Istanbul City Sightseeing

Istanbul is the major crossroads and historical epicenter of Turkey – it spans two continents, was a proud conquest of many empires throughout the ages, and today remains an endlessly pleasurable feast for all the senses. This thrumming city is greater than the sum of its monuments, and our tailor-made, privately-guided explorations are designed to reflect just that. We aim to show you Istanbul’s highlights, while also acquainting you with the rich culture that is a supporting background for these sights, and introducing you to the people that make it all come to life.

Our minimum sightseeing option is:
3-hour customizable city tour with a local guide: $69 per person (minimum of 2 people)
Please note that all private tours are conducted by a professional, English-speaking guide (or in any language required, by special request). You can add on airport transfers, hotel stays and/or longer city tours to the minimum basic option above.

Danytur’s Custom City Sightseeing tours put your interests above all else. Tell us your preferences with a quick Email, and we will deliver the perfect program for you. Please use this page to have a look at some of the best ingredients for an Istanbul discovery that can be personalized to your tastes.

Tour Transportation

For your Istanbul discovery, you can choose the amount of walking you prefer. Depending on the location of your hotel and the sights you would like to see, your guide may make use of some modes of public transportation, like the tramway in the historical district. Alternatively, you may be using a ferry or private boat to cruise along the Bosphorus or reach the city’s opposite continent. We can also arrange a private driver for a full or half-day exploration at a reasonable cost.

Istanbul Sights and Activities by District

The following are some of Istanbul's neighborhoods, popular with locals and visitors alike. Have a look at some of our favorite things to do for each area.

- Sultanahmet and Historical Peninsula
- Pera / Beyoğlu / Taksim
- Galata / Karaköy / Galata Bridge / Sirkeci
- European Bosphorus Coast: Ortaköy / Bebek / Rumeli Hisarı / Sarıyer
- Asian Side of Istanbul: Kadıköy / Moda / Kalamış / Bağdat Street
- Other Experiences

Sultanahmet and Historical Peninsula

What to Do, See and Taste

Hagia Sophia Museum
Blue Mosque
Topkapı Palace and Harem Quarters
Basilica Cistern
Hippodrome – former Byzantine and Ottoman arena for chariot races and demonstrations
Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum
Istanbul Archaeology Museums
The Chora Church (Museum of St. Savior)
Hagia Irene – also a great Concert venue
Little Hagia Sophia Mosque, formerly the Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus
Church of St. Mary of Blachernae
The peaceful Garden of the Green House (Yesil Ev) Hotel for tea time – Sultanahmet
Caferağa Medresesi – Authentic handicraft workshops (ebru: water-marbling, hat yazı: calligraphy, embroidery and tile painting)
A ride on the royal Ottoman rowboat (kayik) - on the Golden Horn
Hürrem Sultan Hamamı and Cağaloğlu Hamamı, authentic Turkish baths (hamam) for the ultimate in pampering
A mesmerizing Whirling Dervish sema ceremony
Street food in the Old City: Süt Mısır (corn-on-the-cob, boiled or roasted), Kestane (roasted chestnuts), Simit (sesame-coated bread rings)  Read more about Istanbul’s street eats…
Restaurants: Soups, especially mercimek (lentil), Kebabs and lahmacun (Turkish flatbread),  Köfte & Piyaz (Turkish meatballs served with beans), Seafood, Turkish desserts (künefe, baklava, kazandibi, helva, muhallebi, etc.)

Pera / Beyoğlu / Taksim

What to Do, See and Taste

Istiklal Avenue – Street food vendors, International consulates, Churches & Synagogues, Restaurants, Coffee shops, Cinemas & Theatres, Shopping and the Historic Tramway
Çiçek Pasajı – Historic “Flower Passage” with restaurants
Çukurcuma – Antique shops and Ottoman-era homes
Museum of Innocence – the collection to accompany the homonymous novel of Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk
Pera Museum
Galatasaray Hamamı - An authentic Turkish bath (hamam) for the ultimate in pampering
Browsing the Fish and Produce Markets near Çiçek Pasajı
Maraş-style ice cream or sahlep (a hot, rich winter drink)

Galata / Karaköy / Galata Bridge / Sirkeci

What to Do, See and Taste

Climb the 14th-century Galata Tower for an unbeatable Panoramic View
Neve Shalom Synagogue and Jewish Museum of Turkey
See a mesmerizing Whirling Dervish sema ceremony at Galata Mevlevihanesi
An authentic Turkish bath (hamam) for the ultimate in pampering - Kılıç Ali Paşa hamamı
Karakoy neighborhood trendy Shops and Cafes
Fransiz Geçidi (French Passage) shops and restaurants
Karaköy Güllüoğlu – the city’s favorite place to taste Turkish baklava
Stroll across Galata Bridge to watch the Fishermen and check out the lively Fish Restaurants and boats selling fish sandwich.
Egyptian Spice Market & Grand Bazaar – Bargain in a shopper’s paradise
Rüstem Paşa Mosque – famous with mosaics
Sirkeci Railway Station – 19th-century building, final stop on the Orient Express

European Bosphorus Coast: Ortaköy / Bebek / Rumeli Hisarı / Sarıyer

What to Do, See and Taste

The Seafront Promenade and neighborhood of Ortakoy
Dolmabahçe Palace
Ortakoy Synagogue
Try the stuffed potatoes called kumpir – Ortakoy
Visit the upscale suburbs of Arnavutkoy and Bebek – Ottoman wooden mansions, seafood restaurants, charming streets and peaceful seaside walks
The former fishing village of Sarıyer - Now a popular district for coastal areas lined with fish restaurants; also famous for its börek (filled pastries) 
Rumeli Hisarı Fortress, an off-the-beaten-track castle and museum
The summer seaside retreat of Kilyos
Belgrad Forest
In April, see millions of tulips in bloom at Emirgan Park 

Asian Side of Istanbul: Kadıköy / Moda / Kalamış / Bağdat Street

What to Do, See and Taste

Daily Fish and Fresh Foods Market in Kadıköy
Discover the trendy Cafe culture in Moda
Stroll along Moda’s waterfront recreational park
Visit Kalamış Marina for a meal at Divan Brasserie or Develi Kebab or Fish
Shopping on Bağdat Street, one of the city’s main shopping avenues
Maras-style ice cream or sahlep (a hot, rich winter drink)
Regional Turkish Cuisine
Haydarpaşa Railway Station – former stop on the Orient Express

Other Experiences

Bosphorus Cruise & Traditional waterfront mansions
The Princes’ Islands: Büyükada / Burgazada / Heybeliada / Kinaliada by boat
Istanbul Aquarium – Great for Families
Belgrade Forest – Nature walks, Picnics, Company teambuilding activities
Maiden’s Tower, Kız Kulesi, for a Romantic Dinner
A musical performance of the Ottoman Janissary Band at the Military Museum
Traditional hands-on Turkish Cooking Lesson in a private home, including lunch
Sakıp Sabancı Museum, a private fine arts collection
Night Out Istanbul
Have a traditional Turkish Breakfast on the Bosphorus coast
Rakı & Balık evening – Seafood and Turkish meze (appetizers) with an anise-flavored spirit
Ahrida Synagogue – Jewish Heritage in Balat neighborhood
Ecumenical Patriarchate in Balat neighborhood