Istanbul Essentials: A Captivating free walking tour of Istanbul - Small Groups

Duration: 2h and 30min
Languages: English
Guru: Mertcan
Quality Verified Registered on April 01, 2023

Hello, I'm Mertcan, a licensed and independent tourist guide from Istanbul. My passion for traveling and exploring new cities has taken me to many different places, but there's nothing quite like guiding tours in my home city of Istanbul. When I guide tours, I take great care to make them as engaging and informative as possible. I understand that visitors to Istanbul may have limited time to see everything, which is why I keep my tours short and packed with interesting information. I focus on the main points of the city's history and culture, giving visitors the chance to explore further on their own if they wish. I limit my tours to 12 people in order to ensure I can attend to each person individually. As a guide, I strive to create a personalized experience for each of my visitors. Whether you're a solo traveler, a family with kids, or a group of friends, I will tailor my tours to suit your needs and interests. I'm also happy to share insider tips and recommendations for other places to visit or things to do in Istanbul, so you can make the most of your time in this incredible city. So if you're looking for a knowledgeable and friendly guide to show you around Istanbul, look no further than me. Join me on a journey through the city's rich history and vibrant culture, and let's create unforgettable memories together :)

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  • Free booking and cancellation
    Free payment tour, no set price, booking and cancellation are free

Tour description

Step back in time and accompany me on a journey through the remarkable 2700-year history of Istanbul. Our tour will transport you through the ages, commencing with the humble origins of Byzantion, a quaint fishing village. From there, we'll traverse the grand epochs of the Roman and Byzantine Empires before reaching the pinnacle of Ottoman splendour in this magnificent city!

As an Istanbul native deeply in love with my city and a passionate traveller myself, I understand exactly what first-time visitors are looking for in a city.

I intentionally keep our groups small to ensure a more personalized and interactive adventure. I genuinely enjoy getting to know each tour participant, engaging in conversations, and forging connections with fellow travellers :)

Our tour will last around 2.5 hours, and we will see:

Hagia Sophia: Marvel at the architectural masterpiece that has witnessed centuries of history.

Blue Mosque: Stand in awe of its stunning domes and intricate blue tiles.

Hürrem Sultan Hamam (Zeuxippos Baths)

Topkapi Palace: Immerse yourself in Ottoman grandeur and learn about the sultans who once ruled.

Grand Bazaar: Get lost in the maze of vibrant stalls and shop for souvenirs.

Basilica Cistern (Outside Visit): Descend into the ancient underground water reservoir and soak in its mystical ambiance.

Million Stone:
Point zero of the Roman Empire!

Hippodrome Square: Discover the remnants of ancient chariot races.

Egyptian Obelisk: The oldest standing statue in the city! We will discover the mistery it holds together!

Serpent Column:
A remnant from the Greco-Persian wars from the 5th century BC.  

Walled Obelisk:
A remnant from 390 AD. Did you know that Janissaries held competitions climbing on this column?

Cold Fountain Street:
A very iconic and nostalgic street with traditional Ottoman houses.  

Constantine's Column:
The point where the city started. According to the legend, Constantine's mother Helena brought the pieces of the True Cross and had them buried under this column.
Grand Bazaar:
The marvelous commercial center of the Ottoman and Byzantine city!

...and many more!

Don't miss out on this exclusive opportunity to start your Istanbul journey the right way. Secure your seat now, and let's embark on an unforgettable exploration of our vibrant city.

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What will we visit on this tour?

  • Meeting point:
    Binbirdirek, German Fountain, At Meyd...
    Binbirdirek, German Fountain, At Meydanı Cd, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye
    View on map

    I will be in front of the German Fountain (Alman Çeşmesi). You can recognize me by my purple umbrella.

  • 1
    Outside visit
    Cemberlitas (The Column of Constantine)

    The Column of Constantine, also known as Çemberlitaş Sütunu in Turkish, was erected in 330 AD to honor the dedication of Constantinople by Emperor Constantine the Great. It stands as the oldest surviving monument from Constantine's era in Istanbul, located at the heart of the Forum of Constantine. Positioned on the second-highest hill in the city and along the Mese odos, the main ancient thoroughfare, it is a significant historical landmark.

  • 2
    Outside visit
    Remains of Antiochos' Palace

    The Palace of Antiochos in Constantinople, also known as the Antiochos Palace, was a magnificent architectural gem that once graced the heart of the Byzantine Empire. Constructed during the 5th century AD, it stood as a testament to the opulence and grandeur of the Byzantine era.

  • 3
    Outside visit
    Hippodrome of Constantinople / Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

    The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a public entertainment and sporting arena located in the Byzantine capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey). It was built in the 3rd century AD, and was used for chariot racing, athletic contests, and other events.

  • 4
    Outside visit
    Egyptian Obelisk

    The oldest standing statue in the city, carved in the 15th century BC, this monolith was transported to and erected in Constantinople in the year 390.

  • 5
    Outside visit
    The Serpent Column

    Built in the 5th century BC, for celebrating the victory of the Greeks over Persians, this bronze column was brought from Delphi by Constantine the Great.

  • 6
    Outside visit
    Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain

    The German Fountain (also known as the Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain) is a beautiful and historic fountain located in Istanbul, Turkey. It was a gift from the German Kaiser Wilhelm II to the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II, and was built between 1897 and 1900.

  • 7
    Outside visit
    Walled Obelisk (Örme Dikilitaş)

    Built by the Romans in the 4th Century, the Walled Obelisk is standing as the sole reminder of the tragedies the city experienced.

  • 8
    Outside visit
    The Blue Mosque (Outside)

    Built by Sultan Ahmet in the year 1617, this is the most famous mosque in the city. It got its name from the blue tiles ornamenting the sanctuary.

  • 9
    Outside visit
    Haghia Sophia

    The Hagia Sophia is a historic and architectural landmark located in Istanbul, Turkey. It was originally built as a cathedral by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in 537 AD, and served as the largest cathedral in the world for almost a thousand years. After the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque, and served as such for almost 500 years.

  • 10
    Outside visit
    Million Stone

    This is the point zero of the Roman Empire. All the other cities were measured starting from that stone.

  • 11
    Outside visit
    Hurrem Sultan Public Bath

    The termal bath that was built by Roxalena (Hurrem Sultan).

  • 12
    Outside visit
    Fountain of Ahmed III
  • 13
    Outside visit
    Basilica Cistern

    The Basilica Cistern is an ancient underground water storage system located in Istanbul, Turkey. It was built in the 6th century during the Byzantine era, and was used to store water for the nearby Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings in the area.

  • 14
    Outside visit
    Topkapı Palace

    Home of the Ottoman Sultans.

  • 15
    Outside visit

    We will finish with a surprise sweet ending!

How much does this tour cost?

Free tours do not have a set price, instead, each person gives the guru at the end of the tour the amount that he or she considers appropriate (these usually range from €10 to $50 depending on satisfaction with the tour).

Tour opinions

27 ratings
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wendy 01 Dec 2023

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Travelled in group - Dec 2023
Excellent tour - really informative. Walks quite quick so keep up!
Hanna 28 Nov 2023

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Travelled alone - Nov 2023
It was really nice tour!
Connor 26 Nov 2023

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Travelled in couple - Nov 2023
Mertcan is incredibly knowledgeable about Istanbul, especially with regards to the history of the city. Great tour!
Royal 23 Nov 2023

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Travelled in group - Nov 2023
Much recommend. He has patience and a lot of understanding of what he does
Anne 23 Nov 2023

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Nov 2023
Very flexible
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Who is this tour for?

Non suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Does not accept large group reservations.
Suitable for carrying pets.

What should you know?

Minimum of attendees
A minimum of 5 people is required for the tour.
Additional costs:
The tour does not require the payment of entrance fees or additional expenses.
Free cancellation
If you will not be able to attend the tour, please cancel your booking, otherwise the guide will be waiting for you.
Payment methods
Only cash payment is accepted.
When do you want to go?
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