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Istanbul in 7 Days tour - foot wear

Hi:
I'm going on a RS group tour of Istanbul in March 2015. Since it's walking around the city, I would assume sneakers would be okay as my day shoes (for evening/restaurants will bring flats). However, are sneakers permitted in mosques/places of worship? I plan on dressing modestly and will bring a scarf to wear around my head (even though I'm told unnecessary), but what about the feet? Any feedback most appreciated. Thank you.

Posted by
4698 posts

When you visit the mosques, you have to take off your shoes and hold them in a bag, so it doesn't really matter what you wear. You really don't need to cover your head.

Posted by
1176 posts

I went on the RS Istanbul tour in Sept 2013 and you can wear any type of shoe, as said you take your shoes off and put them in a bag. But I take exception to the other post, you MUST cover your head ( for women only) with a scarf while in the mosque and they will tell you to do so if you do not. There are many places to buy tons of beautiful scarves. They also make wonderful gifts. Do wear comfortable shoes, I cannot stress that enough. The tour is wonderful, but there is a lot of walking and it ( I have taken 12 tours) is very demanding, fast paced and not a lot of free time like other tours as our guide gave us extended tour time! Well worth it. Amazing city, tour and a very unique city! I know other people that tour this tour before me and they all said the same as I have just stated. Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
4698 posts

I had a different experience in the mosque - I didn't cover my head and no one asked me to. There were many other women also not covered. Do what you are comfortable doing.

Posted by
1176 posts

If you do not have a scarf, they have scarves that they will loan you. But of course it would be better to bring your own scarf. You must also have your knees covered. Like any place of worship, you must respect the rules.

Posted by
2057 posts

My experience was the same as Ann's when on the Villages Turkey tour a couple of years ago. It was expected we take off our shoes and wear a scarf to cover our heads when entering the Mosque. Respectful.

Posted by
3714 posts

We were on the Istanbul/7 tour in early October. The Blue Mosque had signs on the grounds showing exactly what and what not to wear for both men and women.

Neither can show knees or shoulders. Women are required to wear scarves to cover their heads. I saw no woman with a bare head in either of the mosques we visited. There may be some confusion because you are not required to dress this way to visit the Hagia Sophia. It is now a museum, not a functioning mosque.

Depending on the crowds, you will likely have to go through a line to make sure you are dressed respectfully.

Everyone removes their shoes in a special area before entering, puts them in a bag and walks barefoot or in socks on the interior carpeted floors. You put them back on after you leave. I did see a woman chastised for trying to put her shoes back on as she was standing on the carpet just outside the exit.

Non-Muslim tourists are not allowed to visit the mosques during prayer services. You can go in only at specifically designated times.

Whatever shoes you wear make sure you can stand, wear and walk in them for hours and miles, up and down steep slopes and stairs and on very rough surfaces including the roughest cobblestones I have ever walked on.

We went to no fancy places for dinner. No one dressed up. Most of us didn't have time to change clothes or our shoes before. I did take and wear sandals and flats when I had time to change. They were a welcome relief after all day in my high-topped hiking boots. We walked fairly far to some of the places we went, over the same kind of terrain I already mentioned, so I was glad my sandals and flats were also supportive and comfortable.

Posted by
15075 posts

By the way, you can keep your socks on in the mosques. Most areas are carpeted. There are usually places to sit at the exit to put your shoes back on. You may want to carry a plastic bag with you to put your shoes in, something you can hang on your arm, to keep your hands free for photos. The ones provided are sometimes small or flimsy.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you, everyone, for your responses!
This is why I love RS and RS 'people' -- so helpful, friendly and always willing to take the time to give feedback.
Cheers,
RM