“I was in Istanbul and had a wonderful tour through this stunning city, but the unforgettable thing was the tour in Balat with Yasemin, a professional guide who loves her work. Don't hesitate to call Istanbul Tour Studio if you wanna live a real Istanbul experience and if you want to see unusual places!” Read more on Tripadvisor.
FENER, BALAT AND GOLDEN HORN
Rows of traditional houses painted in a dizzying array of bright colors, life continuing in a way that hasn’t change for hundreds of years, little known churches, Byzantine architecture, and some of the best Istanbul views. Every local knows how charming and unique the historically cosmopolitan neighborhoods of Balat and Fener are. This tour offers visitors a chance to find out too. Located by the shores of Golden Horn (Haliç) waterway, these areas were home to some of the oldest settlements of Istanbul. It is still possible to see the Byzantine and Ottoman traces in amongs one of the most ethnically diverse populations of the city. (Image courtesy Bernardo Armani Ricci.)
Fener and Balat Tour Highlights
- Boat Ride to Fener Port: We will take a private fishing boat from Karaköy to Fener just like the olden days. The ride takes about 25 minutes and is a joy in itself as you get to take in one of the best views of Istanbul with mosques, churches and the old city walls on one side and the Galata tower and abandoned military shipyards on the other.
- Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchy: We visit Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Church (the Church of St. George) that has been active and open for service since the 1600s. Here you will see a stunning iconostasis as well as holy relics of the Church of Constantinople, including the sacred relics of two renowned Archbishops of Constantinople.
- Phanar Greek Orthodox College: Another special example of the Greek heritage is this college, known locally known as the red school. This extraordinary red brick building is an iconic piece of Istanbul architecture.
- Discover Balat: This neighborhood was historically home for the Jewish community of the city and now a multi-cultural community inhabits the area. In Balat, we will stroll through the narrow and colorful streets, which have a movie set feel. A traditional daily street life still exists in this part of town; women gathering for tea on their patios, kids kicking balls around the streets, men playing cards in coffee-houses.
- Lunch in Balat: There are numerous good foodie options in Balat, ranging from bohemian cafés to traditional men-only tea houses. A sufi coffee-house, also a platform for reaching out to those in need makes an interesting stop for anyone interested in Sufi philosophy and Rumi’s teachings. Alternatively, we can organize a sit-down lunch at the beautiful garden of Asitane, a famous restaurant specializing in Ottoman palace cuisine.
- Visit Chora Museum: Next, we pay a visit to the world-famous Chora Museum. Previously a church, this atmospheric museum contains fabulous examples of Byzantine mosaics; depicting stories of the bible.
- Theodosian Land Walls in Ayvansaray: The day will end with a walk towards the old city walls in Ayvansaray. The walls protected the city from invasion for a thousand years before being penetrated in the siege of 1453. We’ll also visit the ruins of the last standing Byzantine palace in the world; Tekfur Palace.
Who is this tour for?
- Anyone who’s seen Istanbul’s most famous sights and wants to see some of the city’s real life.
- Anyone interested in the multicultural history of the city.
- People that would like to get off the beaten path and exploring Istanbul’s backstreets.
- Anyone interested in architecture, history, culture, or religion.
Why book with Istanbul Tour Studio?
- We love showing visitors more than just the usual tourist sights and this is an opportunity to introduce others to one of our favorite parts of the city.
- Istanbul Tour Studio is rated "Excellent" on Tripadvisor. Click to read the latest reviews about us.
- We make you feel at home! Our tours give you the feeling that you are walking around Istanbul with local friends.
- We have a team of knowledgeable personnel that are trustworthy, friendly and always on time.
How much is the private Fener, Balat and Golden Horn tour per person?
- Our private Fener, Balat and Golden Horn tour is $125 USD/person for two people. ($250 USD/total for two adults)
- Our prices are quoted per person. We require minimum two participants to organise this private tour. Please contact us if you'd like to book a private tour for one person. The prices include private English speaking guide service, a 20 minutes taka (traditional fishing boat) ride along the Golden Horn and Chora Museum entrance fees. We offer dynamic pricing which means as the number of people on your private group increase, our per person prices decrease.
- This tour costs $125 USD/person for two people; $100 USD/person for three people; $80 USD/person for four people; $70 USD/person for five people and so on. You will automatically get the dynamic pricing at the booking phase once you select the total number of people.
- We give 50% discount for children between 7-12 years old; meanwhile our tours are free for kids under 7 years old.
Istanbulite, Professional Tour Guide speaking English and Italian