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Pre- and Post Excursions: Rick Steves Best of Turkey June 2022

Hello, I'm looking for ideas for pre- and/or post- excursions for up to five days before and/or after a Rick Steves "Best of Turkey" tour in June. I'm mostly interested in unique-to-Turkey experiences, including natural phenomena, dance and/or music performances, fishing (!), anything on the water, and food. I don't mind hiring a local guide, and I prefer to avoid renting a car. Also, I don't need to stay in Turkey for the post-tour adventures.

Posted by
925 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
I don't know what the confusion is about. You want to know what to do either before or after the 13 day Turkey tour.

Let me say, you are in for a daily jaw dropping tour.

In Istanbul: I would visit two religious sites a bit away from everything Rick takes you to. Kayire Church with astonishing mosaics and while at the church take a few steps away and get a good look at the Wall of Theodosius. The descend the hill and visit the home of the Pope of the eastern Orthodox Church, St. George's Cathedral. This is a holy site so please, be respectful. It is modest compared to the Vatican, in part for two reasons. The previous home was the Hagia Sophia and now laws prohibit large Christian buildings. That will take a chunk of time, but take you where most visitors don't go. Now one way to do this is to take busses and walk. Another would be to hire a taxi for the trip out to the Wall, Church, and Cathedral dropping you back near the Galata Bridge.

If you haven't visited the fish market on the Galatan side of the Golden Horn a walk across the Galata bBridge to enjoy views of Istanbul and then hook to the west to the fish market right along the water. A great place to get a fish sandwich or meal.

I don't see the Arkeological Museum on the tour. Well, that is an experience. They have things outside the building open to the weather over which we, in the USA, would build monuments.

And if you have the courage to go into the center of activity. Get into the tangle of streets between the Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar. This place is filled with ...oh, six button stores all in a cluster, and then a few copper pot makers, all in a cluster, and belt makers, guess what? all in a cluster. They mainly cater to businesses. You buy a gross of buttons, all of one kind.

There are other museums around the remains of the Hippodrome. Istanbul is an ancient city. Wealthy. Powerful. Strategic. The museums are pretty special.

Personally, I would revisit the Hagia Sophia. This is an astounding building. It is huge. It is old. It is still used for its original purpose, religious worship. In my travels, this building and the basilica in Barcelona are the best. I haven't seen the Taj Mahal.

Ah, and the little Hagia Sophia. Kucuk Ayasofya. Getting there takes you through the TV repair district. A few repair shops all in a ...yes, a cluster.

enjoyo,
wayne iNWI

Posted by
4 posts

Wayne, Great information! Thank you.

How much time would you allow for your itinerary?

Posted by
1347 posts

We are doing this tour in September and booked three nights pre-tour in Istanbul, and three nights post-tour in Kuşadasi.

In Istanbul we've been looking at doing either an EatWith, or a food tour from Culinary Back Streets. Both look worthwhile. I'm leaning to EatWith; there's a few hosts who look to be offering a great meal and location.

Posted by
54 posts

I believe the Kayire Church is closed for renovations, at least that is what the website says. I read it is being converted from a church to a mosque, so much of the building might be covered up during the conversion.

Has any been to the Kayire Church within the past few months?