Finding a reasonably priced day tour in Istanbul
Replies: 9 - Last Post: May 17, 2013 11:32 AM Last Post By: sarikanarya
Jun 19, 2012 5:16 PM
Finding a reasonably priced day tour in IstanbulHi,
We will be in Istanbul at the end of November and would like to do a day tour to see the main sights. We have been before but its the first time for my parents and we thought that this would be a good way to see Topkapi, Aya Sofya, Basilica Cistern etc. It seems that the cheapest tour (excluding lunch) is with Backpackers Travel which is recommended on Turkey Travel Planner at 50 Euro. All others I have checked on line are 70-80 Euro minimum. What is the best way to take one of these tours? Should we just go to a travel agency on arrival and see if we can get a better price with 4 people taking a tour? Any recommendations?
Jun 20, 2012 7:01 AM
1I personally know both of these folks:
Arzu Tutuk is a tour guide, reliable and competent. She has a website called Walks In İstanbul .
Tarik Saylan is a very reputable travel agent if you decide you want to book a tour in advance at Simply-Turkey.com .
They speak excellent English, you can email them for pricing. Ask for a group discount...
Jun 24, 2012 5:18 PM
2Thanks hobbittr for you advice. Unfortunately those options are a little beyond our budget. Going with Arzu would be great as she is very well recommended but at $450USD plus entrance fees is a little too much for us. The Simply-Turkey.com option comes in at 125 Euro, still a bit over our budget. Might have to stick with the Backpackers Turkey day tour,
Jun 25, 2012 1:22 AM
3You are welcome...
Are these the Backpackers tours you are speaking of?
If so, I would not bother, save the euros and go on your own. They charge so little because they do not offer much you cannot do easily on your own, and, you are then "stuck" with their itinerary.
Let Google do the walking for you to the places mentioned on their tours, this can include Google maps of the area. These are not difficult to find places and their web sites will tell you all you want to know about them. Perhaps this page will help?
Make sure you arrive AT LEAST 15 minutes before opening time at Topkapı Palace , plan to spend a bit more than half a day there, you can have lunch in the palace and later walk down and through Gülhane Park for a cup of tea overlooking the entrance to the Bosphorus and Golden Horn.
Jun 25, 2012 5:33 AM
Jun 25, 2012 9:08 AM
5Agree with Hobbit totally.Buy yourselves a good quality guide book-Lonely Planet,DK Eyewitness or something similar and go see things under your own steam at your own pace.All the major sites Blue Mosque,Aya Sofya,Yerebatan,Topkapı Palace,Grand Bazaar,Archeological Museum,Arasta Bazaar are all within 500 metres of each other so not far to walk.You can then take your time or go through quickly as you wish.With the money you save you can treat yourself to something nice to remember Istanbul by :) Istanbul is a remarkably easy city to visit on foot.
Be aware of the closing days for certain sites and plan accordingly.
Blue Mosque-closed only at prayer times.
Aya Sofya -closed Monday.
Topkapı Palace-closed Tuesday.
Basilica Cistern-closed Tuesday.
Archeological Museum-closed Monday.
In fact Monday is the main closing day for almost all museums and historical sites(Dolmabace,Beylerbeyi Palaces etc).Late November it will be winter opening hours too which are a tad shorter than summer time but they won't be announced until much later in the year.
So now you can plan out your days to suit your family group.
Edited by: sarikanarya
Jun 26, 2012 12:30 PM
6Hi Sarikanarya ... just a note that I visited the Basilica Cistern today - Tuesday - so the closed day must have changed.
Jun 26, 2012 11:05 PM
May 17, 2013 9:43 AM
8My name is Tahsin Unsal and I am the manager of Efendi Travel and Backpackers Travel agencies about which one of the fellows here named "hobbittr" made a comment.
I do not know his occupation (might be working for another travel agency or a tour guide himself ? ) , but it seems he has at least have prejudices about the subjects he has not tried personally. Instead, he preffers accusing without self experiance. We will be glad to see him/her on our tours any time he likes and listen his comments afterwards.
It is definetly not possible to make everyone happy, but we are doing our best for that. You can easily find on internet various guest reviews recommending our day tours. I could not understand how "hobbittr" claims a tour including Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia Museum, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cictern, Roman Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar for not offering much ! Additionally, our tours are non-shopping and we have maximum 12 people on the tours. I kindly request you to tell me if there is another agency or private guide offering such a tour with this price ?
I need also to explain why our tour are offered with reasonable prices :
1. Because we operate tours everyday and serve to a large market by which we are happy to earn a low profit on individual bookings, but a valuable amount in sum.
2. We operate the tours with the tour guides working on monthly salaray during the whole year. We do not hire guides on daily base which a very high cost as well.
3. We make the tour on foot as the sites are close to eachother and do not keep the vehicle for the whole day. We provide only hotel pick up from Sultanahmet or Taksim areas. But that is not a deal for us as the tour vehicles belonging to our company. We do not need to rent them which is high extra cost.
4. We do not include the lunch on the tours and not take them to crowded tourist restaurants. Instead we give free time for the lunch as there are many options at site.
I would like repeat my offer for inviting him to our tour any time he/she is available and hear his brief comments afterwards again.
May 17, 2013 11:32 AM
9Tahsinefendi I can assure you that Hobbittr is most certainly NOT a tour guide nor does he have any connection whatsoeever to the tourism sector.(He isn't actually a member of this forum now either but that is by the by).
You did not read his comments properly;he did not say the tours are not offering much.He said the tours are not offering much one cannot easily do by oneself.In this he was quite correct.The sites are close together and well provisioned with information boards.Indeed Istanbul is probably one of the most visitor friendly major cities in the world in this respect.
There are some travellers who prefer to have a guide even to go to the local shops and would no doubt make use of your services,but the vast majority of people who use this web site are not that type of traveller.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$177.32 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$2426.55 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$15.14 per night