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Istanbul, Turkey Hotels and City Guide

Istanbul Hotels and Istanbul Guide with Istanbul maps, top attractions, room reservations and hotel deals at a wide range of the best Istanbul hotels

Istanbul - Transportation


Getting Around Istanbul

If there is one thing that visitors should know about Istanbul, it’s that the city is large, busy, and can be confusing when trying to get from point A to point B. There are very few transit maps to be found in the city, but Istanbul at least makes fares standard. You can ride buses, trams, and metros for about TL 1.40 (less than $1 US) no matter how far you go. A convenient AKBIL (AKilli Billet – Turkish acronym for Smart Ticket) card that allows you to travel on buses, trams, suburban trains, local ferries, metro trains, and more. These are ideal if you are going to be in Turkey for any amount of time, as you can use one for multiple travelers. Buy and refill them at booths near public transit stations.

You can eliminate much of the confusion of getting around a large, foreign city – and avoid wandering around like a dazed tourist – by knowing a bit about the public transportation system and your transport options:

Buses | Metro | Tram | Tünel | Seabus | Ferry | Taxis 

Buses
Traveling by bus in Istanbul is not the most luxurious way to get around, but it is inexpensive. During peak hours, such as weekday commuting times, the buses are crowded and are typically very slow. Buy your ticket (“billet”) at the kiosks before boarding. You can ride five times on one besiBiryerde ticket or use the convenient AKBIL (Note: the AKBIL is being phased out. If you find you cannot get an AKBIL, consider an Istanbulkart prepaid card. This allows you to pay for public transit, as well as taxis and museum admissions). City buses, called IETT, run from about 6:30am to 11:30pm, and you will see the destinations on a route sign on the right side of the bus and/or on the electronic display in front. Private buses are also available and may reduce crowding. These are called Özel Halk Otobüsü ("Private Peoples' Bus") and typically run along the same routes as the IETT buses. The fares are the same, and you can pay with cash (usually) or transit pass.

Remember, Istanbul buses can be very crowded. It may happen that you come to your stop, and no one is moving. Rather than be stuck on the bus, say “Inecek var!” (een-eh-JEHK vahr.” This means, “Someone wants to get out!” The driver will wait while you exit. Don’t be shy! Shout it out, and get where you need to go. Turks aren’t shy or reserved when it comes to buses, haggling, or food, and neither should you be.

Metro
Istanbul has focused time and energy on its metro system, which is typically much faster than the bus. The system is relatively easy to understand, and there are only two lines. The M1 runs from Aksaray to Havalimani, via the main bus terminal (otogar) at Atatürk Airport. Expansion plans will run the line to Yenikapi, the dock for “seabuses.” The M2 line goes from Sishane to Atatürk Oto Sanayi, from Sishane Square through Taksim Square and onto Atatürk Oto Sanayi, a business and residential district. Both lines run from about 6:00am to 12:00am. The M1 is the line most used by visitors. You can see a map of the transit lines, as well as schedules, at Istanbul Ulasim, Istanbul Transportation Co.

You can pay your metro fare with a token (jeton) bought at a kiosk for only TL 1.40 or less; by besiBiryerde card, which allows five rides; AKBIL, a prepaid travel card for the transit system; or the convenient Istanbulkart. You can purchase any of these at fare machines in metro stations, bus stops, ferry docks, etc. with Turkish lira or credit card.

Tram
Istanbul offers two trams, the Zeytinburnu-Kabatas (-Besiktas) Tram and the Istiklal Caddesi Tram. The Istiklal Caddesi Tram offers visitors a nostalgic ride through Istiklal Caddesi, Taksim Square, and Tünel Square. It is fun, and it is a great way to take a break when you are shopping or want a scenic adventure. The Zeytinburnu-Kabatas (-Besiktas) Tram is the one, though, that you will use to get where you need to go without the nostalgia. This goes from Zeytinburnu through Sultanahmet and along the Bosphorus shore. You will find many of Istanbul’s tourist attractions along this route, as well as the Atatürk Airport.

You can download the map at Istanbul Ulasim to get a sense of where each tram goes.

Tünel
Another nod to the past can be found in the Tünel underground train. Finished in 1875, this was one of the first underground train systems in the world, and it was used primarily so European businessmen and diplomats could travel from Karakoy offices to residences in Beyoglu. With only two stations, the Tünel is easy to ride and convenient for some of Istanbul’s attractions. It carries about 15,000 passengers per day from Karakoy to Tünel. You can pay the TL 1 fare with jetons or the Istanbulkart pass.

Seabus(Catamaran Commuter Ferries)
Travel in style with Istanbul’s seabuses, or deniz otobusu, and enjoy the view from the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmara. Seabuses, or catamarans, run longer routes than the ferries: you can leave from the main dock, Yenikapi Feribot Terminali, in Aksaray Square or the smaller Kabatas, south of Dolmabahce Palace. The following routes are available:

Eminönü to Kabatas, Kadiköy, and the Prince Islands
Kabatas to Bostanci and the Prince Islands
Karaköy to Bostanci, Pendik, and Kartal
Kadiköy to Bakirköy, Eminönü and the Prince Islands
Bostanci to Bakirköy, Yenikapi, Karaköy, Kabatas, Kadiköy and the Prince Islands

You can also reach resorts in Yalova, Çinarcik, Avsa Island, Armutlu, Marmara Island, Mudanya, Kadiköy, and Kartal.

Ferry
Ferry is another very pleasant mode of travel in Istanbul. Visitors enjoy traveling up and down the Bosphorus and seeing the many marvels on the city’s shores. An especially popular day-trip is the Eminönü-Kavaklar Bogaziçi Özel Gezi Seferleri, or Eminönü-Kavaklar Bosphorus Special Touristic Excursions. This takes one the entire length of the Bosphorus with multiple stops on the way. A ticket is TL 12.50 for round-trip and TL 6.50 for one-way. Be aware that sometimes you cannot get on and off at the stops using the same ticket, so if you want to keep riding, stay put. Ask the tour operator about this so you know what to expect. Buy your ticket at least an hour before departure because ferries get busy in the summer, the peak travel time.

There are various routes that you can take, depending on where you want to get and what you want to see on the way. The ferries are run by IDO, Istanbul Deniz Otobüsleri, and you can find timetables, maps, and other very useful information at their website.


Taxis and Driving

After the relaxing tour of the Bosphorus by ferry, your experience with Istanbul taxis is going to seem a bit more frenetic. It is possible that foreign visitors will see exorbitant prices because the driver won’t run the meter, takes a circuitous route, or expects a huge tip. Remember that Turks typically don’t tip the drivers unless they help with bags or perform an extra service for you. To avoid this unfair fares, do not act unsure about your destination and do not accept the ride if the meter is not on. Another thing: make sure you look at your route and make sure the taxi driver is going the shortest way. This is hard for foreign visitors, but if you take a moment to look at a map, it will reduce your chances of being taken for a ride – a long, time- and money-wasting ride.

The taxis are powered by clean LNG, or liquefied natural gas, and have digital meters that are legally required to run when drivers pick up fares. If they do not turn it on, point at it, and say “Taksimetre!” (TAHK-see-MEHT-treh). Be adamant and confident, and you will likely get your way. If not, get out and take a bus or train. Your trip, no matter how long, is too short to spend getting cheated. The fares are TL 3 for a pickup and TL 1.30 for every kilometer during the day. At night the pickup is TL 3 and TL 1.95 for every kilometer. To give you some idea of the fares, trips between Sultanahmet and Taksim Square cost between TL 10 and TL 15. From Atatürk Airport to Sultanahmet is TL 25, and from the Airport to Taksim square is about TL 30.

In addition to these options, you can always walk. This is a great way to see the fascinating sights of Istanbul up close and feel the unique atmosphere. Walking tours are available, and these are popular with tourists because you have a knowledgeable guide who will take you to many attractions you want to see. National Geographic has useful information on Istanbul walking tours, as well as maps to help you create your own.


Traveler Information, Maps & Books

Istanbul is a beautiful city, and it can also be baffling to visitors. Before your travels, it is a good idea to learn more about the lay of the land.. Have an idea of what you want to see and do and eat! But it is also good to be flexible so you can take advantage of the many surprises and mysteries of the city. Myriad travel guides are available to help you. One of the better guide books is the Eyewitness Travel Guide to Istanbul. Its many street maps, full color photos, and 3D aerial views will help orient you, and the information will whet your appetite for this intriguing city. Learn about landmarks, food, and more, and even take the guide with you. Stanford Guides for Istanbul are also quite helpful.

You can visit Tourism Turkey for trip planning tips, attraction information, activities, and more or Go Turkey for maps, events, trip planning and much more.





Hotels in Istanbul, Turkey

InterContinental Ceylan

InterContinental Ceylan

Asker Ocagi Caddesi No. 1, Taksim, 34435 Istanbul, Turkey

Description The InterContinental Ceylan Istanbul Hotel is located in the heart of the city and offers the very best in Istanbul hotel accommodation. From the hotel's convenient location, guests can access the best of Istanbul's cultural, tourism...




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Best Western Acropol Hotel - Istanbul

Best Western Acropol Hotel - Istanbul

Akbiyik Cad No: 25, Istanbul, TR 34400, Turkey

The Best Western Acropol Hotel is an attractive hotel in the middle of the historical triangle of Blue Mosque, Saint Sophia and Marmara Sea. Discover the secrets of the history in the heart of old and modern Istanbul. Within walking distance of the hotel enjoy shopping...




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Best Western Antea Palace Hotel

Best Western Antea Palace Hotel

Kucuk Ayasofya Mah Yusuf Askin No. 28, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, TR 24400, Turkey

The Best Western Hotel Amber is an Ottoman house built in the 19th century. The interior has been restored and offers a traditional Turkish bath, sauna and billiard room. We are situated in the central district of Istanbul within a five-minute walk to St. Sophia, Topkapi...




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Best Western Citadel Hotel

Best Western Citadel Hotel

Kennedy Caddesi Sahil Yolu No.32, Ahirkapi, Istanbul, TR 34400, Turkey

The Best Western Citadel Hotel is situated near the old city center and all historical sites. The hotel has a wonderful view of the Marmara Sea and overlooks the Prince Islands. You may freely fish just by crossing the street. The Best Western Citadel Hotel is located...




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Barcelo Eresin Topkapi

Barcelo Eresin Topkapi

Millet Cad 186 Topkapi, Istanbul, Turkey

The Barcelo Eresin Topkapi is an elegant and disctinctive five star premium hotel, member of the Barcelo Hotels and Resors Chain. The hotel is located European side of Istanbul, is just 10 KM from the international airport and the Exhibition Center, The Grand Bazaar... more
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Ciragan Palace Kempinski

Ciragan Palace Kempinski

Ciragan Caddesi 32 Besiktas, 34349 Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul's Ultimate Luxury Hotel—The Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul The Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, once the home of Ottoman sultans, is dramatically... more
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Four Seasons Bosphorus

Four Seasons Bosphorus

Çiragan Caddesi No. 28, Besiktas, 34349 Istanbul, Turkey

Hotel Description: The Four Seasons Istanbul is constructed within the original facade of a 100 year old prison, and has been remarkably restored with just 65 guest rooms and Suites. The building's exterior of Turkish neo-classic architecture... more
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Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency

Taskisla Caddesi, Taksim, 34437 Istanbul, Turkey

The Hyatt Regency Istanbul Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel situated minutes away from Istanbul's historic and business points of interests. Staying at this Hyatt Regency in Istanbul, guests... more
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Swissotel Istanbul Bosphorus

Swissotel Istanbul Bosphorus

Bayildim Caddesi No. 2, Macka, Befliktafl, 34357 Istanbul, Turkey

The Swissotel Istanbul is adjacent to Dolmabahce Palace, the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans and surrounded by 65 acres of parkland. The hotel is unique with its variety of dining and catering options offering an extensive variety of cuisines. A vast majority of... more
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The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul

The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul

Suzer Plaza, Askerocagi Caddesi No. 15, Sisli, 34367 Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is the only city in the world to sit astride two continents, and was the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Now a vibrant metropolis, it has centuries of history as a bridge between Europe and Asia and as a crossroads of civilizations.... more
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The Sofa Hotels and Residences

The Sofa Hotels and Residences

Tesvikiye Caddesi 41-41A, Nisantasi, 34367 Istanbul, Turkey

Hotel Introduction A new generation of luxury accommodations, downtown Istanbul, in the fashionable area Nisantasi-Istanbul's shopping and gourmet district where you have most prestigious international labels and the city's best restaurants, bars and... more
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Hilton Istanbul

Hilton Istanbul

CUMHURIYET STREET 80600 HARBIYE ISTANBUL TURKEY Istanbul Turkey

The Istanbul Hilton Is Centrally Located Near The Taksim Square. It Is Situated In Beautiful Gardens Overlooking The Bosphorus And Is Within Walking Distance Of Business / Shopping And Entertainment Areas - The Hilton Convention And Exhibition Centre Is Adjacent... more
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Hilton ParkSA Istanbul

Hilton ParkSA Istanbul

Bayildim Caddesi 12, Istanbul, Turkey

We are pleased to announce the reopening of Hilton ParkSA after a full renovation period. The New Hilton ParkSA offers a full range of state-of-the-art amenities and facilities to suit the changing needs of our guests. Hilton ParkSA has a spectacular view of the Bosphorus... more
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Miapera Hotel

Miapera Hotel

Kamerhatun Mah, Mesrutiyet Cad. No:34, 34435 Beyoglu / Istanbul

Close to Taksim Square and with great spa facilities, the Miapera is a boutique hotel that impresses with its mix of historical exterior and luxury, ultra-stylish interior design. more
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Moevenpick Hotel Istanbul

Moevenpick Hotel Istanbul

Buyukdere Caddesi 4.Levent Istanbul 34330 Turkey

Hotel Introduction Recently opened stylish 5-star boutique business hotel with 249 spacious rooms, superb restaurants and meeting facilities for up to 600 guests. Located in the centre of uptown in 4 Levent, the prime business district, next... more
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Berr Hotel

Berr Hotel

Akdeniz Cad., No: 78 34080, Fatih, Istanbul,

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Best Western Amber Hotel

Best Western Amber Hotel

Ciftegelinler Caddesi No 3, Kumkapi, Istanbul, 34126, Turkey

The Best Western Amber Hotel is set near the sea side, in the oldest and most colorful district of Istanbul, which is still a functioning fishing village. It is in walking distance from the Sultanahmet Square with Istanbul's most famous Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Top... more
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Best Western Empire Palace

Best Western Empire Palace

Hocapasa Mah. Hudavenigar Cad. 17/19, Sirkeci, Istanbul, TR 34110, Turkey

The Best Western Empire Palace opened in April 2004 and is located in the heart of the historic, old city part of Istanbul.It is established with the latest luxury decorations inside and offers high quality service. The guest can meet more than their expectations in... more
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Best Western Eresin Taxim Hotel

Best Western Eresin Taxim Hotel

Topcu Caddesi No: 34, Taksim, Istanbul, TR 34437, Turkey

Experience traditional Turkish hospitality while in the center of Istanbul, at the Best Western Eresin Taxim Hotel. You will be within walking distance of all Istanbul has to offer, including the Lutfu Kirdar Congress and Exhibition Center, Concert Hall, Art Gallery and... more
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Best Western Hotel Obelisk

Best Western Hotel Obelisk

Mimar Mehmetaga Cad. No. 17/19, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, 34400, Turkey

The Best Western Hotel Obelisk & Sumengen is a 19th century Ottoman house which has been converted into a luxury hotel. Situated on a quiet side within walking distance to St. Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Toptapi Palace, Blue Mosque and offering a breathtaking view of Marmara... more
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Best Western Premier Regency Suites Hotel-Spa

Best Western Premier Regency Suites Hotel-Spa

Akbiyik Cad. No 38, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, 34122, Turkey

Welcome to Best Western Premier Regency Suites Hotel-Spa! A boutique hotel located 200 meters away from Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque. Overlooking the Bosphorus and St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia) from the Terrace Restaurant and most of the rooms. All rooms are one bedroom suit... more
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Best Western Senator Hotel

Best Western Senator Hotel

Gencturk Caddesi - Sirvanizade Sokak 7, Sehzadebasi, Istanbul, TR 34470, Turkey

The Best Western Senator Hotel is situated in the heart of the old city within walking distance to major attractions like St. Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, the Islamic Arts Museum, Topkapi Palace, Archeological Museum and Grand Bazaar. The Best Western Senator Hotel... more
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Best Western Tashan Business & Airport Hotel

Best Western Tashan Business & Airport Hotel

Tashan Cad. No-57, Bakirkoy, Istanbul, TR 34142, Turkey

The Best Western Tashan Business & Airport Hotel is ideally located 9 kilometers from Atat¸rk International Airport and 10 kilometers from the center of Old City (St. Sophia, Grand Bazaar and several museums) with easy access to main highway, train stations and sea bus.... more
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Best Western The President Hotel

Best Western The President Hotel

Tiyatro Cad 25 Beyazit, Istanbul, TR 34126, Turkey

The Best Western The President Hotel is located in the center of old city Istanbul, a veritable shopper's paradise. We are within walking distance of the Grand Bazaar and many other historical sites such as, St. Sophia, Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome. Breakfast is served... more
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Holiday Inn Istanbul City

Holiday Inn Istanbul City

Millet Cad. No:187 Topkapi Istanbul 34280 TURKEY

Introduction Istanbul is the city where Asia meets Europe, with cultural heritage and natural beauty. Holiday Inn Istanbul City located next to the impressing historical city walls of Istanbul reflects the spirit of this very special city.... more
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Holiday Inn Istanbul

Holiday Inn Istanbul

Sahilyolu,Ataköy,Istanbul,34710 Turkey

Description Holiday Inn Istanbul Hotel is nestled on the magnificent oceanfront, amidst the tranquillity of the modern tourist... more
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Lion Hotel

Lion Hotel

lamartin Cad. No. 45, Taksim

The Lion Hotel is located in Taksim, which offers business, fun and a cultural center.Taste the unique dishes of Turkish and international cuisine at our Galaxy Restaurant. Relax at the swimming pool and enjoy the sun on our terrace. At the end of an exciting... more
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Pamphylia Hotel

Pamphylia Hotel

Yerebatan Caddesi, No. 47, Sultanahmet

Hotel Pamphylia is one of the oldest buildings in the area and architectually remarkabe. We are located right in the old city and within walking distance to all attractions. Rooms are decorated according to Ottoman style to meet guest's tastes and comfort. Our restaurant,... more
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Poem Hotel

Poem Hotel

Akbiyik Cad. Terbiyik Sok. No. 12

The Hotel Poem...at the very center of the old Sultanahmet: modern comfort and convenience surrounded by vivid reminders of the Byzantine and Ottoman past. An Ottoman style boutique hotel, the Poem was designed in the style of traditional Ottoman urban residences and... more
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