We flew to Istanbul for a long weekend from Chicago, had very little time in Istanbul and found this tour with just two spots left. An earlier reviewer noted the higher price, but in comparison to other tours we have taken this was considerably less expensive and was so much more memorable.

This tour does NOT spend much, if any, time in heavily visited tourist areas. In fact, we never happened upon another tourist group. We saw all sides of Istanbul during our day – rich, poor, conservative Muslim areas and more. Truly unique and memorable.

Despite how much is crammed into a day (Europe and Asia side) the time was well paced with tons of breaks for food along the way. Our guide was Polat (Paul) – he was great – if you wanted to stop and try something we stopped. I’m pretty sure we stopped at least 6 times to “snack” – and we didn’t do the full-day tour.

We were picked up at 8AM sharp at our hotel – nice 10 passenger Sprinter van, and had a couple of more stops to pick up the remainder of the group – this only took about 20-30 minutes. After we had everyone we found our way to a boat and headed to the Asia side – spend a couple of hours there, took a boat to a different area on the European side, and found our way through a slew of neighborhoods…..around mid-day we had a longer boat ride between both suspension bridges in Istanbul —- it was just a boat ride but provided a break and great photo opportunities.

If you’re a photographer this tour will present thousands of photo opportunities – and not just of mosques and other buildings. I’d come armed with a camera and an appetite. And don’t be afraid to try the food — the goat cheese was the only bad thing!

There is no real agenda – though I think the route is somewhat planned. I can assure you though, you would not have gone to these places on your own.Fair amount of walking — if you are on crutches, in a wheelchair, walker — I’d skip. I think the total distance walked was 7 miles — felt like less though.

Lastly, this tour can thrive off of the group itself – the more you are open and into it, the better it will be.