How to use public transportation in Istanbul ?

How to Use Public Transport in Istanbul

Istanbul is a very large city filled with amazing historical sights which make it a breath-taking site for tourism. Despite stretching over 5,000 km2, the city is still faced with serious traffic congestions (in fact it is one of the most congested cities in the world) due to the enormous number of tourists it draws on a daily basis and as a result of that, getting around Istanbul as a tourist may become quite an issue of concern. However, there has been a major project to take public transport in Istanbul to the next level and this has provided a good number of ways with which one can easily access every beautiful part of the city.

When you go on Istanbul tours, you’ll get to see a great deal of public transport systems including trams, tunnels, buses, railways and so many others, and it is good you know how to use these public transports so that you know which one to take that will get you to a particular destination. In addition to this, it is advised you use public transport — most especially the tram — when seeing the Old City. This is because it gets you around the city with ease and offers you cost savings since you’d have so many places to visit.

As you may very well know, Turkey has a European as well as an Asian side, connected by the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul. Both parts are now easily accessed with the use of public transport in the form of ferries and sea-buses. Ferries are the best means for plying the Bosphorus. When it comes to visiting the busier districts and shopping centres of Nisantasi, Etilier and Levent, your best option is the metro line running from Taksim square. Traffic jams are very frequent especially on the bridges. Some of the connecting roads, like the Sultanahmet Square, are often closed for vehicles, and only tour buses and trams are allowed free access. So do not bother hiring a private car when you come on an Istanbul tour.

So are you visiting Istanbul for the first time? Are you planning on having a tour to the old city of Istanbul? Then, there are so many sights that await you and places to explore, so follow this guide on how to use public transport in Istanbul.

Note:

For you to be able to use any kind of public transport in Istanbul, you must first obtain a magnetic card known as IstanbulKart (Instanbul Card). You can always get this in any of the kiosks close to the metro stations, bus, tram and train stations. It cost only 7TL. Getting a map of the city is also worth considering as it gives you an idea of every possible route to your destination. This you can get from the Istanbul Municipality Information Office at Eminonu.

Pubilc Transport Options in Istanbul

Bus and Metrobus

Everywhere you go, buses remain one of the cheapest and most popular means of transport but the downside is they usually get pretty congested and you’d have so many of them you don’t even know which you should jump into. However, apart from Sultanahmet, buses ply every part of the city and you’d see their major stops and destinations written in yellow on the body of the bus.

In Istanbul, there is an express bus called the metrobus which passes through dedicated paths, and this line serves a plethora of Istanbul residents as well as tourists on a daily basis. It is so much faster than your typical bus and offers quick mobility within the Asian and European sides of Istanbul since it does not pass through the congested roads. Nevertheless, most tourists do not like it since it travels along the outskirts of the city, and so do not provide good views.

Metro and Tram

The advantage of the metro and tram system is they offer great accessibility to almost all the most prominent spots in Istanbul, both on the European and the Asian side.

The metro opens from 6:15am to 12 midnight, and plies Aksaray – Atatürk Airport to Kirazli (M1 line), Haciosman to Yenikapi (M2 line) and Kirazli to Olimpiyat, Basaksehir (M3 line) on the European side. It also moves from Kadikoy to Tavsantepe (M4 line) and Uskudar to Yamanevler (M5 line) on the Asian Side.

On the other hand, trams also offer you a very fast and easy way to access the most attractive parts of Istanbul. There are two lines servicing Istanbul, one on the Asian side and the other on the European side. The T1 line travels between Bagcilar and Kabatas, (through Eminonu and Sultanahmet), while the T4 goes from Topkapi to Mescid-i Selam. T2 goes through Istiklal Street to ply Taksim and Tunel, and the T3 line services Kadikoy and Moda by passing through Bahariye Street on the Asian side of Istanbul.

The Funical Lines

The funical has two lines, the Karaköy-Tünel (T) and the Taksim-Kabataş (F1)

  • Karaköy-Tünel (T)

This line works from 7am to 9pm. It gives you easy and quick access to Istiklal Street without having to climb the terrible slopes to arrive at Galata. From there you can get to Tünel from which you can then take a tram to Taksim Square.

  • Taksim-Kabataş (F1)

This gives you access from Taksim Square to Kabatas from which you can take a tram to the old town, or take a boat to the Princes Island. This is very important if you’re going for an Istanbul Old City walking tour. You can also get to Old Town by taking the M2 metro directly to the Golden Horn.

Marmaray

Under the Bosphorus, there is a 76 kilometer tunnel that connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul and enables you to go straight to Asia from Yenikapi or Sirkeci. The train passes quickly through this underground tunnel in only a matter of minutes. It makes two stops at Usküdar and Ayrilik Cesmesi. If this doesn’t work for you, you can simply take the M4 straight to Kadikoy.

Boats and Ferries

Since the Istanbul bridges over the Bosphorus often get pretty congested, boats and ferries have been introduced to give an easy passage from the European side to the Asian side across the Bosphorus. There are 10 jetties around the Bosphorus but the main ones on the European side are in Besiktas, Kabatas and Eminonu, while on the Asian side you have Kadikoy and Uskudar jetties.

Ferries are the cheapest and best way to move from Asia and Europe and back again, and you would certainly enjoy a good Bosphorus cruise using the ferries

Taxis

Taxis are very common in Istanbul and you’ll find them in almost every street. They are painted yellow and have taxi signs on top. Istanbul’s taxis are quite cheap although using this public transport in Istanbul will also face traffic problems. Taxi fares in Istanbul as at 2019 was 5TL as an opening fee and 3.1TL per kilometer.

Istanbul Old City Walking Tour

Is your purpose for coming to Istanbul to see the beautiful Old City? Then why not make a schedule with us for an Istanbul Old City walking tour. We are one of the best tour-guides in Istanbul, offering you free walking tours to the grandest tourist attractions in the Old City; the Sultanahmet, where Turkey’s Ottoman and Byzantine empires were once sited; the UNESCO-Listed Hagia Sophia, the magnificent Blue Mosque and the well-known Hippodrome. Contact us today for your Istanbul tours.

How is nightlife in Istanbul ?

So are you planning a trip to the beautiful city of Istanbul? Even if you’re not, then you really do have to if you’re a lover of the grand and delectable. With its richness in history, cultural heritage and romantic glamour, Istanbul is graced with so many amazing sights to see all through the day and when night comes, trust me, you don’t want it to ever end.

What to Expect in Istanbul Nightlife

The never-sleeping city of Istanbul boasts of a bustling nightlife full of grandeur that brings out the night bird in you, filling your mind and soul with pleasing emotions. With the loud music and neon lights that lasts all night long, this city welcomes you and lights up your spirit with warmth. Istanbul nightlife is well-loaded with countless amazing restaurants and bars that serve luscious delicacies that creates in you an appetite you never knew you had, gay bars and nightclubs with all-night partying; imagine sipping beer at a rooftop bar at night while looking down at the glamour of the city below with all the lightings and cheer. From the rooftop bars to the basement jazz cafés, to the ardent rock bars, traditional Turkish kebabs and dance clubs, truly, there is something for everyone in Istanbul nightlife.

Istanbul day tours are one of the best touring experience you could ever dream of, but really you do not want to miss its nightlife experience too. It’s simply out of this world; It is crazy! So why not come take a free walking tour Istanbul? When you book an Istanbul tour with us, be sure to have the best experience of Istanbul nightlife and not just that, expect to be taken on one of the best touring experience of your life yet.

Top Spots to Enjoy Nightlife on our Free Walking Tour Istanbul

If you’re interested in enjoying nightlife in Istanbul, then here is a list of places we can take you to when you join us on our Istanbul tours.

  1. Sortie Club

If you’re a fan of eating good food with quality entertainment and good music playing in the background, then Sortie Club is the best place for you to be. After taking an Istanbul day tour, most tourists normally like to settle for some good food and wine, and this is what Sortie Club offers you. There are 7 restaurants for you to make your pick, and then settle down for a unique experience with sumptuous international cuisine and quality wine, served in a well-ventilated and decorated room overlooking the water (great view, right?), with good music and entertainment for the best nightlife experience. Sortie Club is located at Beşiktaş, Istanbul, and opens from 6pm to 4am.

  1. Sauda Club

Love doing some crazy partying at night? Do you want to do something as unbelievable as swimming across two continents? Then you don’t want to miss Istanbul nightlife at Sauda Club. The pool here is located right where Europe meets Asia and when you swim in it, you’re literally swimming across two continents. Fun, right? Plus the crazy partying that goes on at night at the club; this a unique nightlife experience you don’t want to miss. Why not contact us for an Istanbul tour now let’s take you there?

  1. Meze by Lemon Tree

More than just a restaurant, Meze by Lemon is the right place for you to savor the best traditional food of the locals. Have a chance to enjoy a wide variety of delicious Turkish cuisine when you go with us on an Istanbul food tour to this amazing restaurant. Meze is a traditional favorite of the people of Istanbul, and has several varieties which can be served hot or cold. Turkish people love to eat good food having the perfect combination of ingredients and flair, so expect to have a taste of something which you’d want to repeat every day after visiting this amazing place.

  1. Galata Bridge

Come let us take you on a free walking tour Istanbul to this truly epic sight. Having a night-walk with your lover through the Galata Bridge which spans the Golden horn waters with the beautiful night sky above is truly romantic and epic. This bridge gets really lively and boisterous at night, and there is a wide variety of Turkish cuisines and snacks sold along this bridge, so get your heart filled as well as your stomach with something sweet while you walk.

  1. Bosphorus Bridge

Grab dinner in Europe, then take a walk to have dessert in Asia. Unbelievable, right? The Bosphorus Bridge straddles Europe and Asia, so grab your lover’s arm and come take a free walking Istanbul tour with us and enjoy a romantic walk between both continents on the Bosphorus Bridge. With memorable and truly alluring views of waterside villas, historical places and Ottoman palaces on both sides of the bridge, you surely would have a lot of photos to fill your camera with for memory’s sake.

  1. Meyhane

If you’re a seafood or vegetable lover, then you really do have to visit the streets of Meyhane at night. The several eateries you’ll find here are known for their local delicacies of seafood and vegetables, and this ambient Turkish town gets lit up magically at night with beautiful folk music, friends dining, wining and chatting lightly,

  1. Istanbul Bars

Enjoying nightlife is incomplete without enjoying a drink in one of the numerous exotic bars which Istanbul boasts of. In fact, the clubbing in these bars. From the European part of Turkey down to the Asian part, there are a plethora of bars to choose from, and feel relaxed to take a tour with us to any of these Istanbul bars:

  1. Litera—This bar turns into a buzzing club as darkness hits. Located at Beyoglu and built round with glass walls, Litera gives you a stunning scenery all-round. So, Sip a beer while swaying to the DJ’s rhythm, and viewing the gleaming waterway of the Bosphorus Strait.
  1. Babylon—Located at Bomonti, this old brewery is often blessed by elite musicians especially on weekends. There is a lot of electronic music, jazz and reggae to rock to, so put on your dancing shoes and head out for one of your most exciting nightlife experience yet.

There is a host of other exotic bars our Istanbul tour guide can take you to such as Alexandria, Urban, Arkaoda, Karga, amongst others.

Contact us

All these are a lifetime experience no one should miss out on, so why not book with us today for a free walking tour Istanbul? Our tour guides are readily available to take you through an Istanbul food tour to the best food joints this ambient city has to offer, rooftop bars to enjoy Istanbul nightlife and beautiful scenery while sipping a cocktail, and the best night clubs to bring out the dancer in you. Hurry now and contact us today.

Free Istanbul Tours - Istanbul Photos - Galata

Roman Cisterns in Istanbul

Istanbul is a city blessed with incredible tourist attractions. Having been the capital of the Eastern Roman and Ottoman empire, this city posseses immense culture and historical artifacts which continues to draw the heart of tourists and art enthusiasts, and if you are one of such, then there is something grand to bless your eyes and memory with when you take our free walking tour Istanbul: The roman cisterns of Istanbul!

During the reign of the Roman empire, a lot of cisterns were built underground in Istanbul to cater for the water needs of the people during those times. In more recent times, these cisterns have become more of Istanbul’s cultural heritage or treasures, and have done outstandingly well in attracting tourists from all over the world. .

The hundreds of underground cisterns built during those ancient times were specifically for holding water as a form of storage to prevent water scarcity during summer, as water resources were insufficient. Over the years, most of these cisterns dried up and became less and less attractive, but of all these, the Basilica Cistern has stood the test of time and remains one of the grandest tourists attraction in Turkey up till this day.

Take a Trip to the Historical Roman Cisterns on Istanbul Tours

Are you a lover of ancient historical monuments? Stuck with a delayed flight and In need of an Istanbul private tour guide for a quick Istanbul layover tour? Then worry no more. We offer the best Istanbul layover tours with the best tour guide in Istanbul. We give you the best rates for a marvelous and memorable trip to any of the following ancient Roman cisterns in Istanbul.

  1. Basilica Cistern

Take a free walking tour Istanbul through the midst of ancient giant columns in the largest and most glamorous Roman cistern in Istanbul. Commonly referred to as the Yerebatan cistern and stretching over 143×65 square metres in area, the Basilica cistern stands as the largest cistern in all of Istanbul, and attracts the largest number of tourists per year. In 2017, there was over a million tourist visitation at the Basilica Cistern.

This gigantic subterranean structure is said to have been built by Emperor Justinian I during his reign for the purpose of supplying water to the people during the summer days. There are 336 marble columns holding the roof, each 9-metre tall. Surprisingly, this historical wonder was forgotten for years until 1545 when a French researcher, Petrus Gyllius, noticed that the locals were getting water and even catching fish in their basements.

The Basilica cistern is open to the public, and you can walk into the space through a flight of stairs. The subdued lightings and ambient temperature immediately welcomes you to this amazing cistern, and make sure you walk to the far left-hand corner to get a good view of the two gigantic Medusa heads: one lying sideways, the other upside down, and both used as column bases. But no, calm your nerves, you are not going to turn into stone when you stare at the Medusa heads.

The rectangular concept, symmetry and sheer grandeur of the Basilica cistern are quite breathtaking, and the cool ambient temperature make for a great Istanbul tour on hot summer days.

  1. Binbirdirek Cistern

Known as the second largest Roman cistern in Istanbul, the Binbirdirek Cistern located to the west of the Hippodrome, is naturally impressive as a tourist attraction. It has a land area of 3610 square metres with 212 columns. Originally, this alluring and gigantic piece of artwork was built in the 4th century and stood on 224 marble-stone columns until it got destroyed by a fire in 475 A.D. It was later renovated by Justinian I in the 6th century but got abandoned as a result of the Ottoman conquest in 1453. During this time, the Binbirdirek cistern completely dried up and went out of memory until the 1600s, when a palace construction project began upon the same site above where the cistern was lying dormant. Percieved as a true historical monument and cultural heritage of the Turks, the Binbirdirek Cistern has been restored once again and is now open to tourists and Turks alike. So whether you’re Turkish or a foreign visitor on a business or pleasure trip, why not make out time so see this important and amazing part of Turkish history?

There are two entrances to the Binbirdirek Cistern: either through the new building in the little park above the cistern or through the grand doorway on Imran Öktem Caddesi close to the Adliye Sarayı. Although there is an entrance fee, rest assured your interest will be protected when you go with the best tour guide in Istanbul.

  1. Nuruosmaniye Cellar

The presence of this historical Roman structure was only just discovered in 2013, when the Nuruosmaniye Mosque underwent reconstruction. Although it was percieved that a field laid deep beneath the foundation of the ancient mosque, it was left undisturbed as it was covered with nothing but waste material. So, during the reconstruction of the mosque, the ground was dug up to 8.5 metres deep and the cistern which looked just like an open field was discovered, comprising of over thirty different compartments.

This exotic structure cannot be left unused, and has already been redesigned and used as a crucial spot for social events. In the following years to come, the Nuruosmaniye Cellar promises to become a renowed center for tourism in Istanbul.

  1. Fildami Cistern

The most notable open-space cistern is the Fildami Cistern in Bakirköy. Although this ancient structure doesn’t hold much as it may have had in its earlier days, it is still a wonderful ancient Istanbul sight to see and is often used as a special event centre.

  1. Aspar Cistern

This cistern can be seen at Çukurbostan, and is now used as a great spot for Istanbul sporting activities.

  1. Sultan Cistern

This is one of the largest closed-space cisterns in Istanbul. Although the original construction time of this cistern is not exactly known, it appears to date between 500 and 600 A.D. This cistern has recently been convered to the Sultan Sarnıç, a privately owned restaurant, so expect to have some nice lunch at this cistern while savoring the view of its 2.8 m thick marble walls lined with hydraulic plaster.

Other Roman cisterns which an Istanbul private tour guide can take you to are the Unkapanı Cistern underneath the Zeyrek Mosque, Şerefiye Cistern which is now a huge oart of Istanbul cultural heritage, the Eşrefiye Street Cistern, the Sphendon Cistern amongst others.

Get the Best Tour Guide in Istanbul

So are you looking for an Istanbul private tour guide to take you through the streets and undergrounds of this historical city? Your best tour guide Istanbul is just a click away! Make a booking today and get ready for an adventurous trip to the Roman cisterns of Istanbul.

Free Istanbul Tours - Istanbul Photos - Grand Bazaar

What is the best food to eat in Istanbul

Istanbul is famous as a central point of tourist attraction and this goes without saying. With the beautiful views and amazing cultural history, there is so much fun in having an Istanbul tour, and this is even more buttressed by the fact Istanbul is home to some of the most sumptuous traditional delicacies on the planet.

Istanbul has long been a core aspect of the global food and spice marketing, and you wouldn’t fail to notice this when you step into a restaurant or food vendor in Istanbul. Highly varied and with so much history, Turkish foods promise to honor your taste buds with an experience that is purely unique, addictive and memorable. Istanbul foods are really nice and knowing the best out of the lot depends on your own personal taste. You really do have to taste them yourself. So if you are planning to have an Istanbul food tour or a free walking tour, be our guest. But remember you’ll have hundreds of foods to pick from and you don’t want your stomach getting full before having a taste of the best, so grab a seat as we take you through the best foods to eat in Istanbul.

10 Best Foods to Eat in Istanbul

1. Turkish breakfast

The best way to start your day in Istanbul is with Turkish breakfast. This breakfast dish, although a bit similar to what you might be used to, is quite unique in its own way. Turkish breakfast usually consists of white bread, a variety of cheese, butter, thick cream, boiled eggs, olives (black, green or both). For an out-of-this-world experience, sucuklu yumurta and börek are added, and these two magical dishes are what makes Turkish breakfast highly distinguished. Ensure you flush down this delicacy with a cup of strong, Turkish coffee. The experience is extremely dazzling.

2. Menemen

This Turkish omelet may also be used to kick-start your day. It normally comprises of eggs, tomatoes, green bell peppers, and olive oil, then garnished with ground black pepper and beautifully shaped onion slices. Absolutely yummy! You could also order for fried meat to be incorporated into this dish for a more hearty breakfast. Oh, you do not want to visit Istanbul without a taste or this excellent traditional Turkish cuisine. Some of the best restaurants to get the best Menemen are Lades Muhallebi, Mehtap Cafe, Sütiş, amongst others. Come hop on our Istanbul culinary tour and have a wonderful culinary experience in any of these restaurants.

3. Simit

This is your typical Turkish bagel. Baked in the shape of a circle, Simit is a kind of Turkish bread that is often garnished with sesame seeds, sunflower or sappy seeds. This is one of the most popular street snack you can get in Istanbul, so you can always make a pit stop to grab a bite while on our free walking tour Istanbul.

4. Meze

Your Istanbul food tour would be incomplete without having a taste of this traditional Turkish food. Meze comes in a whole lot of variety which can be eaten alongside a main meal or served with bread as an appetizer. Some varieties come with tomato and pepper, some with eggplant. Regardless of what variety you’re having, meze is quite cheap and absolutely tasty, and you don’t want to leave Istanbul without having a taste of this typical Turkish cuisine.

5. Lahmacun

Lahmacun, which is often described as Turkish pizza, is a kind of flatbread topped with finely chopped beef, vegetables as well as herbs. It is most often eaten as a snack rather than a full meal, and is absolutely tasty and quite cheap for its worth.

6. Pide

Love pizza? Well, who doesn’t? Then why not taste pizza on a whole new level? Pide is your typical pizza, even more so than Lahmacun is. It is also flatbread which is folded over at the edges. Typically, pide comprises of a special Turkish cheese known as peynir cheese. The way this Turkish food melts in your mouth is breathtaking. The experience is truly divine! Besides cheese, pide can also come with vegan options like cheese spinach-filling, or spiced lamb if you’re a meat lover. When you take an Istanbul free walking tour with us, we can take you to the Hoca Pasa where you can have the best taste of Pide.

7. Köfte

Quite very popular in Turkey, you are likely to find meatballs on almost every menu in Istanbul restaurants. This Turkish meatball is usually made from beef or lamb or both, and is usually served with rice, spicy sauce and grilled peppers spicy. So perfectly yummy is this Turkish food.

8. Kumpir

Get ready to get addicted. Almost everyone loves baked potato and when baked tomato is prepared to the extreme, what you have is Kumpir. Kumpir is prepared by mixing baked potato — which has been sliced in half — with a rich supply of butter and cheese. A wide variety of toppings — such as cheese, pickles and corn — can now be used to adorn the mixture. After tasting this incredible delicacy, trust me, you would never want to taste anything else.

9. Balık Ekmek

Balık Ekmek is typically a grilled-fish sandwich stuffed in a nutritious and tasty piece of bread. As delicious as it is, this is one of the most popular Istanbul foods you can easily get on the streets, so why not grab a hearty Balık Ekmek sandwich on your free walking tour Istanbul to have one of the best touring experience?

10. Kuru Fasulye

White beans can be very delicious but when served in Kuru Fasulye, the taste is on a whole new level! This Turkish delicacy is stew prepared by spicing white beans with surplus tomato sauce, oil, onions, chilli, and other extremely tasty spices.

Contact us for an Istanbul Culinary tour

Visiting Istanbul for the first time is most definitely going to be a grand experience, one which you’ll look forward to doing soon again when you contact us for your Istanbul tours. Providing esteemed services in Istanbul tours, we shall take you to the best restaurants and bars that offer the best foods in Istanbul.

Eat good to feel good. Contact us for an Istanbul Culinary tour today.

Free Istanbul Tours - Istanbul Photo

Gay Life in Istanbul

Life in Istanbul is one with an elaborate expression of fun and exuberance, one that attracts people of several calibres. With its rich cultural history, amazing food and tourist attractions, Istanbul is also notable for its remarkable gay life.

It is likely you are concerned with gay life in Istanbul simply because you want to take a pleasure trip there or go on an Istanbul gay tour. Well, why not, our gay tour-guide Istanbul shall welcome you with open arms because you’re about to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, there are a few important things you need to know about Istanbul gay life before going on any Istanbul gay tours.



Important Things to Know About Gay Life in istanbul

 

You probably are thinking that Turkey being an Islamic country, the people of Istanbul would be very conservative and would frown greatly at gay and LGBT. Well, not exactly so. In fact, Turkey is making its way gradually into Western culture (after all Istanbul straddles Europe and Asia). Sexual activity between gays and lesbian was legalized in 1858 during the Ottoman empire and ever since the country took the name “Turkey” in 1923, gay life amongst adults has always been legal in the country.

Nevertheless, it is worthy of note that the incumbent president, President Erdogan who is a rather conservative religious president, has driven gay life in Turkey to the backstage, making gays and LGBT persons feel less inclined to show themselves out in public. Despite homosexuality still being legal throughout Turkey, being very open about it can be quite challenging these days due to the religious and political influence in the Turkish society. And take it under advisement never to walk lavishing public displays of affection to your gay partner during the day because these things can be unfamiliar to a significant number of the people here. Gay and lesbianism is not illegal in Turkey but you just have to be discrete about it anyway. But worry not, that is why our Istanbul gay friendly tours are here. Our Istanbul gay tours are done discretely to ensure you are taken to the most gay-friendly spots for you to have the best of gay life in cosmopolitan Istanbul. Spots where you’ll meet those who are just like you, have a chance to do the things you enjoy doing without limitations or conservation; a home away from home.