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“Arzu - Amazing guide, resource and foodie!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Walks In Istanbul - Tours

Walks In Istanbul - Tours
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$125.00*
and up
Evening Local Food and Wine Tour In Istanbul
Ranked #12 of 72 Food & Drink in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: WALKS IN ISTANBUL Istanbul's premier walking tour company. Personal / Small/Authentic. We offer customized walking tours with scholarly local guides. We organize and lead the most impressive series of walking tours for you in Istanbul, our hometown. We believe that guided walking tours are excellent ways to get to know a city if they are organized well. Our experience lies in classical and cultural tours, which allow you to reach deep into the Turkish culture and history in a more relaxing way. We are natives of Turkey and have broad range of knowledge. We are all very interested in the huge cultural heritage of this country and particularly of Istanbul. We toured Turkey in buses for years and we know the country well. You can relate to the references we make. We talk about our culture, our traditions, the predominant religion, and women’s role in society. Every one of us have university degrees and we study continually to learn more about Turkey and Istanbul. Shared between the partner guides: one has a background in journalism, arts editor, MA in history of religions, civil engineer, architectural history and art historian. We are avid readers and have a deep knowledge and passion for Istanbul. With our expertise of 17 years, we tailor walking itineraries for you–All are very flexible and always offer the best of the real world to you.
Useful Information: Activities for young children
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
123 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Arzu - Amazing guide, resource and foodie!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2013

Arzu took us on an incredible tour of Istanbul which included not only the mosques and churches, but cafes, vistas and hidden corners. We had such a great time learning more about the thousands of years of civilization and populations that were born, migrated or conquered here. She also encouraged me to try a local hammam (women's spa and Turkish bath) which was a once in a lifetime experience. Most of all, Arzu is an intelligent, warm and enthusiastic woman who wants to share her passion about Istanbul. Don't miss out on walking around with her!

Visited October 2012
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Thank Discerning12385
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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158 reviews from our community

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English first
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“My favourite person in Istanbul!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 22, 2013

After reading the glowing reviews on this site, I got in touch with Arzu to book two days of guiding for a group (we were six people between the ages of mid-20s to mid-60s). She wasn't able to take us but she offered her colleague Asli. I was hesitant at first since all the reviews I read praised Arzu but I took a chance and I am so glad I did!

Asli was fantastic. We spent two days in her company seeing all the usual tourist sites (Topkapi, Aya Sofya, Blue Mosque, Suleyman's Mosque - don't miss this one, by the way! - The Cistern, Spice Market, Grand Bazaar etc. etc.). She also took us across the water to the market in Kadikoy (not very touristy area of town where the locals live and shop) and I loved it so much that I went back at the end of my trip and spent an evening wandering around among the locals.

Asli knows what she is talking about. She was able to answer any question we had and patiently gave us a run down of Turkish history (in fact she had to repeat this history lesson again and again because some of us had a hard time getting all the complex comings and goings straight - Turkish history is not straight forward!). She shielded us from the tourist hordes by taking us down quiet back streets, getting us into fast track lines, using her guiding pass to skip ticket buying lines (this is really such a valuable part of having a guide....we visited in late April and already the lines were insane and in some cases, people were standing in the wrong lines). With Asli to guide us, we made the most of our two short days and saw a lot. She also knew some very good spots to eat.

The price per day was $350 USD (we were also given the option of paying in euro or lira). This was the price for the whole group, not per person. Our days were meant to be 9:30 to 4:30 but on the first day, we went way overtime and Asli did not seem to notice or mind. And on the second day, we started half an hour early. So I really appreciated the flexibility.

350 USD is not a small amount of money but I would argue that it was worth every penny. Here's why:
1. Our group ranged in age and we all equally enjoyed Asli's guiding and what we saw and did.
2. The tour was entirely bespoke. We customized it before and during, on the fly.
3. On our own, we would never have been able to pack so many sights into two days. The lines alone would have made it impossible (and remember this was in April, not high, high season). There's a good chance, given our group, that we would have gotten lost, become annoyed with each other etc. etc. Instead, with Asli to lead us, we were able to relax, look around, soak up the city and enjoy ourselves.
4. After two days with Asli, my husband and I were prepared to tackle the city on our own and we spent four days wandering around on our own at the end of the trip. We'd already done all the things that benefit most from a guide and we had a good mental map of the city.
5. Sometimes you get what you pay for and as I said, Asli was incredibly knowledgeable and was also willing and happy to answer our questions about more local matters (the political situation in Turkey, for example, something that is interesting at the moment, to say the least). She was candid in a way that guidebooks never ever are. There are many, many completely useless guides around and I think this was money well spent.

A note about Arzu: I communicated with us before the trip and she was also prompt and helpful in her relies, giving me recommendations for things outside of Isanbul as well.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank frequent_flyer29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jersey City, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Best day we had in Istanbul!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 19, 2013

My husband and I recently went to Istanbul for the first time, and stumbled across Arzu online. Arzu wasn't able to take us on a walk the week we were there, and we were a little hesitant to agree to a walk with her colleague, Murat. In the end, we were SO happy with Murat and the tour we had. We walked the Golden Horn back down to the old city (was a huge amount of walking - tiring, but worth it!) and saw a lot of the real Istanbul. Murat has been guiding for 20 years or so and knew a huge amount about all of the places we saw. He was funny, laid-back, personable, and knowledgeable. The day of our walk ended up being one of the best days we had in Istanbul, and I would highly recommend going this route if you want to see parts of Istanbul that you wouldn't normally see, from an experienced and licensed guide. I would highly, highly recommend Arzu and Murat to anyone who plans on visiting Istanbul.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Erin T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Book Arzu for the best customized tour of Istanbul!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 27, 2012

My niece and I went to Istanbul for a girls' birthday shopping weekend and we booked Arzu for a half day tour of the Hagia Sophia, The Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace grounds. She tailored our tour to our specific needs - we wanted to see as much as we could on our first morning in Istanbul, then spend time shopping in the Bazaar and exploring the Beyoglu area. She was extremely knowledgeable and told fascinating stories along the way. She took us to her favourite rug shop in the Bazaar and directed us to textiles shops, jewelry shops, restaurants/bars for the evenings and told us the best places to buy baklava and Turkish Delight. She recommended that we stay at the Witt Istanbul, which was fabulous and a very stylish hotel with large, gorgeous rooms and close to everything. Arzu is very personable and it felt like we were walking around Istanbul with a very knowledgeable friend. We have recommended her to all of our friends and would definitely book her again. Book your flights, your hotel and then book Arzu!

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Lori_T99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Arzu Knows Her Stuff”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2012

On my recent trip to Istanbul I had prearranged three half day tours with Arzu, however upon my arrival, I had urgent family matters that i had to return home for. Arzu was very helpful and very flexible. She showed me how to navigate a Turkish keyboard, and was a great asset in helping me rearrange my flights. As it turned out I had some time to tour, and it being the slow season Arzu was able to modify her schedule to match mine. The Chora chuch session was incredible.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank Perry J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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