Hidden Istanbul: 4-Hour Walking Tour
- Duration: 4 hours
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The name of this tour is misleading as we actually visited the most popular tourist spots and not any places that we couldn't have found independently. Our guide, Caner (pronounced Jan), was knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and professional. Long past the tour was meant to be over, he joined us for lunch and walked us to a reputable place to learn more about and purchase a carpet. This tour is a worthwhile endeavour if you've newly arrived in the city and want to get some basic history and geographical bearings. You don't get to explore the places in depth, but you can do that on your own time. One thing to note is that GetYourGuide didn't have the updated meeting point information correct so be sure to check through all of the information and question them should there be more than one meeting point listed.H
In my opinion this is the easiest way to see the most essential Istanbul once. Our guide was well prepared and pleasant: his name was Semih. The tour is nice also because the group you are with, is quite small (we were only 4) and this helps you better follow the teaching but also to socialise with other tourists. I wouldn't call this tour "hidden places" because it shows the Aya Sofia, Suliman's Mosque, Grand and Spice Bazaar, which aren't exactly "hidden". However I would reccomend to attend this tour because it shows the essential Istanbul in 1 morning in a relaxed way (even if it is a very stressful programme). I advice to have the tour during your first days in Istanbul, because you could get some nice ideas for more vistis or restaurants form the guide!
The hidden tour was one of the best days we spent in Istanbul. My friend and I were the only two in the group and Fatih - our guide - was very flexible in accommodating our requests. He is very passionate about his job, and proud of Turkeys historical achievements. Fatih met us at the pick-up point on time, and informed us of the schedule. My friend and I were very impressed by Fatih's level of knowledge. We enjoyed listening to the details and wanted to hear more. Fatih's communication skills and English proficiency was unexpectedly perfect. I would highly recommend you ask for Fatih to be your guide for the tour when booking online through GetYourGuide. Wishing you all the best and an unforgettable hidden tour memorable experience.
Our guides were very thorough and took us to a lot of places I wouldn't have found otherwise, like the Old Book Bazaar. They also showed us a reliable vendor in the spice market, who welcomed us in their shop and offered us tea. It was a good balance of sightseeing with background information (sometimes these walking tours can get a bit dull with too much information and not enough action). Small group made it easy to get around and quite intimate. After our tour, we all went to lunch together, so it goes to show how personable and friendly our guides were. Definitely worth the price and highly recommended!
Tolga our tour guide explained the history of each of the sites. He showed us a hidden courtyard cafe near Topkapi to which I retired several times for lunch or coffee. Suleymaniye Mosque was beautiful - my favourite mosque ever. Tolga's explanation of Sinan's architecture made the complex come to life. I would recommend this tour to others with enthusiasm! Many thanks Tolga and Get Your Guide.