We're looking for a reasonable destination to shake the US westcoast jetlag before we get to Istanbul. Where are your favorite European cities which might be a nice layover for 2-3 days? Fairly seasoned travelers, but just looking for an interesting easy-to-get-to stopover!
London. Easy peasy.
We often stopover in London for a day or two because we like to fly Virgin-which has better economy comfort class than it's partner Delta. And there's always something else we haven't seen in London.
Thinking outside the box, I would go with Hamburg or Copenhagen. Two very low-stress cities compared to London....and you'll need low-stress before you hit Istanbul:)
Look up Munich, there should be well priced flights and good amount of site seeings.
From Seattle, for instance, our European nonstop flight options are usually to Dublin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, or Reykjavik. LA and SF have others.
I would be flexible on location, depending on the airfare.
I know Turkish Airlines can sometimes be a bargain, but not sure about layover.
Layovers can sometimes significantly add to the cost of airfare.
London, Paris, Amsterdam all have many flight connections and would be great places for a short layover.
Istanbul is great, recommend finding a hotel close to the Hippodrome so you can walk to most of the sights.
I would review flights and prices and stay wherever there is a flight change, but that is just my approach. It does tend to minimize excessive cost for the layover. London is 8 hours ahead of the West Coast and Istanbul is 10. Would you consider just an overnight on the US East coast and an overnight flight to Istanbul? Depends on whether you can sleep on the plane, I guess. If that is a option, what about Toronto instead of NJ or NY?
If you are searching, and I appreciate it is unsolicited, but I enjoyed Hotel Nena which is about 5 minutes' walk to the main attractions.
Hi from Wisconsin,
That is easy. Istanbul. Find out which buildings the tour will take you to and go to other places. Istanbul will knock your socks off. The Hotel Side is very reasonable and they speak English well. It is a family run place. Using their old house as a Bed and Breakfast with breakfast on the roof looking at both the Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque. Not the fanciest, but a stone's throw away from those two big beauties. And surrounded by restaurants.
You won't regret a few extra days in Istanbul. Chances are your tour won't get you to Chora Church.
The Aya Sofia deserves two visits. This was built in the 6th century. Take a good look at this. 6th century! Seeing it lit at night, stunning.
I bet the tour won't include a fish sandwich along the Golden Horn. Go to the fish market across the bridge from the "new Mosque" and get your sandwich or fish plate.
There are museums a plenty. Great food. The Grand Bizzare deserves more than a run through as does the Spice Market and its surroundings.
Get over your jet lag in Istanbul.
I would do Amsterdam, Paris, London, Berlin, Budapest or Prague.
Thank you so much everyone! I think we're going to do some more in Istanbul (thanks, Wayne for the tips). It does sound like a city with lots to do.
I would (and have) bite the bullet and take the long non-stop from SFO or LAX on Turkish Air. It's the most comfortable coach class I've flown, good food, good service, good entertainment selection and to me it feels roomier than the others. It's usually cheaper too.
As two ppl have said, I also vote for taking the non stop Turkish Airlines flight from SFO or LAX to Istanbul. As Wayne says there are tons of things to see in Istanbul. Do things that are not on your tour. Get there 3 nights before your tour starts. That will give you time to adjust to the time difference and more time to explore the magnificent city of Istanbul.
If the thought of that very long flight is too much, stop in NY. There are many flights from JFK to Istanbul. Turkish Airlines is the only airline with non stops and they have 3 non stops from JFK to Ist every day! As someone pointed out, this makes sense since most European cities are only one hour different from Istanbul (England is 2 hours behind Turkey).
If you want a different city I would say Berlin, but I really think you could find enough to do in Istanbul. We are going on the RS Turkey tour in 2020 and have 4 nights/3.5 days there before the tour starts and the only thing we are doing that the tour is doing is the Hagia Sophia. I really like to take my time in buildings like it so want to go on my own in addition to the tour. Otherwise for your reference on how we are planning on filling 3.5 days we are planning on doing the RS Historic Core of Istanbul Walk stopping along it at the Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, making a detour down to Little Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome and if we have time the Islamic Arts Museum (though we might tack that onto another day or miss it). We are also planning on doing Chora Church and the RS Wall Walk with a visit to Rustem Pasa Mosque and then a walking food tour in the evening. Another day will be the Hagia Irene in the Topkapi Palace grounds and the 3 branches of the Archeological Museum (we are museum people), and either this day or the next before our tour starts the Museum of Great Palace Mosaics. You could also add a Turkish Bath visit and we like to do night photography. We will also be there during the Tulip festival, and I'm hoping there might be an evening concert while we are there.