Istanbul—a multicultural metropolis that is a melting pot of thousands of years of history, culture, and traditions. Add breathtaking landmarks, bustling markets, and a vibrant nightlife and you have found a cosmopolitan destination waiting to be discovered. If you’re more of a DIY traveler then the alternative tours route is the best for you. By no means should you skip the famous landmarks and monuments, after all, you’re most likely to travel to a foreign country once in a lifetime and you don’t want to regret missing out.
Think about your very own city, there are certain places you as a local would frequent and some you would steer clear of. Whether you’ve already booked your Istanbul city tours and are looking for something off the beaten track, or looking to fill up your days with alternative tours instead then take heed of our tips to get you exploring like a local. Slow down the pace and take in all the Turkish capital has to offer. Consider this to be your quintessential hipster guide to touring Istanbul.
The top 5 alternative tours of Istanbul
- Walking the streets of Istanbul
- Cruising around Istanbul
- Eating your way through Istanbul
- Shopping your way through Istanbul
- Riding around Istanbul
Walking the streets of Istanbul
Walking through the streets of a city is one of the best ways to blend in with the locals. Join a walking tour of the historical districts and let a skilled local help bring to life some of the wonderfully rich traditions that Istanbul has to offer. There’ll no doubt be many opportunities to capture gorgeous neoclassical architecture and stunning backdrops when going at it by foot. A photography tour ensures you take in as much of this mesmerizing city as possible.
Best for: Capturing memories one step at a time.
Cruising around Istanbul
Sit back and enjoy a cruise along the Bosphorus while taking in the sites of Istanbul from the alluring waterways. You’ll most certainly learn a thing or two about the enchanting Ottoman palaces, with the famous Topkapi Palace being at the forefront. Hit cruise control and take in a few insta moments while on the Bosphorus strait which connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. This is the perfect introduction to the east meets west culture Istanbul is famous for.
Best for: Seas the day and fulfill your wanderlust.
Eating your way through Istanbul
What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a new place than to try the local cuisine. Culinary tours are the best way to expand your own cultural experience while ensuring a full belly. So take to the streets of Istanbul and tantalize your taste buds with delectable dishes from Ottoman, Greek, and Armenian roots all melding into the hotpot of Turkish cuisine. End the day with a cocktail and unparalleled views of the city from one of the many rooftop bars.
Best for: A belly full of culture.
Shopping your way through Istanbul
Explore the Grand Bazaar to fill your souvenir bag with brightly colored textiles ranging from scarves to towels and blankets. The maze of shops each as interesting as the other with even more fascinating shop owners to tempt you with their wares. Why not join local fashionistas in the Istanbul fashion district of Nisantasi and get your brand fix at Beyman Blender. Make sure to also stop at the spice bazaar for your sweet and savory fix.
Best for: Shop till you drop the best of Istanbul.
Riding around Istanbul
If you’re an adrenaline junkie and keen on navigating the lively streets of Istanbul on two wheels then hire a bike or join a bike tour to get the most out of your trip. With so many sights to see you can make your own itinerary or simply wander off the beaten path and see where your spontaneity takes you. If you haven’t yet visited the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, do so at your own pace.
Best for: Exploring with a side of adventure.