Balat
Culinary & Nightlife

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Our most recommended Balat Culinary & Nightlife

Bosphorus Boat Cruise & Two Continents Tour with Lunch

1. Bosphorus Boat Cruise & Two Continents Tour with Lunch

From the Golden Horn to the arm of the Boshorous you will experience the beautiful sights of the historical peninsula which separates the old and new parts of Istanbul. You will be a part of history as you take an in-depth look at the residential areas for Byzantine Jews, Italian traders and other non-Muslim minorities. Get a true sense of the history behind the Balat and the Metal Church. Stop at the sights of St. Stephen the Bulgarian, and get a glimpse of what life was really like at the Jewish Hospital. You can take a break from the historic sights by taking a stroll along the Byzantine City Walls. Another charming feature of the tour is the array of colorful shops that you will see at the Spice Bazaar. We'll make a stop at the stalls selling fruits, vegetables and flowers. After enjoying the variety of shops, the tour takes you to the Bosphorus Cruise and through the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia. Marble palaces, ancient wooden villas and the sights of the luxurious residential apartments provide the perfect photo opportunity. From here it is on to Rumell Fortress by boat, where the historical armament can be viewed clearly from the boat. The armament is a unique example of military architecture, and was built by the conqueror to control and protect the Bosphorus. If time permits, the tour will also take you on to visit a leather showroom. Lunch. Tell your friends you’ve been to Asia and Europe in one day by joining us on a guided tour of Istanbul’s most historic sites. Led by an expert guide, you’ll visit the impressive Dolmabahçe Palace, the official home of Ottoman Sultans. Built by two famous Ottoman architects, the palace houses a museum-worthy collection of European furniture, art and antiquities. Then it’s off to the Bosphorus Bridge, which straddles the narrow waterway that separates Europe and Asia. Once you’ve crossed the bridge it’s time to head to Camlica HIll, which offers dramatic, panoramic views of the city from almost 300 meters above sea level. Please note, on Mondays and Thursdays the palace is closed, so the tour will make three different stops: Eyüp Sultan Mosque and Tomb, Pierre Loti Coffee House and Miniatürk park.

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Istanbul Heritage: 5-Hour Tour on Foot, by Ferry & More

2. Istanbul Heritage: 5-Hour Tour on Foot, by Ferry & More

Meet your guide at the Fuego Café and Restaurant in Sultanhamet, in the heart of the main tourist area of Istanbul. From here you’ll take the local tram to Eminönü Harbor and begin a 5-hour excursion into Istanbul’s heritage. Travel by public bus to the colorful Fener/Balat district, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and at one time home to Istanbul’s Ottoman Orthodox and Jewish residents. See traces of Ottoman life, including wooden houses, mosques, churches, and synagogues, standing together and demonstrating the multicultural and religious ways of the Ottoman Empire. After walking along the cobblestoned streets of the Fener/Balat World Heritage area, you’ll continue along the historic Byzantine city walls that date to the 4th century A.D. and the time of Constantine the Great. Visit the historic Eyüp mosque complex, a sacred area where pilgrims come to visit the mosques and the tombs of Muslim saints. From here you’ll take a short cable car ride up to the famous Pierre Loti Café, a popular meeting point for locals. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of Istanbul while sipping a drink in one of the cafés where French Poet Pierre Loti was inspired to write Aziyade, part biography and part love story about his escapades in Istanbul in the late 1800s. Walk back down to Eyüp to catch the local ferry for a cruise on the blue waters of the Golden Horn. See Ottoman houses, shipyards, the old and new Galata bridges, Ataturk Bridge, ancient city walls, mosques, churches, and other historic and modern sites. You’ll disembark at Eminönü Harbor, where the tour ends.

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Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

3. Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

If you are interested in visiting a functioning Byzantine church or seeing the only church in the world constructed entirely of iron and steel, then do not miss this full-day walking tour through Fener and Balat in Istanbul. The name Fener is derived from a Greek word 'Fanari,' meaning 'lantern' or 'lighthouse' in Turkish, and this district was made up of predominantly Romaic (Greek Orthodox) families up until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, this UNESCO-project filled site is known as the part of Istanbul where the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is situated. On this tour you'll hear the story of Phanariotes who served as dragomans to the Ottoman government and to foreign embassies. Following the included lunch, you will visit Balat, which is located on the southern shores of the Golden Horn. It is one of the Jewish districts where the people re-settled during the time of the Ottoman Empire. We will take you through Balat, where you will find yourself walking down intriguing streets, full of color and life. Synagogues, Armenian churches, Romaic churches, Byzantine remnants, and Ayazmas are all part of the adventure.

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Istanbul: Tour of Garipce Village, Rumeli Fortress and Balat

4. Istanbul: Tour of Garipce Village, Rumeli Fortress and Balat

Enjoy a really local tour of Istanbul with a guide who has an in-depth knowledge of the city. The full-day tour begins at around 08.30 with a pick up at your hotel, followed by breakfast in a small village located on the shores of the Black Sea. Visit a 17th-century castle and enjoy the amazing views. Stop to admire the Rumeli Fortress that looks out over the Bosporus – one of the unique monuments of Istanbul. Continue on with a drive to the Asian side of the city, where you’ll visit the Kucuksu Palace, used as a hunting lodge and summer mansion during the 18th century. Your guide will also take you to see the Balat/Fener area, which was the center of Greek Orthodox life in the time of the Ottoman Empire.

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Istanbul: Off-the-Beaten-Track Museums Tour

5. Istanbul: Off-the-Beaten-Track Museums Tour

Your first stop will be the Suleymaniye Mosque, which was built on the order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and constructed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan. The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1557. The mosque is modeled in part on the style of a Byzantine basilica, particularly the Hagia Sophia, which was perhaps a conscious move on the part of the sultan to create a continuity and a symbolic connection with the city's past. Driving along the city walls will end at one of the oldest and most important churches in the city, the Church of Chora, which has fascinating wall paintings telling the life of Christ in an historical order. Even though the building itself is small, the meaning was great for Byzantines as being found at the borders of the city and welcoming the visitors. Today the environment is restored and this is a good place to spend time with local artisans and wooden houses. After the church, you will have a tea and coffee break at one of the most splendid spots of Istanbul, with beautiful views over the Golden Horn and Pierre Loti Hill. Following this you will resuming driving along the shores of the Golden Horn through the towns Fener and Balat, which are the old Greek and Jewish living sites. Fener Orthodox Patriarchate is in this area as well.  Following lunch, your next destination will be the Dolmabahce Palace, the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans with 365 rooms and 22 saloons. Famous for the great collection of European antiquity, furniture, and a 4.5 ton chandelier. This will be your last stop, and after this visit you will be driven back to your hotel.

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What people are saying about Balat

ONDER (guide) arrived in good time to meet me. I was the only one on this tour, which meant that I had a private tour. This tour was excellent, both in terms of content and because of Onder - he was highly knowledgeable, generous with his time, highly considerate, and enthusiastic in a low-key way. He showed me everything there was to see, and more, and went out of his way to make this a highly memorable experience in a variety of ways. Nothing was too much trouble for him, and it felt as though I was with a friend. I was particularly delighted about two things: (1) that we were able to enter the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, and (2) that we had an iconic dish (balik ekmek) that was on my personal wish list, but I had the pleasure of having it with Onder. Excellent tour, excellent compassionate, knowledgeable guide. Special.

the guide was very dedicated and knew a lot about the history. the only minus point is the booking. if you want to book the tour via the computer, you must enter his or her passport number for each person separately. Often you don't have one.

Very interesting excursion, we visited places that we would't discover by ourselves. Highly recommended to everybody, who want to see something more than Hagia Sophia na Istanbul old city.

Perfectly organized - seen a lot

This short trip was perfectly organized. The explanations were mostly bilingual - English and German. Very competent tour guide, who led the group through the program.

The guide was amazing - very knowledgable, helpful and funny. The tour was interesting as well and you get to go to lesser-known places