8 Keys to Success for Istanbul Accessible Travel
By John Sage
Handicapped Travel to Istanbul is complicated by the difficulties disabled travelers encounter when researching and planning the trip. The best accessible trips are well planned and full of great accessible sightseeing activities. 8 Keys to Success for handicapped travel to Istanbul are listed below.
1. Boat cruise on the Bosporus – While the narrow streets and grand buildings in Istanbul provide great views, one of the greatest views is to see it all from the water. Build into your itinerary a full day to take an accessible boat cruise up the Bosporus to the Black Sea. Accessible boats depart from near the Galata Bridge (boat ramps shown in the photos below).
2. Eat and shop with the locals in the Grand Bazaar – Visiting the Grand Bazaar has been a part of Istanbul daily life for over 500 years. Great restaurants and great souvenir shopping line the 58 covered streets that make up the bazaar (shown in the picture on the right). Much of it is wheelchair accessible, although you may encounter a few single steps and some cobblestones in the streets surrounding it.
3. Reserve accessible transportation to the sights in the old town – Because Istanbul is so hilly and the fact that there are such few accessible transportation options, many disabled tourists will need accessible taxis or wheelchair vans to get from the hotel to the major tourist sights like the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. Manual wheelchair users who can transfer into normal taxis will have an easier time getting around town.
4. Stay in the New District – If you need a wheelchair accessible hotel room, you are far more likely to find one in the New District (north of the Galata Bridge) than in the Old Town (south of the Galata Bridge). It has a far more European feel to it than the Asian feel in the Old Town. Consequently, many western European hotel chains are located there that have higher accessibility standards. Many parts of it are flat, including Taksim Square (shown in the image on the right).
5. Spend more time at Topkapi Palace than the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia combined – Although the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are by far the most famous attractions in Istanbul, the lesser known Topkapi Palace has far more to see. The palace was home to the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years. It not only has magnificent architecture and décor to view, it also houses several museums with various royal and religious artifacts. A half-day accessible visit to Topkapi Palace will be time well spent.
6. Know where the steep hills and cobblestones are located before you get there – Istanbul disabled travelers will greatly benefit by knowing where the steep hills (examples shown below) are located so that they can avoid them. A topographic map or Google’s aerial and street views will assist with planning your routes.
7. Don’t miss the National Archaeological Museum – Istanbul has a wealth of historical artifacts that have been recovered over the years that are now housed in the National Archaeological Museum. Even more impressive are the artifacts that come for other parts of Turkey (example shown in the image on the right). Spend at least a couple of hours here to learn more about the history of the Byzantines, Ottomans, and Turks.
8. Let the city come alive with an accessible guided tour – While Istanbul has some magnificent sights to view, it’s difficult to really appreciate it if you don’t have someone to explain what you are looking at. In particular, visiting the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia with a tour guide is a much better experience with a local expert.
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Istanbul Accessible Travel – main page
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9 Wheelchair Accessible Travel Tips for Istanbul Turkey
8 Keys to Success for Istanbul Disabled Travel
Istanbul Cruise Port Disabled Access Review
Hagia Sophia Disabled Access Review
Blue Mosque Wheelchair Accessibility
Disabled Access at Istanbul Topkapi Palace
Travel Insurance for Disabled Travelers
Istanbul Accessible Travel Packages
Accessible Walking and Driving Tours in Istanbul
Sultanahmet Istanbul Accessible Private Tour
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Half-day Highlights of Istanbul Handicap Accessible Tour
Half-day Turkish Istanbul Accessible Guided Tour
Old City Istanbul Accessible Group Tour
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Highlights of Istanbul Accessible Shore Excursion by Tram
Turkish Istanbul Accessible Walking Tour by Tram
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Handicapped Accessible Hotel in Istanbul
Istanbul Accessibility Guide by John Sage
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