Anyone of you been to Istanbul alone? I'm thinking of going there for 3 days post Greece tour. I'm not sure if it is safe for a woman alone in a hotel or walking around. Any tips? Should I go for it?
I would say that if you can't find a friend, male or female, to go with you, then a tour group would be best.
In 2013 I was in Istanbul with a friend for 5 days, we are 2 retired women. We felt completely safe everywhere. After she left I spent another couple of days on my own, no problem. If you are 20-something and hot, dress conservatively to be on the safe side, though you'll see a lot of local women who don't.
I've been 3 times and had no problems. You will get stares at times and the touts can be persistent, but they are friendly. The more conservatively you dress and the more you blend in, the less attention you'll get. I had a great time in Istanbul - one time I spent over two weeks there on my own and went all over the place. The only tip I would give you is if you don't want to buy a carpet/ trinket/ any item in a shop, then don't engage when someone says "hello, where are you from?" You'll hear this so many times that you'll just learn to ignore it. I replied nicely but just kept on walking.
Go! I went with my family but I think if you stay in a tourist hotel you will be fine. One thing I would say is don’t be too friendly. As Americans we want to be friendly but most times if a man comes up to you on the street in Istanbul it’s because he wants you to go into his shop. A firm no and walking away works most of the time. Plus dress conservatively, ie no spaghetti straps or shorts. Bring a scarf as well as in most mosques you will need to cover your head. But do go, the city is unlike any other in Europe, sailing around the Bosphorous is amazing and there are some beautiful mosques.
We stayed at the Hotel Erboy but I think it’s under renovation now. But any hotel in their hotel chain is recommended.
Wow! I Admire your courage for taking a trip alone. You will be all fine there and I bet the people are also nice. :)
I spend a significant portion of my time in Istanbul for work, and have spent many weekends sightseeing on my own here (I am a late 20s woman). Everyone's mileage will vary on how safe they feel but I have generally been fine and I think anyone who lives in a big city will similarly feel fine. The same rules apply as would in any city--don't stay out super late alone, don't walk down empty dark alleys, etc. The advice to be on your guard about strangers trying to talk to you is good; there are many persistent people who will offer to get you a tour guide/give you a tour of a famous sight, take you to their uncle's rug shop, take you to their uncle's bar, etc. They generally don't mean any harm other than trying to rip you off, but especially on your own it is best to refuse to engage with that.
I was just in Istanbul in April for 2 days on my own without any problems. Well, except for the one carpet guy who kept "running into" me. I'm going back at the end of December for 8 nights. I never felt my personal safety was in jeopardy. Turks are incredibly kind people, and many do speak English. Go and enjoy!
Hello rashsanvrn, I am planning to do exactly that after my 0ct 8, 2018 tour. I did Austria last year after my Easter Europe Tour and now want to visit Turkey. What dates are your tour if you don't mind.
Thank for all your replies. I am in Geeece this last 2 weeks in September. On second thought, I will just do the Turkey tour next year as I am fascinated by Capadocia in the internet. I want to have enough time to experience Turkey so 3 days might just not be enough. I appreciate all your suggestions. It makes me feel better.
I live in Istanbul. First of all, you made a right decision. Istanbul is a city that must be seen. if I come to your question, yes it's safe as much as other cities in Europe.
If you consider to visit aegean cost, you can visit Dalyan.
Going to Turkey solo is safe. I travelled there solo as a single female for my first two time expedition. On my third time, I went with my companion.
The country has visa free policy to many surrounding countries, which can cause unsafe feelings to normal Eastern or Western traveller. In general, Turkey is safe especially in the cities.
Nevertheless, Istanbul as a big city is hustle-bustle. Modest clothes are suggested. As a woman, you should also be aware that men like to stare at women... as a culture thing, which caused uncomfortable feelings to me. So, avoid traveling in the evening alone.
During my third expedition, I shot the new film surrounding the huzun theme, sadness after Ottoman Empire collapse, for my documentary vlog channel. Check it out in case you are interested: https://youtu.be/qt8pcgVkk7o