European travel guru Rick Steves has changed things up a bit for one of his latest books. This new stand-alone guide to Istanbul was not written by him–a first for the super active and involved guide book master. Instead, Rick turned the project over to a pair of trustworthy and knowledgeable Europe Through the Back Door tour guides.
Husband and wife team, Lale Surmen Aran and Tankut Aran are an Istanbul couple that run a “Back Door” style travel agency, SRM Travel, and have led several Rick Steves’ Best of Turkey Tours. As Rick states in an introductory sidebar, “I believe [Lale and Tankut] know their hometown better than any non-Turk ever could. And, after a lifetime of tour guiding, they relate well to Americans and understand their needs and concerns.”
This city guide is a nice slim fit for your backpack or day-bag, loaded with tips on where to dine, sleep and shop in Istanbul. The Turkish travel duo suggest self-guided tours of Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar and other sites, as well as walking tours of the Old Town back streets, the historic center, the Golden Horn inlet and the New District.