Istanbul
Off the beaten track

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Our most recommended Istanbul Off the beaten track

Historical Turkish Bath Experience

1. Historical Turkish Bath Experience

Located in the heart of the historical peninsula, at a walking distance from Grand Bazaar and serving since 1584, the historical Çemberlitaş Hamam is waiting for you! If you are searching for the best place for a Turkish bath in Istanbul, this is the best place for you. Going to the Turkish bath and witnessing the Turkish bath experience is one of the essential things to do in Istanbul. Take a break from the Istanbul day tours and all the Istanbul sightseeing places and relax in Cemberlitas Hamam. The Turkish Bath is a traditional type of public bathing which is essentially based on the ancient Roman bathing culture and the principles of the steam bath. Combining this with the traditional Turkish bath massage (“Turkish scrub”), it became an integral part of Turkish culture as well as an important part of social life. After sweating, the person in charge of scrubbing and foaming will scrub all the dead skin from your body. Do not worry, it does not hurt. You will be surprised how much dead skin will come off your body. After foaming, you can relax as long as you want in the Hammam. Your body will begin to breathe in each cell and your blood circulation accelerates. Do not miss this experience! Learn more about the ancient bathing ritual of the Ottoman Sultans while relaxing. 

Istanbul: Galata Guided Walking Tour and Tower Entry

2. Istanbul: Galata Guided Walking Tour and Tower Entry

Meet your guide in front of the exit of the Tünel funicular station and start strolling through the backstreets of the Pera district. See the first luxury hotels of Istanbul which have hosted kings, queens, and world-famous writers and artists. After exploring the backstreets of Pera, follow your guide to a historic fish market and one of the most famous bar streets of Istanbul. While here, have the chance to try some local street food. Reach Istiklal Avenue and see people from all around the world, shops, restaurants, art galleries, and many historic buildings. Walk by some of the oldest consulates and churches from the 18-19th century Ottoman Empire. From Istiklal Avenue, find yourself in the neighborhood of Galata. On your way to the Galata Tower, pass through a cobblestone street full of music shops. The go-to street of every musician in Turkey, see shops specialized in hand-made ethnic instruments and equipment. After a few minutes of walking, find yourself in front of one of the most iconic landmarks of Istanbul, Galata Tower. Listen to its stories and legends and head inside to access the elevator of the tower. Your guide will assist with your entry. From the tower's terrace, witness an impressive view of the city. See Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Bosphorus Strait, the Bosphorus Bridge, Marmara Sea, both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Golden Horn, and even the Prince Islands. Your tour will end in Galata Tower, and here you are free to spend as much time as you want to take incredible pictures of Istanbul.

2-Day Cappadocia Tour From Istanbul Optional Balloon Flight

3. 2-Day Cappadocia Tour From Istanbul Optional Balloon Flight

Start the first day by visiting Devrent Valley, also known as 'Imagination Valley', this is the most surreal-looking landscape. Your next stop will be Pashabagi also called the Monks Valley. Proceed to Avanos the pottery centre of Cappadocia, this village is set on the banks of the Red River. You will have lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to Goreme Open Air Museum. The world’s most important Byzantine cave churches are found in these once remote valleys where monks and nuns pursued monastic life from the 3rd century on. Here you can see the best preserved Byzantine cave wall paintings and frescos from the Iconoclastic period through to the end of Seljuk rule.  Then admire a spectacular view over Goreme, you can see fairy chimneys, rock formations, and cave houses. You have the option of also booking a pre-sunrise hot-air balloon flight for the next morning. While your guides complete the final preparations for your flight, you are served breakfast. Your pilot will show you all the unique beauties of Cappadocia from the Red Valley to Goreme. While witnessing an amazing sunrise up in the air, you will get to see perfect panoramic views of Urgup, Goreme, Ortahisar,Uchisar, Avanos, and Nevsehir. After the landing, a celebration with refreshing drinks (non-alcoholic) will be waiting for you. On the Blue tour you hike along the Red and Rose Valley, the most breathtakingly and mysteriously beautiful valleys in the region. Conclude your hike at the Cavusin Cave Village. Marvel at the rock castle and troglodyte dwellings where people lived until the 20th Century. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Descend towards the center of the earth with a trip to the Underground City of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s many such settlements. Discover this underground city and its stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, and wineries. Visit the Pigeon Valley. See spectacular view of dovecotes (pigeon or dove houses), old abandoned cave homes, and old Greek houses of Uchisar and Ortshisar Castle, as well as the biggest mass of fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.

Day Tour to Green Bursa from Istanbul

4. Day Tour to Green Bursa from Istanbul

If you are visiting Istanbul in Turkey and would like to see some other historical locations that are not too far away, then a trip to Bursa is the perfect solution. Be sure not to miss out on this fascinating city. The tour begins in the morning when our representative guide conveniently picks up visitors by bus from their hotels. A short but beautiful ferry trip is then necessary to take passengers from the port of Yenikapi to the town of Yalova. From this point, visitors travel comfortably by bus to the final destination of Bursa. The name of “Bursa” originates from Purissias, the king of antique Bithynia. It is a large city center located North-East of Uludag. This dynamic city, which is often renowned for its many soothing hot water spas, is at the same time a significant center of winter sports in the Marmara region. When visitors arrive in Bursa they will first visit the famous covered bazaar to browse the countless possible souvenirs on display and afterwards they will experience the impressive architecture of the sacred Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque). The city of Bursa itself is absolutely full of historical works of art. Following a well-deserved break for lunch, visitors will then take a fascinating trip to the captivating Green Mausoleum and richly decorated Green Mosque, which takes its name from the green-blue tiles of the interior. At this point in the day and then we will return to Istanbul. BOOKING TOURS TURKEY looks forward to hearing from you!

Istanbul: Fener and Balat Small-Group Walking Tour

5. 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.

From Istanbul: Private Cappadocia Day-Tour Including Flight

6. From Istanbul: Private Cappadocia Day-Tour Including Flight

Your full-day tour programme starts with a pick-up from your Hotel in Istanbul, followed by a flight to Cappadocia for a full-day tour with lunch, before boarding a return flight back to Istanbul. Itinerary: • 3:30 AM: Get picked up from your hotel in Istanbul and board your transfer service to the airport • 6:00 AM: Board your flight from Istanbul to Kayseri Airport • 7:30 AM: Arrive at Kayseri and get transferred to Cappadocia for the tour During your tour of Cappadocia, you will get to visit a number of popular landmarks, ensuring your experience in this unique city is fun and informative. Take a trip to the Goreme Open Air Museum, a structure that resembles a vast monastic complex composed of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, each with its own fantastic church. See the Ortahisar Castle, a central building among the Cappadocian town of Goreme, Urgup, Uchisar and Nevsehir, and only a few kilometers from the Goreme Open Air Museum. Marvel at Uchisar Castle, a troglodyte town situated right in the middle of Cappadocia. It is named after the enormous piece of rock in the center of the town, which was once used as a castle. This extraordinary rock is the highest peak of the area with the view of the whole of Cappadocia and Erciyes (Argeus) Mountain. You'll also get to see the Pasabag Fairy Chimneys in Pasabag Valley, formerly known as "The Monks Valley". This place is located on the right of the Goreme-Avanos road. Witness the landscape which is dotted with peculiar fairy chimneys. Stop by Devrent Valley, also known as Imaginary Valley and Pink Valley. The churches in this location are like none other in the valleys of Cappadocia. Here you will see many different rock formations, only a 10-minute drive from Goreme.  Throughout the day you'll also get the chance to see a Pottery demonstration in Avanos and a carpet demonstration. Your tour will end around 4:30 to 5:00 PM, at which point you will be transferred back to the airport for a flight to Istanbul. 

Istanbul: Taste of Two Continents Food Tour

7. Istanbul: Taste of Two Continents Food Tour

From home-made dishes and street food to traditional kebabs and Turkish ice cream, immerse yourself in Istanbul’s food scene and acquaint yourself with Turkish culture and habits during this walking tour. Make stops at 10 different eateries with a variety of samples at each. Begin your morning with a delicious Turkish breakfast of locally sourced produce on Istanbul’s European side before crossing the mighty Bosphorus by ferry to explore the more modern and chic area of Kadıköy, on the Asian side, where you will discover the best restaurants in Istanbul. Sip on freshly brewed Turkish coffee while enjoying locally-made baklava. Taste delicious dolma, tantuni and kokoreç, as well as other local favorites. Enjoy the home-cooked flavours of Kadıköy’s most loved restaurant, Çiya Sofrası. Finally, finish your day with the cool, refreshing flavours of the best Turkish dondurma (ice-cream) in Moda.

Istanbul: Two Sides of The City Half-Day Bike Tour

8. Istanbul: Two Sides of The City Half-Day Bike Tour

Meet your tour leader in the historical neighborhood of Balat, in the European side of the city. Choose your bike for the day then board the public boat to Uskudar. From the boat, admire views of the city skyline and take photos of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Maiden Tower, Süleymaniye Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge, and more. Arrive in Uskudar, which is on the Asian side of the city. Hop on your bike and pedal to Fenerbahce Park, stopping along the way to take in the sights and listen to your guide share information about the area. Once you’ve worked up a sweat from the bike ride, enjoy a refreshing cup of Turkish tea or coffee at a local cafe and admire the view of Princes’ Islands while you relax. Jump back on your bike and pedal to Kadıköy Pier for a boat ride to Karakoy. Next, cross over the Golden Horn Bay via the Metro Bridge then head back towards the tour’s meeting point in Balat. Tours usually finish around 1PM, depending on the group’s cycling tempo. Afterwards, spend the day exploring the vibrant streets of Balat at your own leisure, and enjoy some fresh, local cuisine from one of the many street-side food vendors.

Istanbul 2-Hour Private Bosphorus Yacht Tour

9. Istanbul 2-Hour Private Bosphorus Yacht Tour

Enjoy an exclusive sightseeing experience on the Bosphorus from the private deck of your yacht on a 2-hour private cruise past some of Istanbul's most famous sites. Board the yacht at the pier and soak up the atmosphere along the riviera cruising along both European & Asian shores. You'll enjoy spectacular views of Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Beylerbeyi Palce, Rumeli Fortress, Anadolu Fortress and the two Bosphorus Bridges as you cruise along the Bosphorus strait. Admire the beautiful scenery with 360 degree views from the spacious upper fly-bridge, or enjoy relaxing in comfort on the sun deck or in the comfortable outdoor and indoor lounges. During the cruise, sit back and unwind as you enjoy a cup of tea, coffee or water which are available on request (free of charge). Or enjoy sipping an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage or cocktail from our on-board bar (purchase required). At the end of the cruise, you'll be dropped off at the pier for disembarkation.

Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

10. 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.

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What people are saying about Istanbul

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 208 reviews

This was a fantastic tour, around the Fener and Balat neighborhoods of Istanbul. The tour started with a ferry ride which was such a great way to see the city! We were then taken through all the different streets and learnt about the city's rich history along the way. Our guide Cetin was absolutely fantastic - super knowledgeable about the area and history, was very easy to get along with. We had a great time with him! He kindly took us on the bus back to into the city centre so we could catch our ferry home. Thank you Cetin for an amazing morning out! Would definitely recommend :)

Great tour with a chance to try lots of food not in the 'typical' Turkish menus on the European side. Our guide also gave us a lot if history alongside the foods we were eating. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a good food tour while in Istanbul.

The instructor named Julia was great - excellent English and the instruction was interesting and professional ,was great

Great attention from the guide. Warm and kind help. Nice places and churches

Great tour! Our guide was friendly and knowledgeable. Definitely recommend!