“All travelers are tourists but not all tourists can be travelers. To be a traveler you need to go beyond the regular, mix with locals and immerse into the local culture.”

I am a tour guide, writer, lecturer and advisor on Turkish travel. As a guide, I have a field experience of more than 25 years. On my tours, in addition to doing the highlights, I like to wander off-the-beaten paths, add local experiences, go through the back streets of the city meeting local people with spontaneous detours, use public transportation and try various street food.

I was also asked to give guiding services to VIPs like celebrities and business people, among whom are Pope Benedict XVI, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. George Friedman, Matt Lauer and Lester Holt (Today Show), etc.

I have quite a few times delivered lectures about Turkey and Turkish culture at the Smithsonian Institute, Boston University, Penn Museum, etc.
If you are coming to my town (Istanbul), Turkey, I can provide tons of insider information. I wrote many guidebooks and made films on Istanbul and Turkey including Quick Guide Istanbul, Turkish Odyssey and Istanbul Unveiled. They are available at Amazon.

I can also arrange special interest tours with specialist associates. Among these tours are Jewish Heritage with Synagogue visits, Modern Art, Traditional Arts, Photography, Music, Shopping and Culinary/Gourmet (local delicacies) Tours, Cooking Classes, Wine Tasting, Home-hosted meals, City Walks, Street Food, Public Transportation, Tours with Children, Workshops on traditional arts, crafts, music, dances, etc.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.


My name is Serif Yenen. The “S” letter in my first name has actually a tail at the bottom, which makes it “sh” sound. So my name is pronounced as “Sheriff”.

I was born into a middle-class family in Ödemis near Izmir in 1963. After completing middle school in Ödemis, I became a military student at the Kuleli Military High School in Istanbul, where the instruction was mainly in English.

Although I’ve traveled extensively—I’ve visited more than 35 countries—Turkey has been the place where I’ve studied, explored, and lived. After I earned degrees in Linguistics and English and American Literature, I taught English in the armed forces for four years. After that, I became a tour guide, and I have been working as a tour guide with first year’s enthusiasm since then.

I am currently married with three children.


While working as a guide, in 1998, I published a very extensive cultural guidebook of my country, called Turkish Odyssey. It was the first guidebook of Turkey to be written by a Turk. It’s been published in four languages, and the 4th edition is currently sold out.

In addition to Turkish Odyssey, I wrote many more guidebooks on Istanbul and Turkey. My guidebooks are used as textbooks or are on suggested reading lists at various universities, and my articles and columns are published in international magazines and national newspapers.

I am also the producer, director and writer of Istanbul Unveiled (www.istanbulunveiled), an award-winning travel documentary with nine international awards.

I have been giving lectures in the US and Turkey about travel in Turkey, Turkish history and culture. The majority of my lectures are in academic communities, museums, universities, travel clubs, libraries, tour companies, cruises.


I pride myself on my ability to add a personal touch to every tour that I handle. It is extremely important to me that my guests return home with an experience to remember, not just an excuse to cross a destination off their wish list.

I don’t have trouble confronting controversial topics, which travelers love to discuss—whether it’s Turkey’s relation with the European Union, or political or ethnic issues. And from years of doing tours, I understand how much my guests love to experience spontaneous, unexpected things. On every trip I lead, I try to show them something new, and bring in moments of surprise.


  • More than 25-years of field experience with the first year’s enthusiasm and motivation.
  • Private Tours with the author of one of the best cultural guidebooks of Turkey: Turkish Odyssey.
  • Before we start, I will give you an orientation and overview on the map.
  • No crowds, no queues! Authorized professional tour guides have priority ticket booths.
  • You can ask me all the questions you like.
  • From a few-hour tour in Istanbul to a tour around Turkey, enjoy the ideal combination of an experienced and entertaining professional tour guide.
  • You can bring your children. As a father of three children, I will find a way to approach to them.
  • Because individual travel is my specialty, I do get to know my guests and see if they have special requests, off-the-beaten track quests, interests beyond the mainstream. I am uniquely qualified to make sure all expectations are met, and usually exceeded.
  • One of my greatest passions is shopping and gathering information about where to buy what. Hence, if there is interest, I provide personal shopper services ensuring hassle-free purchasing and fair prices.
  • I will recommend good local restaurants.


Depending on the location of your hotel or the place you are staying, we may need transportation. For transportation, we have three options:
a) Private air-conditioned van with a driver, which I can arrange separately
b) Taxi cab (they hold 4 passengers maximum, you need to count me in)
c) Public transportation which may be fun depending on the location of your hotel.