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Scary at the top. Will Istanbul change?
This year’s results are out and Istanbul topped the Traveler’s Choice destination list! Great news for Istanbul’s travel industry, but what about for travelers?
Travelers take Istanbul to the top
Topping the trusted Trip Advisor world destination list for 2014 hints at the great experiences that people are having in this city, and its desirability in the eyes of travelers is going to go through the roof. The city has been climbing the chart in recent years jumping from #12 last year, up to #1. It shares the top spots with the likes of New York, Paris, London and Rome. The list is determined based on the popularity of destinations, taking into account travelers’ favorites and most highly rated places.
Clearly Istanbul is the place to be. But for how long? Cities have been known to drop over 10 positions in just one year – Marrakech dropped 13 positions from 2012 to 2013, and Siem Reap down 14 spots, though both bounced back in 2014 into the top 10.
Will its popularity hold up over the coming year? Or, will the increased publicity have knock on effects that actually decrease traveler satisfaction if it becomes overrun with tourist flocks?
It’s hard to say what will happen, but you shouldn’t let a few tourists stand in your way of experiencing a place. Just get in the right mindset of exploration and heed a few tips.
Istanbul travel tips
1. Shoulder seasons – every destination has its busy times of year. If you have the choice, go just before or just after high season. In Istanbul, the months just outside the high seasons would be June, August, November, January, March. (High traffic periods are approx. mid-March to June, late August to November and the December holiday period.)
2. Consider less visited neighborhoods for your itinerary, like the Asian side and Fener & Balat. And, restaurants that still maintain a local flavour and feel, like Erol Lokantasi and other recommendations from the Culinary Backstreets team.
3. Time of day can make a big difference- early mornings mean not only beating the crowds, but also gentler lighting for taking photos. Not to mention fewer people photo bombing your epic shots.
4. Beware of scams and hard sells in Istanbul. Unfortunately, some people see tourists as easy targets, luckily you won’t be. Get the scoop here on Istanbul scams.
There you go. Annoyances minimized. Well, not quite.
Expecting a deserted urban island is albeit unrealistic, and it is your patience and mindset that will get you through an extra long queue or through a crowd of market goers.
Special mentions from the 2014 list: Prague has also risen in the ranks to hit the top 5 this year and another newcomer to the top 10 is Hanoi, Vietnam.
What do you think? You can put your thoughts in the comments below.
Will you be torn between Europe and Asia or is it an easy choice for you?
What do you think will happen to Istanbul?
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