Last Updated on August 16, 2021
Istanbul, a cosmopolitan and vibrant city that offers a rich history, fascinating culture and exotic traditions, is best discovered on a free walking tour with a local insider. Before we introduce you to our free walking tours in Istanbul, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about them.
What is a Free Walking Tour and how does it work?
A Free Walking Tour is a very popular and alternative way to explore cities. Free Walking Tours are a “pay-what-you-want” experience. That means that anyone is free to join the walking tour without paying anything in advance. At the end of the tour, the tour guide is rewarded by tips from the participants for the experience he has provided.
Are Free Walking Tours really free?
Participants are free to give what they think the tour is worth, depending on their individual feelings and budget. Some participants will give 10 euro, others will pay 50 euro. It is totally up to you! If you feel unsatisfied at the end, you are free to tip nothing.
Why can you benefit more from Free Walking Tours?
Since Free Walking Tours only work with the tips the guides receive at the end of each tour, the guides strive to deliver a memorable and entertaining tour of the highest quality every time. This ensures a great experience and is one reason why they are so successful and popular.
Free Walking Tours or Traditional Guided Tours?
Compared to traditional guided tours, Free Walking Tours are a relatively new way to explore a city. A reason they attract people who don’t usually join traditional walking tours is that these travelers regard free tours as a risk-free and independent way of discovering the city.
Not only can travelers join free tours without paying anything upfront, they can also leave at any time if they don’t like the tour. This way, travelers do not lose money or valuable time. But it also means that the travelers have the power, as they only pay what they think is appropriate.
Moreover, participants of our Istanbul walking tours have local guides who are passionate about their city, making it a more authentic local experience. They are happy to share valuable recommendations and insider tips with our guests. Also, compared to traditional guided tours, guides of free tours are usually more independent and flexible, which is why they can better respond to the wishes or style of each group.
The only advantage of a traditional guided tour is that you don’t have to carry money with you, since you paid in advance.
Bus Tours or Free Walking Tours?
Walking tours are definitely preferable to bus tours. Many places can be explored much better on foot, allowing you to discover hidden sights and winding alleys.
In Istanbul, for example, most of the best sights can only be reached on foot. Sites such as the Old City, Taksim or the Grand Bazaar are pedestrian zones and therefore only accessible on foot. In addition, there is a lot of traffic, especially in metropolises like Istanbul, so you always have to expect traffic jams which cause one to lose valuable time.
What about self-guided walking tours?
For travelers who don’t want to rely on a group and prefer to discover the city on their own, the self-guided audio tours from YourMobileGuide are the perfect choice.
With this audio guide app you can discover Istanbul at your own pace and individually with your own smartphone. Here is an overview with self-guided audio tours for Istanbul. https://yourmobileguide.com/en/audioguides/turkey/istanbul
Do I need to make a Reservation for Free Walking Tours?
On most Free Walking Tours it is possible to join at any time. However, we strongly recommend that you still make a reservation to secure a spot on your preferred date.
We also try to keep small groups on our Istanbul Free Walking Tours to ensure a great and quality experience. Therefore, this can best be achieved if you book in advance. Since the reservation is free, the cancellation is also free.
Istanbul Walking Tours:
Istanbul is best discovered on foot. Many of its highlights are within walking distance and you can get a true feeling of Istanbul’s unique cosmopolitan flair.
Join our Free Walking Tours in Istanbul and get to know the city’s centuries-old mix of culture, its magical sights and hidden gems, as well as its intriguing stories with our local guides!
Why you should book our Free Walking Tour in Istanbul:
- Discover Istanbul with our passionate local insiders
- Get to know Istanbul as a local and discover places off the beaten track that you would not discover as a tourist
- Meet like-minded travelers from all over the world
- Interesting and fun experience
- We have a number of well-planned routes that cover the best places and neighborhoods in Istanbul
- Get the most unique pictures at some top photo spots in Istanbul
- Stops with eateries with the tastiest authentic food in Istanbul
- No crowded groups to ensure an intimate experience
- Our local & English-speaking guides will be happy to offer additional tips and answers to all your questions
- You choose the price! Give what you consider fair or what you can afford
Additionally, we have Free Walking Tours that cover Istanbul’s bustling and colorful markets such as Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar and the best Instagram spots around.
To show the diverse culinary delights of this city, we also offer food tours that take place either around Taksim Square or in Istanbul’s lively Kadikoy district. Kadikoy, on the Asian side, is considered an absolute favorite of the locals and can be reached quite easily after a breathtaking ferry ride.
The historic center of Istanbul is not hilly but there are some routes in Istanbul that can be a bit up and down, especially around Galata. Apart from that, Istanbul Free Walking Tours are good for people who enjoy a leisurely walk.
For your Istanbul Free Walking Tours we recommend comfortable shoes, a card for public transport, a bottle of water and sunscreen in summer.
Our Tip: For the ultimate end to a walking tour, take an unforgettable boat trip along the mesmerizing Bosphorus. This is the perfect place to stretch your feet, relax with Turkish tea and simit, and regain your strength. Instead of walking to the sights, this time the boat tour will take you along Istanbul’s impressive sights.
An overview of the available Bosphorus Cruises can be found at our Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises page
We have compiled our 5 best Free Walking Tours in Istanbul for you:
- Free Combo Tour of the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace
- Free Hagia Sophia Tour with Historian Guide
- Daily Free Local Markets and Rooftops Tour
- Free Afternoon Tour at Taksim, Galata Tower and Dervish Lodge
- Istanbul Food Tour
You also might be interested in our bestselling Istanbul Walking Tours:
- Istanbul Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet Square Tour
- Istanbul Top Spots Walking Tour (The Ultimate Walking Tour: 3 DAYS VALID)
- Istanbul Pub Crawl (Clubs & Bars Tour)
- Walking Tour with a 1st Class Istanbul Private Guide
- Galata Tower Tickets and Walking Tour with an Insider