Enjoyed this tour the most of the tours we did in Istanbul. The Spice Markets are incredible, smell, noise, soak it up whatever you do. The palace you have enough time to see the must see and you have the option of staying if you want to see more. Probably could have left the tour there, but if you want to see the Asian side definitely go.
Well worth a visit. Still mostly furnished so able to see how the last sultans actually lived [ Topkapi Palace older and also very interesting but more of a museum]. Also lovely setting on the Bosphorous. Very good guide and hotel transfers went smoothly. Not enough time to see much of the harem unfortunately but otherwise excellent tour.
Doing what: Dolmabahce Palace Tour in Istanbul
This was a good tour, and our guide was very knowledgeable and made it very entertaining. We enjoyed the tour to the palace most of all. Will recommend. The only minor reservation was that we were joined by German speaking tourists, so the guide kept switching from English to German constantly.
This one was very interesting tour I been in Dolmabahce Palace before but I did it again for my daughter and my grand daughter were very enthusiastic .
Istanbul is a beautiful city and the cruise was incredible because of the beautiful sightseeing. The Dolmabahce Palace was something unexpected, very well preserved, magnificent palace that worth a visit.
Excellent tour. It was great to see Europe from Camlica Hill in Asia. Except for the ever-present traffic of Istanbul, the trip over the Bosphorous Bridge and around the city was interesting. Enjoyed the palace tour. Excellent guide and well-planned tour. Definitely worthwhile.
This cruise was very enjoyable. The tour guide was very acknowledgeable and shared so much interesting information about the history of Turkey as we cruised pass fortresses, museums, palaces, and under impressive bridges contacting Europe to Asia. A highlight was landing in Asia and getting to tour a magnificent palace belonging to a Sultan. My wife and I highly recommend taking this tour.
A great tour and a must for your list of things to do, the cruise was fabulous and informative, the Palace interesting
This tour was definitely a must for any traveler to Istanbul , the Dolmache palace took our breath away , the cruise on the Bospherous was enjoyable and easy .
This tour was amazing! We had a wonderful day with an extremely helpful tour guide who waited for us when we were late for the bus, helped us with small issues, and showed care and concern for all the fellow tourists. Moreover, the cruise was the highlight of the day, followed by the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace. Excellent work Plan Tours!
Our guide, Osman, was full of energy and knowledge of the palace. Entertained us with stories of the past. A must visit place in Istanbul.
Doing what: Dolmabahce Palace Tour in Istanbul
Good guide but a bit pointless going inside the palace if you cannot take photographs
Good short tour to experience a ride on the Bosphorus strait. Recommended on a day with reasonably good weather. The Kucuksu palace was interesting but nothing great about it.
United States of ...
Enjoyed going to the Spice Bazaar and sightseeing in the Bosphorus Cruise. AM group was dropped off in Taksim Square, and the PM group continued to the restaurant for the free lunch. The tour in the Dolmabahce Palace was awesome, too bad no photos allowed inside. Then we proceeded to the Asia side of Turkey for a quick panoramic photo-op of the city. Fighting through the traffic was half the battle.
I appreciated the tour especially the Bosphorus cruise and the Domabahce Palace. I did not appreciate the sale pitch for Turkish clothing and the stop for a coffee, this was a waiste of time and it could have been used for some other cultural activities.
Nice trip up and down the Bosphorus,really enjoyed the views and our stop off at Kucuksu Palace.Perfect way to spend a morning in Istanbul
This was a good short tour. We were picked up on time and driven to the Asian side. Had some time to take pictures. Then went to the tour at the palace, which is amazing. I was very impressed. The guide was informative and took his time. At the end, we were dropped off at our hotel.
the tour was great that palace was amazing. i would give it 5 stars. but i gave it 4 for the lunch it was not that good
I had the tour all to myself. It's operated by Istanbul Walks. The pick up was prompt and the guide was engaging and friendly. They take you to the top of the hill and you can see Istanbul if it's clear. After, we went to the Palace which was interesting and the guide provided a lot of interesting information during the interior tour. If you want to see the last Ottoman palace built in Istanbul, it's worth the afternoon.
We booked this two days ahead while already in Istanbul to fill up an otherwise open Monday. When we found out that Dolmabahce Palace was closed on Monday, we contacted Viator and were able to change it Sunday instead - Thanks. Note to Viator, don't sell this tour on Mon/Thur when the Palace is closed.
Here is your day:
Pickup in shuttle van in the morning. Taken to muster point where a number of tours then reassemble and depart on two decker tour buses (open upstairs).
First stop is the spice bazaar. You're given about 45mins to stroll around. Once you've been in the first shop or two, it's more of the same.
Next up is the 90 min Bosphorus cruise. Hopefully you'll have a fine day where you can enjoy the terrific sightseeing up one side and down the other. The boat was clean, open and offered great views.
After that, you're taken to a "leather demonstration". This is no more than a cheesy leather jacket fashion show, after which, you're hustled to their showroom where 50% discounts off inflated prices are offered. We chose to sit outside in the sun instead.
Conveniently, the lunch restaurant is next door. Lunch is simple and everyone else in the restaurant is doing exactly what you are - taking a break from their tour.
After lunch is the Palace. This is truly a highlight of the day (along with the cruise) as you gaze in awe at the amazing splendor that rivals anything in the world.
When you reassemble after some free time in the palace gardens, it's off to a trip over the Bosphorus Bridge, then on to a snack restaurant that overlooks back to the European side. There were no available tables or chairs for our tour, so everyone just milled around for 45 mins.
You are then dropped back at your hotel around 6p.
This is a good way to do both the cruise and the palace, along with some guided narration. The leather demonstration was meaningless and if you don't want to make the trip to the Asian side, you can always leave the tour after the palace.
My wife and I took this tour last week. Sept. 2014. The Cruise was wonderful. Beautiful, informative, relaxing. Highly recommended.
The tour advertised a trip to the Spice Bazzar and "IF" time was available a trip to a leather store. Well that happened. However, we spent a grand total of 13, yes, 13 min. at the Spice Bazzar. WOW, that was fun!!! The leather store was over 30 min. Many people on the tour were not happy about that.
The Dolmabahce Palace was amazing. Truly beautiful. The problem was, we had gone back and forth around Istanbul 3 times that day, we didn't get to the Palace until late afternoon and it was blazing HOT inside. Our guide looked liked he had been sprayed with a water hose. Plan the sequence of events better and the tour could be accomplished in 5-6 hours instead of 8-9 hours.
Our guide spoke English with a very heavy accent ( he was German). Normally not a problem but he spoke very fast and his articulation was terrible. We missed most of what he said. Furthermore, he was bored and was simply "regurgitating" information. All of the other Viator tours we have taken have been great. Guides have been helpful, friendly and seemed happy to be showing you their city. NOT this guy. Oh yea, he did smile one time.....when I gave him 10 Euro at the end of the tour.
Viator needs to validate their local tour operators better in Istanbul. Great tour, Bad tour operator.
Cruise on river and Palace tour very enjoyable, (would have liked more historical facts), lunch bland, added fashion show and leather factory tour a sales gimmick, time should be added to spice market and lunch deleted. Would be at least 4 stars without lunch and leather factory.
The Bosphorus is beautiful, but we didn't have the greatest time on this trip. The guide on the boat didn't say a whole lot other than "This is the European side, and that over there is the Asian side", and maybe pointed out just a few items of interest along the way. There was also a timing problem, so that when we were going up the strait, it was entirely blocked off due to a swimming competition from the Asian side to European side, which certainly wasn't the fault of the tour, but they could have planned better, since it was a yearly event they knew about in advance. We didn't even get to stop on the Asian side at all, which was a big disappointment. We wound up stopping at the Maiden's Tower, which was okay, but definitely not worth the 45+ minutes we had to spend there to make up for not seeing the palace. Additionally, since the cruise was over lunch (11:30-2:00 or so, although we took off 15 or 20 minutes late), it was unfortunate that they only sold drinks/snacks at the very beginning of the trip, with nothing available after the stop at the Maiden's Tower when everybody was hot, hungry and thirsty.
The cruise and the palace were amazing. I wished we would have had more time at the spice bazaar. There are so many shops to see and so little time to spend there. I think the leather fashion show is absolutely useless. It is a complete waste of time and that time could be better spent in the spice bazaar. The leather shop has zero relevance to the overall tour. It really does lower the rating of the tour as it was complete nonsense.
This tour would be highly recommended if the following issues are corrected:
- The group was not only English speaking and first guide (Mr. Ali) was speaking in various languages for all the tourists, this resulted in passing by some landmarks and getting the explanation in your comprehensible language after the landmark has been passed by.
- The visit to the leather jacket shop was not on the itinerary and we did not pay for that, nor we wanted it, it was a complete waste of our paid time.
- The visit to the Dolmabache palace was not complete because we did not see the whole palace, although the guide was really good (Mr. Emre) we did not visit the harem section of the palace, the time wasted in the leather shop could be used for the harem section.
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