PROFESSIONAL LICENSED TOUR GUIDES IN TURKEY
There are about 15.000 professional tourist guides who hold the license in Turkey majorly serving in Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus on daily tours or escorted around Anatolia and the whole country. There are 2 different license types as national or regional. National license holders are able to serve throughout Turkey and the regional license holders can only serve in one specific region as local guidance. You can easily check their license since they have to carry them on while on tour. Tour guides get their license either after studying Professional Tourist Guiding branch at a college or after attending a specific course. So, there are two other types. Some only make their living on guiding some have other professions...
Now we hear that; you think the first one is better and our answer is ‘’It is relative!’’ and in one case one may be better where in another case the other. For the bookings, we do prefer working with expert ones in every destination that are experienced between 6 to 18 years of time who can provide local knowledge besides the historical & archaeological information and we assign the guides considering the profile and special interest of our guests.
Although there are thousands of registered ones (as well as illegal/unlicensed ones) in the country, we do work with a limited number of them on a reference basis.
On special interest itineraries –such as Jewish heritage, history of art, wine tours etc. We may recommend continuing with one specific guide who has the same professional background.
For the driver/guide issue; it is not something that we are positive about it. We believe driving and guiding are 2 separate skills. In our business structure, guides' only responsibility is guiding by providing the true information to Travel Atelier guests at their level of interest while drivers only responsibility is driving safely from point A to point B and to make sure that guests are comfortable through their road journey.
We do have "only guiding" services most around Turkey at these destinations while it might be rather harder to get you a specific expert for the Black Sea, Eastern, and Southeastern or a local one in Edirne. There are of course respected and well-reviewed people who can accompany you on a daily tour while we do prefer to book one who is the expert in that specific field.
We all know that you can do bookings online via various websites who acclaim to have listed the best ones in each destination. ıt is possible to find some travel forums or Trip Advisor etc. but always remember to ask for the official license as it is illegal to do tours with an unlicensed guide. If you recognize one (especially around Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque) and your own guide did not see (this is not really possible) warn him/her. So that, he/she can call authorities and report.
Here are overall costs of a private English speaking tour guide in Turkey:
- Istanbul: 200 to 250 Euros
- Cappadocia: 135 to 150 Euros
- Ephesus: 150 to 200 Euros
- Antalya: 150 to 175 Euros
*Other/rare languages might be higher or remains the same depending on the destination and availability.
Note if you booked a full itinerary or daily tours with more inclusions; these rates are quoted lower in each while fair enough, guiding fees are higher than daily costs for escorted tours.