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The Solo Traveler Blog

Solo Travel Destination: Istanbul, Turkey

We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Alison, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Alison is from Australia, and submitted the following report about Istanbul. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!

Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken: Turkish, French, English, Kurdish

photo, image, fishing, Istanbul

Fishing on the Bosphorous Bridge.

Reasons to go: Istanbul is fascinating, culturally and historically, and an absolute visual feast. One of the world’s great waterfront cities, it has the Bosphorous, the Golden Horn & the Sea of Marmara on three sides. There is great shopping, a plethora of historical sites, a rich live music & night club culture, and wonderful food.

You can tour palaces and museums – Hagia Sophia (once a church, then a mosque, now a museum), the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace – and get a glimpse into the opulent life of the Ottoman Empire. Cruise up the Bosphorus to the Black Sea or out into the Sea of Marmara to the Princes Islands.

The Roman mosaic museum and the nearby Rasta Bazaar are full of beautiful silks, embroideries, leather goods, and carpets, carpets, carpets! Check out Kumkapi for freshly caught seafood, Haci Abdullah for classic Ottoman dishes, or take a ferry ride to the Eastern side for fabulous regional foods at Ciya. Visit Yanothererebatan cistern or the hamam for a turkish steam bath and a good scrub down and massage. If you have more time to spare head to Cappadocia for a balloon flight, or the Turquoise coast for a gulet cruise.

photo, image, Istanbul

Busy, bustling Istanbul.

 

photo, image, people, istanbul

Friendly locals.

Solo Travel Destination Rating System

Safety - 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language - 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)

Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)

Related posts:

  • Pamela

    Hey Charlotte- great info. My BF & I are going in October. Do you have the name/address of the hammam you went to? I keep trying to find one, but all the expensive ones are what get reviewed. Any other hidden treasures you would suggest? Thanks Pamela

  • lona

    I just returned from a solo trip to Istanbul in nyc to niagara falls bus and enthusiastically agree with your assessment.you are right istanbul has best culture and traditions.

  • Charlotte Randløv

    Hey, I love travelling solo, but friend and I went to Istanbul 3 weeks ago and found the whole experience wonderful. I really see no difficulties in travelling alone there next time! Oh be sure!! to visit one of the many beautiful Hammams. My friend was not fond of the idea at first, but at the end I had to drag her out of there:) nearly dehydrated. (Remember a bottle of water) We lived at a hostel in Sulthanamet, the old part of the city, with a rooftop terrace (plus kittens) and the fine, fresh food and all the 2-liras appelteas you could drink.. Just walk around and once in awhile, when it gets to hot, step into a mosque.

    Vidunderligt<3

  • Nil Paşalıoğlu

    Yes exactly it is the galata bridge..

  • Ismail Acar

    Yes you are right Martin..It’s Galata Bridge (first photo)

  • Erana Leiken

    Are there any group tours or private guides fellow solo travelers would recommend in Istanbul? I’m a senior female traveler…haven’t traveled solo in a long time. Any suggestions welcome.

  • Reydan

    Hello Sandifa,

    Are you planning to go to Cappadocia, Pamukkale directly?

    If you stop in Istanbul I would highly recommend to stay at Retaj Royale Istanbul, On my recent stay I stayed at that hotel they have free shuttle service to historical sites and airport. I enjoyed a lot!

  • Reydan

    Hello Janice, it seems that you had a good time in Istanbul

  • http://twitter.com/jamesmartino martin

    i dont think that is the bosphorous bridge, i think it is the galata.

  • Arthi

    Thank you for writing this post, and I am very happy to read the endorsements of Turkey as a safe place to travel for a solo, female traveler. I am planning a trip in a couple of months, and concerns for safety have been on the top of my mind – this eases them considerably.

    @em_s:disqus I am planning on going to Cappadocia, Pamukkale and Ephesus. Would you recommend any particular hotels/hostels or tour companies that you used and loved?

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    Thanks Lee-Ann. It’s always helpful to have additional perspective in the comments. Maybe you have another destination in Turkey you could share information on. Just click the link in the post and complete the form if you’re so inclined.

    Happy New Year,
    Janice

  • Lee-Anne – Australia

    I travelled solo to Istanbul and Fethiye (on the southern coast) earlier this year as part of a 4 month trip and like many others I fell in love with Turkey. I was very apprehensive about going, but I felt safe and had no problems getting around. People went out of their way to help. Yes, the men are the biggest flirts around, but accept that and be firm but polite and keep moving. It is all part of the game they play and if you don’t stress about it, it can be fun! When I ate in restaurants the staff always had a chat and and made me feel really welcome. Staff at my hotel even took me about for a night on the town. I am planning another trip very soon to see a lot more this beautiful country. Enjoy!

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    What a ringing endorsement. I just have to get there. Thanks for sharing.

  • Em S

    I just returned from a 10-day solo trip to Turkey, visiting Ephesus (Izmir/Selcuk), Cappadocia, and Istanbul. Of all the trips I’ve been on, THIS ONE will be my all-time fave when I look back upon my life 40-50 years from now. I’ve never met a friendlier, more generous, and passionate group of people in my life. I’ve already decided to spend my 40th bday there in 2014. I’ve never thought I would return to a country due to all the many places I want to see before I die; however, I will be going back to Turkey repeated times, I have no doubt. That says a lot! Gorgeous country, wonderful people, great economical intra-country transportation (bus and flights), magical, enchanting, mysterious….all in one! I LOVE TURKEY!!!! What else can I say?!#@!

  • Mango

    I just returned from a solo trip to Istanbul and enthusiastically agree with your assessment.

    As a tall blond American woman, I was a bit apprehensive about wandering around by myself in a city that swells to 20 million during the workday. It took me a day or two to figure out how to deal with the banter from the shop guys (“American?” “Australian?” Come see my shop” “Why won’t you stop and talk to me?” yada yada yada). For me, the best solution was to politely ignore them — I wasn’t rude, I just kept walking, eyes forward, without saying one word. (If you say anything or even smile, you invite the hand shaking, the questions, the sales pitches. If you want to politely avoid all that, just keep walking. Trust me, they don’t take it personally.)

    Bottom line: I felt 100% safe, mostly because Istanbul is a 24/7 city — it’s non-stop and there are always people on the streets.

    At least in the the tourists areas, it’s incredibly clean. No trash, no dog poop, no graffiti (although I did see graffiti on the Galata Tower side).

    I can’t say it better than you did. Istanbul is a place you must experience if you’re interested in architecture, art or world history. The food is incredible and not expensive. Everyone I encountered spoke English. Here’s my number one tip: don’t miss “theothertour.com” for a totally off-the-beaten track cultural experience. It was a highlight of my trip.

  • Auddie A.

    sounds great! although i had a friend who went and she said it was difficult to get around because hardly anyone spoke English and luckily she stayed with a local..hmm..
    I’ve always wanted to go to Turkey for the culture and to see the great historical sights, being a student of history. This is reassuring =)

  • Ourjourneytothesea.com

    Turkey = high on the travel list

  • marika

    hello, I came across your lovely blog and decided to contact you. I am searching blogs on which I can have our holiday home in Sicily featured. We have a lovely cottage in the village of Giarratana in the south east tip of Sicily and we have found that we need to start renting it out to facilitate its upkeep. I wonder if you would be interested in doing a blog post about it? I did try to email you but could not find the address so I sent a comment instead.

    Marika Azzopardi
    Malta
    00356 79663266

About Janice Waugh and Tracey Nesbitt

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 8.52.44 PMI'm an author, blogger, speaker and traveler. I became a widow and empty-nester at about the same time. And then, I became Solo Traveler... Here's the full story. >>
Tracey NesbittI’m a writer, editor, food and wine fanatic, and traveler. On my very first trip abroad I learned that solo travel was for me. Here's the full story. >>

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