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Istanbul Tour or do on my Own


chipmaster

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As I get ready to book Ekol I'm torn at booking vs. doing Istanbul on my own.

 

We're a big party so booking 11 for something we can just do as explore on our own and then if anyone gets tired or bored they can call a cab back to the ship makes sense here vs. some other ports.

 

It looks like the ships dock right in town, and its a short hike across a bridge to down town.

 

All the "big" attractions ( Blue Mosque, Hagai Sophia, Bazaar, Topkapi Palace) seem to be in within a mile of each other. Seems reasonable that for a day of exploring its just a cab ride away.

 

Anyone with experience have comments?

 

Thanks in advance :)

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As I get ready to book Ekol I'm torn at booking vs. doing Istanbul on my own.

 

We're a big party so booking 11 for something we can just do as explore on our own and then if anyone gets tired or bored they can call a cab back to the ship makes sense here vs. some other ports.

 

It looks like the ships dock right in town, and its a short hike across a bridge to down town.

 

All the "big" attractions ( Blue Mosque, Hagai Sophia, Bazaar, Topkapi Palace) seem to be in within a mile of each other. Seems reasonable that for a day of exploring its just a cab ride away.

 

Anyone with experience have comments?

 

Thanks in advance :)

 

It is very easy to do on your own. I don't know how much Ekol charges or if they use a van. We used Ekol in Kusadasi. You might consider getting a guide that offers a group price and provides a walking tour.....Lale or Kagan Kosagan offered walking tours when we were in Istanbul and they were great....you'll get to see more in a short time with a guide....Marty

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How long are you in Istanbul? Is this a pre-cruise or just one day? You can do the big sites by walking, but it will be a full day. They are all very close together. The Bazaar is a little out of the way from the other places, but certainly walkable as well. I would put the Bazaar on the bottom of your list if you have a time problem.

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We have done Istanbul on our own several times and loved every moment of every day in this wonderful place. As to walking from the pier into town, yes, it can be done (we have done it both ways) but it is longer than it looks on a map. Figure on about 40 minutes for the walk. One of our memorable moments in Istanbul was walking back to the ship late one afternoon. In the middle of the bridge we stopped to take some pictures (the entire town was bathed on a golden light because of the low sun) and at that moment it happened to be the Muslim call to prayer. It was eerie and beautiful standing on the bridge and listening to all the Mosques calling-out with their all to prayer.

 

Hank

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All,

 

Thanks, confirms my plan to do it on our own. We'll be there just one day. Not penny pinching but looking for value and balance. For Rome, Naples, Florence we'll be splurging for private tours.

 

:)

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We spent 6 days in Istanbul and went everywhere on our own. Istanbul is very walkable from Sultanahmet to Taksim to the port. Taxis are inexpensive as are the trams. Walking is the only way to see Istanbul, especially as a one day port. I only mentioned Lale and Kagan because they offered their services at a VERY reasonable rate. It was nowhere near the cost of the private tours in Italy. Just gives you the added benefit of accomplishing all you want in one day.....On your own you might take a taxi from the port to Sultanahmet....There you can easily visit the Blue Mosque/Aya Sophia/ and if you wish the Underground Cistern.......then follow the tram tracks back towards the Galata Bridge and stop by the Spice Market before walking across the bridge (the Grand Bazaar is nearby but very overwhelming for a one day visit)....cross the bridge and enjoy the fishermen....on the left you will see the tunnel sign which is a one stop subway taking you up the hill....there you will be on Istiklal Cadessi the pedestrian street......stop and climb the Galata Tower...then walk up Istiklal and enjoy the shops and all the great food, the Flower Passage and end at Taksim Square.....if you had more time Topkapi Palace in Sultanahmet is worth a visit....you will want to return to Istanbul....Marty

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
Lale or Kagan Kosagan offered walking tours when we were in Istanbul and they were great....you'll get to see more in a short time with a guide....Marty

 

Hi Marty,

Thanks for the recommendation ... I've read posts from others who have been pleased with their tours as well. We will be in Istanbul for almost two days (11 a.m. first day till 7 p.m. second day) and will be doing a walking tour with Kagan on the first day. I debated about doing it on our own as we usually prefer to explore on our own, but it's our first visit to Istanbul and I think we'll really benefit from being with a guide (we'll go to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Spice Market.) On our second day we'll have a bit of familiarity with the city and can cover other sites on our own ... I would also like to fit in a short ferry ride on the Bosphorus.

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