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Golden Horn

Sightseeing Walking Tours

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Our most recommended Golden Horn Sightseeing Walking Tours

Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

1. Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City 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

Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

2. Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

Explore Istanbul on a guided tour. Choose from a 1-day tour to top attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, or a 2-day tour with a cruise on the Bosphorus straight and a visit to the Dolmabahce Palace and Istiklal Street. Pick from a walking tour or a driving tour.  Day 1 – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, 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 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 holds the position for the 4th largest dome. 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, 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 into the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. Visit the Hippodrome, the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. See the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column, the 3 remaining monuments from the original building. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. Complete your day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handicraft 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 the Bosphorus and there are 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.

Istanbul: Fener and Balat Small-Group Walking Tour

3. Istanbul: Fener and Balat Small-Group Walking Tour

Start your tour with a ferry ride along the Golden Horn from Karakoy to Ayvansaray, where you will see the skyline of Istanbul from this famous waterway onboard a local ferry. You can listen to your guide as they go over the history of Constantinople, the conquest by the Ottomans and the introduction of Jewish culture after 1492. Afterwards, visit the extraordinary church of Mary Blachernae, Ahrida Synagogue and walk the streets and markets of Balat through the splashes of color and the vibrancy of its street life. Experience the crisscross of washing lines on the crumbling buildings, and the labyrinth of cobblestone streets teeming with kids playing football. You will then end your tour in Fener after seeing the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate which houses a column which is believed to have been used for the binding and flogging of Jesus in Jerusalem. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Church is an essential part of this tour, as it is the most sacred site for all of the 300 million Orthodox people in the world.

Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

4. Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

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.

Istanbul: Old Town Highlights Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

5. Istanbul: Old Town Highlights Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

Begin your 8-hour tour at Hagia Sophia, in the heart of old Istanbul. Known for its mosaics, Its massive dome dominates the Sultanahmet skyline. Visit the Blue Mosque, named after the exquisite tiles in its interior. It is the only imperial mosque with six minarets. The Grand Bazaar was the commercial heart of the city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures including carpets, silk, jewelry, icons, and leather goods. Indulge in some shopping before enjoying your lunch at a rooftop restaurant with Bosphorus views. After visiting the Spice Bazaar, explore the Golden Horn and take a Bosporus tour on a private boat. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this legendary waterway.

Istanbul: Jewish District 3-Hour Walking Tour

6. Istanbul: Jewish District 3-Hour Walking Tour

Istanbul has had a vibrant Jewish community for more than 1,000 years. After the Turkish conquest of Istanbul, Sultan Mehmet II encouraged immigration to repopulate the city. Over half a million Jews persecuted in Spain and Portugal were encouraged to establish themselves within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. In Istanbul, the new immigrants settled mostly near Galata – a quarter on the northern bank of the Golden Horn – where a Jewish community had existed since the early days of the Ottoman Era in Istanbul. On this tour, you'll walk around Galata, exploring its intriguing streets full of colorful life. The tour includes synagogues, the Jewish Museum, Jewish Apartments, the amazing story of Abraham Kamondo, and other Jewish heritage sites. Monday – Friday:  Jewish Museum, Ashkenazi Synagogue, Schneidertemple Synagogue, and outer visits to Georgian Synagogue, Neve Shalom Synagogue, Italian Synagogue, Jewish Apartments, Kamondo Buildings.

Istanbul: Orient Express Trail Walk

7. Istanbul: Orient Express Trail Walk

Imagine arriving in Constantinople by train traveling with the Wagon-Lits Company. Your tour into the nostalgia of the 19th century begins at the rail station where the Orient Express arrived in Istanbul. Your 3-hour guided walk (available on Tuesdays) will take you past old shops, markets, mosques, and churches, as your guide tells you stories about the train journey that began in Paris and inspired Agatha Christie to write her famous mystery, Murder on the Orient Express. The tour continues with a short Golden Horn boat ride and a short journey on The Tunnel, the oldest subway in the world. Finish off with a walking tour in the streets of Galata and Beyoglu.

Istanbul: Full-Day Golden Horn & Bosphorus Tour

8. Istanbul: Full-Day Golden Horn & Bosphorus Tour

Begin this full-day excursion with a stroll around Pierre Loti Hill. Hop-on a cable car and let it take you to another world where the ancient Byzantine walls of Constantinople, Tekfur Palace and the Castle of Seven Towers await. Learn about the history of this centuries-old metropolis and how it functioned as both the capital of the eastern Roman Empire and as the head of the Ottoman Empire.  Then, board the boat and cruise around the Bosphorus Strait which 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. This romantic cruise along the Bosphorus will allow you to admire the Dolmabahce Palace, the Beylerbeyi Palace, the Ciragan Palace and the Rumeli Fortress, ancient wooden villas, bridges and all the wonderful and unique maritime landscapes.

Istanbul: Galata – Genoese Walking Tour

9. Istanbul: Galata – Genoese Walking Tour

The 3-hour tour takes place in the afternoon. Start with pickup from your hotel and then begin your tour by walking through the vibrant streets to the imposing Galata Tower. In the Byzantine period, the hillside where Galata now stands was covered with orchards and was named Sykai (The Fig Orchard), or Peran en Sykais (The Fig Field on the Other Side). It still commands impressive views of the Golden Horn. You will hear myths and legends, and learn the history of how Galata became a Genoese colony from the 6th to the 15th century. Today the area is awash with churches and synagogues, colorful stores and ancient walls, and your guide will provide you with fascinating facts as you stroll through the ancient streets and walk the winding Camondo Steps.

Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

10. Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

If you are interested in visiting a functioning Byzantine church or seeing the only church in the world constructed entirely of iron and steel, then do not miss this full-day walking tour through Fener and Balat in Istanbul. The name Fener is derived from a Greek word 'Fanari,' meaning 'lantern' or 'lighthouse' in Turkish, and this district was made up of predominantly Romaic (Greek Orthodox) families up until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, this UNESCO-project filled site is known as the part of Istanbul where the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is situated. On this tour you'll hear the story of Phanariotes who served as dragomans to the Ottoman government and to foreign embassies. Following the included lunch, you will visit Balat, which is located on the southern shores of the Golden Horn. It is one of the Jewish districts where the people re-settled during the time of the Ottoman Empire. We will take you through Balat, where you will find yourself walking down intriguing streets, full of color and life. Synagogues, Armenian churches, Romaic churches, Byzantine remnants, and Ayazmas are all part of the adventure.

Frequently asked questions about Golden Horn Sightseeing Walking Tours

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What people are saying about Golden Horn

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 556 reviews

Songul Aksu. She is the best tourist guide you can imagine, if you want to feel like someone local she can help. She can also give the best recommendations in town for anything you want. I feel so comfortable and it was an amazing experience, I would repeat these experience as many times as possible. Istanbul is a place that I will recommend 100% to walk with someone local, you will never stop learning and getting shocked by these city. I chose 3 day tour with transportation and I will recommend this experience 100%.

My wife and I had a 3 days guided tour, it covered everything we wanted to see in Istanbul and more. You can also nominate location. We opted not to go to Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar (also they are closed during Eid holiday). Our guide Korhan was fantastic, friendly and knowledgeable. We had a great time with him, highly recommended!

With Ayla we had a wonderful guide with a lot of experience! She showed us the most beautiful places, explained things to us wonderfully and also had a lot of good tips ready. We had two great days with Ayla. We can only recommend the tour. The program is excellent for 2 days. Thanks very much!

The experience for a great day. The great guide, explaining everything, polite and very patient. I recommend it.

A good experience, and a nice and educated guide !