"Istanbul" Istanbul by AcornMan

Istanbul Travel Guide: 8,070 reviews and 20,948 photos

It never would have even crossed my mind to visit Istanbul until I bumped into an old friend at a wedding whose husband's family is from Turkey. They had visited Istanbul and spent the entire evening telling me stories about how wonderful it is. In hindsight I'm sure one of the major reasons they found it enjoyable was that my friend's husband is fluent in Turkish and already had a working knowledge of the city. It was a bit tougher for us because we didn't have those advantages, but we managed to make a good trip out of it after a somewhat bumpy start (see my tourist trap warning section).

Istanbul is a city with incredibly rich history, amazingly beautiful historical sites, and other very interesting features. One great thing about Istanbul is that it is very inexpensive, especially now that tourism to that part of the world is down quite dramatically. The food was also absolutely terrific (see my restaurant section for specific recommendations).

In addition to what you find on Virtual Tourist I highly recommend that you visit Tom Brosnahan's excellent web site about Turkey, including Istanbul.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lots of beautiful historic sites; Easy to get around on foot or by tram
  • Cons:Incredibly annoying, pesky, and pushy salesmen
  • In a nutshell:Might take some getting used to, but definitely worth seeing
  • Last visit to Istanbul: Jun 2003
  • Intro Updated Aug 16, 2004
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Reviews (41)

Comments (24)

  • Roadquill's Profile Photo
    May 18, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Hi David, Great info on your Istanbul page. Cheers, Karl

  • Feb 23, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    As a turkish person, I'm sorry for your failed trip. I don't understand why tourists are sticking to this area of Sultanahmet. There are so many other wonderful places to see. Try Bebek, Kanlica, Hidiv Kasri or Fethi Pasa Korusu, Yildiz Parki etc.

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Jun 27, 2008 at 9:57 AM

    great intro for our planned trip this fall, and best from a fellow NY resident. Going directly to the Brosnahan site. How long did you spend in Istanbul? Thanks for sharing. N.

  • ellielou's Profile Photo
    Jul 14, 2006 at 2:12 PM

    Hotel Antique is now a contender! Thanks for directing me to this tip!

  • May 2, 2006 at 11:33 AM

    After living for 4 month now in Istanbul, my trick (when I am alone) is just to make a hand sign, not speaking! As soon as you speak, they talk to you... if they do not know if you are german, english or whatever they are helpless :-)

  • DSwede's Profile Photo
    Apr 19, 2006 at 2:13 PM

    Glad you enjoyed Istanbul, its a favorite of mine. Like your motto too! an extra 5pts if you know why one Madusa head is sideways and the other not...

  • traveltrish's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2006 at 8:41 PM

    Great tips here. Hope to go to Istanbul next year. Re the tips on tour guides we used the same "techniques" with Indian salesmen in Hong Kong. Sounds rude but is better than being constantly harrassed. Tricia

  • Dec 7, 2005 at 5:50 PM

    I share all what you have said but am deeply hurt by the tour guide comments. The reason they cant enter places is bc they ornt tour guides. We Official guides have full privileges to museums and sites.

  • Spincat's Profile Photo
    Oct 22, 2005 at 8:10 AM

    I am hoping to visit in a few months and this has been exceptionally helpful - thanks!

  • chiara76's Profile Photo
    Sep 9, 2005 at 8:27 AM

    Great page, I like it a lot. The photos are very nice. Greetings from summer Warszawa.


“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”

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