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  1. Turkey
  2. Istanbul
  3. Hagia Sophia

Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

Product ID: 45408
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Discover the secrets of Istanbul and experience the lifestyle of locals on this 5-hour walking tour. You’ll see the hidden marvels of old town Istanbul and explore its labyrinth of streets with an expert guide who knows the city’s secrets very well.
About this activity
Duration 5 hours
Skip the ticket line
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide
English
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

Select participants and date:

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Experience

Highlights
  • Explore the hidden streets of old Istanbul with a knowledgeable local guide
  • Learn about Islam and Turkish culture and the modernization of Turkey
  • Visit the Blue Mosque and the Suleymaniye Mosque complex
  • Visit the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market and learn the local art of bargaining
  • Relax and drink çay from a tulip glass and try nargile in cafés where locals congregate
Full description
Your 5-hour guided walk begins in Sultanhamet, in the heart of the main tourist area of Istanbul. From here you’ll head to the Blue Mosque, where you’ll admire the 6 minarets and stunning tiles that were made in Iznik, the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire.

Next your guide will tell you about Hagia Sophia and the Roxana Baths before continuing on to the ancient Hippodrome. Hear about the famous obelisk that was shipped from Egypt to the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius in 6th century A.D.

Walk along the ancient roadway past the Ottoman Parliament House and then make your way to the Grand Bazaar. Marvel at the labyrinth of streets lined with textiles and most every other kind of product as well! You can learn the local art of bargaining here.

Enjoy a stroll to the nearby Sahaflar Book Market, where books were printed for the first time during the Ottoman era. Learn about Islam and its holy book, the Koran.

On the way to the Suleymaniye complex you’ll pass by the spectacular façade of Istanbul University and enter the Cagaloglu district, which is a shopping hub for locals that’s far from the main tourist attractions. Once you reach the Suleymaniye complex you’ll see the Turkish bath, the library, the madrasah, eateries, and the grand Suleymaniye Mosque that dominates the skyline along the Golden Horn.

Learn about the history of the Mosque, named after the most famous and powerful of sultans, Suleyman the Magnificent. Your guide knows a great hidden teahouse here where you can drink çay (tea) and try a nargile (water pipe) with its intoxicating aroma and fruity flavors.

After the break, you’ll continue on through the hidden streets of Istanbul. See local markets where products are made on site. Visit the hidden Rustem Pasha Mosque and admire its lovely tiles.

Then it will be time to taste some baklava, a delicious Turkish dessert. Explore the spice market and see a mountain of Turkish spices, Turkish delight, and local handicrafts. From the Spice Bazaar you’ll take a walk so that you can appreciate the views of the picturesque Galata Bridge.

Finally it’s time to relax for a delicious lunch of local specialties. After lunch your guide can tell you how to get back to your hotel and give you some advice on other things to do in your free time.
Includes
  • English-speaking local guide
  • Glass of çay and a nargile in the secret tea garden
  • Baklava
  • Turkish delight tasting
  • Lunch near the Golden Horn
What’s Not Included
  • Additional food and drink
  • Shopping purchases
  • Transportation
Not suitable for
  • People with mobility impairments

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Fuego Cafe & Restaurant, Alemdar Mh., İncili Çavuş Sokak, Sultanahmet 15A, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey. • Getting there by tram: travel to the Sultanahmet Tram Station. From the tram station walk down the hill on the left side of the road. Take the first left onto Ticathane Sokak (street). You will see Mosaik Restaurant on your right. When you reach Mosaik Restaurant, turn right onto the small pedestrian lane-way. This is Incıli Cavus Sokak. Fuego Cafe & Restaurant is near the end of the lane-way on the left. • Getting there by taxi: taxis can prove difficult as often roads are closed close to the meeting point. If you do get a taxi, ask to be taken to Yerebatan Sarnıcı (also known as the Basilica Cistern). The Cistern is located on Yerebatan Caddesi in Sultanahmet (Caddesi means road in Turkish). You will see the Basilica Cistern located close to the marker in the map above.

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Important information
What to bring
  • Comfortable shoes
Not allowed
  • Pets
Know before you go
This tour involves entering mosques. Both men and women are required to dress appropriately by ensuring that their shoulders and knees are covered. Women will need to cover their heads. Scarves are available at the mosque, but feel free to bring your own. In addition, for your convenience it is best to wear shoes that are easy to remove.

Please note you will not be entering the Hagia Sophia Museum, but will be able to visit it in your free time.
Customer reviews
Overall rating
4.7 / 5
based on 13 reviews
Review summary
Service
5.0/5
Organization
5.0/5
Value for money
4.7/5
Safety
5.0/5

Organized by

My Local Guide Istanbul

Product ID: 45408