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Istanbul Neighborhood tours

Our most recommended Istanbul Neighborhood tours

Istanbul: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour

1. Istanbul: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour

Discover the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Hippodrome on a private or shared guided walking tour in Istanbul. Admire the historic architecture and unique views of the city. Get an insider perspective of these must-see sights. Meet your guide in the Sultanahmet neighborhood at an easy spot and check out Istanbul's greatest monuments on a walking tour. Start with the Blue Mosque, the most visited monument in Istanbul famous for its stunning blue tiles. Marvel at this imperial Ottoman Mosque, commissioned by Sultan Ahmet. Witness the evocative power and splendor of its past as you enjoy a comprehensive guided tour of the Blue Mosque. Afterward, enjoy the courtyard for breathtaking views of modern Istanbulites and take a stroll around the neighborhood. Walk through the Hippodrome, the social and political center of the city, and learn about the significance of the famous obelisks. Visit the Hagia Sophia and witness the most significant site of the Greek Orthodox religion in Istanbul and learn how it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Explore the stunning monument with elements of a mosque and a church standing next to each other. Admire the basilica’s stunning dome and minarets, and countless mosaics, paintings, and Roman columns. Learn how the impressive İznik tiles were added over time in the Mosque, how the stunning Virgin Mary mosaic was made, and why the Ottomans chose to bury their sultans in the courtyard. Explore the Arasta Bazaar nestled right under the shadow of the Blue Mosque to understand 17th Century architecture of public buildings. It is a well-known but modest open-air market in the heart of Sultanahmet. Enjoy a last-minute tea break and hunt for gifts to take home. End your tour in Sultanahmet Square with enough information and hints to help you be independent for the rest of your time in Istanbul.

Istanbul: Galata Guided Walking Tour and Tower Entry

2. Istanbul: Galata Guided Walking Tour and Tower Entry

Meet your guide in front of the exit of the Tünel funicular station and start strolling through the backstreets of the Pera district. See the first luxury hotels of Istanbul which have hosted kings, queens, and world-famous writers and artists. After exploring the backstreets of Pera, follow your guide to a historic fish market and one of the most famous bar streets of Istanbul. While here, have the chance to try some local street food. Reach Istiklal Avenue and see people from all around the world, shops, restaurants, art galleries, and many historic buildings. Walk by some of the oldest consulates and churches from the 18-19th century Ottoman Empire. From Istiklal Avenue, find yourself in the neighborhood of Galata. On your way to the Galata Tower, pass through a cobblestone street full of music shops. The go-to street of every musician in Turkey, see shops specialized in hand-made ethnic instruments and equipment. After a few minutes of walking, find yourself in front of one of the most iconic landmarks of Istanbul, Galata Tower. Listen to its stories and legends and head inside to access the elevator of the tower. Your guide will assist with your entry. From the tower's terrace, witness an impressive view of the city. See Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Bosphorus Strait, the Bosphorus Bridge, Marmara Sea, both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Golden Horn, and even the Prince Islands. Your tour will end in Galata Tower, and here you are free to spend as much time as you want to take incredible pictures of Istanbul.

Istanbul Food and Culture Tour: Taste of 2 Continents

3. Istanbul Food and Culture Tour: Taste of 2 Continents

Explore the cuisines of Istanbul on a food tour of both sides of the Bosphorus. Take in the city as your cross the Bosphorus with the included ferry. Stop a 9 mouth-watering locations and sip on 4 drinks. Savor an entrée, main course, and a dessert. Starting at Karakoy Pier, ride a public ferry across the Bosporus Strait to Kadikoy Port. Enjoy views of 2 continents on the journey.  Stroll around the Kadikoy neighborhood visiting local markets and diving down a maze of streets lined with local shops selling all kinds of produce. Go to the fish market to try some delicious mussels stuffed with rice and spices. Stop at break at a café, full of locals playing backgammon. Follow your guide to a restaurant that specializes in home cooked food from the Kurdish area of south east Turkey (vegetarian and gluten free options available). Head back to the European side on the ferry, admiring views of Istanbul at night. Indulge in something sweet at a local eatery where you can sample a Turkish dessert. Relax with a drink as you watch the locals going about their business. Try the fruity flavors of an authentic Nargile (water pipe), washed down with some Turkish beverages, such as chay (Turkish coffee), sahlep (milky drink made from orchid tubers). 

Istanbul: Taste of Two Continents Food Tour

4. Istanbul: Taste of Two Continents Food Tour

From home-made dishes and street food to traditional kebabs and Turkish ice cream, immerse yourself in Istanbul’s food scene and acquaint yourself with Turkish culture and habits during this walking tour. Make stops at 10 different eateries with a variety of samples at each. Begin your morning with a delicious Turkish breakfast of locally sourced produce on Istanbul’s European side before crossing the mighty Bosphorus by ferry to explore the more modern and chic area of Kadıköy, on the Asian side, where you will discover the best restaurants in Istanbul. Sip on freshly brewed Turkish coffee while enjoying locally-made baklava. Taste delicious dolma, tantuni and kokoreç, as well as other local favorites. Enjoy the home-cooked flavours of Kadıköy’s most loved restaurant, Çiya Sofrası. Finally, finish your day with the cool, refreshing flavours of the best Turkish dondurma (ice-cream) in Moda.

Istanbul: Fener/Balat Walking Tour, Pierre Loti Hill & Ferry

5. Istanbul: Fener/Balat Walking Tour, Pierre Loti Hill & Ferry

Meet your guide at the Itimat Fabrika Satis yero/magazasi at the the entry gate of the Spice Market in the heart of Istanbul. From here you’ll take the local bus to Fener to discover Istanbul’s heritage. Travel by public bus to the colorful Fener/Balat district, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and at one time home to Istanbul’s Ottoman Orthodox and Jewish residents. See traces of Ottoman life, including wooden houses, mosques, churches, and synagogues, standing together and demonstrating the multicultural and religious ways of the Ottoman Empire. After walking along the cobblestoned streets of the Fener/Balat World Heritage area, you’ll continue along the historic Byzantine city walls that date to the 4th century A.D. and the time of Constantine the Great. See the exterior of the historic Eyüp mosque complex, a sacred area where pilgrims come to visit the mosques and the tombs of Muslim saints. From here you’ll take a short cable car ride up to the famous Pierre Loti Café, a popular meeting point for locals. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of Istanbul while sipping a drink in one of the cafés where French Poet Pierre Loti was inspired to write Aziyade, part biography and part love story about his escapades in Istanbul in the late 1800s. Walk back down to Eyüp to catch the local ferry for a cruise on the blue waters of the Golden Horn. See Ottoman houses, shipyards, the old and new Galata bridges, Ataturk Bridge, ancient city walls, mosques, churches, and other historic and modern sites. You’ll disembark at Karaköy Harbor, where the tour ends.

Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

6. Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

Explore Istanbul on a guided tour. Choose from a 1-day tour to top attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, or a 2-day tour with a cruise on the Bosphorus straight and a visit to the Dolmabahce Palace and Istiklal Street. Pick from a walking tour or a driving tour.  Day 1 – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this private full-day walking tour that covers the major attractions, from the Hagia Sophia Museum to the iconic Blue Mosque, to the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, to the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. The excursion starts with a pick-up from your Istanbul hotel and a walk through the lively streets of Turkey’s largest city to visit the dramatic former basilica of the Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still holds the position for the 4th largest dome. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Move on to the Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque. The mosque’s striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Continue to Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years.  Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop into the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. Visit the Hippodrome, the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. See the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column, the 3 remaining monuments from the original building. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. Complete your day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handicraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. Day 2 – Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Istiklal Street, Taksim The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because, during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there.  The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus and there are magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name, in Turkish, Dolma means 'filled' or 'stuffed,' and bahce means 'garden'. Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars. From there, it is a 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area.

Istanbul: Fener and Balat Private Walking Tour

7. Istanbul: Fener and Balat Private Walking Tour

Start your tour with a ferry ride along the Golden Horn and see the skyline of Istanbul from this famous waterway. Learn from your guide as they explain the history of Constantinople, the conquest by the Ottomans, and the introduction of Jewish culture. Visit the extraordinary church of Mary Blachernae, and see the Ahrida Synagogue. Walk through the streets and markets of Balat through the splashes of color and the vibrancy of its street life. Take a break in this vibrant neighborhood and enjoy watching people in their everyday activities. End your tour in Fener after seeing the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, an essential part of this tour, as it is the most sacred site for the Orthodox people.

Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Walking Tour

8. Istanbul: Best of the City Private Full-Day Walking Tour

This private experience is the perfect introduction to Istanbul for first-time visitors. Enjoy a guided full-day tour to discover the best of the city. The tour can be fully customized to suit your needs, simply tell your guide what interests you the most.  Visit the historic Hippodrome, the exquisite Blue Mosque, and the iconic Hagia Sophia. Experience the lavish lifestyles of the Ottoman Sultans with a tour of Topkapi Palace, or browse the colorful stalls of the Grand Bazaar. Enjoy priority entrance to all sites and spend your day exploring the city of Istanbul.

Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

9. Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

Discover the best of Istanbul on this 1, 2, or 3-day private tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. A few of the possible attraction you'll visit on your tour include: The Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul's in London, St. Peter's in Rome, and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Blue Mosque, more officially known as the "Sultanahmet" Mosque has striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop in to the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. The Hippodrome is the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handcraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name — in Turkish, Dolma means "filled" or "stuffed," and bahce means "garden". Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars, and from there, it's an interesting and scenic 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area. See this and more depending on which length tour option you select. Possible Itinerary for each day of the tour: Day 1: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hippodrome Day 2: Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal, Galata Tower Day 3: Suleymaniye Mosque, Chora Church, Fener/Balat Districts, Pierre Loti Hill

Istanbul: Full-Day Guided Tour

10. Istanbul: Full-Day Guided Tour

Istanbul straddles East and West, enticing your senses and expanding your perceptions of the world around you. Todays full day tour will give you a glimpse at some of Istanbul's incredible sites and sounds and leave you with a deeper understanding of this rich land. Begin your day at one of Istanbul's greatest architectural masterpieces - the Hagia Sophia. This 6th century basilica will stun you with its towering minarets and beautiful handcrafted mosaics. It is called, by some, the 8th wonder of the world and you'll soon see why. Soon after your visit to Hagia Sophia, head across the street to the Blue Mosque. One of the most famous monuments in all of Turkey, the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque) is a monument to the Ottoman empire and its builders. It gets its name from the more than 20,000 Iznik blue tiles that adorn its facade and interior and its history will impress you as you receive a tour. Then step back in time a bit to the Hippodrome. Here, imagine what life might have been like as locals traveled to see the chariot races at this famous sports arena. The area dates back to Egyptian times and there are still relics of the past dotted around this incredible area. With so much history, it's time to take a little shopping break. Head to the Grand Bazaar, where you'll have the chance to barter on everything from fine leather goods, to spices and plenty of sweets to satisfy your sweet tooth. There are nearly 4000 stalls here, so you're sure to find something for yourself.  After lunch visit the recently discovered and restored Şerefiye Cistern, which was built by Roman Emperor Theodosius II between 428 and 443 to store water supplied by the Valens Aqueduct (Roman Period Water Reservoir). Your tour ends here.

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Frequently asked questions about Istanbul

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Istanbul?

The best day trips and excursions from Istanbul are:

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Other Sightseeing Options in Istanbul

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What people are saying about Istanbul

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 863 reviews

This experience is one of a kind and highly recommend for all. The people you meet and see while on the tour represent all walks of life. It's true that Istanbul is the meeting place of the world. Many thanks to the host of the trip who brought along blue plastic bags to carry our shoes while inside the Hagia Sophia Mosque and mentioned the mosaic of The Son of Mary that was near exit. You have my deepest thanks and appreciation. Apologies that I forgot your name brother.

Our guide Sabih was brilliant. Total knowledge of the places where he took us and full of suggestions and advice to discover the city. We visited Aya Sofia from the inside, the hippodrome area, the blue mosque from the outside (due to renovation works) and finally, with a small trip via tram, the Suleiman mosque. We recommend the tour and especially our guide!

Didem is a very informed guide about the history and culture of the various places we visited. She also helped us with good recommendations for restaurants and shopping. It was very easy communicating with her before and during the tour

Great tour and Cem, our tour guide, was brilliant, with lot's of fun facts and demonstrating a real passion for his work.

Liz was great, very knowledgeable and insightful. We learned a great deal, we really enjoyed our tour with her.