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Ideas for added days before or after 13 day tour

Thinking of arriving a few days before and maybe also after the 13 day tour.

Besides a food tour to the Asian side what have been peoples favorite experiences? And should I consider staying on the Asian side for a few nights?

We are booked at the Azade Hotel in the old town.


Posted by
2267 posts

There is SO much to see in Istanbul that isn't covered in the tour. A few recent posts in this forum section cover quite.

I don't think I'd suggest you stay across the Straight, but you might want to stay across the horn, maybe near the Galetta Tower.

Posted by
496 posts

Once spent a week in Istanbul - ran out of time. I particularly remember eating the fresh fish sandwiches down on the water front - taking a ferry across the Bosphorous - I'm sure there tours too.

I don't know what your tour includes but I'll always remember the underground catacombs as one of the most surprisingly places. Obviously you'll cover the main mosques and Tokopali on the tour - but Tokopali has a lot - you could easily revisit.

And the Grand Bazaar - you could spend days in there

Posted by
2267 posts

I'll add that while I few back to Istanbul for a couple of days after the tour, I found myself pretty wiped out after the busy 13 days, and I'd have enjoyed a day or two of rest in Kusadasi, the beach town where the tour ends.

Posted by
8802 posts

Took the 7 day Istanbul tour. Loved it. Mert Tanner was a great guide. Arrived 2 days before the tour began. Stayed 1 day after. Hotel was in Old Town.

If you sleep with your hotel room windows open be prepared to hear the calls to prayer.

Beware you will see countless stray cats. Secondly be sure to be able to utter a forceful “ NO,” when approached by street vendors.

The tiny upstairs restaurant I discovered while meandering around the Grand Bazaar. Handmade sign with the word restaurant and an arrow. Best lentil soup I’ve ever had. Was the only diner. A favorite “ hidden gem, “ memory.

The “ Oh My “when entering the Hagia Sophia. It’s breath taking. Take time to learn how it was built!

Cora Church ( EDIT: just looked on line. It’s permanently closed. Too bad.)

After dark strolls around the neighborhood following dinners. Never felt unsafe.

The Taksim neighborhood was interesting.

Posted by
2252 posts

I also suggest staying in and enjoying Istanbul. It’s a truly awesome city. Like Claudia, I also took the week long Istanbul City tour and even with a couple of extra days before and one after, still didn’t feel as if I’d really “seen” Istanbul! Food tours are fun and there is (or was) a cooking class offered just around the corner from the Azade, where we also stayed. I also took the no longer offered Villages Turkey tour. That was a really special tour and I wish they would offer it again! Turkey is amazing-so much to see and learn!

Posted by
83 posts

Can you tell me more about the village tours maybe that is something that I could contract with a quite on my own.

Also we are staying at the Azade Hotel. What did you think?

Thanks for all the great advice.

Posted by
60 posts

I received an email stating that my 13 day Turkey tour, starting in April 2022 will no longer begin at the Azade Hotel, but instead at the Acra Hotel. I received a call back from Rick Steves tours saying the Azade will be closing sometime in 2022.
I made pre-night reservations at the Azade and will be asking them what month they plan to close.

Posted by
83 posts

I just received the change of hotel also. The Acra isn’t mentioned in the R S Istanbul Guide book. Interesting choice. I’d love to know if anyone has stayed there.

Posted by
106 posts

I and some friends did the 13 day Turkey tour a couple of years ago. At the end of the tour we took a ferry over to Samos which was a lovely island with a charming old town. We spent 4 days there and it was the perfect way to relax after a nearly 2 week tour. Several people from the tour did the same. From there we flew to Athens for a few days and then flew home from Athens.

Posted by
7050 posts

Take a local (very inexpensive) ferry to the Princes Islands (to the south) for a totally different, more relaxed atmosphere. The ferry ride wasn't too long, if I remember correctly.

I took the Turkey Village tour which has been phased out. SRM Travel does pretty much the same tour (except it's called by a different name), so check them out. They are the local company that ran the RS tour back in 2011, when I went.