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Best of Turkey 13 day tour

For those who have taken the Best of Turkey 13 day tour, what sites would you have liked to see (or maybe did on your own) but were not included on the tour.
The tour does cover a lot in the city but I am sure there are some sites are worth seeing if one is coming a day or two early to Istanbul.
Thank you.

Posted by
219 posts

The tour doesn't cover much in Istanbul. For suggestions, look at the Istanbul Tour itinerary. And the Istanbul guidebook. I suggest getting the guidebook from your local library for early planning. You will get the guidebook in your tour packet from RS.

I had a cancelled tour in 2020, and have signed up for 2022. In 2020, included in the tour was the Turkey museum pass which was (is?) good for 15 days, so would still be valid after the Best of Turkey tour. Therefore I was arriving only 1 day pretour and staying several days after in Istanbul, using the museum pass as well as doing other sights. I haven't contacted the office yet to see if museum pass situation is the same as 2020.

Posted by
1114 posts

We arrived in Istanbul a couple days before the tour and went to the archeological museum and the Basilica Cistern. The archeological museum was so good that we visited it twice pre and post tour as there is so much to see there. We also went to see a whirling dervish performance although we had an opportunity to see one in Cappadocia. We also visited the Suleiman mosque that wasn’t on the tour.

Posted by
10 posts

I highly recommend a food tour your first day in Istanbul.

Get several guidebooks and read reviews to find the best one for you, and don't be put off by an all day tour with a price tag around $125--it's well worth the price both culturally and culinarily. It will give you a sense of some of the neighborhoods of Istanbul that you are unlikely to visit otherwise. The firm we booked with in 2015, Culinary Backstreets, was exceptional in every way. I don't know if they are still in business or rebranded by some other name, but the guide was college educated, a brilliant source of history, current events, and all things Istanbul. We have taken foodie tours all over the world and found this one to be, arguably, the best ever. Below is a review I wrote of the experience:

Review of Culinary Backstreets -Tours
Reviewed January 2, 2016
Fish, mezzes, markets, foaming salty yogurt drinks, pistachio-laced baklava, nuts, dried apricots, "Turkish pizza", a ferry across the strait, and 7 people lead by the marvelous and amazing Remziye, it was an Istanbul experience that thrilled us.

The Two Markets, Two Continents "tour" was everything we could have imagined and lots we could never have dreamed of, all under the azure skies of a fabulous October day. From the water buffalo cheese with honey and rose petal jam (beyond incredible)to the sheep's head soup (totally delicious) and tea in an ancient han, (maybe my favorite stop) it was an extraordinary view of Istanbul we would not have had otherwise. And we had been to Istanbul more than a decade ago, and loved it.

Remziye was a remarkable guide. I wish she were my neighbor, my friend. She spoke perfect, colloquial English, and had a marvelous sense of humor. Witty, vivacious, and energetic, she was an exceptional ambassador for Istanbul.

The meeting place was easy to find, and we sampled more Turkish food than I can even remember. From fancy restaurants to street food to tea in an ancient caravanseri (han) it was a view of Istanbul ,its people, and its culinary traditions that left us wanting more and more and more of Turkey.

Take this tour your first day in Istanbul which will give you a great view of everyday life in Istanbul, and then take in the many many wonders of this city and its ancient monuments.

Well done, Culinary Backstreets and Remziye. We had an exceptional experience.

Date of experience: October 2015

Posted by
104 posts

Galata tower! Not on the tour, and the view is SO worth it! Go when it opens, or slightly before. The line gets long quickly.

Really, that whole area—from Taxim going down the hill on Istiklal—doesn't get much attention on the tour, but is worth exploring. I actually stayed in a hotel there for the 5 days I spent before joining the tour.

Posted by
131 posts

The Galata Tower is definitely a must see! Get there a half hour before opening so you don’t have to wait in line. There is a restaurant at the top, reservations required. Great restaurant. There is also a casual Café which is very nice for sitting down for a cup of tea or a cold beverage.

Posted by
1926 posts

We arrived 4 days early for this tour and toured different artsy neighborhoods and also, Istiklali Street and Taksim square with a friend of a friend who lives there. We were interested in various churches and saw Chora Church, a very old church with wonderful mosaics, also an Orthodox Church. Toured the Archeology Museum which was under renovation in 2018, don’t know if it’s completed yet. Visited the Blue Mosque which was being renovated and not entirely open to the public. I read about the Princes Island but we didn’t go there, it sounded interesting though. This is a fascinating tour, enjoy!

Posted by
1926 posts

The Archeological Museum in Ankara will knock your socks off! I think this is the main reason Ankara is on the tour, not really, as we visited Ataturk’s Mausoleum, too. But, I could have spent hours in that museum. It won a prize for being the best museum in Europe early in the 2000’s.