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Introduction to Istanbul Tour

Traverse the heart of the city with an expert
From US$330 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Taksim Square
  • Beyoglu Neighborhood
Photos & Highlights
  • Immerse yourself in the historical and cultural connections between Istikal Street and cosmopolitan Istanbul
  • Led by a historian
Tour Description
Taking the famous and picturesque Istiklal Caddesi as our tableau, over the course of this 3-hour Istiklal Street Tour we'll explore Istanbul's former diplomatic or "European" zone, where nationalities, religions, and the myriad peoples of this cosmopolitan city have mixed for the last 150 years. We'll pay a visit not only to the diplomatic and historical sites that have played an important role in the development of the city, but also to the markets, back alleys, and food stalls that keep this street relevant to life in Istanbul today.

Turks and Europeans

Beginning in Taksim Square and proceeding down the famous Istiklal Street, we'll trace a route through a part of Istanbul that Europeans settled during the 19th century as the fading Ottoman Empire began a program of rapprochement with France, Germany, and the other powers to its west. Today, this heady period of cultural diversity is represented by a wonderful mix of neoclassical architecture, Art Nouveau Parisian-style covered passages, and a vibrant street life of cafes, shops, and fine restaurants.

Past and Present

We'll immerse ourselves in the sites and smells of today's Istanbul, stepping into some of the markets and food stalls that line Istiklal Street and exploring some of the back alleys of the Pera neighborhood. We'll tie current practices to historic traditions, and explore how the cosmopolitan past has created such a wonderfully rich present.

Those interested in further exploring the culinary delights of Istanbul's markets should try our Savoring Istanbul Tour, exploring the 17th century Spice Bazaar and a Kadıköy food market.

Diplomatic District

Our tour will also take us past several European cultural centers, consulates, and schools. We'll discuss how French speakers, Jews, Italian Catholics, as well as Armenians, Kurds, and other peoples of the Levant have congregated here over the centuries and created a distinct culture that is uniquely Istanbul.


Is there a dress code for your tours in Istanbul?
Yes, sites visited on this tour are considered holy places. Shoulders and knees must be covered. Dresses and shorts must be below knee level, and shoulders must be covered (zip-on jackets or scarves are acceptable). We recommend bringing along scarves or shawls to be able to cover those body parts. These rules may seem unduly strict, but remember, you are a guest visiting sites that are regarded as a religious sanctuary.

Is this tour walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible?
We do cover extensive territory on this tour. Please contact us with any questions; we will be happy to advise if this tour will be appropriate for you, and can discuss possible adjustments for visitors with mobility concerns.

Does this tour take the Istiklal tram?
No, we generally do not take the tram together, however, we will likely see it during the tour.

Does the tour go up the Galata Tower?
No, however, you will not be far from the tower at the end of the tour and can visit it afterwards.
Where You'll Start
18 Reviews (4.69)

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excellent, pleasant and knowledgeable guide. real pleasure, thank you
Ebru, was fantastic. She has a mastery of the content and made every accomodation for my wife.
Claire did a fantastic job. Lovely tour.