Istanbul City Break Trip Notes

Istanbul City Break

Last Modified: 05 Oct 2012
Istanbul City Break
Trip code: ERAZ-O
Validity: 01 Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2012
With labyrinthine bazaars and ornate buildings, enchanting Istanbul is a delight to visit. Explore its highlights, including historic Sultanahmet, the Blue Mosque, the Suleymaniye Mosque and the Rustem Pasha Mosque. Pick up a bargain at the colourful Grand Bazaar and tantalise senses at the famous Spice Market. With plenty of free time to see the beautiful Aya Sofya and indulge in delicious Turkish cuisine, this compact City Break is sure to impress.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxJoining point instructions
ThemesImportant notesArrival complications
MapGroup sizeFinish point
ItineraryAccommodationFinish point description
Culture shock rating MealsEmergency contact
Physical ratingTransportVisas
Money ExchangeGroup leaderIssues on your trip
Spending moneyJoining point Carbon offset
TippingJoining point description
Original, Basix, Comfort
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Short Breaks
Istanbul City Break
Day 1 Arrive Istanbul
Hosgeldinz! Welcome to Istanbul.
You will be met on arrival at Istanbul's Atarturk Airport and transferred to your hotel. Please note that arrival airport transfers are included, so please advise Intrepid of your flight details when booking and there will be a representative to meet you at the airport and transfer you to our hotel. You must advise us of these details at least 14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided. Transfer is only provided from Ataturk Airport. If you plan to arrive earlier this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
Check-in time at our joining point hotel is after 2pm. Early check-in is not guaranteed, however if you arrive early, luggage storage is available. Speak to the hotel reception on arrival.
Day 2 Istanbul
The City Break gets underway with a walking tour of Istanbul's hidden gems, beginning in historic Sultanahmet. Marvel at the ornate Blue Mosque, regarded as the finest of its kind with six minarets and outstanding tile work. Afterwards, explore the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar - a haven for bargain hunters with more than 4,000 shops. Next up is the Suleymaniye Mosque and the Rustem Pasha Mosque before a visit to the hectic trading district and local markets. End the day by tantalising senses at Istanbul's famous Spice Market and treating taste buds to authentic Turkish delight.
Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, so it will come as no surprise that this vast metropolis is home to a beguiling mix of different cultures and traditions, blending the influences of both east and west. Originally founded by Greek settlers over 2000 years ago, Istanbul originally went by the name of Byzantium, then Constantinople when the Romans made it the capital of their eastern empire. Today, intriguing Istanbul is a bustling mega-city with a population of over 12 million people and a rich history and food scene waiting to be explored.
Day 3 Free Day Istanbul
Spend another day sightseeing in Istanbul at your leisure. Be sure to check out the beautiful Ayasofya before departing this enigmatic city.
    • Turkey Experience (ERKP)
    • Turkey Express (ERSA)
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Physical rating

    Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
    Money Exchange
    The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY, although prior to 2005 the currency code was TL).
    ATMs are common throughout the main cities and these are a safe and convenient way to withdraw money. Credit cards are also widely accepted. Cash in any of the major currencies (EUR, GBP and USD) is easily changed. Travellers cheques in major currencies (EUR, GBP and USD) can be changed at selected local banks but it can be time consuming and subject to high fees.
    Turkey is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming, the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Turkey to be a budget destination.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
    The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
    Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest 2-3 euro per person per day for local guides.
    Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however 2-3 euro per person per day is generally appropriate.
    Gulet boat trips: If you are travelling through southern Turkey on a gulet boat trip we suggest 2-3 euro per person per day for the boat staff.
    Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline 3 euro per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Please note that you are responsible for your own visas and taxes. Please have these amounts available prior to departing the various countries.
    Important notes
    If booking an airport arrival transfer please inform us at the time of booking which of Istanbul's two airports you will be arriving at. Sabiha Gokcen is on the Asian shore while Ataturk Airport is on the European side and much closer to our hotels.
    In 2012 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from the 20th July through till the 18th August, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it is a period of National holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be impacted.
    Group size
    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
    Please note that Turkey can have extreme weather. Winter (approx. November to February) can be very cold. Not all of our hotels have heating so consider bringing thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period. Summer (approx. June to August) can be very hot. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. Please consider the seasons when planning your trip.
    2 Breakfasts
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    EUR 80.00
    Breakfast is generally a very simple affair and typically consists of bread, jam, tea / coffee and on occasion tomato, cucumber, and juice (or similar).
    Group leader
    This Short Break Adventure is a 'join in' group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader - our local representative fills this role - and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip.
    The aim of our local representative is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. On this style of trip you might have one person stay with you for the entire journey, or you might get to enjoy the variety of having someone different for each day and/or activity. They will all be to provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and, where possible, introduce you to our local friends. While some may not be guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
    Joining point
    ERAZ - Intrepid Istanbul
    Intrepid Istanbul Turizm, Tic. San. Ltd. Sti Divanyolu Cad, Ticarethane Sok. No 11. 1st floor
    Sultanahmet Mah
    Phone: +90 2125127144
    Joining point description

    Extra accommodation pre and post tour can be requested for these hotels, please ask your booking agent.
    Hotels will depend on style of short break booked- Basix, Original or Comfort. The hotels below will be used for most departures. If an alternative hotel will be used, details will be provided by your booking agent prior to travel.
    Anzac Wooden House (Basix style hotel)
    Akbiyik Degirmeni Caddesi Konut sokak
    No:17 Sultanahmet
    Tel: +90 212 518 1726
    Best Town Palace Hotel (Original style hotel)
    Best Town Palace Hotel
    Hoca Pasa Mh., Istasyon Ar Sk 9, 34200
    AND Hotel (Comfort style hotel)
    Yerebatan Cadesi, Cami Cikmazi Number 36-40
    +90 2125120207
    Joining point instructions
    You will be picked up from your nominated Sultanhamet hotel at 830AM on Day 2. Please provide your travel agent with the details of your pick up hotel at least 2 weeks before departure.
    Pick up will only be provided from hotels in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul. If staying in another part of town please make your own way to the Intrepid Istanbul Office in Sultanahmet by 830 AM:
    Intrepid Istanbul Turizm Tic. San. Ltd. Sti
    Divanyolu Cad, Ticarethane Sok. No 11. 1st floor
    Sultanahmet Mah
    For arrival complications please contact Intrepid Istanbul :
    Office +90 (0) 212 512 7144
    Mob +90 532 641 6514
    Mob +90 532 405 2687
    Directions to the Intrepid Istanbul Office:
    Turn right off the main street Divanyolu, 50m down on the left hand side after the Sultanahmet tram stop. Turn left on the corner of the kebab shop opposite the Firuz Ağa Camii- (Firuz Aga Mosque). Walk 20m past the street kiosk and you will see the office located on the first floor above a Carpet shop called Noahs Ark. It is opposite Rumii and Mosaik Restaurants. The office is well signed, however, officially it is listed as the office on the 1st floor but in fact is located on the 2nd floor of the building. The 1st floor is empty and there is a sign stating that our office is the next floor up.
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the Joining Instructions section above for who to contact.
    If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, again following the Joining Instructions in these trip notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
    No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
    Finish point
    ERAZ - Intrepid Istanbul
    Intrepid Istanbul Turizm, Tic. San. Ltd. Sti Divanyolu Cad, Ticarethane Sok. No 11. 1st floor
    Sultanahmet Mah
    Phone: +90 2125127144
    Finish point description

    Extra accommodation pre and post tour can be requested for these hotels, please ask your booking agent.
    Hotels will depend on style of short break booked- Basix, Original or Comfort. The hotels below will be used for most departures. If an alternative hotel will be used, details will be provided by your booking agent prior to travel.
    Anzac Wooden House (Basix style hotel)
    Akbiyik Degirmeni Caddesi Konut sokak
    No:17 Sultanahmet
    Tel: +90 212 518 1726
    Best Town Palace Hotel (Original style hotel)
    Best Town Palace Hotel
    Hoca Pasa Mh., Istasyon Ar Sk 9, 34200
    AND Hotel (Comfort style hotel)
    Yerebatan Cadesi, Cami Cikmazi Number 36-40
    +90 2125120207
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency only, Intrepid's Istanbul Operations team can be reached on the following numbers:
    - Office: +90 (0) 212 512 7144
    - Mobile: +90 (0) 532 641 2822
    For further contact details please use the following page:
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    Australia: Yes - on arrival
    Belgium: Yes - on arrival
    Canada: Yes - on arrival
    Germany: No - not required
    Ireland: Yes - on arrival
    Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
    New Zealand: No - not required
    South Africa: Yes - on arrival
    Switzerland: No - not required
    United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
    USA: Yes - on arrival
    Visa costs can change depending on the political climate of the region. For Turkey, an entry visa is required for citizens of the following countries (not limited to this list):
    - USA (US$60),
    - Canada (US$60 on arrival; CAD$75 for advance application)
    - U.K. (US$60; GBP45 for advance application)
    - Australia (US$60 on arrival)
    - Austria, Belgium, Canada, Holland, Ireland, Israel, Portugal & Spain (varies from US$10-100)
    The visa costs can change at any time and with little notice depending on the political climate of the region.
    A valid passport is sufficient for citizens of most other countries including New Zealand, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland for stays up to 3 months. All other nationalities please check with your nearest Turkish embassy.
    Generally visas can easily be attained on arrival although sometimes the lines for these can be quite long. Visas obtained on entry must be paid in cash in US$ or EUR so ensure you have some on hand. It is also possible to pay by Credit Card however passenger feedback suggests this is not very reliable. Depending on your nationality, visas are either valid for 3 months or 1 year.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing (3/4 trousers that come to the calf is fine) is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 48.00 kgs per pax.