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

Duration: 2h and 15min
Languages: English
Registered on April 01, 2023

THEY CALL IT CHAOS - WE CALL IT HOME! We're Istanbul Walks, and we're here to show you the real Istanbul: the city that's equal parts ancient history and modern mayhem, where mosques mingle with street art and the air crackles with the scent of baklava and rebellion. ✊ Ditch the guide books and explore hidden alleys, haggle at the Grand Bazaar, sip çay with locals, unearth secret gems🧿, meet vibrant characters – join Istanbul Walks & discover the city's beating heart! No boring history lectures, no overpriced tourist traps. Just real Istanbul, with all its grit, charm, and unexpected delights. We'll show you why this city is more than just a pretty postcard. It's a beating heart, a melting pot, a symphony of spices and laughter and honking horns. It's home. Ready to get lost (and found) in Istanbul? We'll see you on the streets! Follow us on Instagram: @istanbulwalkss #istanbulwalks #chaosishome #getlostinistanbul P.S. We also accept tips in the form of baklava. Just sayin'.

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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

422 ratings
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Stuart 12 Feb 2024

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Feb 2024
Mertcab was a great guide. he made us all feel welcomed
Isaac 12 Feb 2024

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Feb 2024
We were really happy we did this tour on our arrival day. The official tours from our tour company which went to the same locations never had the richness of detail provided by the guide. Great experience.
Norma 12 Feb 2024
Saint Thomas

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Feb 2024
We had a blast! This walking tour was very instructive and e joyable. The guide was helpful, kind and very fun! We recommend it to anyone who has a chance, its really worth it! :)
Emilie 12 Feb 2024

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Feb 2024
Great tour to see istanbul
James 12 Feb 2024

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Feb 2024
We booked the Enlgish tour. The tour guide was great and explained everything
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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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