Florence or Istanbul?


Apr 18th, 2013, 12:14 AM
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Florence or Istanbul?

Hi! I'm doing a Eurotrip over the summer with a friend (we're both 21). Our plan is to go to Barcelona, Ibiza, one other place, and then end with Amsterdam since we used to live there. We are trying to figure out where to go for the third destination. Istanbul seemed exotic and neat and I've heard great things about Florence. I've never been to either Italy or Turkey. We were also considering Marrakech but I felt like I would prefer Istanbul? (Maybe someones been there as well)

What do you guys think? Any tips would be appreciated
WanderlustBruin is offline  
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Apr 18th, 2013, 12:20 AM
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I would take Istanbul over Florence and Marrakech--I've been to all three.
Michael is online now  
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Apr 18th, 2013, 12:35 AM
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Istanbul. It's cheaper and more exotic than Florence.

If you go to Turkey, make sure you have a new, crisp $20 bill to pay for your visa on arrival.
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Apr 18th, 2013, 03:41 AM
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Florence would be the easier option as it is nearer to your other destinations. But Istanbul would be a great place to travel to (part of the new James Bond - Skyfall film was filmed there)
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Apr 18th, 2013, 04:52 AM
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I've been to Istanbul and Marrakech. If I had to choose I would probably pick Istanbul but I would pick either in preference to Florence, mainly as a contrast to the other places that you are going, although Marrakech is probably the more different.

My 19 year old daughter was in Marrakech with friends last week - she loved it but the girls did feel a bit hassled at times.

Have you considered your flight options? Can you fly direct from, say, Ibiza to Istanbul?
CarrieAnn40 is offline  
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Apr 18th, 2013, 05:03 AM
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I prefer Florence but for someone young Istanbul is definitely the choice.
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Apr 18th, 2013, 06:56 AM
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Sparkchaser is referring to US currency - Canadian dollars (and Australian dollars) are not accepted at the Istanbul airport visa desk.

You seem to be open to a variety of options - I can't think of cities more different than land-locked, art-filled Florence (pop. 1 million) and the bustling port of Istanbul (pop. > 13 million).

Why not choose a destination that is on your way to Amsterdam? Paris seems an obvious option but there are many other choices.

You haven't told us what your interests are - or your budget - and it is hard to advise on the basis of the little you've told us.
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Apr 18th, 2013, 06:56 AM
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Two very different options. Florence is a smallish city, very pretty but of most appeal to fans of Renaissance art and architecture. Though there are lots of daytrip options from Florence.

Istanbul is a big city (on two continents!), very lively, with lots going on, lots to see and a distinctly more foreign feel than the rest of Europe. But still easy to visit. If you're interested in nightlife, Istanbul is the place. And even if you're not, it would be my choice.
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Apr 18th, 2013, 07:21 AM
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Florence will be wall-to-wall tourists in summer.

So bad, guv, you will face a tsunami of people around the Duomo.

I would only do Florence October-March.

I have been to Istanbul.

My trip report--Turkey in the Straw: Thingorjus Sleeps in Istanbul-- was very popular here years ago.

Istanbul is very exotic.

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Apr 18th, 2013, 07:27 AM
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Both Barcelona and Ibiza are closer to Florence and your final destination of Amsterdam. I guess a lot depends on where you are starting your trip. If it was me doing it from Australia I would fly to Istanbul via Dubai and then on to Spain, but if you are coming from USA then Istanbul is rather out of the way. Having been to both cities my vote would be for Istanbul especially as you are 21. There is so much to see and do there and plenty of night life.
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Apr 18th, 2013, 11:01 AM
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Thank you guys so much, you all have been really helpful!

We're not too concerned about going out of the way tooo much. Although Florence is a cheaper flight, maybe Istanbul is cheaper once you get there? And we're going back to Barcelona after Ibiza first since there are barely any flights from Ibiza and if there are they're super expensive!

I'm flying from the states to London first to visit a friend and then flying from there to Barcelona. And I've visited most places in Western Europe except Italy, but I may have to go with Istanbul! It seems very very neat. It seems full of culture and nightlife as well.
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Apr 18th, 2013, 12:47 PM
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For cheap flights:
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Apr 20th, 2013, 08:23 AM
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Both places will be hot and crowded. While more expensive Florence is perhaps more familiar and easy than Istanbul. Istanbul is exotic and cheaper than Europ but is wall to wall people and crazy traffic. It's taken me 3 days just to become accostumed to street life & warching for steps, broken stones and hawkers.

It really depends what you want. It sounds like you've visited Europe so Istanbul maybe a good choice.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 09:31 AM
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Do you like apples or oranges??..6 of one and half dozen of the other.. I'd take IST and drop Marrekesh personally..Also it was mentioned above by Sparkchaser that $20 for the visa is US$ only. True but if you are not a US cit. you must pay more and I believe in US$. Mine was $20 and Can. Husb. was $60US. You can check it out on Turk visa web site.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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Florence is probably my least favorite Italian city, and I am obsessed with Italy. I wouldn't go there in the summer (!) unless you want to buy gold, eat wild boar, fry an egg on the sidewalk ( if you can find enough space) or shuffle along in the huge crowds trying to see Michelangelo's David.

Go to Istanbul. It's completely unlike any other city in the world, and will leave you wishing you had at least another week to spend there. But before you visit, read thingorjus's excellent report on the city. Have fun!
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