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Had a 24-hour stopover in Istanbul so I chose the 2-day tour first evening and following morning and afternoon. Communication was excellent from the start. They customized our trip to exactly what we wanted. Saban, our tour guide, was incredible. He made sure our every whim was catered to. Anything we wanted or needed, he had the answer. Saban took us to world-class dining, ancient sites, and spectacular markets. I felt like we got a good overview, despite our short stop. He was punctual and patient, great with kids, and very knowledgeable. We continued our vacation visiting three other countries, yet our visit to Istanbul was the highlight of our trip. I highly recommend this tour.
I did the 1-Day Private Guided Tour in Istanbul. I was traveling by myself, and even though I'm a seasoned traveler, I do not speak Turkish and it was my first time to Turkey. My guide picked me up promptly he was actually a little early! at 9:00 AM and we set off in a taxi to Old Town. I will note that you should read the description carefully - you are responsible for all transportation to the sites, as well as all tickets to the sites. The way my guide did it, he had gotten the tickets in advance and I paid him at the conclusion of our trip.
We started our day at the Hippodrome and from there walked to the Blue Mosque. Note: if you are a woman, you have to have the proper covering head shawl and NO pants - not even long ones - you must have a long skirt, but it is provided for free by the mosque. After touring the Mosque, we walked to the Hagia Sofia, followed by the Topkapi Palace. We stopped for lunch in the palace before we went to a local and certified rug business. The business was a nice chance to sit, learn about the rugs, enjoy Turkish coffee, and see various rugs. You are not required to buy there, and I found it a nice way to do the rug experience in Istanbul. Finally, we stopped at the Egyptian Spice Market before heading back to the hotel, arriving around 4:00 PM.
Note: The Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, when I did my tour, so we did not tour that. I did it the next day and it is not necessary to have a guide.
Overall, my guide was very knowledgeable, helpful, and I enjoyed our day. My only complaint is about the pricing - this was a steep cost to pay for a day long tour, especially when there were additional costs. But for a single female traveler, this was a great way to feel comfortable touring Istanbul.
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