Istanbul
Walking Tours

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Our most recommended Istanbul Walking Tours

Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace Admission and Guided Tour

1. Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace Admission and Guided Tour

Explore Dolmabahçe Palace - the biggest royal residence of the sultans and the imperial family of the Ottoman Empire. Meet your licensed English-speaking guide outside the monument and enter with your skip-the-line admission ticket. Begin a guided tour of the stunning interiors. Learn about how the palace was built by the orders of Sultan Abdülmecid I and opened in 1856. Admire the greatest collection of Baccarat and Bohemian chandeliers on the planet, including the biggest Bohemian chandelier ever. Marvel at the vast collection gold inside, specifically on the ornate ceilings.  As you continue the tour, learn about the distinct differences between the Dolmabahçe Palace and the Topkapı Palace - for example, the architectural style and the way that the furniture was used. Find out about how the Dolmabahçe Palace was the last headquarter of the empire and was served until 1922.

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Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line

2. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line

Skip the line and visit the most important museum of Turkey and the Balkan Peninsula. Discover how the Topkapi Palace was built between 1466 - 1478 and served for over 400 years as the residency and administrative headquarter of the Ottoman Sultans. The guide will explain to you the entire story of the Palace during a one hour tour. Marvel at the great architectural beauty of this important monument of the Ottoman Empire.

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Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour

3. Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour

Meet with your professional local guide in front of Hagia Sophia. Hear a short history of the Old City then start the Hagia Sophia Tour.  Your guide will explain the mystery of the magnificent Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is a great architectural beauty and an important monument both for the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires. Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum at the Turkish Republic, Hagia Sophia has always been a precious building. 

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Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

4. Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

Day 1 – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hipporome, 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 8-hour 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 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. Move on to the Blue Mosque, more 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 in to the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. You will also visit the Hippodrome, 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. You will also pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. Your day won’t be complete, however, without a visit to the Grand Bazaar, 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. 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 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. From there, it is a 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area.

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Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar Tour

5. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar Tour

Like most visitors to Istanbul, especially first-time visitors; you will want to see and photograph the Blue Mosque. Complete with its 6 minarets and ornate glass windows, this site is a must when visiting Istanbul. Following that, you will travel next door to the Hagia Sophia Museum. A magnificent Byzantine Church, it is one of the finest and largest architectural works of art in the world.  After the Hagia, you'll find your way to the entrance of the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world. In addition to its historical importance, it's a bazaar that will tempt even those without an interest in shopping with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewellery, leather, and souvenirs.

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From Istanbul: Ephesus & Şirince Day Trip w/ Wine Tasting

6. From Istanbul: Ephesus & Şirince Day Trip w/ Wine Tasting

Spend the day exploring the most memorable places in Ephesus and Şirince on this guided full-day tour from Istanbul, lunch included. Visit the House of Virgin Mary, see the Temple of Artemis, and taste local wine at a vineyard. Enjoy convenient round-trip transportation from Istanbul. Start your trip by getting picked up from your hotel in Istanbul and transferred to the Istanbul Airport for your flight from Istanbul to Izmir. Upon arrival at Izmir Airport, meet your driver to head to Ephesus to start the tour. First, stop at the House of Virgin Mary, the place where Mary may have spent her last days. This place was officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1986, and since then it has become a popular place of pilgrimage. The visit to the House of Virgin Mary takes about 45 minutes. After, take a 5-minute drive to Ephesus to continue the tour. Ephesus is an exceptional testimony to the cultural traditions of the Hellenistic, Roman Imperial, and early Christian periods. The city is an important site for Christianity as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Walk along the city’s marble streets accompanied by a tour guide. See the Ephesus Odeon, Ephesus Prytaneion, State Agora, Memmius Monument, Temple of Domitian, Hercules Gate, Curetes Street, Temple of Hadrian, and Ephesus Latrines. Next, optionally visit The Private House (so-called “Terrace Houses” brothel). Afterward, carry on to the Celsus Library, Marble Road, Commercial Agora, the great theater, and Arcadian Street (Harbor Road). Later, head to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Get a chance to take memorable photos of the Church of St. John and İsa Bey Mosque. Before the end of the tour, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Afterward, head to Şirince, an old village of Rûm (Byzantine Greeks) situated on the hills of Selçuk, 7 km from Ephesus. The village is popular for beautiful traditional houses and fruit-flavored wine production. Complete your experience with free time for a wine tasting. At the end of your trip, get transferred back to the airport for your flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival in Istanbul, a driver will pick you up at the airport and transfer you back to your hotel in the evening.

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Istanbul: Bosphorus Boat Tour with Local Guide

7. Istanbul: Bosphorus Boat Tour with Local Guide

From the central meeting point in Sultanahmet, you will be transferred to the boat dock to embark on a cruise along the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus Strait connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea and separates Europe and Asia, making Istanbul one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the only one built astride two continents. The cruise will afford you the unique opportunity to view both sides of the city. During this cruise, your guide will provide commentary and answer questions as you admire sights like Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Ciragan Palace and Rumeli Fortress as well as the ancient wooden villas, bridges and maritime landscapes. After the Bosphorus cruise, transfer to the original meeting point.

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Dolmabahce Palace: Skip-the-Line Ticket and Audio Guide

8. Dolmabahce Palace: Skip-the-Line Ticket and Audio Guide

Meet your guide at the main entrance of the Dolmbahce Palace, skip the long ticket lines and enter the world's most luxurious Palace the shortest way. Save up to 2 hours by not standing in the famous ticket lines. Follow your guide through a 10-minute tour inside the garden of Dolmbahce Palace. Learn about the highlights inside the Dolmabahce Palace and find out where the best spots are to capture the most amazing pictures. Afterwards, receive your audio guide so you can explore the inside of the Palace at your own pace. Spend the whole day inside or just have a quick glance at its impressive beauty. Gaze in awe at the palace's beautiful location on the Bosphorus and its more than $1.5 billion worth of luxury decoration.

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Topkapi Palace and Harem: Guided Tour with Admission Ticket

9. Topkapi Palace and Harem: Guided Tour with Admission Ticket

Immerse yourself in Istanbul’s best sight on this exceptionally well-led guided tour. Discover Ottoman history in the Palace and the life of Sultan's family in the harem. Meet your dedicated guide at a hot spot for traditional Turkish delicacies, where there are restroom facilities and you can purchase water or snacks. Then let your guide take you to Topkapi Palace. Enjoy a 3-hour tour of Topkapi Palace, the heart of the Ottoman Empire. The complex of low buildings, pavilions, and courtyards was a self-contained city, which most inhabitants rarely left. Explore the outer-terraced gardens and admire the view over the Golden Horn. Visit the harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded domestic and political power. The harem housed hundreds of women and family members as well as hundreds of eunuchs, who performed a wide range of duties. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoise shell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. The tour ends with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.

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Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3 Day Private Guided Tour

10. Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3 Day Private 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

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Other Sightseeing Options in Istanbul

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What people are saying about Istanbul

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 2,133 reviews

My guide Borek was excellent! Since I was the only one taking the tour that day he was able to show me so much of the food culture in Istanbul while walking! We had a great tour, through Taksim, the Spice Bazaar in the Old City and also crossed to the Asian side of Istanbul via ferry for lunch! We tried so many foods, and he is very knowledgeable and patient and made sure I got back to my hotel safely! I would recommend this tour to anyone coming to Istanbul! 5 stars! Keep it up!

Outstanding 3 days with Semih as my guide to Istanbul, saw all the major sites, but also lots of places that I probably wouldn't have got to without a guide. Semih's had lots of information on each site, and I came away with a much better understanding of the history of the city. This was the best way to get to learn about the city

Very knowledgeable and patient guide. Highly recommend. Some other guides were charging 50£ plus topkapi entrance fee for the experience and with gyg I got for 20£

We had an amazing walking tour in Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque, our tour guide was really friendly and knowledgeable

Very Useful information from a lab extraordinary person!