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Historic Off the Beaten Path Tour of the Real Istanbul

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Fatih, Turkey
Historic Off the Beaten Path Tour of the Real Istanbul

From $74.25

Price varies by group size

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon7 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


Discover Istanbul on a full-day tour that travels on foot and public transit to historic landmarks and local cultural hubs. Start by touring the Hippodrome, Serefiye Cistern and Grand Bazaar, then take a break for Turkish coffee, pastry and hookah (tobacco pipe). Visit the book and paper market Sahaflar Çarşısı, which started in the Byzantine era, then tour Istanbul University. Continue to Suleymaniye Mosque, the Spice Bazaar and the Church of St George before winding through the districts of Fener and Balat — the old Greek and Jewish neighborhoods.
  • Full-day off-the-beaten-path walking tour of Istanbul
  • Experience Istanbul like a local while traveling on foot, and by ferry and bus
  • See top sites including the Hippodrome, Serefiye Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Suleymaniye Mosque and Spice Bazaar
  • Stop into the Church of St George, located near the Golden Horn
  • Rummage through rare books at Sahaflar Çarşısı, a market on the site of a Byzantine book and paper bazaar
  • Visit the campus of Istanbul University
  • Learn the history of the old Greek and Jewish districts of Fener and Balat
Saved to wishlist!
Light refreshment
Practice of hookah at favorite local hangout
Professional guide
Public transportation; ferry and bus
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Pudding Shop Lale Restaurant , Alemdar, Divan Yolu Cd. No:6, 34400 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

Pudding Shop Lale Restaurant - For further explanation perhaps use the Sultanahmet tram stop as a reference. The restaurant is located on the street where the tram lines run through Sultanahmet, approximately 1-minute walk from the Sultanahmet tram stop

Karaköy Pier , Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mah, Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Rıhtım Cd. No:13, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

It ends near Galata Bridge and Karakoy Tram Station and your guide can explain how to go back to the hotel.

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Meeting point is Pudding Shop Lale Restaurant to departure the walking tour
  • Minimum capacity is 2 persons. We reserve the right to cancel a tour due to insufficient reservations. We will do all we can to reschedule your tour or a refund will be provided.
  • A maximum of 10 people per booking
  • Our tours are done by public transportation and walking so if you have any serious mobility issues, we advise you to book a private tour
  • Parents of children under 6 years are advised to book a private tour
  • On Religious Fests Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar are closed; May 2nd, 3rd, 4th, July 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th in 2022
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 10 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Real Istanbul Tours
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Historic Off the Beaten Path Tour of the Real Istanbul?
A:The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Face masks provided for travelers
See all safety measures taken by Historic Off the Beaten Path Tour of the Real Istanbul.

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Traveler Tips

  • "Won't spoil anything, but it was so worth that if you miss it, you'll regret it (specially when you hear from others about those places and "how could you miss it?!")." See review


116 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers

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Showing 1-10 of 116 reviews
We satisfied with the tour
, Jun 2022
Great tour! Salih’s talk on history was very informative. We enjoyed the tour. I highly recommend it.
great tour
, May 2022
our guide was very knowledgeable and showed us the hidden treasures of Istanbul. His experience and detailed information made this tour very special to us.
Fabulous Tour that Exceeded Expectations
, Apr 2022
Gülce was a superb tourguide and we had a blast. She was very well organized, knowledgeable and fun. She took us to see some important monuments like the Suleyman Mosque but also some fantastic hole-in-the wall cafés for great kebab, baklava and even shisha. She gave us language and culture tips too. We enjoyed seeing Balat, a cool, non-touristy district. Highly recommend!
Abdullah was the highlight of this tour!
, Mar 2022
If you get an option to choose a guide, please go for Abdullah. Please know that this is an 8-hour walking tour but if you have a guide that is extremely knowledgeable, entertaining, loves his work and has fruitful discussions with you- the time will just pass. You will walk around Greek neighborhoods, bazaars, hookah bars, restaurants and many alleys. Get an authentic feel of this historic city. Abdullah is the best! Try this tour.
Loved our tour guide...
, Jan 2022
Loved our tour guide Sahli. He was full of knowledge and made sure we knew everything he did! We went off and in the beaten path. There was no point at all where me and my lady didn't feel safe.
Best Experience in Istanbul
, Nov 2021
In the two weeks I spent in Istanbul, this tour was by far the best experience… it completely exceeded my expectations. Emre was knowledgeable, funny, warm, and spoke perfect English. Many of the sites really were “off the beaten path” and well worth seeing, but Emre was also willing to flex the itinerary to align with my interests. It was amazing to see the city through the eyes of an Istanbulite. Don’t miss this experience!
1 traveler found this review helpful
Istanbul for tourist by locals
, Nov 2021
Our tour guide was Apo. He was a really cool guy. Our tour was in spanish and he was really good with the language. Also took us some really nice places, mainly for locals, and as a tourist you wouldn't get there. It was a really great day!
The Highlight of my trip to Istanbul…
, Oct 2021
I have been to Istanbul many times. I was skeptical about this trip and what I would learn more about Istanbul. I will easily rate this trip 5/5; it is the combination of the guide, the itinerary and the weather. The main contributor was our guide, Emre; his eagerness to share the history of his country to the level we want, his interest to make sure that we are comfortable throughout and how courteous he was. The itinerary itself was exciting; I have discovered new areas I have never been, ate in new places. For example , we have been to Theodosius Cistern and watched the light show which was breath taking. We have been to the district of Fener and Balat which are on the list of the UNESCO heritage sites. We walked through the street of old Istanbul while experiencing a sample of the Turkish food and drinks. In short, highly recommended.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Great tour - highly recommend
, Oct 2021
Really enjoyed this tour with Apo, who brought great stories and humour. Relaxed pace with stops for food and coffee. Highly recommend this tour.
Fascinating Alternative Perspective of Istanbul
, Jun 2021
Extremely knowledgeable guide, full of detailed information you will hear nowhere else, especially as relates to the more modern history of Istanbul. I hadn’t read about any of the sites we were shown in any of the tourist guides, and would have completely missed this entire side of the city. I now leave the city feeling I have gotten a fairly comprehensive view of it considering the brevity of my stay. I never do guided tours, but I am extremely glad I did this one - worth every penny. Thank you so much for everything, especially your kindness, in sharing yourself and your experiences, n answering all our questions, and making sure we were taken care of throughout the tour.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Hidden gem of istanbul
, Nov 2020
It was an amazing exprience.. our guide i think his name was Salem was so knowledgeable, he knows so much... he was an amazing tour guide with good attitude.. ver friendly... he was awesome
, Sep 2020
An excellent tour with a brilliant guide in Salih Gam who was very knowledgeable, funny and had an in-depth understanding of the areas he took us to. A great tour which does delve into the less touristy and well-known areas of Istanbul but that have their own history and atmosphere.
Fabulous day, fabulous guide
, Sep 2020
Salit was an excellent guide. He was friendly, very knowledgeable and flexible with us. His English was very good and he gave us lots of recommendations. I would highly recommend him to anyone wanting a more personalized experience. Thanks for a great day!!
Great tour!
, Nov 2019
What a great tour. Apo was knowledgeable, personable and a great host. The tour was paced just right to take in a lot but also enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes. We would highly recommend both this tour and Apo!
Simply the best
, Oct 2019
I thought this tour was great. We learnt heaps about the history, culture, architecture and food of this fascinating city. I would recommend this tour.
A "must" tour!
Erik M
, Sep 2019
That was an amazing tour. From touristic bits to 100% local. Experiencing the areas where only locals know how to reach out and seeing the incredible life around some of the most charming areas in the city. Won't spoil anything, but it was so worth that if you miss it, you'll regret it (specially when you hear from others about those places and "how could you miss it?!"). Our guide was a major part of that as well. She was super open minded and gave the true input about Istanbul from a turkish person perspective. But have to be honest here and say that it's a tough tour. There people out there, ready to walk for hours (like me), up and down the local hills, under a very hot weather (probably). If you're not into getting to know the city by foot, that might not be your kind. If you're a walker, you HAVE TO take that tour!
Off Beaten with Apple
Lourdes G
, Sep 2019
Apple (as he likes to be called) is an excellent and fun guide. I couldn't have asked for a better day tour.
istanbul weekend
, Mar 2019
fantastic authentic experience.would recommend to not understand previous bad reviews.excellent
Our guide Burak Gulcan was great...
Sandra R
, Jun 2018
Our guide Burak Gulcan was great. Flexible and informative. However, the cost of the tour did not get us entrance into the Hagia Sophia or Topkapi Palace. After being in the country for 12 days we understood the cost of things. This tour was too expensive. Sandi
1 traveler found this review helpful
A fascinating day out artfully paced...
Ian T
, Apr 2018
A fascinating day out artfully paced by Burak whose knowledge of Istanbul's history is encyclopaedic. Burak clearly loves this city and has a wonderful ability to bring it to life with stories and detail that he matched to our interests and understanding.

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