Use Istanbul’s Public Transportation to Reach Every Site on Your Must-See List
Istanbul is a very easy city to get around in, no matter where you want to go. With the highly developed Istanbul Metrosu, you can go underground to avoid traffic and arrive at your destination quickly. Buses, funiculars, and water transport are also common ways to move about, along with the ubiquitous taxis, all to ensure that you're never at a loss when it comes to reaching every site on your must-see list.
A Bit of Transportation History
The ferry is one of the oldest transit systems in Istanbul, connecting each side of Bosphorus strait. Service began in 1853, growing to accommodate the areas around Golden Horn.
Horse-driven Trams and the Funicular
Istanbul's transportation system dates back to Ottoman Empire-initiated horse-driven trams that appeared in 1871. In 1872, a commuter rail line was established on the European side of the city, expanding in 1873 to cover more areas. Also in 1872, a short funicular underwent construction between Pera and Galata, opening up to the public in 1874.
During the Balkan War of 1914, tram horses were sent to the front, which inspired the electrified tram network to be contracted in 1914. By 1928 it was up and running on the Anatolian side of the city. By the 1950s the tramline had expanded, running on the European side up until 1961 and on Asian side until 1966.
Buses and Cable Cars
Istanbul's bus service began in 1926, with fleets expanding to become the staple of Istanbul's transit system. Today they are an excellent method of getting around, but not during rush hour when the underground is a faster option. Cable cars, or teleferik, are also available to take visitors from the Golden Horn to various sites, as well as across the valley between two lovely areas in Beyoglu between Elmadaand Teşvikiye.
Construction of the city's underground system started in 1992, with the first lines operating in 2000. Many extensions were subsequently created, and now the LRT (light rail transit system) is a sophisticated and well-used means for locals and visitors to enjoy every part of our vital city. Today there are 162 stations that connect the city's many districts, from the European to the Asian sides. Most recently two new lines were built at Yenikapi station, with the Marmary line connecting to the new M2, extending transit from Sishne near Tünel Square in the neighborhood of Beyoglu across the Golden Horn.
Underground metro service runs from roughly six in the morning to past midnight and sometimes later, depending on where you are going and the line the area serves. You can easily buy transport tokens beforehand at Jentonmatik machines or at local kiosks, bus stops, and ferry docks. You can also get an Istanbulkart transit pass where you add money as you need it to pay all transit fares. The electronic fare card is another option where you can buy a pre-determined number of trips from Biletmatik machines. In Istanbul, children under 7 years of age ride for free.
To and From the Airports
Getting to and from Istanbul's airports, Atatürk International Airport just west of the city center and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport on the Asian side, is easy. Public transportation and taxis are easy to find, or you can opt for private transfer, which you can arrange with our concierge ahead of time, or at the airport.
Hotel Büyük Keban Makes It Even Easier
Riding any public transportation vehicle requires an Istanbul Card, which can be purchased at the Public Transport Office, or tokens. This either means time wasted in the transport office or a pocket or purse full of coins.
However, if you stay at Hotel Büyük Keban, you can avoid all that hassle and simply purchase an Istanbul Card right at our reception desk to gain access to all public transport within the city. All you’ll need to do is load the card with credits at the station with as much or as little as you want and you’re set to go exploring. No other hotel currently offers this service, but it’s just one of the small ways Hotel Buyuk Keban helps make this wonderful city more accessible to our guests.
Contact Us Today
At Hotel Büyük Keban we are very close to the Sehzade Leleli train station, as well as the Sehzadebasi Metro and Aksaray tram station. Because of our central location, it is very easy for our guests to come and go to all points in Istanbul with ease. And sometimes your own two feet will be the best way to get around. Book a stay at Hotel Buyuk Keban and our concierge will be happy to recommend the best way to reach every site on your must-see list!