15 Best Istanbul Tours & Experiences 2020 - Local Guides

All Activities in Istanbul

Turkish Paper Marbling (Ebru) Class in Istanbul
Tour ∙ 2.5 hrs
 ∙ From 
72 EUR

Turkish Paper Marbling (Ebru) Class in Istanbul

(10)
Need a break from the hustle and bustle of tourist life in Istanbul? Come and take a Turkish paper marbling (Ebru) class with the remarkable Turkish artist Betul! Turkish paper marbling is a method of aqueous surface design that can create patterns similar to marble, hence the name.
From
72 EUR
Whirling Dervishes Ceremony in Istanbul Every Thursday
Tour ∙ 3 hrs
 ∙ From 
34 EUR

Whirling Dervishes Ceremony in Istanbul Every Thursday

(9)
Booked by 31 people!
Discover the story of Sufism, learn about Istanbul’s present-day Sufi community, and experience a Whirling Dervishes ceremony first-hand in an authentic Sufi monastery.
Booked by 31 people!
From
34 EUR
Off The Beaten Path of Real Istanbul Tour
Tour ∙ 7 hrs
 ∙ From 
40 EUR

Off The Beaten Path of Real Istanbul Tour

(7)
This unique tour is designed for curious travelers who want to discover what Istanbul is really about. Sign up to see the city’s top sights, explore beyond the beaten track, enjoy authentic Turkish experiences and more!
From
40 EUR
Top Sites Of Istanbul: Half Day Small-Group tour
Tour ∙ 5 hrs
 ∙ From 
50 EUR

Top Sites Of Istanbul: Half Day Small-Group tour

(4)
Get the perfect introduction to Istanbul’s most iconic places with a 5-hour, small-group tour of the old city with an experienced guide. Visit the top sites of Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome and the Grand Bazaar.
From
50 EUR
Private Yacht Tour & Photo Shooting
Tour ∙ 1 hr
 ∙ From 
19 EUR

Private Yacht Tour & Photo Shooting

(3)
This is a one hour yacht cruise to take best pictures of you on a perfect location. We are going to take professional photos of you and send them to you after the trip. ONLY PRIVATE TOUR (1 person or 6, this tour is always private for you)
From
19 EUR
Bosphorus Night Cruise with Dinner in Istanbul
Tour ∙ 4 hrs
 ∙ From 
59 EUR

Bosphorus Night Cruise with Dinner in Istanbul

(2)
Enjoy a tasty dinner and a traditional Turkish show with live music and belly dancing while cruising on the Bosphorus.
From
59 EUR
Whirling Dervishes Ceremony at Istanbul’s Sirkeci Train Station
Tour ∙ 1 hr
 ∙ From 
20 EUR

Whirling Dervishes Ceremony at Istanbul’s Sirkeci Train Station

(12)
Booked by 76 people!
Experience a Sufi music concert and Whirling Dervishes ceremony first-hand at Istanbul’s Sirkeci Train Station.
Booked by 76 people!
From
20 EUR
Turkish Marbling (Ebru) Class In Istanbul
Tour ∙ 2 hrs
 ∙ From 
50 EUR

Turkish Marbling (Ebru) Class In Istanbul

(1)
Learn how to paint on water in this traditional Ottoman Marbling workshop with local professional artists. Create your own beautiful designs on paper that you can take home as a treasured souvenir!
From
50 EUR
Personalised Tour of Istanbul with a Local
Tour ∙ 4 hrs
 ∙ From 
28 EUR

Personalised Tour of Istanbul with a Local

(1)
Hi, everyone! This tour is designed for Istanbul first-timers and those with limited time in the city. If you don’t want to get lost, join me!
From
28 EUR
Tour of the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul
Tour ∙ 8 hrs
 ∙ From 
30 EUR

Tour of the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul

(1)
Our journey begins at the place where the Ottomans ruled their legendary Empire. Following the orders of the Sultan, a new power emerged.
From
30 EUR
Pub Crawl in Istanbul
Tour ∙ 7 hrs
 ∙ From 
30 EUR

Pub Crawl in Istanbul

(1)
Explore Istanbul nightlife and the hidden party spots with experienced local guides! Meet other travelers, enjoy the party bus, free shots and free Turkish liquor, play drinking games and dance until the morning! Happening every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night
From
30 EUR
Istanbul Street Photography Tour
Tour ∙ 4 hrs
 ∙ From 
86 EUR

Istanbul Street Photography Tour

Istanbul is an enchanting city with an ancient beauty and a modern charm, if only you know where to look. Let the experts and artists of Istanbul Life ORG take you on a tour of Eyüp, Balat, the Golden Horn and Fatih, specially tailored for the photographer or videographer.
From
86 EUR
Day Trip to the Princes' Islands
Tour ∙ 8 hrs
 ∙ From 
5 EUR

Day Trip to the Princes' Islands

The Ottoman Empire forced traitors and the Greek population to live on the Princes' Islands. See how they adapted to life on the Islands with me on my full-day tour.
From
5 EUR
Ottoman-Turkish Calligraphy Workshop in Istanbul
Tour ∙ 2 hrs
 ∙ From 
72 EUR

Ottoman-Turkish Calligraphy Workshop in Istanbul

Ottoman-Turkish calligraphy, also known as Arabic calligraphy, is the art of writing, and by extension, of bookmaking. Calligraphy is an especially revered form of Islamic art since it was the primary means for the preservation of the Qur’an.
From
72 EUR
Four Sacred Guards of the Bosphorus
Tour ∙ 8 hrs
 ∙ From 
50 EUR

Four Sacred Guards of the Bosphorus

Istanbul is a city which has a shiny past with the help of Saints. While mariners pass through the Bosphorus, they greet 4 holy guards of the Bosphorus. Let' s visit them & feel their holiness.
From
50 EUR

Customer feedback about Tours in Istanbul

Rating 4.8 based on 52 reviews

Awesome Tour
The wife And I did a full day tour and it was great! We got to see a lot of the main attractions and the guide did a great job telling us about the past of each area and building. He lead us to several key areas of the city and then took us to areas we might had no idea had such history. The tour was well worth it and a great time.
Off The Beaten Path of Real Istanbul Tour
As good as its words
The tour is exactly what it is marketed as - a trip off the beaten track. We saw the non-mainstream sights with a very knowledgeable guide, who was both attentive and informative while letting us enjoy the sights on our own a little bit. Fantastic way to finish off your Istanbul experience!
Off The Beaten Path of Real Istanbul Tour
Fantastic
It was a great experience. We had a very competent guide, very knowledgeable and attentive to our questions and needs. This is an ideal option if you are travelling with family (3-5 people), keeps it very personal and entertaining. Definitely would recommend it to a friend!
Top Sites Of Istanbul: Half Day Small-Group tour
Great fun
If you have the time, definitely do this class! You don't need to have a special background in art, anyone can do it. It's a one-in-a-lifetime memory. I am framing my art that I made :)
Turkish Marbling (Ebru) Class In Istanbul
Great day exploring Istanbul
Eyup was a great source of information as he showed us round the main tourist attractions. Friendly and engaging we had a fanatic day exploring and left as good friends.
Tour of the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul
Simply amazing!
This is what you call an actual dervish ceremony. The one you see at bosphorus tours is just for fun. This was actually spiritual. Loved it.
Whirling Dervishes Ceremony in Istanbul Every Thursday
lovely experience!!!
i had the most fun learning Ebru with bettul and her husband. theyre both really lovely people and very good teachers.
Turkish Paper Marbling (Ebru) Class in Istanbul
Mezmerizing
This is definitely worth your time and money. An enchanting spectacle and unusual unforgettable music.
Whirling Dervishes Ceremony at Istanbul’s Sirkeci Train Station
An authentic experience
If you want to experience Whirling Dervishes Ceremony like a local then don’t miss that one.
Whirling Dervishes Ceremony in Istanbul Every Thursday
Great experience for a tourist in Istanbul
Pub Crawl in Istanbul
Great orientation of Istanbul
We had Gökhan show us around Istanbul on our first day in town and are really glad we did.

Prior to the tour he asked what we were interested in seeing and doing. We were interested in getting a feel for the city, seeing some of the things locals do on the weekend and finding some good places to eat. I said we didn't want to visit a heap of Mosques and museums as we're not big history buffs. He came up with a plan and also said he'd bring his wife along which worked out well.

On the day they were at our hotel on time and we set off for our walking tour. Things my wife and I liked about the tour:
- as we walked he told us about the things were passing
- he'd clearly thought about a plan for the day based on what we wanted to do
- showed us how to use public transport and we used it to quickly move between areas
- tasted a few local specialities
- showed us things they like to do on the weekend in Istanbul
- explained some of the major areas

After the tour he was more than happy to message us to answer questions and give more advice.

Gökhan is relatively new as a tour guide but we really enjoyed our experience with him. We felt like we could enjoy the city without having to check google maps every 2 minutes. He offers the tours because he is proud of Istanbul and likes to meet new people and it really shows through. I'd strongly recommend booking a tour with him
Personalised Tour of Istanbul with a Local
S
Paper marbling
We just got back from Istanbul and the I booked the marbling class for the last day. I was not expecting to have such experience. The artist talked about the whole process then walked us through step by step allowing us to creat more elaborate are as we went. I have very little talent but even so I was proud of my work. My daughter, on the other hand, is very talented and caught on right away. Even though the lesson was supposed to be a couple of hours, Ali worked with my daughter for double the amount of time. The attached picture shows what you can creat having never done this before. After we finished working we were welcome on the terrace for tea and cookies. I don't think there is a better view in all of Istanbul. We had to allow the paper to dry so we took a walk to the spice market to do a bit of shopping for kitchen items. When we walked back to the studio our artwork was dry and ready to take home.

The day was certainly not spent waiting on long lines to view tourist attractions rather experiencing something fun and unique.

An A+ company giving A+ experience.
Turkish Paper Marbling (Ebru) Class in Istanbul
thoroughly informative and worth it.
the tour captured all the aspects that one was expecting although i added hagia sophia to the itinerary it did not deter from it.

our guide was very fluent in his understanding of the history and way of life of istanbul and offered incredible insight to this beautiful city full of history.

thinking back to our day spent with him brings back wonderful memories. he offered us local's insider which we greatly valued and needed as we were planning a shopping trip the day after.

my one major critisism with like a local is that i still havent received money that i booked another tour prior to booking this one on the 14th May 2018; that tour was full at the time and i was sent an email notifying me that the funds will be returned to my bank account, this has not yet happened and today is the 30th May 2018.
other than that, the like a local is a brilliant idea

kudos
Off The Beaten Path of Real Istanbul Tour
Enchanting Istanbul with an awesome guide!
Top sites half day tour with Emir
I got back from Istanbul with some wonderful memories!
They started with my first tour on the first day of my arrival.
I met Emir, the tour guide, at the pudding shop.
He was punctual and friendly on introduction.
Then went on to Hagia Sophia, I was impressed with the level of knowledge he had and the ability to share his sense of humour alongside an awesome tour!
Honestly this was my favourite tour of the city and top sites.

I would highly recommend this tour early on in your visit because you get fast track entry to the sites so you're not waiting around in the long queues.
Whether you're travelling alone or in a group, definitely book the tour with Emir! You really got a sense of him being proud of his city and how he loved sharing his knowledge with others!

Wishing him all the best to his future!
Until the next visit!
Top Sites Of Istanbul: Half Day Small-Group tour
T
We did the "Real istanbul" on our first morning in the city. Emre, our guide was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the city and was able to quickly get us orientated. He was passionate about sharing the culture, traditions and religion which have played their parts in shaping the city and its people. The tour took place in the main sites but also gave us a taste of some of the more quieter and hidden areas just a few steps from the tourist trails.
Emre bought some local teas, pastries and organised a hookah at a traditional cafe and later provided baklava. we used bus and ferry too to go old greek district and to come back from there to Eminonu

This is great tour to do on your first day. The tour started at 9 am and finished about 5pm and was well paced for the guests.
Off The Beaten Path of Real Istanbul Tour
S
I've just returned from a short trip to Istanbul where I wanted to see as much as possible. I decided to get some assistance, so I booked myself on Real Istanbul Tour. The tour started with Hippodrome, the Blue-Mosque and Hagia Sophia. After which, we had leisure time in a hookah cafe to enjoy shisha smoking, drink Turkish tea and eat delicious food. Our guide then showed us Istanbul off the beaten path, visiting colorful areas, listening to Turkish music and tasting local deserts. We returned back by ferry, to end the journey in the grand Bazar to do some shopping.The tourguide was easygoing and was not rushing us. I absolutely loved my weekend escape to Istanbul!
Off The Beaten Path of Real Istanbul Tour
Great Experience
I am a long-time fan of the poet, Rumi, so this authentic experience of seeing a whirling dervish ceremony was one of the top highlights of my trip to Istanbul. The educational session beforehand was excellent and our guide was well organized and thoughtful. I booked this excursion two weeks in advance from the states, and the guide answered all of my emails/questions promptly beforehand. I highly recommend this event for anyone who is interested in learning more about the true history of the whirling dervish community.
Whirling Dervishes Ceremony in Istanbul Every Thursday
R
Great tour
Our guide was knowledgeable, accommodating and friendly. We enjoyed getting a taste of the rich history and not spending the entire day doing it.

We’re well traveled and enjoy seeing the highlights of any spot we visit but we’re not interested in dragging things out unnecessarily. Our guide picked up on that and got us to the best spots with maximum efficiency. He even accommodated our schedule change graciously due to a mix up on our part.

Would absolutely recommend!
Top Sites Of Istanbul: Half Day Small-Group tour
J
Fun and educative
This was a fantastic class with Betul and Ali. They showed my friend and I the techniques of Ebru (Turkish paper marbling, which is not unlike west European paper marbling), showed us how to make some traditional floral designs, then left us to our own devices. We made 20 or 30 sheets, some independent pictures, others we plan to use as a basis for painting and/or collage. The workshop is fantastic, in historic Istanbul with a view over the Bosphorus.
Turkish Paper Marbling (Ebru) Class in Istanbul
Great Experience :)
We've had a great experience learning how to draw on the water in Ebru method, we had a great artistic talk with Mr. Ali the ebru teacher.

very friendly place in a great tourist area if you want to visit the blue mosque and Sultan Ahmet area.

The booking process with Hakan is smooth and easy and we got his confirmation on very quickly in short notice.

This experience is highly recommended by me and my friend that share with me the experience.
Turkish Paper Marbling (Ebru) Class in Istanbul

Tours & activities in popular destinations

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

217 tours & activities
Barcelona

Barcelona

193 tours & activities
Berlin

Berlin

166 tours & activities
Brussels

Brussels

74 tours & activities
Budapest

Budapest

116 tours & activities
Copenhagen

Copenhagen

115 tours & activities
Istanbul

Istanbul

484 tours & activities
London

London

294 tours & activities
Los Angeles

Los Angeles

41 tours & activities
Madrid

Madrid

85 tours & activities
Milan

Milan

109 tours & activities
Moscow

Moscow

319 tours & activities
Munich

Munich

87 tours & activities
New York

New York

133 tours & activities
Paris

Paris

175 tours & activities
Prague

Prague

244 tours & activities
Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

51 tours & activities
Rome

Rome

166 tours & activities
Vienna

Vienna

111 tours & activities
Warsaw

Warsaw

105 tours & activities