We visited Istanbul for 4 days : from 09/09/2016 to 09/13/2016
Accomodation : Serene Hotel
Address : Asmalı Mescit, Tütüncü Çk. No:4, 34430 Beyoğlu İstanbul
4 nights, from 09/09/2016 to 09/13/2016
Price : 97 € (~25 € / night)
Reservation : Booking.com
The hotel where we stayed has a strategic location (Beyoğlu district) in one of the most touristic areas of Istanbul.
The room is spacious, clean, with a comfortable bed. With this price and this standing, we are completely satisfied
In addition, in the small alley that leads to our accommodation, there is a nice little bar with a « Live Music » atmosphere: Campİstanbul. That will be great for the end of the evening 🙂
Transport from and to the airport
During our visit, the main airport was « Atatürk International Airport » which has since been replaced by « Istanbul Airport: İstanbul Havalimanı »
We had the opportunity to see the new airport during a stopover for a trip to Bali : It is gigantic and is located 70 km from the city center
The companies « Havaist« , « IETT » and « Istanbul Seyahat » offer public transport services. It depends on your destination in central Istanbul and your flight schedules
Transportation in Istanbul
To use all public transport in Istanbul (boats, metros, buses, trams, funiculars) you will need a magnetic card (IstanbulKart). You will find it in small kiosks near all metro stations, piers, and also bus stations. It costs 6TL, you will then have to charge it (2.15TL per trip). When you leave you can return it and recover the 6TL. You can feed it the amount you want. This card is not nominative, it can be used by several people at the same time.
In the European part of the city, there are 2 lines:
T1 from Kabataş provides easy access to Sultanahmet,
T4 which goes up towards the northwest of the city
It operates from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. It is very clean and air conditioned
The historic tram:
Do not miss this tram, it is an attraction in itself: It looks like the tram from the old movies. It goes down Istiklal Street from Taksim Square to Tünel
Funicular: Karaköy-Tünel (T)
Allows you to quickly go down the street from Istiklal and avoid climbing to go to Galata.
The Subway :
It is open from 6.15 a.m. to midnight, there are currently two lines on the European side but not connected. There is also a line on the Asian side
The buses :
More than 400 bus lines, most of them work until midnight, others all night. With the exception of the Sultanahmet district (accessible by tram) buses serve the whole city
The boats :
They allow you to go from Europe to Asia and are part of the public transport network, just like the tram… They save a lot of time because the bridges crossing the Bosphorus are constantly crouded. The main piers on the European side are Eminonu, Kabatas and Besiktas and on the Asian side Uskudar and Kadikoy.
From Eminonu and Kadikoy
Dolmus (dolmouche) :
These are taxis but not individual that operate 24 hours a day. It is a fast and economical means of transport widely used throughout Turkey. They make a specific route, they leave when they are full (they are mini yellow buses of 8 passengers), on the way you can get off wherever you want.
The currency of Turkey is the « Turkish Lira » (TRY). In September 2016, during our visit, 1€ was equivalent to 3.3 TRY (in December 2019: 1€ = 6.4 TRY). Since the rates of the Lira are not stable at all, you have to look at the current exchange rates
Advice : the rate is not the same at from an exchange office to another. The worst rate is at the airport offices. At the airport, it is better to Change just enough to reach the city center, where exchange offices are everywhere.