Fener, Balat and Golden Horn

* Private tours are upon request.
** The price above is quoted per person
Fener, Balat
The Culture Enthusiast
6-7 hours

Meeting at the hotel

Boat ride along Haliç

Professional tour guide service


20% VAT Tax

Transportation and lunch

Share this tour
You might also like

“Everything about Istanbul Tour Studio was easy and fantastic--from booking on the website, pre-tour communication, to the tour itself. We did two tours over two days: the culinary tour and Fener, Balat, Golden Horn tour. Both gave us many opportunities to experience food, culture, and spots we wouldn't have found easily ourselves. The serene boat ride across the Golden Horn was an unforgettable finale to our two day experience with Istanbul Tour Studio.” Read more on Tripadvisor.

Fener, Balat and Golden Horn

Rows of traditional wooden houses painted in a dizzying array of bright colors, life continuing in a way that hasn’t changed 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 the Golden Horn (Haliç) waterway, these areas have been home to some of the oldest settlements of Istanbul. It is still possible to see the Byzantine and Ottoman  traces around one of the most ethnically diverse populations of the city, while enjoying its hip cafés and local handicrafts shops. 


Traditional Boat Ride along the Golden Horn: We will take a private wooden fishing boat from the shores of the Golden Horn just like the olden days. The ride takes about 20 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 side.

Discover FenerWe visit the 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 Greek heritage is this college, 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 of 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. 

The area is also populated by local artists’ workshops and studios. If you are looking for an original souvenir to take back home, you will really enjoy the multitude of ceramic, glass and other forms of handicrafts. Balat also has a few good art galleries and you may also come across a lively vintage objects auction in one of the areas antique shops - so much fun to watch!   

There are numerous good foodie options in Balat, ranging from bohemian cafés to traditional men-only tea houses. The neighborhood is great for unique lunch and coffee breaks. 

The neighborhood discovery also includes one of the oldest Byzantine churches, a synagogue and a Bulgarian iron church. 

Theodosian Land Walls and Tekfur Palace 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 - especially the city's Byzantine past.
  • 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 $160 USD/person for two people. ($320 USD/total for two adults) Please bear in mind that our rates do not include 20% Value-Added tax.
  • 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. 
  • We offer dynamic pricing which means as the number of people on your private group increase, our per person prices decrease. 
  • This tour costs $160 USD/person for two people; $140 USD/person for three people; $120 USD/person for four people; $105 USD/person for five people and $95 USD/person for six people. 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.
  • The prices quoted above are for the walking tour. If you are staying at Beşiktaş, Beyoğlu (Taksim) or Karaköy areas you can use public transportation such as tram, ferry or taxi. It would cost approximately $ 20-25 USD/total per day. Alternatively, we also offer private transportation with luxury Mercedes vans with professional drivers for $250 USD/day.
  • Please contact us for custom pricing for groups over six people.

 Contact us for more information

The Culture Enthusiast
Multicultural Neighborhoods, Traditional Backstreets, Colorful Houses, Hip Cafés and Local Handicrafts Shops
You might also like