Quick Tour: Istanbul Essentials in 1.5 Hours!

Duration: 1h and 30min
Languages: English
Quality Verified Registered on April 01, 2023

We're a duo of full-time licensed tour guides in Istanbul, Hakan & Emre, both with many years of experience in guiding and interesting background stories. Hakan is a born & raised Istanbulian, he grew up in urban Istanbul in a traditional family that owns a bakery. Spending his entire life in Istanbul, Hakan had the privilage to become a student in the most historical school in Turkey, Istanbul University. Having the opportunity to spend his student years in the only school located in the Old City of Istanbul, he learned the area like the back of his hand. After graduating from collage, he got his first job as a journalist. Fascinated with his hometown's history and the tourism sector, he went to his second university, and became a licensed tour guide. He's been working since 2019. Emre on the other hand, has his roots going back over a century in Istanbul. He spent his childhood in central Istanbul, and found himself abroad for his highschool studies. Later came back to Istanbul, and decided to learn the world's hardest language: Chinese. Spent 4 years in China, mastering the language and even participating in a band that performed in bars and festivals. Came back to his hometown Istanbul to finally realize his teenage dream of becoming a tour guide, did his masters in guiding and got his license. He's been guiding tourists in multiple languages since 2018.

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  • No minimum number of attendees
    No minimum number of attendees is required for the tour
  • Free booking and cancellation
    Free payment tour, no set price, booking and cancellation are free

Tour description

How do you get the most out of your precious time in Istanbul?

You leave that to us. We, Istanbulian Guides, are a team of professionals. We have guided tens of thousands of people in our years of experience entirely focused on Istanbul and we are both born-and-raised locals of this city. We will deliver the most compact and crucial information you need in only 1.5 hours. 

This is the info you need before deciding where to spend your money and time on: 

✅ What are the must-see sites, what is to see

✅ Visiting hours, ticket prices

✅ How and when to avoid queues

✅ Where to eat good cheap food

✅ Where to get good cheap drinks

✅ Where to buy good cheap things

✅ What activities you shouldn't miss out on

✅ Lesser-known hidden gems of Istanbul

✅ How to avoid scams/tourist traps

✅ How to get around/transportation

✅ Bonus information and resources ++


By the end of the tour, you'll learn and have access to so much information about Istanbul that it might take a few hours to digest. Might want to do that over a nice cup of Turkish coffee after lunch. 

We'll meet

In the most central place in Old Town Istanbul, in front of the massive Egyptian Obelisk. Then we'll walk you through the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman history, all the way to modern-day Istanbul.

And btw, we don't do giant groups, and it's the season! So if you're thinking this is it, then Check Availability by clicking the red button and book your place right now!


See you soon! 😉 

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What will we visit on this tour?

  • Meeting point:
    Sultanahmet, Binbirdirek, 34122 Fatih...
    Sultanahmet, Binbirdirek, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye
    View on map

    Your guide will be holding a GREEN flag in front of the Egyptian Obelisk (Obelisk of Theodosius) located in the center of the Hippodrome Square. This is a massive stone column with ancient Egyptian writings on it. It is in between the Blue Mosque and Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum.

  • 1
    Outside visit
    Egyptian Obelisk (Obelisk of Theodosius)

    This is where we meet. I will be holding a GREEN flag in front of the obelisk, which is our meeting point. We will talk about the history of the Egyptian Obelisk and continue our tour.

  • 2
    Free admission
    Hippodrome Square

    We will explore the ancient Roman Hippodrome Square, and unveil Istanbul's 2700 years of history from the ancient Greeks to Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and modern Turkey.

  • 3
    Outside visit
    Blue Mosque

    We will pass through the courtyard of the most famous mosque built by Turks: The Blue Mosque. We'll learn about the history of the Blue Mosque and the story of Sultan Ahmet I who built it.

  • 4
    Free admission
    Arasta Bazaar

    We'll pass from a small yet stunningly colorful historical bazaar hiding behind the Blue Mosque: Arasta Bazaar. It is curious how such a beauty goes undiscovered most of the time!

  • 5
    Outside visit
    Hagia Sophia

    Oh, the world-famous Hagia Sophia. We'll dive straight into its incredible 1500 years of history, uncover its background story and the changes it went through the centuries. And of course, take mind-blowing pictures!

  • 6
    Outside visit
    Hürrem Sultan Hammam (Turkish Bath)

    We'll talk about the history of Istanbul's best Turkish bath, Hürrem Sultan Hammam. A charity project of Hürrem Sultan, the most famous Queen of Ottoman Empire.

  • 7
    Outside visit
    Topkapi Palace

    We'll walk towards the main palace of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years: The Topkapi Palace. This is the place where once Sultans lived and ruled their empire, and is today the country's #2 most visited museum after Hagia Sophia.

  • 8
    Outside visit
    Ottoman Mansions Street

    We'll pass from the old Ottoman Mansions Street which are now boutique hotels & cafes. These are historical mansions where once the rich and powerful lived next the walls of the Sultan's palace.

  • 9
    Outside visit
    Basilica Cistern

    We'll reach Istanbul's most mysterious Byzantine site: the Basilica Cistern, a.k.a the "Sunken Palace", due to its majestic looking architecture and underground location. We'll discover why they have upside-down Medusa heads and ancient Greek columns in this place.

  • 10
    Outside visit
    Sultanahmet Tram Station

    We'll end the tour at the Sultanahmet tram station, which is 2 mins walking distance from where we started. We'll give you recommendations to where you can eat and provide you with much more useful information before finalizing the tour.

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

40 ratings
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Martin 26 May 2024
St Andrews

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - May 2024
We were very happy on our tour with Hakan He was very good at connecting with all of the people on tour . We enjoyed being in the company of the other tour participants also which made our experience even more memorable. Thank you again Hakan and guru tours 👍 😄
Daryl 25 May 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - May 2024
Hakan was excellent, a very helpful and informative guide. Highly recommend.
Monique 20 May 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - May 2024
Perfect tour on one’s first day in Istanbul. Emre Sirmen showed our group the main sites - from the outside, put it in a historic perspective and shared practical information for when we go and visit each of these places ourselves.
Jane 17 May 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - May 2024
We have always enjoyed our Guru walks in the countries that we have visited. It is why we keep coming back to Guru! Thank you.
Peter 17 May 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - May 2024
The guide Hakan was very knowledgeable and had an easy manner of presenting information and engaging with the group. The Sultanahmet short tour covered all the locations without excessive walking or hills.
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Who is this tour for?

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

What should you know?

Minimum of attendees
There is no minimum number of people 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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See availability