The Best Tour Guides In Istanbul

Istanbul
Istanbul | © Pedro Szekely/Flickr
Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

For a city that has witnessed the rise and fall of empires, Istanbul has a multitude of historical sights that are renowned and popular, as well as those that are hidden and off-the-beaten-track. Even though tour guides are plentiful in and around the major touristic sights, the most reliable and knowledgeable guides who offer a truly local experience are few. We chose three tour guide companies that offer tailor-made but thoroughly local experiences, as well as tours that are awash in detailed historical information for those who want a deeper introduction to Istanbul’s centuries-old story.

Fest Travel

A cultural organization and travel agency, Fest Travel has been operating since 1985 and began its life with the Strolling Through Istanbul and Istanbul Step by Step tours. With the immense success of these tours, the agency currently offers 170 different itineraries in Istanbul, 200 itineraries all around Anatolia, and more than 220 tours in 190 countries ranging from Peru to Alaska. However, much more important than these numbers is the agency’s dedication to each destination’s cultural, religious, and archeological characteristics, so that you’ll always have a guide who has a deep knowledge of the particular route and all its sights. For Istanbul, Fest Travel’s tours include the Byzantine Tour, Bazaars of Istanbul, Bosphorus Cruise, Jewish Heritage, Ottoman Tour, and Two Continents (just to name a few).

https://instagram.com/p/BGOsej6N_n9/

Istanbul Tour Studio

https://instagram.com/p/BMHD_quAgum/

Locally Istanbul

As their name already suggests, Locally Istanbul is all about the local experience far from the usual trodden touristic paths. Founded by Ümit Aggül and Erk Erkaya, two young and dynamic Istanbul experts who have a weak spot for excellent food, Locally Istanbul’s itineraries are based entirely on the personal whims of each client. Based on the specific interest, expectations, timing, and mood of every guest, the tours aim to show Istanbul’s versatile personality from its rich history to its design, fashion, art, culture, music, and nightlife scenes. Locally Istanbul is perfect for visitors who want to hang out with two locals who know their city inside out and would love nothing more than to show off its best attributes. Some of the preferred tours include the famous Istanbul tour in a WWII vintage motorcycle (helmet provided), Tour of the Asian Side, Golden Horn Tour, Private Bosphorus Cruise, Art & Antiques Tour, Turkish Designers Tour, and Istanbul By Night.

https://instagram.com/p/zhnw7Nymaw/

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
Edit article