Athens to istanbul

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Windstar Cruises
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#2
San Mateo, CA
356 Posts
Joined May 2009
In my opinion, Istanbul hands down. I will be doing the Istanbul to Athens cruise this summer for the third time - it is my favorite itinerary. There are still things I haven't seen or done in Istanbul. There is nothing in Athens I need to go back to see.
#5
Adelaide
41 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
I would have thought Athens to Istanbul would be the best if you wanted to see more 0f Istanbul. You could schedule extra days if available or required if Istanbul was the final destination of your cruise.

My wife and I have
#6
669 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
I wanted to give you a slightly different flavor about the two cities and the cruise. You can read my entire review under member reviews "A Comprehensive Review... form 10/11. I also have photos posted of the cruise which you will find on the forum.

While we loved our visit to Istanbul, we would not go back. The sites were incredibly interesting especially the Egyptian Bazaar and Spice Market. But I really don't enjoy a place where you have to be constantly checking your wallet and where nearly every place you go someone is trying to pull a fast one over on you. The Turks are famous for their Genuine fake watches. Well it doesn't stop there. Much of the jewelry is fake too and if your restaurateur offers to show you his most unique Turkish dishes "on him", don't be surprised if his definition of "on him" includes charging double the price.

Actually our favorite city in Turkey was Bodrum, a place far from the hubbub of Istanbul and one we probably never would have gone to if it weren't on the cruise itinerary.

As for Athens, we were there in the midst of all the problems. We actually didn't know if they would be able to stop there as the day before ships were turned away because of strikes. Yet we were sorry we didn't spend more time there. The sightseeing was fabulous and the hotel we stayed at was breathtaking. Because of the problems in Athens at the time, I chose to use my Hilton Honors points and stay at a US style hotel, something I rarely do overseas. Little did we know about the upstairs dicso/bar, perhaps the hottest spot in Athens. We also wandered around town at night without any concern. There are some really interesting sections of the city within walking distance of the hotel.

So while I don't disagree with the other posters that Istanbul is a fascinating city to visit, I wanted to give you a little more in-depth analysis at least from our perspective.
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#7
Reno. NV
69 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
For a first time visitor, I would recommend staying at a boutique hotel in the Sultanahmet area. You can walk to many historic and interesting sites. Athens is certainly historic and interesting but we enjoy Istanbul the most.
#8
palm coast, fl
125 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
We are doing this cruise Oct 2012... wondering ifyou would share your experiences with private guides...names, contact info, etc. for each of the destinations. Would really appreciate it.
#9
11 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by Lvwindstar007
For a first time visitor, I would recommend staying at a boutique hotel in the Sultanahmet area. You can walk to many historic and interesting sites. Athens is certainly historic and interesting but we enjoy Istanbul the most.
We're taking your advice and staying in Istanbul for 2 nights after the Windstar Athens to Istanbul cruise. Any recommendations for hotels in the Sultanahmet area? We look forward to any suggestions for our first visit.

Thanks much - worldtraveler 859
#11
809 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Another great hotel is the Hilton Doubletree. Just opened a year or so ago. Located in old town and right by the tram stop. Also within walking distance to most Sultanahmet attractions.

We have been to Istanbul twice. The first time for only a day or so and the second time we went for 4 nights. Agree with others that you need to watch what you are doing and the taxis will try and rip you off - so beware. But that is really no different than many cities in Europe. For example in Paris the gypsies will try and steal purses etc.

Just be careful and you will be fine.
#12
Canada
236 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Highly recommend a few days in Istanbul.
Don't miss the underground Cistern, the Istanbul Modern, Sadberk Hanim museum.
We stayed at Hotel Sari Konak in Sultanahmet which was very nice.
#13
Huntington Beach, CA
1,948 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by Lvwindstar007
For a first time visitor, I would recommend staying at a boutique hotel in the Sultanahmet area. You can walk to many historic and interesting sites. Athens is certainly historic and interesting but we enjoy Istanbul the most.
We just returned from a Istanbul Athens cruise aboard Seabourn and spent 3 days in Istanbul. Istanbul was wonderful, the sites, the people, the food etc. We stayed at the Neorion Hotel in the Sultanahmet area and I must tell you in all our travels around the world I don't think we have ever received just genuine outstanding service from a small boutique hotel. I have posted my review on trip advisor. Without exception all the people we met, from taxi drivers to waiters and tour guides were truly a cut a above and found a way to make our visit to their city one that we will remember for years to come.
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#14
11 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Thanks, everyone, for ideas for hotels for Istanbul. We're really looking forward to our June cruise from Athens to Istanbul and hope to have more info to add to the thread then.

Thanks again for your recommendations.
#15
14,128 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by "Wandering Wino's"
We stayed at the Neorion Hotal in the Sultanahmet area.
Agree that Sultanahmet area is convenient to all the sites, and a great place to stay. Go to Tripadvisor.com and you can read reviews on the hotels there. Take some reviews with a grain of salt.

Without exception all the people we met from taxi drivers....

The worst experience I've had anywhere in the world with a taxi driver was in Istanbul. Highly recommend you know what the fare should be, and be totally out of the cab before you pay. If you want to read about some common rip-off techniques taxi drivers pull, do a search in the Istanbul forum on tripadvisor.com.

Originally posted by worldtraveler859
Thanks, everyone, for ideas for hotels for Istanbul. We're really looking forward to our June cruise from Athens to Istanbul and hope to have more info to add to the thread then.
Have a great trip.
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#16
86 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Wonder if anyone who has done this itinerary could comment. We would be doing the August 11 sailing from Athens to Istanbul. Unfortunately (well, not really unfortunately, you'll understand why) we would need to depart Istanbul on the day we arrive because our son will be graduating in Tel Aviv the next day. Does anyone have any experience with flights departing from Istanbul? Does the airport generally run on time? I totally get weather, incoming flights etc., but I also know there are some airports at which departure times are really only a suggestion! Since we have no leeway, want to know whether its reasonable to assume we will be able to depart as scheduled - or close to it!