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Best of Turkey

I took my first RS tour in May - Best of Adriatic which I absolutely loved. I am a solo woman traveler and an early riser so I love going out and roaming around the town before breakfast. I'm wondering mainly about Istanbul - whether that is something I could do while we are in the big city, or will I feel uncomfortable? I know there are big cities in the US where I wouldn't want to be alone. Thanks for any help.

Posted by
7050 posts

Only you can tell whether you'll feel uncomfortable. One thing about Istanbul is that there are a lot of touts in the Old City (Sultanahmet) who will do everything humanly possible to try to persuade you to visit their carpet shop or their uncle's carpet shop or to buy something. They are all friendly but quite persistent, some to the point of following you for a bit. You learn after a few days to just ignore their calls "hello! where are you from?" as a way to engage. As a woman walking by yourself you will stand out, but that was the case for me when I was there for over two weeks. When I was in non-touristy areas of Istanbul including on the Asia aside, I was pretty much left alone. The more conservative I dressed, the more I felt like I blended in (as much as one can, that is). There aren't any big US cities I've been to where I felt uncomfortable alone (NYC, LA, Chicago), so it really does depend on your disposition. Some people will probably not feel comfortable in Istanbul (either female or male) and some will just take the touts as they are and feel at ease. For what it's worth, there are very few people out very early in the morning, even in Istanbul. It's a fascinating city, and I think you'll have a great time on this tour.

Posted by
11382 posts

Ask the front desk if/where it would be safe for your early morning walk?

Posted by
11350 posts

We were told by our guides to avoid “traditional conservative neighborhoods” like the one where Chora Church is located. It was fine to go to the Chora Church but we were told not to wander around the neighborhood. Otherwise, we felt comfortable wandering throughout the city, using trams, etc. We stayed in two locations, Sultanhamet and near Taskim Square. We prefered the Taskim area.

Posted by
64 posts

I did the Turkey tour as a solo woman 3 years ago and I, like you, enjoy exploring cities in the early morning hours alone. I had no problems doing so in Istanbul. I was worried that it would be a problem before setting out for Turkey, but once in Istanbul, wound up feeling comfortable. There are, however, men who call out at you to come buy their wares (and other things that I couldn't understand), but just aggressively ignore them -- don't even acknowledge their existence -- and they go away.

For a little context, though, I used to live in Brooklyn and currently live in Oakland (3rd most danger city in the US, according to Forbes), so am pretty comfortable in what people often perceive as "dangerous big cities." I walk around these cities in the wee hours of the morning, too, but with full awareness of my surroundings and not presenting myself as an easy target.

I just did the Adriatic tour this past April/May and if you liked that, you will love the Turkey tour.

Posted by
21 posts

I did the Best of Turkey tour alone, and had no problems. I walked alone through the markets and streets and it was fine. Yes, there are the ones trying to sell you carpets, more annoying than agressive. Just practice a friendly "no" and wave them off. But you have a group of people on a RS tour and can always find someone with the same interest to walk somewhere if you want company. I highly recommend doing the Turkish bath if your guide offers it. AND the balloon ride if you can, it's a bit $$. This is one tour I would do again, if I didn't have so many other places on my bucket list!!