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DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Istanbul Flexibound – 1 Jun 2009
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'"A pleasurable read with ravishing photography plus maps and plans of supreme quality."' - The Observer
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We stayed primarily within the historic neighbourhood of Eminonu (where the Blue Mosque, Haghia Sofia and Topkapi Palace are). The streets are labyrinthine but the maps are accurate so we had no trouble finding our way around. At every location, the book gives excellent descriptions and the cut-away illustrations just add to the detail. In particular, we found the suggested walking routes very useful.
I highly recommend this book, but it wold be a good idea to read most of it before you go so that you can really look at the place as well as reading about it. The city is fantastic - I'm obsessed with the place now - nad intend to go back several times, armed with this book.
Some tips -
Our first problem was getting from the airport, as everything seems very vague. We ended up getting the bus into town and then a taxi to our hotel (he got lost!), but on the way back we took the airport shuttle from our hotel. In a city like this, USE THE AIRPORT SHUTTLE BOTH WAYS! Expedia give you the option, I'll definitely tick that box next time.
Take plenty of money - food is quite cheap but entries into places soon mount up. They aren't expenseive - 10 lira is about £4.50 ish, but you might pay four or five fares in a day, which quickly eats at your funds.
If you're shopping, only accept tea where you actually want to buy something (they're offended if you refuse tea, but even more offended if you drink it without buying anything), and HAGGLE all you can :-)
Have a great time!
A lot glossier but not as useful as the Rough Guide.
For a city with as much history and as many sites I would recommend this one over the Top 10 as it gives more background and context. However, it could still do with more (in my opinion) as this is a massivley important city with a complex and fascinating history - condensed to a few pages. Still, it was a guide book not a history book...but I can't help feeling that, as there is so much history, any guide book needs to really have covered off enough history to make the sites meaningful to a visitor. I didn't use either guide for eating or accommodation references - I think tripadvisor has pretty much made most guide books redundant in this regard. The information on these very changeable matters is just much more up-to-date on sites like tripadvisor.
The Istanbul guide comes into its own with the cut-away plans. This was beneficial in several places - Hagia Sophia especially. I guess I was slightly disappointed by what I felt was a lack of depth to this guide (compared to other DK ones) but it still served its purpose well enough and was more useful than the Top 10. The maps (as I usually find with all guide book maps) were fairly useless overall - the ones from our hotel were much better.
By and large the tourist information is about right for me- no long reams of text but easily enough to get the salient points of interest, and good on practical points like transportation options. For city breaks DK books are hard to beat, IMHO!.
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