Istanbul, Athens, or Cairo...

Aug 15th, 2003, 04:48 AM
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Posts: 171
Istanbul, Athens, or Cairo...

Okay- now I KNOW this isn?t exactly a Europe post but I really love all the advise on the Europe board and you folks seem awfully well traveled so I decided to risk the flaming and post here!

I am a single woman from the U.S. planning on going on a solo vacation this fall. Sept, Oct or Nov?
I have only traveled in North America, Central America, Carribbean and a little in Western Europe and am thinking of doing someplace a little more exotic but I?m only going for about a week so my top choice of Thailand is out of the question.

I am considering Cairo, Istanbul or Athens. I am looking for a fairly friendly place that I can eats lots of local foods, shop in markets (and get great deals?), maybe pamper myself with a massage or two, and do some sight seeing. I know very little about all three cities but they have wonderful deals and I?m thinking may be a nice time to go.

I am a bit adventurous but would be my first time truly solo.

I LOVE to research my trips but was hoping to have some ideas and direction and ideas from those who know!

Any tips, wisdom or pros and cons for these cities would be GREATLY appreciated.

Which city would you say is the "cheapest"???
crosbie is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 05:12 AM
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Istanbul is one incredible city. There are plenty of clean, decent, inexpensive hotels.

Lots of history on display: Roman, Byzantine, Selcuk, Ottoman. So much to see: Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Leander's Tower, Galata Tower, Dolmabace Palace ...

Turkish food can be incredible. Kebabs, Turkish pizza, Turkish Delight and BAKLAVA!!

I don't know if Istanbul is the cheapest, but it is great value for money.
drsawyers is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 07:24 AM
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Good luck to you. I've visited all 3 - and would say Istanbul for sure.
alice13 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 10:54 AM
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thanks-- I always thought Istanbul might be it....

I didnt know what there might be for day trips from there...

anyone??? ...
crosbie is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 11:52 AM
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Day trips:

You can take a ferry up the Bosphorus. the banks are lined with palaces, including Dolmabace, and other interesting buildings. There is also a pair of fortresses (Anadolu Husari on the Asian side and Rumeli Husari on the European side).

The Princes Islands are also an easy day trip from Istanbul by ferry.

Lonely Planet has a good Turkey guidebook with lots of info on Istanbul.
drsawyers is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 03:07 PM
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Istanbul, without a doubt!! Cairo and Athens are worth a visit, but Istanbul is magical. You won't be sorry.
lindam is offline  
Aug 16th, 2003, 12:03 PM
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I too agree with Istanbul, however, I'd hate to know I was in Turkey and didn't take the opportunity to get to Ephesus. There is plenty to see in Istanbul and you can probably get all the "must sees" and lots of extras done in 4-full days.

But with only a few extra days, the easiest way to get to Ephesus would be to fly to Izmir and do the tour to the site from there. Once you've selected a hotel in IST, you might want to check with them whether there is a package you can get to fly to/fr and a guide for Ephesus. Air is approx $75-$100 each way, but with a package you can probably do better. Fly down first thing in the morning and return late afternoon, unless you choose to stay over and investigate Kusadasi or Izmir.

Also note, that by end Oct and into November the weather is Turkey can get quite chilly.

Aug 17th, 2003, 04:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 171
Thanks so much...Istanbul it is. I bought a guide book and will probably go for 7 days total. Planning to spend a few days in the city and serveral outside. Ephesus I think will be on my list! Thanks for the suggestion Sandi. Lindam I got my lonley planet guide book today... Now if Verizon would only take care of their union negotiations I would be free to book!! No vacations allowed for me until they settle!

I am looking forward to the turkish bath, turkish food, day trips and the bazaar.

Thank you everyone!
crosbie is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 03:00 PM
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Hi Crosbie, I'm travelling to Istanbul in two weeks Oct 22-26th. Will you be travelling around that time?
malika2177 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 07:34 PM
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You won't regret Istanbul. I also went there solo, and loved every minute. People were wonderful, food was great, sights were amazing. As was shopping--but be prepared to bargain. If you're a history buff, read John Julius Norwich's "A Short History of Byzantium" before you go--it will put a lot in perspective. It's actually not short, but is a condensation of a fabulous 3-volume series. Save that for after you return.
crys is offline  
Oct 8th, 2003, 04:25 AM
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crosbie -

Glad to hear your decision is Turkey. You won't be disappointed.
Oct 8th, 2003, 05:08 AM
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If you are spending any time outside Istanbul and going to Ephesus, I cannot recommend enough the small town of Sirince nearby. It is picturesque, only 45 minute drive from Izmir airport, which is easy to use and has good rental car facilities, try Thrifty or Budget or Sixt, all of which have websites. To stay in Sirince, look up Nisanyan on the internet. The family has a beautiful B&B full of antiques overlooking the village. They also publish a guide called Small Hotels of Turkey or something with a website too. Sirince is only a ten minute drive from Ephesus and much more quaint than the other larger cities which are a bit closer. You can drive and park at Ephesus, go early in the morning, as it was the only crowded place we were in two weeks in Turkey in May and June this year. With a good guide book you can tour yourself. Also, in Istanbul I recommend the Ibrahim Pasha hotel. Young helpful staff, wonderful breakfast room. Walking distance to Aya Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, dining and entertainment districts of the old town. For shopping, you must go to Sofa. They have two locations, each on a street between the Ibrahim Pasha hotel and the Grand Bazaar, wonder items for home decor and gifts that are local and yet not touristy. The owners, a husband and wife, speak wonderful English and were most helpful in recommending restaurants as well.
laurie_ann is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 06:08 AM
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I have been to Athens and Cairo. Now I am going to Istanbul at the end of November, and I plan to stay the whole week in town. But I have been to Ephesus and many other places in Turkey, so I don't feel tempted to go further than Istanbul.

Athens is a place to see Parthenon and other historical places + the museum, but otherwise it is not a very charming city. At least I did not think so. And while it is perfectly fine for a lone woman to travel both in Greece and Turkey, it is not so in Egypt. It does not matter how covering and modest clothes you wear, or how invisible you try to be: a western woman alone in Egypt (outside the beach places, and unless she is granny age) is not a "good woman", and gets treated accordingly. I will never go to Egypt by myself again. It is best to have a man with you, or at least a woman friend.
elina is offline  

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