Public Transport in Sultanahmet
How to Get from Sultanahmet to Taksim, Dolmabahce, Ortakoy, Kadikoy
Majority of domestic and foreign tourists visiting Istanbul choose Sultanahmet or Beyoglu for accommodation. The reason why Beyoglu is preferred is it is advantageous in terms of location and it’s the center of nightlife in Istanbul. Visitors that prefer Sultanahmet, on the other hand, opt to stay close to historical monuments like Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.
Accommodation options at Taksim Square, Istiklal Avenue, Cihangir, and Galata (Neighborhoods of Beyoglu) are already nearby the busiest points of the city and they are really easy to find.
On the other hand, visitors staying at Sultanahmet area begin to show interest in Beyoglu and Besiktas or Kadikoy and Uskudar, which are on the other side of the city, after they discover the historical monuments in the Old City.
In this post, I will mention about how to get to the neighborhoods like Besiktas and Kadikoy, the centers of attraction in Istanbul, cheaply and easily. Although public transportation will be the main focus of this post, I will recommend taking a taxi to reach specific locations.
How to Go from Sultanahmet by Tram, Ferry, Metro
Visitors staying at Sultanahmet usually spend their day by exploring such historical monuments as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar. After they return to their hotel, they focus on enjoying the nightlife in the city.
The first place to go for the visitors who recently arrive in Istanbul after visiting the main touristic attractions and monuments is usually Istiklal Avenue which is in the heart of Beyoglu. Istiklal Street stands out as the most vibrant avenue of the city lying from Taksim Square to Tunnel. If you keep this path longer, this route can take you to Galata Tower via Galip Dede Street.
I can assure you this route is really fun to walk. You can find numerous restaurants, cafes, bars, and patisseries on this route. So, how can you get to Taksim Square, Istiklal Avenue, and Galata Tower, which are the most fun parts of the city, from Sultanahmet?
How to Get from Sultanahmet to Taksim Square by Tram?
First of all you need to find the tram station in Sultanahmet. Please check the map below to find the exact location of Sultanahmet Tram Stop. You need to take the tram in the direction of KABATAS which is the final destination and terminal stop. The you can change to F1 Funicular to Taksim Square.
Make sure that you see KABATAŞ on the electronic signboard of the TRAM as final destination. Do not take BAĞCILAR tram which is the opposite direction. As the tram goes to Kabatas direction from Sultanahmet, it passes by important locations such as Gulhane (The Istanbul Archeology Museums), Sirkeci (Marmaray Transfer Point), Eminonu (Spice Bazaar and Bosphorus Ferry Pier). Karakoy (Transportation Hub), Tophane (Kilic Ali Pasha Mosque) and Findikli (Istanbul Cruise Port) You, however, need to go to the last station “KABATAS” to reach Taksim Square.
You Need to Find the Sultanahmet Tram Station
“Kabatas” is the Last Tram Station on Other Side of Golden Horn
When you get off at Kabatas Station, you will need to go to the funicular. F1 Taksim-Kabatas funicular line is only a few minutes walk from Kabatas Tram Station. The funicular is a one station line that saves passengers from climbing up a steep road. The funicular ride to Taksim Square takes just 5 minutes.
After you spend some time at Taksim Square, you can start walking to Galata Tower direction and enjoy Istiklal Avenue. There are some neighboring areas to hit like Pera (Tepebasi), famous for its restaurants at the backstreets, Cukurcuma that is famous for its antique shops and Cihangir which is famous for its cafes and art galleries.
Old City is “Fatih” whereas Other Side is “Beyoglu”
How to Go to Karakoy and Galata Tower from Sultanahmet?
I’ve previously indicated how to go to from Sultanahmet to Taksim Square. I’ve also pointed out that you can reach Galata Tower from Istiklal via a long walk. However, if you opt to go to Galata Tower directly, there is an easy way.
You need to take T1 Tram in order to reach Karakoy, the rising star of Istanbul after Sultanahmet in recent years. Firstly, you need to start your journey from Sultanahmet Tram Station and go to Karakoy Tram Station. When you reach Karakoy, you can visit Karakoy neighborhood that used to be the port of Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
Italian colonies, Venetians and Genoese, were in charge of exporting the goods that arrived from Silk Road to Europe. The trace of these Latin origin colonies in Karakoy and Galata is still visible today.
Vibrant Karakoy Neighborhood
How to Go to Galata Tower from Karakoy?
There are two options to get to Galata Tower after you reach Karakoy via tram. You can either climb up Yuksek Kaldirim Street or you can go to Tunnel Square via F2 Karakoy-Taksim funicular line. Indeed, Tunnel Square is the starting point of Istiklal Avenue that boasts three big squares. Tunnel, Galatasaray and Taksim Square compose the three big centers of Istiklal Avenue.
After The Funicular follow Galip Dede Street to find Galata Tower
However, in order to get to Galata Tower, you need to go towards Galip Dede Street to reach Galata Tower. While you go down the street, you can see colorful shops that sell musical instruments and souvenirs. The Galata Mevlevi House Museum (Whirling Derwishes Hall) will be also on your way. When you reach the end of the street, you will see the majestic Galata Tower standing on the right side.
In fact, Galata Tower is a monument that is in the center of a lot of beautiful streets. You can reach historical sites such as Cihangir and Cukurcuma from “Serdar-i Ekrem Street”, Sishane and Mesrutiyet Street (Pera) via “Buyuk Hendek Street” or Banks Street and Arab Mosque (Latin Church) via “Galata Kulesi Street”.
Yuksek Kaldirim connects Karakoy to Galata Tower
How to Go to Dolmabahce Palace from Sultanahmet?
Topkapi Palace is located in Sultanahmet and it used to be where the sultans of the Ottoman Empire resided from 1470s to 1850s. However, Sultan Abdulmecid, who ascended the throne in the 19th century, decided to build a new palace as the old palace was unable to meet the needs of the century.
Nikogos Balyan, one of the most skilled architects in the Ottoman Empire, built Dolmabahce Palace at one of the most beautiful locations by the Bosphorus as per the sultan’s order. This palace was used as the main residence until the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Although some other palaces like Yildiz Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Ciragan Palace were built later, they were unable to match the magnificence of Dolmabahce Palace.
Again, you need to take the tram to Kabatas line from Sultanahmet in order to reach Dolmabahce Palace. When you get off at the last station of Bagcilar-Kabatas Tram T1 line, you can walk to Dolmabahce Palace in 10 minutes.
Dolmabahce Palace Museum
Bezmialem Valide Sultan Mosque
Before reaching Dolmabahce Palace, you will see Bezmialem Valide Sultan Mosque that Sultan Abdulmecid dedicated to his mother. This mosque is mostly known as ‘’Dolmabahce Mosque’’ among the public.
How to Go to Besiktas from Sultanahmet?
Besiktas neighborhood is located in the most central point of the European side of Istanbul. You can easily reach the best shopping malls in Istanbul via Barbaros Boulevard or Levent-Maslak, the heart of business life in Istanbul.
Moreover, Besiktas serves as the bridge to reach the neighborhoods like Ortakoy and Bebek by the Bosphorus. You can also take a boat and reach Uskudar, which is on the Asian side of Istanbul, only in five minutes.
In addition to being a connection point to all of these directions, Besiktas is interesting enough to be discovered as well. For example, the center of Besiktas is the best place for eating fish and trying the most delicious doner kebab (Karadeniz Doner by Asim Usta) in Istanbul.
In order to reach Besiktas from Sultanahmet, you can go to Kabatas from Sultanahmet Tram Station and catch a bus to Besiktas direction. Majority of the buses that pass by Kabatas go to Besiktas no matter what their final destination is.
Besiktas is One of the “Top 3” Football Teams in Istanbul
How to Go to Ortakoy, Bebek, Rumeli Hisari from Sultanahmet?
Ortakoy is located in the middle of the Bosphorus and it’s an ideal place to spend a good time on weekends with its amazing square and nice alleys. It’s also one of the best spots to enjoy the Bosphorus view of Istanbul. It’s also a center of attraction thanks to its great restaurants and cafes.
Furthermore, Ortakoy is one of the most popular places for breakfast in Istanbul. You can also find Ortakoy Mosque here that is one of the most elegant mosques from the Ottoman Empire era.
In order to reach Ortakoy, Bebek and Rumeli Hisari via the same direction, you can go to Kabatas by tram and take a bus that passes by Ortakoy. For instance 22 Istinye Dereici – Kabatas public bus stops at each of these neighborhoods.
You can also prefer taxi in order to reach Ortakoy quicker. However, you should note that the road to Ortakoy from the coastal road is the busiest one in Istanbul.
Ortakoy Square and the Mosque
How to Go to Kadikoy from Sultanahmet?
Two neighborhoods stand out as touristic points in the Asian side of Istanbul. One of them is Uskudar and the other one is Kadikoy. “Uskudar” stands out as a neighborhood to visit historical monuments, while “Kadikoy” is a nice neighborhood for shopping and taking a walk.
Kadikoy Bazaar is vibrant almost every hour of the day. You can take a walk there on a nice day and do shopping at the Fish Market. Additionally, a great patisserie named Balyan and a great restaurant named Ciya are also in this neighborhood.
When you are done at Kadikoy Fish Market, you can go to Moda and watch an epic view of the Marmara Sea from Moda Cape. Moda neighborhood stands out with its boutique cafes and ice cream shops.
You need to take a ferry from Eminonu to Eminonu-Kadikoy direction that departs every 20 minutes. As Eminonu Pier is closed at 21:00 in the evening, it’s a good idea to come to Karakoy and connect to the Old City via the tram line on your way back to hotel.
Shop Like a Local in Kadikoy
How to Go to Uskudar from Sultanahmet?
As Istanbul’s one of the oldest neighborhoods, Uskudar boasts a deep Ottoman heritage. The mosques and other structures in the neighborhood attracts history lovers undoubtedly.
Moreover, you can enjoy some of the most famous restaurants of the city in Uskudar (for example, Kanaat Restaurant). Additionally, a walk to the Maiden’s Tower from the coast of Uskudar will offer amazing photo taking opportunities. Also, you can go to the Maiden’s Tower by one of the boats that runs frequently and enjoy this historical monument from the Byzantine Empire era.
In order to get to Uskudar from Sultanahmet, you need to take a ferry from Eminonu-Uskudar Pier that departs every 20 minutes. Ferry line to Uskudar is in service till midnight unlike Kadikoy ferry line that is in service till 21:00.
Maiden’s Tower is the Symbol of Uskudar
How to Go to Prince Islands (Buyukada) from Sultanahmet?
Buyukada, Kinaliada, and Burgazada are the three islands to choose if you want to visit the Prince Islands in Istanbul. Although Buyukada seems to be the best choice for the first timers, the other two islands are equally amazing. If you wish to stay away from the hectic and busy life in Istanbul and look for a romantic and peaceful escape, a visit to the Prince Islands may actually turn out to be an awesome trip.
In order to go to the Prince Islands, you need to go to Kabatas, the last station of T1 Tram Line. After you get off at Kabatas, you can take one of the boats to the Islands.
The trip takes approximately 1,5 hours from Kabatas to the Prince islands. Although the trip may sound a little long, it will be a great one thanks to the breeze from the sea, the seagulls flying around the boat, and a great Istanbul view.
Buyukada, Heybeliada, Kinaliada are Popular Islands
How to Go to Sisli and Mecidiyekoy from Sultanahmet?
Sisli is filled with business centers and the best shopping malls in Istanbul. Moreover, some of the best 5 star hotels in Istanbul are located in Sisli. A lot of tourists who visit Istanbul for business or shopping prefer hotels in Sisli.
Mecidiyekoy is one of the busiest neighborhoods in Istanbul. In addition to the offices of many local companies, it also houses various residences and shopping centers. Therefore, it’s one of the most central points in Istanbul and it’s also a neighbor of Sisli.
In order to go to Sisli or Mecidiyekoy from Sultanahmet, you can take a bus at Eminonu, which is located by the coastal side of the Old City. In order to get Taksim, Harbiye, Osmanbey, Bomonti, Sisli and Mecidiyekoy; 74A Gayrettepe-Eminonu bus line works perfectly. These are considered as the main places of interest on the other side of Golden Horn.
If you prefer to leave Sultanahmet by tram, you can go to Kabatas and take a taxi from there. Taking a yellow cab from Kabatas in the direction of Sisli and Mecidiyekoy speed up the process and cost a small amount of money.
Biggest Shopping Mall in City Center
How to Go to Istanbul New Airport from Old City
In order to get to Istanbul Airport from Sultanahmet, it’s best to take the Havaist Shuttle Bus. The official airport shuttles leave from Sultanahmet Square. The bus station is located 2 minutes walking distance from Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque. You can check this number: IST-1 S to make sure about the route.
The new metro line is not finished yet. It will be possible to get to the new airport by metro soon.
Shuttle Bus at Sultanahmet Square
How to Go to Sabiha Gokcen Airport from Old City
In order to get to Sabiha Gokcen Airport from Sultanahmet first you need to take the Tram T1 in the direction of KABATAS. You can leave the tram when you arrive to seaside at Eminonu and take a ferry from Eminonu-Kadikoy pier. A ferry leaves from Eminonu to Kadikoy every 20 minutes.
Once you arrive to Kadikoy through a nice ferry trip (within 20 minutes) you may take the Airport Shuttle named HAVABUS (formerly known as Havatas) These shuttles charge only 15 Turkish Lira to get Sabiha Gokcen Airport from Kadikoy. Havabus is the best for those who have heavy luggages.
As Havabus is the official company, they offer a smooth journey to Sabiha Gokcen. However if you have an loaded IstanbulKart perhaps you might want to use the IETT public busses. E-10 and E-11 express busses provide shuttle service between Kadikoy and Sabiha Gokcen Airport.
I should note that IETT option is less comfortable than HAVABUS shuttles.
An Alternative Way from Taksim Square
There is an alternative way to get Sabiha Gokcen Airport from Sultanahmet. You can take the Tram T1 in the direction of Kabatas. Then the Funicular F1 to go up Taksim Square. There are HAVABUS Airport Shuttles leaving from there very often. So that you can cross the Bosphorus via shuttle and reach to Sabiha Gokcen Airport.