Private Tour Guide in Istanbul, Turkey

Hello, I am Serhat Engul. I am a private tour guide in Istanbul, Turkey. I was born in 1980 in the Old City of Istanbul. I later settled on the Asian side of Istanbul and have been living here for a long time. So I had the chance to get to know every neighborhood of the city.

Private Tour Guide in Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul Walking Tours by Serhat Engul

History of Rome and Byzantium

I am very curious about the history of Rome and its continuation, the Byzantine Empire. I also studied the 15th century and later, when the city experienced a great transition period. I see it as a richness that the Ottoman Empire brought a new identity to the city.

The fact that there is more than one layer in the history of the city is very important for someone like me who is interested in history. The Greek settlement Byzantium, which started with the ancient Greek period, was later named Constantinople. It is fascinating for me that Emperor Constantine made this city the second capital of the Roman Empire and moved the imperial palace here.

Constantine was a reformist who changed the codes of the Roman Empire. Constantine not only changed the capital and moved the power center to the east, but also adopted the Christian religion. Constantinople, or Istanbul, was the symbol of this change that Rome had undergone politically and religiously.

Private History Tours in Istanbul

Latin Cult vs Greek Cult

The Roman Emperors preserved the Latin cult when they started living in Istanbul from the 4th century. However, the preservation of the old culture lasted only 200 years. Since they settled somewhere in the heart of ancient Greek culture, they were completely hellenized in the period until Emperor Heraclius.

It is ambiguous where the ancient Rome ended and when the culture we can call the Byzantine Empire started. According to some historians, it began in the time of Constantine the Great, while others point to Justinian as the last classic Roman Emperor. The mysterious culture of Byzantium, which is not known where it started and where it ended, has always attracted me.

Although most of the tourists visiting Istanbul are stuck in the triangle of Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar, there are actually many more historical monuments to see in the city. You can go off the beaten path in private guided tours that I organize. If you visit Istanbul with a personal tour guide, you can be sure that the historical events I told in the top lines will come to life.

Private Guided Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

Working as a private tour guide in Istanbul, Serhat Engul organizes tours to Sultanahmet, Fener-Balat and Beyoglu. There are five walking tour options with a comprehensive historical narrative below. You can choose the one that suits you best from these private guided tours in Istanbul.

1. Private Half Day Walking Tour

Private Half Day Tour Istanbul

Private half day walking tour gives you very good general information on Istanbul. The historical artifacts that you must see in the city are blended in a balanced way. On the half-day walking tour, you learn all the layers of Istanbul’s mysterious history.

You have an idea about the transition from Ancient Greece to Rome, from Byzantine to Ottoman times. This tour is a compressed history tour and I will give you a summary of the history information I have gained over my lifetime.

  • Hagia Sophia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Hippodrome
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Spice Bazaar

It usually starts at 10:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is 3 to 4 hours. The cost of the tour is 100 EURO (same price up to 4 people)

Museum entrance fees are not included in the tour. Only the Basilica Cistern requires an entrance fee. The rest of the places are free to enter.

2. Private Full Day Walking Tour

Private Full Day Tour Istanbul

Private full day walking tour is a more tiring tour than a half-day tour. It is recommended to visitors who are really interested in history and love walking.

At first glance, it may seem that there is not much difference between a half day tour and a full day. However, since a visit to Topkapi Palace takes 3 hours on average, the tour becomes a full day.

Also, although we can finish the half-day tour without a break, we have to give a 1-hour lunch break on the full-day tour. This extends the tour for 3 to 4 hours.

  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Grand Bazaar

It usually starts at 09:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is 6 to 8 hours. The cost of the tour is 150 EURO (same price up to 4 people)

Entry fees are not included in the price. Only Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern require an entrance fee.

3. Byzantine History Tour


Byzantine history tour allows you to fully grasp the Greco-Roman heritage in Istanbul. It covers the legacy of all Roman-Byzantine emperors, especially Emperor Constantine and Justinian, and is designed for history enthusiasts.

Mike Duncan’s The History of Rome and Robin Pierson’s The History of Byzantium podcasts has aroused great interest in Roman history in recent years. As a follower of these publications, I organized many tours for Roman-Byzantine history buffs. Likewise, there were those who had read John Julius Norwich’s Byzantium and traced the stories in the book.

It was a great pleasure to show and explain what they listened to in podcasts or read in books to those who shared the same passion with me from all over the world. If these mean something to you, you will enjoy this tour.

  • Hippodrome of Constantinople
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Great Palace Mosaics Museum
  • Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
  • Valens Aqueduct
  • Chora Church
  • Palace of the Porphyrogenitus

It usually starts at 09:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is 6-7 hours. The cost of the tour is 150 EURO (same price up to 4 people)

Museum tickets are not included in the price. An entrance fee is required only for the Mosaic Museum and the Basilica Cistern.

4. Walking Tour of Fener and Balat

Private Guided Tours of Istanbul Turkey

Fener and Balat are the little known but wonderful neighborhoods of Istanbul. Walking tour of Fener and Balat is about the life of non-Muslims in the Ottoman period.

Fener Balat walking tour includes various churches, mosques and synagogues. The tour also requires a special organization, as the places we visit are normally closed. Since we know the people working in churches, we open them for you specially.

On this walking tour full of history, we also take a break to taste local delicacies. Because in the Fener and Balat area, great cafes and restaurants have been opened in recent years.

It usually starts at 10:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is 3 to 4 hours. The cost of the tour is 100 EURO (same price up to 4 people)

5. Walking Tour of Beyoglu

Private Walking Tour Istanbul

Walking tour of Beyoglu shows you the great change the Ottoman Empire went through in the 19th century. During this period of westernization, the Sultan moved from the traditional Topkapi Palace to the Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosphorus. The reflections of this new lifestyle in the Imperial family were reflected in all Istanbulites.

It is possible to see the traces of this period in the architecture of the buildings starting from Taksim Square and stretching along Istiklal Avenue. In this tour, Galata and Pera neighborhoods, which are the symbols of westernization, and Karakoy, bearing the traces of traditional architecture, were blended.

The tour, which starts in front of the 16th century building, Kilic Ali Pasha Mosque, takes you on a journey in the Ottoman history. During this tour, you can grasp the social structure of the Ottoman Empire and the cultural change it had experienced throughout history.

It usually starts at 10:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is 3 to 4 hours. The cost of the tour is 100 EURO (same price up to 4 people)

Private Tour Guide in Istanbul, Turkey

Private Tour Guide in Istanbul Turkey

Serhat Engul is a private tour guide in Istanbul, Turkey. If you want to explore Istanbul’s Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods, you can join these private guided history tours. You can decide on one of the tour options above and contact me. Please use CONTACT FORM to consult availability and price.

Recommended on TripAdvisor


Serhat Engul is registered on TripAdvisor, an international travel platform. From this link, you can read the comments of guests who have participated in my private guided tours in Istanbul.

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