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Add Some Leisure To Your Business Trip With Private Guided Tours In Istanbul


by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Denise B.

Last updated : May 14, 20249 min read

Things To Do

Istanbul has been consistently rated as one of the top destinations in the world for business and leisure travel. Its unique position, straddling the continental divide between Europe and Asia, makes it a popular international venue for conferences and corporate meetings. The city has responded well to the growing ‘bleisure’ or business-leisure tourist market. If you have a few extra hours in the evenings, the opportunity to tag a few days onto your business trip, or find yourself returning regularly, Istanbul provides much in the way of entertainment.


To make the most of your adventure, contact our seasoned guides who will work around your schedule. They can show you the highlights and other popular attractions of Istanbul, or customize tours for your particular needs.  

A Few Hours in the Evenings 


In summer, many of the major attractions in the city close around 7:00 pm, making it possible to visit one each evening after a multi-day conference. These include the major museums, palaces, and bazaars. 


Mosques are open from long before dawn until after sunset, except at prayer times, which vary with the seasons. The days on which venues are closed each week are staggered. Our guides will help you to take the guess work out of the city’s schedules. Sunset is best viewed looking west. Whatever your time constraints, it is possible to get out onto the Bosphorus and look back at the minarets and domes of the old city. If you wish to linger longer, dinner is offered on many of the cruises. 


Venturing further afield, you can cross the Golden Horn to the Karikoy and Galata districts, either by ferry or by crossing the Galata Bridge. The Galata Tower is open until a minute to midnight, and affords spectacular 360° views of the city lights from the observation deck. Istiklal Cadessi is a hive of activity well into the night. Most shops close at 10:00 pm, but the bars and restaurants remain open, often until all the patrons leave. At the far end of this spine of activity is Taksim Square, which is sometimes referred to as the heart of modern Istanbul. From midday to midnight, it is a hub of shopping, dining, and night-life. 

Daytime Excursions 


Gone are the days of doing business from an Internet café while aboard. Mobile technology enables you to spend a few extra days in Istanbul while still managing the office back home. Due to its central geographic location, Istanbul is within eight hours time difference of most of the world’s major cities. Pop into one of the many coffee shops and restaurants dotted around the city. They are geared up to meet the needs of those wanting a business trip in a leisure setting. These convenient business centers offer a variety of local dishes and liquid refreshments, at street level, inside bustling bazaars, or on rooftops overlooking the city. 


Istanbul boasts ten Ottoman palaces that are open to the public. The most frequently visited is the Topkapi Palace, which is situated on a hill overlooking the city. The palace was the first to be built during the Ottoman Empire and covers 60 hectares. The grounds and numerous buildings showcase the many facets of the public and private lives of the Sultans, their governments, and their families. The Dolmabahçe Palace was the last of the Sultans’ royal palaces, and also served as a presidential summer home at the beginning of the Republican era. It was built to rival the royal houses found in the major cities of the empires of Europe. It is situated on the waterfront and is surrounded by formal gardens. 


In a city of over 3000 mosques, there are a few that should not be missed. Within walking distance of each other in the historical part of the city, you will find two of the most famous. The 17th century Sultanahmet Mosque is famous for its beautiful cobalt blue tiles, and is further distinguished by having six minarets. On the square outside the ‘Blue’ Mosque is a network of dancing fountains that are lit up at night. Close by is the Hagia Sophia, which was originally built as a Cathedral in 537 CE, and converted to a Mosque after the Ottoman conquest in the 15th century. It was once hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World, and to this day its massive domes are considered to be engineering marvels.


Nearby is the Tiled Pavilion Museum, which traces the history of ceramic tiles in the region and hosts over 2,000 works. The building was commissioned as a pleasure palace, and is thought to have been designed by a Persian architect. Not even a stone’s throw away is a complex of three more museums, collectively known as the Istanbul Archeology Museums, which house Islamic Art and other antiquities. Several hectares of the historic part of the old city have been devoted to bazaars. The Grand Bazaar comprises more than 4,000 shops in a maze of 61 covered streets, and focuses on locally manufactured goods, such as carpets, lamps, and jewelry. The Spice Bazaar offers a buffet of spices, herbs, and other Mediterranean produce. It will be difficult to leave without sampling or purchasing a range of the Turkish candied delights on offer.    

Regular Traveler to Istanbul 


It is indeed a privilege to return to far-flung destinations to revisit your favorite spots and to discover new ones. Istanbul is one of those cities that has multiple layers that can only be peeled away over time. 


Besides an abundance of regular tourist attractions, Istanbul hosts a full program of festivals throughout the year. GoWithGuide’s guides can advise on booking procedures to ensure you enjoy the best venues, events, and festival activities. Spring, when the locals emerge from their brief hibernation and visitors start arriving again, seems to be the most active season. Between April and June there are arts festivals, showcasing Film, Puppets, Theatre, and Music. Nature is not to be outdone, with the Annual Tulip Festival being held in May. 


Summer can be warm, but the Mediterranean climate keeps rain to a minimum. The Annual Jazz Festival is held during this season, and who can resist the Istanbul Shopping Festival? Rock, Blues, and Jazz are abundant in autumn, and for those who prefer literature and visual arts, there is a Book Fair and Fotoistanbul to look forward to. Winter usually brings snow and plenty of rainy days. The Short Film Festival and New Year’s Eve are the major events in December, and the city’s many indoor attractions are less crowded. It is the ideal season for dining on many delicious delicacies. Vegetarians, meat lovers, and those with a sweet tooth will all find satisfaction. 


For professional and amateur photographers, the city has nuances that can only be explored over time. Colors explode in the multi-hued suburb of Balat, the rainbow stairs, and the street in Karikoy where a rainbow of translucent umbrellas is suspended between the buildings. Spices, lamps, and locally made textiles conjure up ancient images, whereas the modern mood of the city is captured in street art and graffiti. If Monet could not plumb the depths of his lily pond, imagine the endless photo opportunities there are to capture the shifting moods of the Bosphorus, and its constant stream of marine traffic. Istanbul also permits drone photography, as long as the apparatus weighs less than 500 grams and does not fly higher than 120 meters. 


The topography of Istanbul, with its steep stairs and cobbled streets, will ensure that you get plenty of aerobic exercise. For a more intensive regime, there are several excellent gyms with modern equipment and professional trainers to help you burn off excess energy. An equally invigorating experience awaits you at the authentic Turkish baths, where masterful masseurs will manipulate your muscles into shape. The full package also includes a lathering and a body scrub. 



Istanbul is a complex, cosmopolitan city. To best understand the subtleties of its culture and commercial opportunities, GoWithGuide can link you up with local experts to help you navigate it. 


A friendly face who can add value to previous visits is always welcome when you return to a city. Our resident guides are adept at tailoring their tour packages to your needs, whether it’s a whistle-stop tour of Istanbul, or a traditional Turkish meal enjoyed with a local family.

Istanbul Tour Guide - Semih B.

Semih B.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)

Hi there. My name is Semih. I live in İstanbul. I am professional licensed tourist guide. I would like to host my curious tourist guests as being their tour guide.                                                                                                                                  

Istanbul Tour Guide - Tunahan O.

Tunahan O.


I am a tour guide in Istanbul. I usually do walking tours and street tours. I have a lot of routes in Istanbul                                                                                                                                 

Istanbul Tour Guide - Sedat C.

Sedat C.


Merhaba(Turkish) First of all, welcome to my profile. I don't want to keep it too long and bore you, as I believe my life story will be much more interesting the day we embark on a tour together :) I was born in Kuwait and lived there for many years. After completing my education at an Indian school, my family and I permanently moved to Türkiye in 2003. After completing high school and university in Turkiye, I began my career as a Police Officer. While working as a Tourism Police officer, I discovered my passion for traveling. In 2018, I took the initiative to resign and ventured into the path of becoming a Tourist Guide. I have traveled to more than 15 countries and still love exploring. I believe traveling is the best investment one can make in themselves. I am fluent in English and Arabic. I believe that living abroad and studying in a foreign school are crucial factors for communication with people of different languages, religions, and races. Looking forward to meeting you on tours soon. Best wishes, Sedat                                                                                                                                 

Istanbul Tour Guide - Doğan M.

Doğan M.


There is a saying in the Middle East called "hello". If you look in the dictionary; It will translate as "hello" but the real meaning of this word is "you will find friendship here, feel comfortable". Merhaba, I'm Dogan. I am 27 years old, I have a degree in both international relations and international trade, a master's degree in guidance, and I am currently an art history student. I have been a student for many years and my area of expertise is having a pleasant time with a low budget - just like students.                                                                                                                                  

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