You can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when traveling in Istanbul.
Following Rick’s self-guided tours, you’ll experience the wonders of East and West in this fascinating city—the capital of two great empires. Explore one of the world’s largest domed churches, haggle with merchants in the lively Grand Bazaar, and discover the secrets of the sultan’s harem in Topkapi Palace. Wander through monumental mosques, shop along sophisticated avenues, and watch whirling dervishes in action. Cruise the Bosphorus for a quick trip to Asia, and end the day relaxing in a Turkish bath.Rick’s candid, humorous advice will guide you to good-value hotels and restaurants in delightful neighborhoods. You’ll learn how to get around on the city’s trams and ferries, and which sights are worth your time and money. More than just reviews and directions, a Rick Steves guidebook is a tour guide in your pocket.
We just returned from our trip to Istanbul and found Rick Steves’ Istanbul to be ab excellent resource both in preparing us for the trip and in helping us while we were there. We used advice from the book to prioritize what we wanted to see while we were there and also to group excursions so that we could see things that are close together on the same day. Rick Steves’ has excellent walking tours that are very detailed (ie look just to the left of the big wooden door at shoulder height and you will see __________) and have tons of historical information. If you don’t mind walking through the museums with a guidebook, you can definitely use this in place of the guides that try to sell you expensive tours outside of the big museums (like the Aya Sofia). It is also helpful to have Rick Steves’ detailed tours for the buildings and areas, such as the mosques, that don’t offer guides. These places will sometimes have a plaque that will tell you a bit about the history of what you are seeing, but often the English translation isn’t great and you can only fit so much on a plaque. Using Rick Steves’ in these locations really enriched our understanding of the city and helped us learn and appreciate the history even more. The only complaint that I had is that although the book claims it is updated yearly, there were a few times that small details such as prices were slightly inaccurate. While it would have been nice to know that some of the museums cost 25 TL instead of 20, for us that didn’t make a huge difference. If you are planning your trip on a really tight budget, you may want to check these things online first. Other than that, this book was extremely helpful!
- Just spent six days in Istanbul touring. This is our first purchase of a Rick Steves Guidebook. It’s the best on-the-ground guidebook we’ve used. Using this guide, Rick Steve’s Turkish oriented podcasts, and his video, we were well covered. Bought the hard copy and Kindle version for use on an iPad. Both worked equally well.
We’ve travelled extensively in Europe and Asia and purchased many guidebooks. I gave this a try because it complemented Rick’s video series, was authored by excellent local Turkish tour guides, and is small enough to carry in a purse or small bag.
I found myself pulling out the guide often for planning and while actually at the sites we visited. Rick has edited this version to provide essential information in a very easy to follow format. It has maps in the front for transportation and orientation purposes. For example, I used this guide to help me find and visit the Topkopi Palace. Inside this magnificent Palace I walked following the path it recommended. I also used the available audio guide you rent at the front entrance. These complemented each other perfectly though they didn’t follow precisely the same routes. Ricks descriptions were in-depth and his routes followed a very logical path. I found this to be true throughout my trip. This is one area where it beat other guides hands-down. It also provides essential information about prices, opening times, and other valuable information. It really was like having a personal guide along to ensure we didn’t miss anything.
Some have criticized this guide for being out-of-date and containing erroneous information regarding subway routes. Frankly, those criticisms are overblown. Istanbul is undergoing extensive rebuilding and renovation. Exchange rates change and prices change. No guidebook can keep up with these and if you depend only on them for pricing and exchange rates you ought to be doing better trip planning.
We’ve carried virtually every type of guidebook over the years from Frommers to Lonely Planet to Eyewitness Guides. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. We found this guide to be the best on-the-ground, accessable, walking around and getting around guide we’ve used. I also found the iPad version useful when used in conjunction with a good GPS navigation app. If they’d tie the eBook’s maps and location descriptions into the iPad GPS technology so you know precisely where you are located, they’d crush the competition.
This book came in very handy during our trip to Istanbul. Rick Steves provides a practical and economical way to visit foreign cities and countries. His guidance is spot on and helps you maximize your experience while travelling. I’ve listened to his presentation in person and am impressed with his reviews. We stayed in the Old City within easy walking distance of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Basilica Cistern. We also toured the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, attended a Whirling Dervish, did an evening cruise of the Bosporus, and got a Turkish Bath! It was a wonderful experience and using Rick Steve’s book made it even better!