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Rick Steves 7 day Istanbul ahead of 13 day best of Turkey

My husband and I are signed up for the best of Turkey tour beginning April 25th. We are considering signing up for the 7 day Istanbul tour the week before this tour begins. We are wondering if anyone has ever done this combination. Is there too much overlap? It looks like we would be scheduled twice for the Topkapi Palace, and spice market area . Thanks! Cheryl

Posted by
5042 posts

Cheryl, you can always opt out of any activities, as long as you let the guide and your "buddy" know. I haven't done either of these tours, but it sounds great.

Posted by
2721 posts

I’ve taken them separately a year apart. You have to expect some duplication in Istanbul. You actually might enjoy revisiting 1 or 2 of the sites. If not, there is plenty to see in Istanbul that is not on either tour. You could take a vacation from your vacation by taking a boat ride from Istanbul to Poyraz on the edge of the Black Sea or go to the Prince’s Islands. Your tour guides will be happy to recommend some great sites and experiences. There’s a lot to see and do in Istanbul.

Posted by
14917 posts

The tour runs from April 17-23. That leaves you with another 2.5 days in Istanbul before the Best of tour starts. And you'll want to get to Istanbul a day or two pre-tour to get over jetlag, etc. That's a really long time in Istanbul. In addition, virtually everything this tour covers in Istanbul will be a repeat for you.

Instead, consider returning to Istanbul for a week after the Best of tour. Being a tourist in Istanbul is no more challenging that being a tourist in any major European city. Hire private guides for some sights and half day tours.

Posted by
1075 posts

I agree with Chani's advice. We did something similar but only stayed another 2 days in Istanbul. After the Best of Turkey tour you will feel comfortable in Turkey and will be able to manage Istanbul on your own. I found the people in Turkey to be very welcoming and helpful. I suggest learning some basic Turkish words (hello, goodbye, thank you, please, water). Be prepared for the touts! Smile and firmly say NO.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks to everyone who responded with advice! Returning to Istanbul after the 13 day tour and staying a few extra days does make a lot of sense. My husband and I have done a lot of solo travel, COVID has just really thrown me off my game. I like the idea of hiring guides as we need them in Turkey, any names would be appreciated. :). I am a bit nervous about taking any kind of public transportation during this pandemic so hiring a guide and driver would be very helpful. I will start working on an itinerary with extra time in Istanbul at the end.

Safe travels to all,

Posted by
163 posts

I also agree that arriving in Istanbul a couple of days before the Best of Turkey tour is a good idea. It will give you time to adjust to the time zone. Or, you can arrive a week before the Best of Turkey tour and see Istanbul more in depth. Returning to Istanbul for a week after the Turkey tour would be good too (to tour Istanbul in depth)

I am a frequent traveler to Turkey and I hire a guide when I bring friends. He speaks English excellently, is honest, funny, and very knowledgeable. Metin has hundreds of wonderful reviews on TripAdvisor.
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Posted by
3 posts

Cheryl, my husband and I are also signed up for the same Best of Turkey trip beginning April 25th! We also considered doing the Istanbul extended tour but it looked like quite a bit of overlap. We're planning on arriving a few days early and are still pondering how to end the trip. Look forward to meeting you in beautiful Istanbul!

Posted by
15 posts

I am starting to get very excited about this trip! I Just booked our Airline tickets yesterday. We are traveling between April 22 and May 11th so we have a short time before and a couple of days after. We are looking into hiring a private tour guide at the end of the trip. Still working out our itinerary, and have yet to secure lodging. Looking forward to meeting you in Istanbul!

Posted by
116 posts

Sharon to tour guides I would contact They are the tour company that runs the RS tours in Turkey. They have a food tour we plan to take the one full day we have before our tour starts on 4/18/22. Lale Sermon Aran was very helpful in her communications is setting up the tour.