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Istanbul Safe?

I would like to know is Istanbul safe for two women traveling alone?


Posted by
106 posts

Absolutely. I have done it twice and will be there this summer for six days during Ramadan. Muslims are peace loving people and Turkey is a democracy. You many go to Taksim Square or Istikial street but leave if you see any police.
The ancient area in Sultanamet is quite open and well lite. The Turkish people are friendly. The Turkish carpet sales men are more than friendly. You do not need to be polite. Just smile or don't smile and keep on walking. The major sites are in one area: The Blue Mosque, Aga Sophia, the Basilica Cistern (nice and cool underground), the Hippodrome, the Archaeology Museum and Topkapi Palace.
You can easily take a tram to save time and walking to get to the Spice Market or Grand Bazaar if you like. Rick Steves Istanbul gives a wonderful description on how to take the tram. Other guidebooks such as Eyewitness age good as well.

Posted by
14 posts

It's safe but 14 million people live in this huge city so everything can happen at anytime.

Sultanahmet/Old City is full of tourists so you won't have any problems but this doesn't mean that you should stick around there during your whole trip.

Go to Beyoglu, Kadiköy, Ortaköy, Üsküdar, Nisantasi and taste the local life. Old City area does not represent Istanbulite life, nobody lives in the touristic zone. I'm telling you this because most of the tourists do not go anywhere else than Old City area and they think they visited Istanbul, heh!

Bon voyage!

P.S. If you haven't seen Beyoglu (Istiklal Avenue), you haven't been to Istanbul.

Posted by
7209 posts

We took 15 high school freshmen to Istanbul 2 years ago and were met with friendliness and smiles everywhere we went. Our little hotel bent over backwards to accomodate us in every way. I would not hesitate to venture back to Istanbul.

Posted by
123 posts

I spent almost two weeks alone in Istanbul and felt very comfortable there. Men will definitely make comments but it felt very innocent rather than threatening, like they genuinely just wanted to make you laugh. Turkish people are the sweetest, friendliest, most welcoming of any place I've traveled. Locals will see you dining alone and ask you to join them, then insist on paying for your meal. It honestly happened to me about three times! They just want to make you feel at home and talk to you about their wonderful country and get to know you. You'll have a great time!

Posted by
15678 posts

We were 2 older women in Istanbul last October on our own for a week. We felt quite safe the entire time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We were in the Spice Market on Sunday evening - probably the most crowded time. If you aren't used to crushing crowds, it may be a little unpleasant. We went to the Grand Bazaar only about an hour before closing, so it was quite empty and even a little eerie (though quite safe and interesting) as the shops were closing. We were often out until 11 or 12 at night and felt quite safe on the trams and in the streets, stayed in the Sultanahmet area.

Posted by
18775 posts

I spent a few days in Istanbul in June. First of all I wasn’t terribly impressed but everyone’s taste is different and you might just love it. I guess seeing women holding that position in life, the crowds and the aggressive salesmanship was just more than I could take. But I think I am probably in the minority among those that have actually been to Istanbul.

Since having returned I have come to understand that the current leadership of Turkey is pretty fundamentalist and not exactly unfriendly to various terrorist groups. That doesn’t make me feel too good about having gone and helped out the economy by spending my tourist bucks. Now with the US re-involved in the region I think US and Europeans are going to be a more high profile target. I’m not worried about the Syria conflict crossing the borders as much as the nut who knows the hotel where the Americans like to stay or the restaurant where evil alcohol is sold to evil infidels. If we had one nut in Oklahoma, just imagine how many nuts must be walking the streets of Istanbul.

Still, to be honest it is the political and cultural issues that would make me turn down a free ticket and not the safety issue. I was recently in Israel and I have a trip planned to Ukraine so I, in my own mind at least, don’t shrink away for some level of risk. I just think it’s sort of irresponsible to flirt around the room saying that there is nothing to be concerned about. That’s just plain wrong. And this is fluid so it has nothing to do with the situation 6 months ago, much less 2 years ago.

AND, notice I didn't say I think its too dangerous or not to go. I just gave you my honest interpretation of the subject. There really isn't a right or wrong decision at the moment.

Posted by
4174 posts

We arrived in Istanbul yesterday afternoon for a RS tour that starts today. Last night we had dinner at one of many restaurants within easy walking distance of the hotel

While we were there, just near our table, there were 2 tables with 1 woman alone, 2 tables of 2 women together, and 2 tables of 6+ women each. All were dressed in western clothes and most were speaking English, although they may not have been Americans.

There were tons of restaurants on that street. I have no empirical data for them, but I'd expect the numbers would have been similar.

This old town area is very touristy with lots of small hotels. I would feel perfectly safe here alone.