If you are traveling to Istanbul for either business or pleasure, you definitely want to avail yourself of the amazing cultural and historical sights there. Traveling around the city can sometimes seem daunting, so here are some tips to help you book a city tour and get the most from your sightseeing.
Put Together a List of Desired Destinations
Istanbul has enough marvelous attractions to keep you busy for years! However, if you have only a certain period of time for sightseeing, you need to narrow down your choices to your top destinations.
Fortunately Hotel Büyük Keban is located in the heart of Istanbul’s Old City, which means when you stay with us, you’ll be close to many famous attractions. For the richest experience, you may want to select a variety of destinations, such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, a museum and at least one of the bazaars.
If you have more time, adding another mosque, museum or bazaar will be fun, or you could try a boat tour of the Golden Horn, a cruise around the Bosphorus or a visit to the Hippodrome.
Use Your Hotel Resources
One advantage Hotel Büyük Keban has over other bargain priced hotels is that we have a Concierge Department that can help provide you with walking directions or buy tickets to boat cruises. You don’t need to wait until you actually check in to the hotel to work with our concierge. You can feel free to contact the Concierge Department in advance of your stay, so everything is lined up when you get here.
Another option is to work with our sister company, Verified Tour Guides. Verified Tour Guides provides knowledgeable private guides for virtually all of the major attractions in Istanbul. You won’t have to worry about getting lost, and you’ll see things you might miss just relying on pamphlets or guidebooks.
Consider a Private Guided Tour
A private guided tour offers many benefits over going it alone or joining in a group tour. You won’t have to stick to an itinerary based on other people’s needs, and you won’t be stuck waiting if other people are late. You can tailor the tour to what you want to see and experience and ask as many questions as you like without having to worry about monopolizing the guide’s time.
Use These Tips for the Best Experience
Here are some tips courtesy of Hotel Büyük Keban to help you get the most from your sightseeing in Istanbul:
- Use Verified Tour Guides and your hotel concierge for the most informative and well-organized tours.
- Wear comfortable footwear, as you will be doing a lot of walking.
- Inform your guide of any physical limitations so they can plan your tour accordingly.
- Be aware that some attractions are closed during certain days of the week, so plan an itinerary to take advantage of open days.
- Be respectful when visiting mosques. Do not disturb prayer or take photos of people praying. You will have to remove your shoes before entering (you will either leave them outside or carry them with you in a plastic bag), so wear socks. You will also need to be in long pants or a below-the-knee skirt, with gentlemen in a sleeved shirt and women with sleeves at least below the elbows. Women need to cover their heads, so if the mosque does not provide a scarf or robe for you, you should bring your own, just in case. You can always defer to your concierge or tour guide with regard to mosque etiquette.
- Be ready to bargain at the bazaars. This is another place where your concierge or tour guide can come in very handy with good advice.
- Give yourself some time in between sights and activities to rest and refresh at the hotel. Grab a soft drink from your minifridge or a coffee at the lobby bar, or better yet, book a spa treatment or afternoon in our traditional Turkish hammam for the ultimate way to relax.
Istanbul is a wonderful place for sightseeing, and you’ll likely want to come back again and again for more exploration. Contact Hotel Büyük Keban today to reserve your hotel room, and we can help you get started planning the city tour of a lifetime.