This post lists the best free walking tours you can take in Istanbul, including self-guided tours and small group tours.
WHAT ARE FREE WALKING TOURS?
Free walking tours are technically pay-what-you-like tours. Instead of paying an upfront cost, you can pay the guide what you thought the tour was worth at the end.
We suggest €10 per adult for an entertaining tour.
Since the guides know their groups are looking for value, you can expect a charismatic intro to their city.
This means these tours are both popular and affordable, which will attract larger crowds.
Istanbul is a fascinating city full of thousands of years of history. Its different neighborhoods showcase different cultural traditions left behind from ruling empires throughout the ages.
Most walking tours will be an overview of the historic Old City and its cultural history.
You can also find a culinary tour covering the food from the city's multiple cultures.
For travelers who want to ensure an experience with smaller groups of people, we recommend paid small group tours.
TIP: Take the popular hop-on-hop-off bus tour through Istanbul for an easy mode of transportation that can help you cover more ground than you would while walking.
FREE TOURS WITH ISTANBUL TOURIST PASS
You can find hop-on-hop-off bus and boat tours included with an Istanbul city discount pass.
This pass also includes guided tours of local art museums and historical sites, including the Hagia Irene Museum, Topkapi Palace Museum, and the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.
You'll get entry to the attractions if you take part in the guided tours, which are offered in English.
WALKING TOURS IN ISTANBUL
Here we list the walking tours that run frequently in Istanbul.
Free Istanbul Walking Tours
Free Istanbul Walking Tours offers multiple tourist services, including two pay-what-you-like introductions to the city.
A knowledgeable local guide who loves Istanbul can lead you around Old City.
The extensive walk will cover history from the Ottomans to the Romans and show you the most popular points of interest in the neighborhood, such as the Blue Mosque and Hippodrome.
If you're feeling a bit hungry, they also offer a free, 6-stop culinary tour! It will include taking a public ferry to sample dishes from multiple sides of the city.
Your guide will take you through markets the locals go to and will end the walk with a delicious Turkish coffee.
You can also book paid tours to cover different Istanbul neighborhoods and topics, or just for your own group!
Free Istanbul Tours
Free Istanbul Tours offers a tour of Old Town on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The 3.5-hour walk will take you past the Suleymaniye and Blue Mosques, as well as the German Fountain, Grand Bazaar, and other popular landmarks.
The tour will end at the Spice Bazaar and include an overview of haggling at a market for your lunch!
This company also offers paid private tours, as well as layover tours - designed specifically for travelers with a long layover at the Istanbul airport.
Self-guided tours are for those who want to explore the city solo and on their own schedule.
Big Boy Travel
Big Boy Travel offers a self-guided tour for travellers in Istanbul.
The Istanbul self-guided tour is completely free, but one might have to pay for the attractions that are highlighted on the route if you want to go in.
The website includes a map of your route and starts at Hippodrome Park.
Happiness and Things
This blog offers a detailed self-guided tour of Istanbul for anyone who wants to just see the highlights or really take their time.
It includes an interactive map and a suggested timetable, from 9:00 am to 19:00 (7:00 pm).