Istanbul is a truly massive metropolis. With a population of almost 14 Million inhabitants, spread across 2 continents, soaring minarets and massive mosques, it is a city that sits at the cross-roads of the world. Please check our list of detailed posts here. We really loved our time in this wondrous city!
So just know that the traffic is crazy and by far the best – and most fun – way to get around is by ferry. You can traverse up and down the Bosphorus for cheap while seeing all the wondrous sites from the water. Not quite as economic, but much more fun, is the water taxi aka speedboats for hire. There are a few different companies and your hotel concierge can advise.
We recommend the ferries and then walking. There is a mini metro system that works mainly in Sultanahmet; with one line going over to the Asian side and a couple others towards the Tunel and Nisantasi districts.
Locals are overwhelmingly sweet and attentive. Every time we got lost someone would walk us all the way to our destination and answer all our questions. Being naturally untrusting New Yorkers, we were always looking for the catch; the “what’s in it for them”. However, in the end we had to admit that there was no catch. People were truly helpful, polite and caring!
We never had an incident, but that doesn’t mean one should bring the guard down. Istanbul is what it is because of it’s strategic location between two continents, and is the main hub for human trafficking worldwide.
Like most hyper-touristic destinations, beware of taxi drivers overcharging, In Istanbul, some taxi drivers might triple and even quadruple the fare. It’s always good to check with the hotel for estimated taxi fares. If you feel you are being abused, just step out of the car and tell the driver you are calling the police – there are standing police everywhere – that will usually take care of the situation and the driver quickly change the rate !
For a magical afternoon, take a casual Sunday stroll in Kadikoy while watching the people fish along the Bosphorus and marvel at the blue blue water and jellyfish everywhere!