Touristanbul: A traveler’s review

Recently, I flew from Kathmandu to Istanbul and my final destination was New York City. I decided to fly through Turkish Airlines this time and visit Istanbul instead of my regular routes through Dubai and Doha.

I had done research on Touristanbul and was excited to experience it first hand. Tours are available on different days and times. Anyone who flies through Istanbul and has a waiting time of at least 6 hours can join any of the tours. You would need a visa to get out of Istanbul Atatürk Airport and to travel within the country. It is a very easy process to get an electronic visa and you can get all the needed visa information right here.

Based on my Tuesday morning tour (8:30am-11am), here are my observations:

Best things of the tour:

-You will get to see a variety of attractions in just two hours
-Two stops (Galata Bridge and Dolmabahçe Palace) for photo sessions are worth it
-Tour guide was very knowledgeable and helpful

Can be better of the tour:

-A much more immersive cultural experience might be gained through a longer tour
-20 minutes at Dolmabahçe Palace won’t give you enough time to visit the palace so a different location where the visitors can actually get to experience Turkish culture/history/food would be better
-A short stop at a local souvenirs shop towards the end of the tour would be good. I actually had to rush through the airport shops to buy the souvenirs after the tour.
-Since the longer tours include lunch or dinner, this short tour can include a local Turkish treat (can be eaten in the bus or when stopped for photo sessions). I had heard a lot about Turkish treats and wanted to enjoy it while there.