I just want to thank Enigma, Borus and ResmaN for all your wonderful help and advice in planning our trip to Istanbul, and even for your prompt responses to requests for information when we were there. The forum is a fantastic place for information and meant that we could get as much as possible from our visit.
For anyone who is still to visit there are many excellent trip reports to peruse and use for your own itinery, but our reflections of our 5 days are:
- a fantastic city to visit and explore with so much to see and do and buildings to admire wherever you go
- easily navigated by foot but Istanbul has one of the best integrated transport systems I have seen. Buy the Istanbulkart and use it for bus, tram, funicular and ferry. Absolutely amazing value and don't worry about getting your 6 lire back on the card! It's so cheap that you will easily get your money back - you can enjoy a Bosphorus cruise very cheaply apart from anything else. Also, one card can be used for upto 5 people I think so don't understand why some people are worried about getting their money back
- the people we met were friendly and helpful and we didn't once feel threatened in any way. On several occasions local people approached to ask if we needed help if we looked lost or hesitant
- so many well priced restaurants and cafés and food was excellent
- such a diverse and fascinating city that everyone will have different highlights but just enjoy walking around. We managed to get a little lost one afternoon looking for a "short cut" but enjoyed a wonderful walk through the full breadth of Gulhane Park and around the Kennedy boulevard
- we were worried at arriving the first weekend of Ramadan but are so glad we did. There was a wonderful sense of celebration and community in Sultanahmet and it's a great time to visit
Istanbul was one of our best city breaks ever and there are still so many places that we couldn't see. On the upside we will definitely be going back and meanwhile will be telling everyone it's a must see city.
Thanks again for enabling us to have such a fascinating visit