Please sign in to post.

Turkey 13 Day Tour Lessons Learned?

Apologies if this post is redundant or in the wrong place. I am taking the Best of Turkey 13 Day Guided Tour in November and was curious if anyone from past trips or experiences had any lessons learned or words of wisdom for someone yet to go on the tour. . We are arriving early to get a little more of Istanbul before the tour starts.

Things that it would be great to get perpsective on:

  • What to (or not to) pack outside of Rick's guidelines
  • Memorable Side trips or experiences during free time at various destinations
  • Must-dos
  • General Advice

Thanks in advance for any insight offered!


Posted by
2453 posts

if you're a woman, bring a head scarf for visiting the mosques. And just as in churches, no shorts (men or women) and no bare shoulders. Show respect. I would suggest a visit to the archeological museum and the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. Watch out for carpet touts in Istanbul. They're not dangerous - just persistent and annoying and will use any trick in the book to get you to come in to their shop and buy. Otherwise, the people in Turkey are really, really nice. You'll have a good time.

Posted by
1068 posts

Take the balloon ride in Cappadocia, it is a once in a lifetime experience. Mosque of Suleiman is fantastic in Istanbul. Antalya Museum is also very good.

Posted by
2528 posts

Agree with Ray, "Take the balloon ride in Cappadocia, it is a once in a lifetime experience."

Posted by
15640 posts

Packing Take some summer clothes and what we used to call demi-saison (light-weight long pants, sweater, jacket) and a hat to wear in the sun. I took the next to last tour of the year and Cappadocia wasn't the only place that was chilly, though by mid-day, it was usually warm enough for short pants and sleeves. Bathing suits for Pamukkale. Good walking shoes and comfy sandals too. There was an option to have the hotel in Cappadocia do your laundry - line-dried on the roof. If you must have coffee in the morning, bring some instant with you. The hotel in Cappadocia did not serve it. It's easier to get a beer in Muslim Turkey than a cup of coffee. Tea is far and away the main beverage.

Side trip Definitely sign up for the balloon ride in Cappadocia. For almost everyone who does it, it's one of the real highlights of the trip. I don't like massages, but even the guys who went (dragged, I suspect, by their mates) had a good time. And non-smokers had fun at the "hookah experience" (which I also skipped). But before you choose to visit a Turkish barber, watch this

Must-dos I spent a few days in Istanbul with a friend before she left and I joined the tour. There's so much to see, I highly recommend as many days as you can before and after the tour. The tour spent very little time at the Spice Market and it was mostly with one vendor (he vacuum-sealed our purchases and mine made it home in excellent condition, both spices and sweets). You may want to go on your own (but not on Sunday - it's extremely crowded then). Taste the Turkish delight ("lokum"), it comes in lots of flavors, try them all, though maybe not all at one vendor. You can buy some, plus great dried fruits and nuts, for snacks during the tour. The stalls outside on the fringe of the market are just as good and considerably cheaper. The sights I most enjoyed outside the tour: Mosque of Suleiman, Cisterns, Archaeology Museum. The RS walks are good. My friend and I also enjoyed just walking and exploring, on both sides of the Galata Bridge, peeking into small mosques and myriad shops we passed.

Posted by
1205 posts

I did not go on the Turkey 13 day tour, but did go on the 7 day Istanbul tour which was an amazing tour and a wonderful city to visit. I agree, if you have time to spend before or after the tour in Istanbul then by all means stay. But while in Istanbul, the scarves are beautiful and well made, so if you are a woman, you will be able to buy the scraves, which you will need to wear in the mosques. Also they make wonderful gifts. Do go to the baths, I did and it was wonderful. If I could I would go once a month. You will not have time while in Istanbul, but you will have time while on the tour in the rest of Turkey. Just ask your guide where and when you can go. It is a great experience, one not to be missed. Everyone on this forum that has written about the Turkey tour has raved about the hot air balloon ride, so it must be a must experience. If you do decided to stay a few days in Istanbul, pm me and I will tell you what we did.

Have a save and wonderful time. Best, Ann

Posted by
399 posts

I recommend that men bring light weight summer pants. While there is a lot of emphasis on women wearing scarves and no bare shoulders, one thing I noticed is that men in Turkey also dress modestly - no shorts, no sleeveless shirts, etc. So, long pants and a cool shirt with short sleeves is a big help to blend in.

You will get used to the 5 A.M. call to prayer. At least I hope so.

The drinking water, while not unsafe is often not great to drink. Bring a small cup with you to use with bottled water (very cheap to buy in 1L sizes.

Never go with anybody who offers you tea and chance to see their goods. Unless you seriously want to spend some money.

Don't believe it when a sharply dressed guy in Istanbul wants to take you on the town for some 'fun'. It will cost you a lot. And I don't care if his sister is a director of J.P. Morgan in New York (like the guy who followed me for two blocks!) . :-)