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“Excellent Tours of Istanbul and Cappadocia”

Istanbul Custom Tours-Private Day Tours
Ranked #8 of 492 Tours in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Whether you are interested in history, architecture, or how to brew the perfect Turkish tea, Istanbul Local Guides has you covered! We are ready to take you around Istanbul or all of Turkey, for one day or the duration of your trip. Istanbul Local Guides are just that locals who care deeply about making your trip to our beautiful country an experience you will remember for a lifetime. Delight in the sights, sounds, and smells of Istanbul: no other city on earth straddles two continents -Europe and Asia- and has been home to three great empires (Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman). In a city like this, it's important to have a local friend who can help you to navigate, all the while ensuring you the most personal experience possible. Istanbul Local Guides will fascinate you with the story of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, will wander with you (and help you bargain!) in our bazaars and spice markets, and host you in our favorite restaurants off the tourist track. If your interest is modern Turkish culture and politics, discovering the very best Turkish kebabs, or anything in between, we'll tailor-make a trip just for you. With Istanbul Local Guides, you'll get knowledgeable, experienced, and very friendly guides, all at an affordable rate. We specialize in private Istanbul tours, Cappadocia tours, Ephesus tours, Turkey Tours. Besides the classic tours, we offer you custom made tours. Should your travels in Turkey extend beyond magnificent Istanbul, rest assured that Istanbul Local Guides is there to help you on every leg of your journey.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Like others before me, based on the excellent Trip Advisors reviews, I booked a tour of Istanbul and Cappadocia with Aykut. Aykut is very responsive and interested in not only giving you a wonderful tour, but ensuring that you are truly happy with the service. Due to some mix up on my part, I made a last minute request to be met at the port rather than the hotel that I had booked and Aykut did so with a smile. The tour guide I had in Istanbul, I believe his name is Yanis (I am horrible with names), took me to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Hippodrome and the Cistern. He is extremely knowledgeable about the sites, and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with me and really did make history come alive. He not only provided historic insights but provided me with information on their customs and traditions and beliefs which was extremely interesting. Aykut met up with us for awhile and then Yanis and I continued to the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar. There was a shop that I planned to visit in a few days' time on my own and both Yanis and Aykut made sure that I knew how to get there from my hotel. The next morning, Aykut arranged for a car to pick me up and take me to the airport for my trip to Cappadocia. The guide and the driver met me at the airport, and off we went! We were actually able to visit a family living in one of the chimney homes and see what it's like inside. The lunches were excellent and the driver and tour guide very nice. The guide was informative - again, not just of the area and historical aspects, but their customs and traditions as well. The hotel that Aykut arranged for me to stay - Goreme Inn Hotel was fabulous. I had surgery on my feet and was not able to take hikes, and the guide was very accommodating of that need. Aykut arranged for a hot air balloon ride at sunrise the next morning which I strongly recommend (and I'm afraid of heights). The team very efficient and the pilot was funny and interesting. We even visited some places not on the itinerary (Crater Lake) since we had time. Aykut arranged to have someone pick me up at the airport in Istanbul and take me to the hotel. I hope to visit Turkey again and if I do, the first person I will be contacting is Aykut. If you are planning a trip to Turkey, I urge you to contact Aykut as soon as possible - you won't be sorry. I was coming off a cruise, where we had guided tours for 10 days and none of these tour guides could hold a candle to the guides I had through Aykut.

Thank susan w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"aykut ayik"
in 29 reviews
"topkapi palace"
in 51 reviews
"turkey"
in 81 reviews
"spice market"
in 29 reviews
"blue mosque"
in 63 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 20 reviews
"major sites"
in 17 reviews
"wonderful tour"
in 15 reviews
"basilica cistern"
in 27 reviews
"layover tour"
in 5 reviews
"baklava"
in 15 reviews
"hour layover"
in 5 reviews
"great guide"
in 11 reviews
"explained everything"
in 5 reviews
"walking tour"
in 13 reviews
"informative tour"
in 4 reviews
"wonderful city"
in 7 reviews
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313 - 317 of 403 reviews

Reviewed July 17, 2013

Based on excellent trip advisor reviews we booked a tour of Istanbul with Aykut. My husband and I travelled all the way from Hawaii and could not be happier to find that the "Aloha spirit" also resonates in Istanbul. Aykut always answered our emails promptly and reassured us that they would meet us at our port. Selahattin was our guide and we were very happy and impressed with his service. We visted the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, St. Sophia, Grand Bazaar and stopped at a local restaurant to have lunch. Selahattin was very passionate and informative about his country and was also sincerely interested in our culture as well. We are so grateful that Aykut paired us with the perfect guide! We will recommend their services to all our friends!

Coleen and Bruce

Thank Coleen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2013

I arranged a day tour for my family during a cruise stop with Istanbul Custom Tours. Aykut, the owner of the tour company, had arranged the tour with one of the company guides, named Selahattim. Selahattim was a great guide: his English was fluent and he was very knowledgeable and friendly also with our children.
The overall service, including the minivan transportation, was really excellent and we learnt a lot about Istanbul and some of its treasuries. During the booking phase Aykut was also friendly and fast in his replies.
Overall we had a great time and I strongly recommend Istanbul custom tours for anyone wishing to spend a day in Istanbul.

Thank Maspy62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

We booked with Aykut for our family of 4 for our one day tour of Istanbul after reading all of the fabulous reviews. We had only a single day from the MSC Divina, and we couldn't be happier. He was extremely flexible, helpful, and prompt in setting up our tours and answering our questions. As our cruise got closer, we hooked up with another family of 5 through TA, and he was able to accommodate both families and reduce the per person price. Because the reviews were so positive, we also booked a tour through him for the previous day from the port of Izmir to Ephesus. Our tours were definitely cheaper than the cruise ship's, and we had a dedicated guide! I would strongly recommend booking with them. With the smaller groups, you can tailor your tour and also have a chance to talk in depth with a local person to get their viewpoint on Turkey in general as well as on current affairs, which with so much going on right now is incredibly interesting to me.

We docked at Izmir early on July 2nd. Mehmet Candan was waiting for us with a big sign with our name on it. The 9 of us comfortably fit in their van. The ride to Ephesus was over an hour, but Mehmet made it go by quickly with informative information on the history of Turkey and what we were passing. We had 5 kids, ages 7 - 18, and he kept them (mostly) interested as well. Ephesus was amazing! Mehmet led us through the crowded site and presented an informative and also entertaining tour. He was not just reciting a script. We then went to the House of Mary and briefly to the Temple of Artemis. One of the best parts was that he had cold water waiting in the cooler in the van.

We arrived the next morning, June 3rd, in Istanbul. We had originally booked with Aykut, but he was delayed (darn airlines) getting back from visiting his mother. However, he made sure we were taken care of. He arranged for Selahattin "Sela" Acar to meet us. Once again, he was waiting for us when we stepped off the boat, and Sela was great. After a quick ride to the old town Sultanahmet district, we toured the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cisterns, Topakapi Palace, and Hajia Sophia. Sela would give us an overview of what were seeing and then turn us loose to explore for a while. Aykut also met us mid-tour to apologize for missing our appointment and to make sure everything was going well...excellent customer service. Sela then took us to an authentic Turkish restaurant away from the tourist sites, although in the Sultanahmet district you're always in the tourist district. After lunch, Sela mentioned Turkish rugs, but when we indicated we weren't really interested he quickly dropped it and took us to the Grand Bazaar. On the way back to the ship, Sela went out of his way to find a spot to buy some Turkish beer for a collection. In Istanbul traffic, that's not easy. One or two days in Istanbul/Turkey is not enough. We definitely plan to return in the future and would not hesitate to use Aykut and his company to arrange things.

1  Thank Stefanie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 7, 2013

Aykut Gun came highly recommended by my good friend, Robbie Bell so I knew he was going to be exceptional. I contacted him a year before our 11 night Eastern Med cruise on Celebrity's Reflection. Even though he is quite busy he never failed to respond in a timely manner to my emails.
We were a group of 29 and he and his colleague, Sami were at the port in Istanbul to meet us.

We had a private full day tour with lunch scheduled. The town was crowded with 3 ships docked and everybody wanted to see the Blue Mosque so we went to Hagia Sophia Church first. It was the largest cathedral in the world for over 1,000 years. A short distance away was the Topkapi Palace. It was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years.

Aykut and Sami split the group and managed both expertly. Never once did we have to stand in line for tickets. They both were a wealth of history and knowledge. We had a couple of ladies with mobility issues and Aykut and Sami were most patient with them; even pushing them or summoning an electric cart when available. They were outstanding.

The restaurant, Konyali is located at the palace where our group had reserved seating for lunch (4 courses). We overlooked the Bosphorous Strait. We couldn't have asked for a lovelier day as we dined and were served by our Turkish waiters. The average tourist at Konyali gets the buffet inside where its rather dark and dreary with selections that leave a lot to be desired but thanks to Aykut, we had our reservations for months in the perfect place.

Aykut knew just the right shops to visit based on what we were looking for at the Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar, which has 61 covered streets and over 3000 shops.

We returned to the ship for a rest and dinner. Since we overnighted in Istanbul, Aykut and Sami returned at 930 pm to escort us to one of the best jazz clubs there, Nardis. One of the country's best jazz singers, Sibel Kose was performing and Aykut had reserved the best seats in the house for us at this very cool jazz club in the shadow of the Galata Tower.

Overall, Aykut and Sami went above and beyond the call of duty and I highly recommend their services.

2  Thank katnegril
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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