There's no denying that seeing the sights with your own private guide is the best way to fully appreciate the richness of Turkey's history, culture, and cuisine. Unlike a guidebook, a private guide can answer any question that may pop into your head, explain what you're seeing right at that moment, and provide far more information than can fit in a book.
Turkey is not the kind of place where a personal guide is essential to protect you and lead you through chaos every day but Turkey has some amazing guides that can add enhance your experience for sure. Check out the list of TTP Top Recommended Guides below.
Depending on preference, some visitors will choose to employ a guide for a day or two (particularly in Istanbul), and others may choose to have a guide accompany them throughout their entire trip.
TTP Top Recommended Guides
I am a native of Istanbul and have been a professional licensed tourist guide since 1990. I have considerable experience of guiding visitors around Turkey and especially in Istanbul.
To date, I have mostly guided visitors from the USA but inevitably, being an English-speaking tour guide, I have hosted guests from all over the world whose shared langauge with me is English. As a result, I believe I have a proper appreciation of what visitors want.
I have been working in tourism for 21 years and as a professional guide for 17. I have always believed that I was born for this job. I wanted to become a tour guide to meet new people who I can pass on my culture, history, and lifestyle as a Turkish woman. In return, I get to meet different people and hear their unique stories every day. Additionally, Istanbul is a great location to have a good time with guests. Working as a tour guide is more than a job for me, it’s a pleasure.
I was born in Istanbul in 1974, for which I consider myself to be very lucky. I love this city and this country! One of my favorite things about being a tour guide is showing my guests around my city and offering a unique perspective as a lifelong citizen. I graduated from Beyoğlu English High School for girls and got my undergraduate degree from the Spanish Language and Literature faculty.
Here are other good reasons to use a private guide:
1. Guides have priority to buy tickets to touristic sites. Your guide will go right up to the ticket window, buy your tickets and lead you in ahead of the crowds.
2. Guides know how to use your precious travel time most efficiently—no need for backtracking or waiting needlessly in traffic when a better itinerary would have spared you.
3. Guides know the tricks of the trade and the current situation. They'd know that Bosphorus cruise boats departing from Eminönü this week are very crowded, but that identical boats departing from Kadıköy are not.
4. Guides know all the best photography angles and locations. Want good souvenir shots without the hassle? Want to know if it's culturally appropriate to take that shot? Ask your guide.
5. Guides can find the café, restaurant or shop that is just right for your taste because they know them all. Tell them what you like, they'll take you there.
Tourist guides in Turkey are required by law to complete a rigorous training program of several years, and to obtain an official government tour guide's license.
It is against the law for anyone who has not been trained and licensed to function as a tourist guide in Turkey.
As anyone who has ever employed a guide knows, it is not just a guide's knowledge that makes a tour successful, but also his or her personality and sensitivity to your needs and wants.
Turkey has thousands of licensed tour guides. If you want a private guide, how do you choose?
Turkey's professional tourist guide organization is the Tourist Guides Union (Turist Rehberleri Birliği, or TUREB), of which the affiliated Chamber of Istanbul Tourist Guides (İstanbul Turist Rehberleri Esnaf Odası, or İRO but their website is not in English). Each other important tourism destination in Turkey also has its local organization.
By employing a guide who is a member of one of these organizations, you are more likely to have a good tour experience, and you will have recourse to the organization if there is a problem.
My Turkish Tour Guide List includes the tour guides I know personally. It is in no way a complete list, but it is impossible for me to know and personally recommend thousands of guides.
Note that professional guides provide their services for a fee. Although they welcome inquiries about scheduling and availability of their services, they expect to be paid when they provide tourism information. If you contact them for information and trip-planning help, you may be asked to arrange payment by credit card before questions are answered, and before their time is scheduled—just as with other travel services such as hotels and flights.
I cannot guarantee that any particular guide will be successful for any particular tour or location(s), or that a guide will have the right "chemistry" with your personality to make your tour 100% successful. I can only say that the guides on my list have satisfied other travelers who have told me so.
If you employ a guide for a private tour in Turkey, you may want to send a report to TUREB on your experience. This will help the organization maintain high standards of quality among its member guides:
|Turkish Guides List|