- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Time Out; 3rd edition edition (5 April 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846700108
- ISBN-13: 978-1846700101
- Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.5 x 1.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,430,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Time Out Istanbul 3rd edition Paperback – 5 Apr 2007
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"Offers a refreshing insider's view of the city." (Daily Telegraph)
Time Out Istanbul offers the definitive picture of Turkey's cultural capitalSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
First of all it is now a couple of years old and it really shows! Admittance prices have all at least doubled from what's indicated on the guide. Entrance to Aghia Sophia is now 20YTL instead of 10YTL, The Bosforus cruise costs 20YTL, not 7YTL, tram tokens are 1.50YTL not 1.30YTL etc.
Also lots of indications are plainly wrong. They indicate a nice coffee shop called Pierre Loti in the Eyup district and just say that Bus 55 goes there (where from? we are not allowed to know!). I went to the Eminonu bus station and found out that it is in fact the 99A that takws you to Eyup.
The book indicates the boat docks by Sirkeci/Eminonu as the starting point for the Princes Islands cruise but when I went there they told me the boat leaves from Kabatas, at the other end of town! Thank you Time Out!
Finally, yes, you get good reviews for all the restaurants, bars and clubs, but you can't have just a page or sometimes even less for the major sights such as the Blue Mosque, Aghia Sophia, etc.
Topkapi Palace gets slightly more space, it is after all Istanbul's most famous attraction (!), but again, the rices are out of date and the guide does not mention that you have to pay again once inside the Palace if you want to see the Harem.
I also missed having a larger map of Istanbul with the outside district and a map of Turkey included in this book.
All together quite a let down.
The best part of this book is the section on the history of the city: interesting and entertaining - just what a good guide book should be.
But there isn't enough detail about the historical sights. For example, about one and a half pages are devoted to Haghia Sophia - Istanbul's foremost attraction. Meanwhile there is a 4-page section on Gay & Lesbian life in the city, including rather too much detail about what goes on in certain hammams.
If the balance had been the other way around, it would have been a much more useful book for our visit.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Plenty of information on restaurants (especially pricey ones), cafes, clubs, etc... but less focus on touristic places and hotels. Average on general info (how to get in and out of airport, tips, currency, etc). History and other background information is not its strength. Not so much on excursion outside the town (Good info on Bosphorus cruise and islands nearby but there are a lot more around IST). I guess this is exactly what we should expect from Time-Out, which is mainly for entertainment of the locals.
If you visit the city to "enjoy the city" rather than enjoy tourism and driving around the area, this is probably the book for you. For "enjoy the city" purpose, I think this book, with a lot of up-to-date information by probably local active contributors, is hard to beat.
Time Out gives you an insider's view of the city from an expat-resident perspective and though its listings are much more opinionated than standard guidebooks, this is a very good thing. The additional info you'll get on everything from standard tourist sites to off-the-beaten-track hammams will help steer you in a direction that best suites your personal aesthetic, comfort level and style of travel. The guide is very well indexed and organized so it's easy to locate the information you need while you are out and about. I found the section on Bosphorus ferries and day trips out of the city particularly useful and much more in depth than other guides. Be sure to pick up a copy of the monthly English language Time Out Istanbul magazine as soon as you arrive for event schedules, music listings and articles on what is going on in the city while you are there as it provides a seamless "update" to the guide itself.
The maps in the back of the guide are fairly detailed, but are printed on several pages. If you plan to do a lot of walking, particularly in areas outside the central historic Sultanahmet district, I would recommend supplementing this guide with a more detailed city map such as the Istanbul Map (Travel Reference Map) as this city is a maze of back alleys and winding, unmarked passageways and it's a bit difficult tracking down shops and restaurants using the included maps. If you like history this book provides an intelligent and well written intro and an excellent list of recommended reading. Use this guide to build the day's itinerary, choose restaurants, shopping venues and activities and then add a little Freeley (John Freely's Istanbul) and recent Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul: Memories and the City) to your in-flight reading list.
If you want a hip, insightful and savvy guide to the lively city of today, this is a wonderful guide that will not steer you wrong. If you are doing the standard loop of historic sites in old Istanbul, then many other city guidebooks provide perfectly adequate coverage as well. Beware that many country-specific guidebooks to Turkey provide rather thin coverage of the city itself.
-Best maps by far of the 6 guidebooks we had. We used it to walk pretty much everywhere since we all like walking.
-Good map of the subway system
-Very good restaurant recommendations in all price ranges. My friends and I have high confidence in the recommendations now. We ate at random places the first few days and then tried three recommended restaurants in our price range over the next few days. Time Out's recommendations were all significantly better than the restaurants we've found on our own. We stumbled into one restaurant which was overpriced and mediocre and later found out that Time Out had listed it as such.
-Thinner and lighter than most guidebooks. Easy to carry around
-Good pictures. Colorful pages
-Divided into easily navigable sections (e.g. accommodations, sightseeing, bars and cafes, restaurants, nightlife, food, miscellaneous useful information)
-A few fees, tramway stops, and one address were slightly outdated as of March 2009, but none of the errors caused huge problems for us
-Doesn't explicitly point out which sites are more significant or more worth visiting - can be difficult to figure out what to see for those with limited time
-Not the best source of detailed information on history, culture, religion, architecture. Best supplemented with other guidebooks
This guide offers a good, relatively concise history of Istanbul, as well as informative asides about culture, history, and customs. The entries on the sites are a few paragraphs long, and they give a good overview, although not in-depth details. Those who are interested in things beyond the tourist track can find information about nightlife, film, music, the performing arts, sports, festivals, and gay & lesbian venues. It includes map of specific areas, although none are detachable. The background content is excellent; the tourist aspects are so-so.
I got this guide because it was slim and easily packed. It was great to pinpoint the must-see sites; however, once I was there, I quickly tossed it aside. It has good information to prepare for the trip, but it didn't help all that much while I was there.
-- Debbie Lee Wesselmann