Tours of Istanbul, Turkey

Here’s how to see the top sights of Istanbul, on a guided tour, on your own, or with a recommended Licensed Private Guide.

Istanbul Walking Tours

Guided Tours

Many companies offer half- and full-day Istanbul city tours.

Efendi Travel offers innovative, high value-for-money half- and full-day tours. Their Old Istanbul Guided Walking Tour may be the most cost-effective way to see Istanbul’s top sights in one day. Their Chora Church & Golden Horn tour takes you to some out-of-the-way Istanbul sights such as the City Walls, Yedikule (Fortress of the Seven Towers), Kariye Museum (Church of the Holy Savior in Chora), and Pierre Loti café. Their Bosphorus Cruise & Spice Bazaar tours are good and inexpensive as well. More…

Self-Guided Walking Tours

Want to do it on your own? It’s easy to find your way around Sultanahmet Square, with the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, the Hippodrome, Basilica Cistern and Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts all close together. When you’ve seen them, follow these self-guided tours, map in hand, to see more:

Divan Yolu Walking Tour

Walk from the Hippodrome along the ancient road to Rome, now called Divan Yolu, to visit the heart of historic Istanbul, ending at the Grand Bazaar. More…

Istanbul Bazaars Walking Tour

The Grand Bazaar is only the best-known of Istanbul’s many markets. Follow this walking tour downhill through the Tahtakale district along the Street of the Long Market(Uzunçarşı Caddesi) to see the rest. At the bottom of the hill, on the shore of the Golden Horn, is the stunning Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar. More…

Beyoğlu Walking Tour

Stroll along İstiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue) in Beyoğlu, the 19th-century Europeanized district of Istanbul, for boutiquescafés and restaurants, music clubs and bars, and the grand embassies built by the European powers in the capital of the Ottoman EmpireMore…

Istanbul in 1 Day

Have a long layover at the airport? Can you only afford one day here on your way to somewhere else? Here’s a plan for visiting the top sights in minimal time, just right for a full-day stopover or a quick overnight visit. More…

Istanbul Weekend

Whether you have 2 days, or 3 or 4, this is the itinerary for your (long-) weekend getaway in Istanbul. More…

Excusions from Istanbul

The BosphorusPrinces’ IslandsBlack Sea beachesBursaEdirne, even ÇanakkaleGallipoli and Ephesus are possible day-trips from Istanbul. Here are the best day-trips, overnight excursions and short multi-day trips from the metropolis. More…

Bosphorus Cruise

A half-day or day-long excursion up the strait that runs through Istanbul, visiting castles, palaces… and—if you’re like me—fish restaurants!

Bursa

Zoom south across the Sea of Marmara in a fast catamaran ferry to see this first capital of the Ottoman Empire, with its fine old mosquessilk weaving trade, and thermal spas; make it an overnight and see İznik (Nicaea) as well.

Edirne

Comfortable day-long excursion by bus or car to see the fine old mosques and lively bazaars of the second Ottoman capital, delightfully free of tourist crowds.

Çanakkale-Gallipoli

Long day-trip by bus or car to see the Dardanelles, the Gallipoli battlefields, and even ancient Troy; possible in a day, but better as an overnight by bus or car (or on a self-drive tourall the way to Ephesus.)

Ephesus

Best-preserved classical city on the Aegean or Mediterranean, a must-see; go by plane for the day, or overnight, or take a Six-Day Self-Drive Tour from Istanbul via GallipoliTroyBergama (Pergamum)Ephesus and Kuşadası.More…

—by Tom Brosnahan


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