After going through TripAdvisor, we settled on Daily Istanbul Tours. I have been to Istanbul in the past, but it was the first time for my husband and my 9 year old boys. I wanted a custom made private tour over 2 half days to take in the sights without it becoming tiring for the kids.
Firstly, Soner was a dream to work with. He was extremely courteous and prompt and no request was too much. He arranged for Oslem to be our guide and she was very knowledgable! I felt like I was seeing Istanbul for the first time.
On the first day, we saw Topkapi and the Harem. Unfortunately, quite a bit of the palace is under renovation, but we still got to see a lot. We then visited the Hippodrome, the Obelisk and the Basilica Cistern. Oslem was very patient and was happy to walk at our pace.
My son had a terrible cold and we were late for our tour on the second day. Oslem went out of her way to take us to a pharmacy, which we would have found difficult to source by ourselves. We saw the Blue Mosque, Haggia Sophia and the Dolmabache Palace.
Now this tour is not cheap, but it was definitely worth it. We took in the sights at our pace. We learnt a lot about Istanbul's past and present and you beat all the long, winding queues outside the museums. Oslem also pointed us to some interesting places to eat and visit, which we will do on our next trip.
I suggest you budget for a private tour of your own, especially if you have kids who constantly need the toilet, are hungry or easily distracted. It was worth it and we are more than likely to use them again in the future.
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