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“Top 10 Tips When Visiting Istanbul...”

Istanbul Custom Tours-Private Day Tours
Ranked #5 of 407 Tours in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Santa Rosa, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Top 10 Tips When Visiting Istanbul...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2012

10. An experienced, knowledgeable guide will get you to the must-see highlights of Istanbul in the most efficient way. If you have a short time in Istanbul (we had one-day cruise port stay), having a good guide is invaluable.
09. Traffic is very heavy during the day. If you take a large bus tour, you'll waste too much time sitting in traffic! Small groups in vans or mini-buses are the way to go. Private tours are the most flexible.
08. Your guide will try to take you to the most popular attractions first to avoid the congestion.
07. Many attractions are walking distance of each other (Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome, Blue Mosque), so be prepared to do a bit of walking and don't leave anything in the tour vehicle you may need while walking around.
06. Your guide can get the entry tickets for you when needed so you can skip the lines.
05. Be aware that choosing a tour by lowest price does not always equate to better value or best experience. Read the reviews and try to find a tour company with overall excellent reviews and tour guides that you would feel comfortable with. Then contact your favorites for pricing.
04.You may want to ask whether you are expected to visit one or more "demonstrations or shows" which are actually sales presentations (for usually rugs or leather goods where the tour operator gets kick-backs). They actually maybe fun to see for some, but you should have the option to skip it if you want more time at the major attractions and the Grand Bazaar or Spice Market.
03. We were fortunate to book early and got Aykut Ayik as our guide. He is the main person at istanbullocalguides.com. He was an excellent guide; knowledgeable, passionate, trustworthy, funny, and likes to have good time during his tours so that you can't help but have a great time yourselves. In reading the reviews, it appears the other guides he works with are excellent too. Highly recommended. One of the best tours - ever...
02. If Aykut tells the shoppers in your group: "So sorry, the Grand Bazaar is closed for renovations....... No...Really!!!!!" Don't believe him for a second. He'll later admit the Grand Bazaar is always open (during their business hours).
AND THE NUMBER ONE TIP WHEN VISITING ISTANBUL...
01. If you can, book a tour with Aykut or one of his guides, relax, and a have great time. And If you actually meet Aykut, ask him about his past Hollywood celebrity client ;-)

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
6 Thank shamai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Wonderfully organized”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 23, 2012

I would like to thank Aykut for promptly putting together a tour for us. Giving us your recommendations and being reliable. Eventhough you personally were not able to show us around due to prior tour commitments you made sure we were not left aside and found us a guide that you felt comfortable wIth. We had a fantastic time, thanks to you and your thoughtfulness!

Helpful?
2 Thank Zola88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Petersburg, Russia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great time in Istanbul”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 21, 2012

Aykut introduced us to the charms of Istanbul - from the riches of the sultan's palace to the depths of the Basilica Cistern. He helped us maneuver a wheelchair in our group through the many attractions of Istanbul and throngs of visitors, and he took us to a restaurant where we enjoyed the best meal of our trip. We were impressed with Aykut's knowledge of Istanbul and its history - and charmed by his refreshing sense of humor. We hope to return to this amazing city someday

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank john_s447298507
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Petersburg, Russia
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best guide ever”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 20, 2012

Aykut was the best guide ever--he was extremely informative and very aggressive--getting us right to the front of every line. We thoroughly enjoyed our Turkish lunch and ending trips to the Grand Bazarr and spice markets. I would highly recommend Aykut for any future Istanbul visit. It is very crowded and I am so very glad that with only one day in Istanbul we chose not to venture out alone. Thanks Aykut--you are the best.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank katerina s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A Fantastic Priivate Tour in Istanbul”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2012

My wife and I recently traveled from Atlanta to Istanbul to begin an Aegean cruise. Knowing that we had limited time in the city, we consulted Trip Advisor to find a suitable guide for a private half-day tour of the city. We found great reviews for Istanbul Custom Tours and decided to book with them. We're so glad we did!

Aykut Ayik of Istanbul Custom Tours helped us set up everything in just a couple of easy email exchanges, and the private tour price he quoted was actually quite a bit less than the group tour offered by the cruise line. Aykut himself wasn't available on the day we had scheduled, but he recommended another guide from his organization, Necip Edis.

Necip, an Istanbul native and experienced guide, met us promptly in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt near Taksim Square and escorted us to a new Mercedes Sprinter passenger van, where the driver was waiting. Uh-oh, I thought - this isn't a private tour. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my wife, Necip, the driver, and I were to be the only people on the tour!

Necip was an outstanding guide for us! He was prompt, extremely knowledgeable, enjoyable to be around, and accommodating. He shared interesting places and insightful stories that we would’ve otherwise missed in the great city of Istanbul. He was also flexible to our particular sight preferences (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Cistern, Spice Market, Grand Bazaar, rug shopping) and happily adjusted the tour to our preference for walking between many of the sights instead of driving.

Our half-day tour with Necip ended up being about six hours long and we loved every minute of it. And we probably enjoyed Istanbul the most of all the cities we visited on our vacation – it’s a unique, vibrant, exotic, and thoroughly enjoyable place. We hope to visit again soon!

We highly recommend Necip Edis and Istanbul Custom Tours for anyone visiting the area - they are outstanding!.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank 864Dave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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