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Istanbul at a Glance

Istanbul: Transportation & Neighborhoods

Moving to Istanbul will raise various questions for you. How to deal with the local authorities? How to navigate the infamous traffic in such a huge city? Our article gives all the answers to your questions about Istanbul, from administrative info to transportation.

Taxis

Taking the taxi in Istanbul may not be as fast and convenient as in your home country. Private metered taxis are easy to find unless you travel during rush hour. However, before you hop on a taxi, keep in mind that traffic can be extremely heavy and the drivers quite reckless.

Unfortunately, only very few taxi drivers speak English or any other foreign language. Write down the address on a piece of paper and show it to the taxi driver. Do make sure that the driver knows the location before you get in the car.

Taxi Fares

There’s a nighttime fare and a daytime fare, the latter being a lot cheaper. Taxi drivers sometimes try to scam passengers out of their money by charging the nighttime fare during daytime or taking longer routes. If your taxi ride takes you across the TEM highway or the Bosporus Bridge, you will have to cover the toll. Tipping the driver, however, is not necessary as it is included in the base fee.

You are not in the mood for a taxi ride? You can also take one of the water taxis for a trip across the Bosporus. Water taxis were introduced in 2008. The fee is calculated per trip, not per passenger. With the capacity to hold up to 10 people, water taxis are often cheaper and faster than regular taxis.

Public Transport

If you prefer public transportation to taxi rides, you can choose from various types of transport:

Fares

The most common way to pay your fare is via Istanbulkart. These are available as reduced fare cards, free ride cards, and passes. Unless you are a student, veteran, or a senior citizen, you will have to purchase a Blue Card for your daily commute. The fee for the card is 10 YTL, the monthly loading fee is 120 YTL. A single ride costs 1.65 YTL using the Blue Card.

Districts

The district of Beyoglu is often called Pera, too. Here the influence of people from various cultural backgrounds is still prevalent. Thus Beyoglu is not only Istanbul’s center of trade, but also the city’s hub for art and entertainment. With neighborhoods such as Taksim Square, Galatasaray, Tünel, or Tarlabasi, it also features the busiest nightlife in Istanbul.

The Asian side is Istanbul’s calmer corner. It was first known as Chalcedon and forms one of the city’s largest districts. Although Kadiköy is the first stop for most people who arrive here, the Asian side is famous for its historical market.

The Prince Islands, on the other hand, are ideal for a weekend get-away. Take the ferry to Kinaliada, Heybeliada or Büyükada on a sunny day. All three of these islands are famous for their monasteries and churches, which are open for visitors. Most visitors discover the islands via bicycle, which can be rented for a few Liras.

The historic peninsula is known for its vast number of museums and monuments. Constantine had chosen this part of the city as his capital, leaving behind many architectural and cultural treasures. Here you’ll find the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace or the Archeological Museum. Sultanahmet Square – Istanbul’s touristic center – is located on the peninsula as well.

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