Istanbul rent a car, taxi and getting around

Getting Around

Istanbul is a big city. But the good news is that it's pretty easy to get around to, all thanks to its excellent public transport. Perhaps, the only issue you will have to deal with is the traffic. Thankfully, there are ways to get around the heavy traffic.

The Istanbul Card

When taking public transport in Istanbul, you can rely on the Istanbul Card or IstanbulKart. It is best to purchase this from the airport as soon as you arrive since you will need it when taking public transport all over the city. You can also buy them from various kiosks in the city. It only costs 13 Lira, and you need to load some credit to it.

To use the card, scan it upon entry at the metro, bus, or ferry, and you will be charged 4.03 Lira on every journey.

Istanbul Public Transport

There are various types of public transport you can take in Istanbul to get around the city. And although you can easily walk between certain places, keep in mind that distances can be pretty long. You might think that a specific route looks walkable. But when you set off, you'll realize otherwise!

You can hire a car in Istanbul if you prefer to drive around, but given the traffic, it's not the best idea. Aside from the traffic, some roads can be bad and local drivers tend to beep constantly, enough to drive you crazy. So, save yourself from all the stress. Take public transportation instead.

Taking Taxis in Istanbul

Taxi is a convenient way to travel around Istanbul. Unfortunately, hailing a taxi in the city can be tricky. Taxis will not always stop on the street and are often almost full. And if you can get a taxi to stop, the next challenge is communicating with the driver to tell him where you want to go. You may also need to negotiate the rate, as some drivers won't be willing to take you on a metered rate.

Taxi drivers should take anyone anywhere. Unfortunately, drivers will prefer to take tourists who will go farther since they want to earn more. They do not want to be stuck in traffic on short journeys for a very affordable fare. It's pretty understandable, but that can be annoying for tourists.

But if you have no choice but to take the taxi, choose the yellow, marked taxis. Ask the driver how much you are expected to pay to your destination, even if they will go by meter. It's a good idea to ask ahead how much to pay so you will not have to pay more once you get to your destination.

Istanbul Buses

There are two kinds of buses in Istanbul - regular and faster metro buses. You will not find any buses in the middle of the city, such as in Taksim and Besiktas. But you can take the bus to get you to the European side from the Asian side and back. They are more common in the outskirts, such as Zeytinburnu, Yenibosna, etc.

Since regular buses are easier to use and find, they are your best bet when taking buses in Istanbul. They will have a sign on the front on where they are going, including a list of the main stops.

The only problem with buses in Istanbul is that they could get stuck in traffic and can be very busy, especially during weekends. Despite this, they are the cheapest and easiest way to get around the city. Buses also run until the early morning hours.

Using The Metro in Istanbul

Taking the metro train is the fastest way to get around Istanbul. There are several lines, but the two main lines can take you where you want to go. While it does not cover the entire city, it does cover the main parts of it, including Taksim, Levent, etc. Also, it connects you to the far reaches of the city, including the bus station in Esenler.

When searching for a metro station, simply look for the M sign with red, blue, and white colors. Scan your IstanbulKart to get in the gates, then follow the arrows to the train you need to take. Refer to the big map on the wall if you need directions on which train to take. And if you get stuck, don't hesitate to ask one of the local commuters or the staff at the station who can point you in the right direction.

Marmaray – Europe to Asia

The Marmaray is a metro service that will take you to the Asian side of Istanbul coming from the European side. To take this train, head to Sirkeci and you'll find the station there. Using this train service is pretty much the same as taking the regular Metro train. However, it will be travelling through the Bosphorus and come out to the other side in Kadikoy.

Ferries In Istanbul

Another way to get to Asia from Europe and back is to take the ferry. Taking the ferry is a fun and scenic way of travelling around Istanbul as it crosses the Bosphorus Strait. The ferries will run from various points, such as Besiktas, Eminonu, and Kadikoy, and usually leaves every 15 to 20 min.

You can use the ferry service the same way you would with the other public transport in Istanbul, which is by tapping your IstanbulKart upon entry. While ferries can get very busy during peak hours, they are rarely packed, so they are a more convenient way of getting around Istanbul.

Istanbul Trams

Another popular mode of transportation for tourists to get around Istanbul is to take the tram. While trams don't cover the entire city, it's a great way to get to Sultanahmet from Besiktas without having to walk.

The tram line begins in Kabatas, down a steep hill from Taksim and Besiktas, going as far as Bagcilar. There are 31 stops along the way, and you can use the tram the same way you would in the metro. But, trams can be quite busy during rush hour, especially since it travels to the city's main tourist areas. The tram runs from 6 AM until 11 PM.

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