If you’re planning a trip to Istanbul, chances are you’ve already consulted several tourist guides to plan your activities. However, if you’re looking for authentic experiences off the beaten track, here are 5 unique activities to do in Istanbul that you won’t find in tourist guides.
1. Guided Food and Culture Tour
Experience the Guided Food and Culture Tour in Istanbul and discover the diverse and mouth-watering cuisines that the city has to offer. This tour takes you on a culinary journey across both sides of the Bosphorus, where you will visit nine different locations and taste four different drinks.
The tour begins at Karaköy Pier, where you will ride a public ferry across the Bosporus Strait to Kadiköy Port. During the ferry ride, enjoy breathtaking views of the two continents. Upon arriving in Kadiköy, take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood and visit the local markets. Dive down a maze of streets lined with local shops selling all kinds of produce, and head to the fish market to try some delicious mussels stuffed with rice and spices.
The tour continues with a break at a café, where you can watch locals playing backgammon. Your guide will then take you to a restaurant that specializes in home cooked food from the Kurdish area of south-east Turkey. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available, making it accessible to all.
After satisfying your appetite, head back to the European side on the ferry while admiring the beautiful night views of Istanbul. Finally, indulge in something sweet at a local eatery, where you can sample a Turkish dessert.
This guided food and culture tour in Istanbul is the perfect way to experience the city’s unique blend of culinary delights and cultural heritage. Explore the city, savor mouth-watering dishes, and immerse yourself in the local way of life. Join the tour and create unforgettable memories in Istanbul.
2.Istanbul 7-Hour Pub Crawl: Big Night Out
Join the Istanbul 7-Hour Pub Crawl for an unforgettable night out in the city. The crawl promises to take you to the best party places in Istanbul and show you the craziest spots in town. The evening begins with a complimentary welcome beer at the meeting point, followed by a visit to at least 3 of the top party spots in Istanbul. What’s more, entrance to all the venues is free!
Embrace the local party scene, discover alternative venues, and experience the nightlife in a way that most tourists never get to. Whether you’re with a group of friends or you’re a solo traveler looking to meet new people, the pub crawl guarantees a night filled with fun and good vibes. You’ll be taken to the most popular bars, clubs, and pubs in Istanbul, ensuring that your night is as unforgettable as it is enjoyable.
This pub crawl is different from many others, as the guide takes you to places that are off the beaten path, giving you a unique and authentic party experience. So, join the Istanbul 7-Hour Pub Crawl for a night that you’ll never forget!
3. Luxury Private Yacht Rental
Indulge in a luxurious private yacht rental and discover Istanbul from a unique perspective – the Bosphorus. With the yacht entirely to yourself, you can soak up the breathtaking views of Istanbul’s famous riviera while gliding past some of the city’s best sights on both the Asian and European shores. Admire waterfront palaces of sultans and Pasha’s villas, and relax as you take in close-up views of the European Side, Dolmabahçe Palace, Çirağan Palace, Rumeli Fortress, the Bosphorus Bridge, and the Asian Side.
Embark on a two-hour Bosphorus Cruise, offering panoramic views of Istanbul and the Bosphorus.
• You’ll be picked up in a brand new, non-smoking van from your hotel or accommodation approximately 30 minutes before your trip.
• Explore the city’s best historic spots, including Dolmabahçe Palace, the Ortakoy Mosque, the Bosphorus Bridge, the Fatih Bridge, Rumeli Castle, Anatolian Castle, and Beylerbeyi Palace.
• You can reserve the trip for any time that suits you. If the main yacht is not available, you’ll be offered another yacht of the same quality.
• After the trip, you’ll be dropped off at your hotel or in the city center.
• Enjoy complimentary coffee, tea, or soft drinks while on board.
4. Eurasia Bike & Boat Half-Day Tour
Join a half-day Eurasia Bike & Boat Tour and explore Istanbul from both the European and Asian sides of the city. Your tour leader will meet you in the historic neighborhood of Balat on the European side, where you can choose your bike for the day. Board a public boat to Üsküdar, enjoying stunning views of the city skyline and iconic landmarks such as Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and Bosphorus Bridge.
In Üsküdar, hop on your bike and ride to Fenerbahçe Park, stopping along the way to take in the sights and hear interesting information about the area from your guide. After a bit of exercise, take a break at a local cafe for a refreshing cup of Turkish tea or coffee while admiring the beautiful view of Princes’ Islands.
Continue your journey on your bike to Kadıköy Pier, where you’ll take a boat ride back to Karaköy. Cross the Golden Horn Bay via the Metro Bridge and return to the tour’s starting point in Balat. The tour usually ends around 2 PM, depending on the cycling tempo of the group.
After the tour, take the opportunity to explore the lively streets of Balat at your leisure and sample some of the fresh, local cuisine from the street-side food vendors. Note that during the tour, all of the mentioned monuments are viewed only from outside.
5. Half-Day Turkish Coffee Tasting and Tour
As you sip on your freshly brewed Turkish coffee, your expert guide will explain the traditional methods used to prepare and serve the drink, as well as the significance of coffee in Turkish culture. You’ll learn about the various types of Turkish coffee and the unique preparation techniques involved, such as roasting the beans over hot coals and using a special pot called a cezve.
After tasting a few different varieties of Turkish coffee, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase your own beans to take home and impress your friends with your newfound coffee-making skills. The tour also includes stops at historic landmarks and hidden gems in Istanbul, giving you a taste of the city’s rich culture and history.
At the end of the tour, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the art of coffee-making and a deeper understanding of the important role that coffee has played in Turkish history and culture. And of course, you’ll be able to brew a delicious cup of Turkish coffee for yourself and others to enjoy.
In summary, Istanbul has a lot to offer even outside the classic tourist circuits. Follow these tips to discover the authentic side of the city and make your trip unforgettable.