U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel > Cruises
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 08-10-2010, 05:29 PM
 
Location: DC
3,292 posts, read 10,593,281 times
Reputation: 1312

Advertisements

I just got back from a trip to Turkey. As far as Istanbul, you don't really need to pay for a tour. Most of what you'd want to see is in or near the Sultanahmet area (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Spice Market). It's also cool to walk around the water and cross to the other side of the Golden Horn to see Beyoglu and Galata. I'm not sure how much time you have, but we did the Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, and bazaars in one day, which was plenty. Another day we did Topkapi, the Cistern, and looked across the way at Galata/Beyoglu. Since we had a 3rd day, we did the Dolmabahce Palace and Galata/Beyoglu the last day. Dolmabahce was cool, but I liked Topkapi better. Anyway, of these sites, here's my take:

Hagia Sofia --> Do it. A lot of guidebooks will give you plenty of information on the Hagia Sofia, so just follow those (Rick Steves' Istanbul book has a walking tour that I was able to get online). It's just amazing, and completely worth it. If you can, get there as early as possible to avoid crowds.

Blue Mosque --> Also do it. Bring a light scarf in your bag to put on your head (if you're a woman) and socks since you have to take off your shoes.

Topkapi --> I really liked it. Very different from other European palaces and has really cool tilework.

Underground/Byzantine Cistern --> Really really cool. When we were there they had some art exhibits in the water as well, which was neat.

Grand Bazaar --> It's an experience. If you have the time (and money) try to buy a carpet. We got one as a housewarming gift for our friends and liked the whole process.

Spice Market --> I liked it better than the Grand Bazaar and found a few things to be a bit cheaper. Buying spices and tea was fun too (if it's in a labelled vacuum-packed bag, it can go through customs)

Dolmabahce Palace --> Cool, but wouldn't be sad if I had skipped it. Very ornate, has the bed where Ataturk died.

Beyoglu/Galata --> Cool neighborhood with big commercial shops as well as smaller quirky ones. We got some cool prints from antique book stores. You can also find the Galata Tower and check that out (we just walked around it, didn't go inside). To get here, take the funicular to Taksim Square and then walk down the hill to save yourself the walk up.

That's what I remember off the top of my head. I can try to look in my journal for a few other things if you'd like. It's really touristy, but if you're there at night it was nice sitting in the Dervish Cafe after a long day for some tea and nargile. At 8:30ish they have live music and a guy doing (of course) a dervish.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-10-2010, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Florida -
8,767 posts, read 10,862,335 times
Reputation: 16650
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
Since Jerusalem doesn't have a port as it doesn't have access to the ocean/sea, I assume the boat just stops at the Haifa and from there you can take a day trip or something to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, I think seeing the Old City is the best thing and the Israel Museum is another good choice there.
You are right, we will be out of Haifa for Jerusalem and Ashod for Nazareth - Since I haven't found good alternative tours for there (or Alexandria/ Cairo), we'll probably just take the ship tours (Holland America/ Westerdam)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-11-2010, 09:59 AM
 
32,119 posts, read 33,030,273 times
Reputation: 14967
Quote:
Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
You are right, we will be out of Haifa for Jerusalem and Ashod for Nazareth - Since I haven't found good alternative tours for there (or Alexandria/ Cairo), we'll probably just take the ship tours (Holland America/ Westerdam)
Nazareth is in Northern Israel just like Haifa. So it is more logical to see Nazareth from Haifa.
Ashdod is in Southern Israel. So it is more logical to visit Jerusalem (which in the center of the country) from Ashdod (rather than from Haifa).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Florida -
8,767 posts, read 10,862,335 times
Reputation: 16650
Quote:
Originally Posted by juniperbleu View Post
I just got back from a trip to Turkey. As far as Istanbul, you don't really need to pay for a tour. Most of what you'd want to see is in or near the Sultanahmet area (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Spice Market). It's also cool to walk around the water and cross to the other side of the Golden Horn to see Beyoglu and Galata. I'm not sure how much time you have, but we did the Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, and bazaars in one day, which was plenty. Another day we did Topkapi, the Cistern, and looked across the way at Galata/Beyoglu. Since we had a 3rd day, we did the Dolmabahce Palace and Galata/Beyoglu the last day. Dolmabahce was cool, but I liked Topkapi better. Anyway, of these sites, here's my take:

Hagia Sofia --> Do it. A lot of guidebooks will give you plenty of information on the Hagia Sofia, so just follow those (Rick Steves' Istanbul book has a walking tour that I was able to get online). It's just amazing, and completely worth it. If you can, get there as early as possible to avoid crowds.

Blue Mosque --> Also do it. Bring a light scarf in your bag to put on your head (if you're a woman) and socks since you have to take off your shoes.

Topkapi --> I really liked it. Very different from other European palaces and has really cool tilework.

Underground/Byzantine Cistern --> Really really cool. When we were there they had some art exhibits in the water as well, which was neat.

Grand Bazaar --> It's an experience. If you have the time (and money) try to buy a carpet. We got one as a housewarming gift for our friends and liked the whole process.

Spice Market --> I liked it better than the Grand Bazaar and found a few things to be a bit cheaper. Buying spices and tea was fun too (if it's in a labelled vacuum-packed bag, it can go through customs)

Dolmabahce Palace --> Cool, but wouldn't be sad if I had skipped it. Very ornate, has the bed where Ataturk died.

Beyoglu/Galata --> Cool neighborhood with big commercial shops as well as smaller quirky ones. We got some cool prints from antique book stores. You can also find the Galata Tower and check that out (we just walked around it, didn't go inside). To get here, take the funicular to Taksim Square and then walk down the hill to save yourself the walk up.

That's what I remember off the top of my head. I can try to look in my journal for a few other things if you'd like. It's really touristy, but if you're there at night it was nice sitting in the Dervish Cafe after a long day for some tea and nargile. At 8:30ish they have live music and a guy doing (of course) a dervish.
Thanks again! - Getting ready to leave this Sunday and plan to follow your Instanbul advice
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 10:39 AM
 
12,329 posts, read 18,437,797 times
Reputation: 19242
haha, what do you need to know on a cruise? Nothing, you are a sheep led by a sheapard. On you own this is what you do:
1.) Get off boat,
2.) Go to local port stops Hard Rock Cafe for lunch and drinks, buy tshirt
3.) Get back on boat.

If you take one of the cruises overpriced tours then:
1.) Follow the guy with the funny hat and flag.
2.) Don't buy anything at the obligatory "yarn factory" visit.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 07:20 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,347,825 times
Reputation: 13682
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
haha, what do you need to know on a cruise? Nothing, you are a sheep led by a sheapard. On you own this is what you do:
1.) Get off boat,
2.) Go to local port stops Hard Rock Cafe for lunch and drinks, buy tshirt
3.) Get back on boat.

If you take one of the cruises overpriced tours then:
1.) Follow the guy with the funny hat and flag.
2.) Don't buy anything at the obligatory "yarn factory" visit.
Please don't take your own experience as being typical of everyone else.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 07:37 PM
 
507 posts, read 601,602 times
Reputation: 363
I just got back from Istanbul as well. Juniperblue sums it up really well, but I would also recommend taking a boat tour of the Bosporus, and also taking a trip to the Princes' Islands. I took a boat around the Bosporus for about 10 Lari, and I did it at sunset. It was an amazing experience.

The Princes' Islands are also nice because cars are not allowed. Everything is done by horse carriages and bikes. There are also a lot less tourists. It's only about 8 Lari around trip (it takes about an hour to get to the islands).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel > Cruises
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top