We are so excited to be going to Turkey in 2020, I am already planning. We will be staying in Istanbul 4 nights before the start of our tour and are going to do things like the Archaeological Museum, Chora Church and Wall Walk, RS Sultahnamet District Walk, a cooking class/food tour. I love Byzantine art and mosaics. In addition to Chora Church and the Hagia Sophia anyone have any recommendations for more obscure Byzantine pieces to see? Anyone else planning on Turkey in 2020?
We are looking at that tour for 2020 also. Just need for my brother to give us his son’s wedding date for 2020. As soon as we have that, hopefully in the next month, we will look into booking. We are also looking at a Karterina Line cruise up the coast of Croatia for the same trip. I am anxious to start planning since this year’s trip is all done. I love the logistics and sightseeing planning part of our trips. Maybe because it lasts longer than the actual trip. By the way, which date did you book?
I love the planning too!! It is so much fun to plan and dream. We booked a start date of April 13th.
Turkey is at the top of my list too! However, it has a few ahead of it, so it’s probably a few years off. Hopefully, I can live vicariously through a trip report when you return!
Diveloonie - I will absolutely try and do a trip report on it. Of course I forgot to do one on our last one to GAS, though I did do a scrapbook for the contest so I guess that sort of counts? Which ones are ahead of Turkey?
It’s not too late to do a TR on your GAS trip!! We are doing our first RS tour to Greece this October. Then next April Paris & HOF. Then Italy, then maybe Turkey! So much to see!!!!
Which tours have you done?
You should check out Küçük Ayasofya (Little Haghia Sophia) - it's not a far walk from, say the Blue Mosque and tourist areas.
But be prepared that anything Greek or non-Turkish will have been transformed into a mosque, so you'll be viewing remnants of a long distant past when Istanbul was more mixed in faiths and populations (those have been expelled since the 1920s or so). You should definitely try to tour a few mosques just to compare them - they are truly amazing, including the tile work. I really liked Rüstem Pasha Mosque close to the Spice Market.
Also, parts of the walls have been oddly reconstructed (and look fake "new") and other parts run in a few dilapidated neighborhoods where not everyone will feel comfortable. The street layout on the old neighborhoods is very twisty and confusing as well.
You may also like this museum:
The Museum of Great Palace Mosaics
We are looking at September or October for Turkey. Still too early to commit but watching tour.
I'm thinking of going to Istanbul at Christmas. As a singleton, it gets really boring during those days to stay home, and work is dead.
Diveloonie - We did Greece in 2014 and you will love it! Then we did GAS in 2018 and now Turkey 2020.
Agnes - I am totally prepared that most places with Byzantine art have been turned into mosques and will happily look at whatever remains. Rustem Pasha Mosque is on my list. Thanks for the other ideas.
This list (although overwhelming) may help with other ideas. There are many former Byzantine structures you can look into:
You will see Mimar Sinan's name a lot since he was a prominent Ottoman architect of some hundreds of structures, including some of the amazing mosques in the city.
Jlkelman-which scrapbook is yours?
Thanks Agnes! And diveloonie my scrapbook is under 2018 archives Germany Austria Switzerland labeled as Jodi Kelman.
Jlkelman - You are right to be excited about your trip. Istanbul is a beautiful city and I am sure you will have a
a fantastic time!
I am booked for my third visit next April (not with a tour group), and though I have been there before I am still very excited to go again.
We are excited too. We are going in September this year and we are doing the same thing as you in we are going to stay 4 nights in Istanbul before the tour starts. I've been researching what to do and various hotels. My wife has a Turkish business contact who suggested we stay in the New District because she said the hotels are nicer and more reasonable than the ones in the Old City. We chose the Georges Hotel near the Galata Tower. We are still thinking about what we want to do before the tour. We don't want to do the same places as the tour except we might spend some extra time at the bazaar. Any suggestions are much appreciated.
We’re thinking of the Istanbul tour in 2020. I can’t decide on the best of Turkey with it or not.
Wray - I'd rather see more of the country than just Istanbul. One week to me is not worth the flight and expense over there so the 2 week trip it is with a few days in Istanbul on our own. To each their own though.
I am planning a trip to Europe starting with a tour of Turkey in September. I am starting to feel a little apprehensive as worrying if it is a dangerous place to visit. Are you all thinking safe thoughts????
I know this thread is old now. But.....
Wray, I would recommend that you add the Best of Turkey. I think of myself as a European big city person. For example I love Stockholm and Rome. But 18 million people in Istanbul was a stretch for me. It was worsened by the fact that it was unseasonably warm in September with temps in the high 80's. Getting out of the city into the countryside and on the coast gave me a broader view of Turkey. Plus, you don't want to miss Ephesus, Hierapolis, Aphrodisias.
If I make it back to Istanbul I would want to go in April or October.
I went on the tour in October 2018. I really the country better than Istanbul itself, I know I’m in the minority here on the forum but while Istanbul was interesting, I didn’t love it. Yes, I appreciated its history as the crossroads of civilizations but I loved the rest of Turkey because of its history and especially its people. We interacted with locals in the markets in the towns in the rest of Turkey.
If you’re on the fence about the full tour of Turkey, I would recommend getting outside of Istanbul. You might love Istanbul or feel less enthusiasm about it like I do. Just like people who come to America as tourists and only see NYC; NYC is great but it is not representative of America. I adore NYC and visit often.
October is a good time with mild temperatures. I think April might be nice as the tulips will be in bloom and other flowers!
I know this is an old thread, but thought my comments might help.
We toured Istanbul 5 days prior to our cruise a few years ago. We visited the Hagia Sofia, The Topkapi Palace, The Blue Mosque, the Old Cistern, the Spice Market & the Bazaar. These are historic sites in the Old Town, very walk able. Walked over to the newer side (which is where the cruise ships dock). We also took the local Ferry up to the Black Sea; you make stops along the Asia Side on the way up and stops on the European side on the way back. We climbed the many many stairs to the top to see the castle & the Black Sea. Worth it!
We are planning a trip to Turkey in May this year and looking forward to every minute of it. Currently we are trying to split the two weeks in Turkey between Istanbul and the area accessible by car from Izmir. I'm thinking 8 days in Istanbul and 5 to see the sights on the coast. Our travel window just misses one of the Rick Steve's tours so we won't see as many places as the tour will, but we'll get more time in individual places.
FYI. We decided against Turkey for now. We are doing the Berlin, Prague, Vienna tour instead.
Recently booked one of the September tours, traveling with a friend.
I am currently researching airfares, and also looking at possible pre and post tour options. I am sure others are doing the same, and I look forward to sharing information with you.