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Istanbul tips please

(21 Posts)
Pollaidh Wed 06-Mar-19 07:51:07

We are off to Istanbul for 5 nights in April. Any tips on what to do, what to avoid etc would be welcome. I am thinking of taking one or two organised city tours to avoid being hassled all the time. Any advice on these?
All suggestions gratefully received!

DoraMarr Wed 06-Mar-19 08:00:56

I didn’t find we were hassled in the bazaar in Istanbul, and people were very friendly. We ducked into a tea shop to escape a heavy rain shower and the owner and fellow guests were incredibly nice, bringing us more and more Turkish delight and apple tea and refusing payment until we insisted. Hagia Sophia is a must, and the Blue Mosque. We loved just strolling through the streets. One mistake we made, again in a downpour, was to take a taxi instead of the tram back to our hotel. It took forever, while the trams whizzed by. The traffic in Istanbul is legendary. We also took the ferry up the Bosporus, which was my favourite thing of all. At some stop vendors got on selling yogurt topped with powdered sugar, which was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. To stand on top of Rumei Hisari fortress, with the Black Sea in front, Europe to the west and Asia to the East, was magical. It’s the ordinary commuter ferry.

Pollaidh Wed 06-Mar-19 10:03:44

Thank you very much DoraMarr! Just the sort of really useful advice we're looking for. thanks

MiniMoon Wed 06-Mar-19 10:13:06

Istanbul in the 1970's was a magical place. We went I to the bazaar and the sights, sounds and smells, were amazing. We (my sister and I) were with our parents who were living in Turkey for 2 years with my Dad's job. My mother was offered 20 camels for me! Unfortunately she had nowhere to keep them in her flat in Ankara!😂😂
We did all the usual tourist sites. The street food is wonderful, and the breakfast in a little cafe in a little courtyard was the best bacon and eggs I've ever had.
I would love to go back one day.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 06-Mar-19 10:22:08

One of our favourite cities, very friendly people, fabulous food.

I would ask the concierge at your hotel as things change all the time.

Blue Mosque is unmissable as is the Grand Bizarre. Lots of pretty squares and gardens for tea or coffee stops.

EllanVannin Wed 06-Mar-19 10:35:12

Never been to Turkey but it sounds interesting. I suppose the days of tying string to the bottoms of your trousers are over ( Turkey trots ?)

Pollaidh Wed 06-Mar-19 11:14:34

Must have been the hippie era Minimoon! i do hope you make it back one day. So lovely to hear positive reports, GrannyGravy13.
I am taking immodium with me EllanVannin! smile

Riverwalk Wed 06-Mar-19 11:45:20

Istanbul is one of the great cities of the world - last went about three years ago.

I can't remember the names but there are restaurants where we had dinner on the rooftop terraces that have views of the nearby Blue Mosque and Hagi Sofia - quite magical. Have a look at something like Trip Advisor or similar for recommendations and names; and your hotel concierge will advise.

Don't forget the Topkapi Palace - choose your time of visit as it gets very busy! I've been three times and still haven't seen everything.

The last time we (4 of us) hired a local guide for a half-day walking tour and it was money well spent. When she said we would visit an underground water cistern we all thought, well OK, but it was magnificent and we'd never have thought to go there!

Cistern

Riverwalk Wed 06-Mar-19 11:49:16

As for 'Turkey trots' - I've never known that to be associated with the country of Turkey; assumed it was related to the dance or eating turkey. hmm

Of course you can get an upset stomach anywhere!

Ngaio1 Wed 06-Mar-19 11:53:15

Lucky person! Beautiful city. Grand Bazaar is fun and the Blue Mosque wonderful to see.

AnnetteLMcGuire Fri 09-Aug-19 13:29:02

It is a great city. I wish to go there.

NanaandGrampy Fri 09-Aug-19 13:32:58

I love Istanbul.

Buying something is a process, you’ll be offered a seat, Apple tea or Turkish delight and there will be a discussion ( often including football questions!) . Then a price will be offered, and you will look aghast and offer a lower price.... don’t be embarrassed , it’s expected.

Eventually a happy middle ground will be reached , there will be an exchange of goods and money and hand shakes etc .

Leather goods are a must have as is gold and silver jewellery . In some of the bigger places they will even make adjustments while you wait as part of the price.

Have a fabulous time!

EllanVannin Fri 09-Aug-19 13:43:59

Don't buy gelatine-free Turkish Delight----it's 'orrible !

dragonfly46 Fri 09-Aug-19 13:45:44

My favourite city.

Try the fish cooked in salt.
Definitely take the Bosphorus Cruise to the islands.
Do not take a taxi if you want to go from one side of the bridge to the other. They only know their way around small areas.
Drink apple tea in the bazaar - they are very friendly.

callgirl1 Fri 09-Aug-19 23:36:55

I loved the apple tea, bought some tro bring home, but somehow it didn`t taste the same, the atmosphere was missing.

Vivvywoo Sun 11-Aug-19 00:07:39

I would love to visit. Are there lots of cats in the city?

Butweam1952 Mon 02-Sep-19 12:23:26

Loved Istanbul. Went there with some friends in February. Do make sure you go on a boat trip on the Bosporus. Road traffic was so bad we were advised not to go on the tour bus through the city as they sat in traffic for hours. Have a great time!

lemongrove Mon 02-Sep-19 12:29:09

All the sights ( as others say) Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Bazaar also the Museums if you have time.
There will be men constantly trying to sell you things in the street, you just have to smilingly say no thanks.
It’s an amazing place, have a great holiday.😃

MiniMoon Mon 02-Sep-19 15:33:41

My mother mentioned to her Turkish neighbour that she was going to visit Istanbul. The lady replied, "Ah Istanbul, once she was a princess, now she is a street girl". Shook her head sadly, and walked away leaving my mother rather bemused.

Newatthis Mon 02-Sep-19 17:59:32

Take the ferry over to the other side if you have time (the Asian side) it's very beautiful and authentic. Make sure you knock everyone down on price, particularly in the bazaars, they love it and it's so much fun. I'm cheeky - I start at half the asking price and finish at about 75%. It's a lovely city with plenty to see and do. Ask your hotel for tours but travelling around the city is easy.

johnwilson Wed 11-Sep-19 03:53:40

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