji (Shopping Arcade by the Flower Market).
What To Do In Istanbul If You Have 3 Days?
In addition to the above mentioned sights, you may also like to add Suleymaniye Mosque, Chora Church which has beautiful Byzantine Mosaics, Pera Museum (near Taksim District) and visit Çukurcuma District if you like antiques. If you are into modern art, Istanbul Modern Art Museum offers great permanent and surprising temporary collections. There are art galleries around Karakoy and Findikli Area as well.
What to Do In Istanbul If You Have Many Days?
You may like to visit the Prince Islands by public ferry or hydrofoil.
You may like to have trips outside Istanbul, to Bursa and Iznik (Nicea) where famous Iznik Tiles come from. Bursa is the first Ottoman Capital where you may see many early Ottoman Mosques and old Ottoman mansions. The city is like an open air museum.
Walks in Istanbul
For the ones who love walking, there are three sample walks for you which are my favorites.
CITY WALLS WALK– Start: Chora Church | End: Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
Start at Chora Church and walk along the Theodosian City Walls. Pass through the gypsy district and visit Ivaz Efendi Mosque, Anemas Dungeons, Blackhernae Greek Orthodox Church, Balat and Fener Districts. End at Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. (downhill walk)
BOSPHORUS WALK - Start: Kabataş Tram Stop | End: Bebek
Start at Kabataş Tram Stop. Walk towards Beşiktaş and visit Dolmabahçe Palace. Upon arrival in Beşiktaş, carry on to Ortaköy. Visit the flea market and have a break in a waterfront café in downtown Ortaköy. Continue to Kuruçeşme and finalize your walk in Bebek. (flat walk)
Start in front of Hagia Sophia and walk downhill along the tram line. You’ll see the Gülhane Park which is one of the nicest green areas of Old Istanbul. This remarkable park is the location where the first constitutional monarchy was proclaimed. (1839). There is a beautiful little mosque on your left. (Zeynep Sultan Mosque) with one little minaret. When you keep walking, you’ll see the splendid monumental gate which is the entrance to the Governorship of Istanbul. This used to be the famous “Sublime Porte” where the Ottoman Administrative Units were located. The governor’s office still is located there. Upon passing the “Gülhane” Tram Stop, the road curves to the left. You’ll see colorful souvenir stores on both sides and little Turkish food eateries. Keep walking until you see the Sirkeci Tram Stop. You’ll see the Sirkeci Gar Train Station where Europe bound trains and commuter trains depart. Keep walking towards the water on the left sidewalk and follow the road. On your left, you’ll see a mosque called “New Mosque”. Spice Market and New Mosque were both built in the 17th C. You’ll see an underground pass leading to the Galata Bridge where many people will be fishing. Walk through the underground pass and reach the bridge. You may like to keep right side of the bridge when crossing the Golden Horn and the other side when coming back. When you’re coming back, you’ll see the casual floating fish restaurants where you may try a fish sandwich with salad. (usually mackerel). Cross the underground passage and finish the tour in front of Spice Market.