Transportation to/from Istanbul airport

Apr 3rd, 2000, 08:15 AM
  #1  
Tonya
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Transportation to/from Istanbul airport

What is the most reasonable/reliable way to go from the airport to downtown? My flights arrive and depart in the early evening. I will be traveling alone.

Thanks.
 
Apr 3rd, 2000, 08:53 AM
  #2  
don
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I would just take a taxi. I was there eight years ago and I do not reacall it as being expensive. It may be even cheaper now.
 
Apr 3rd, 2000, 09:44 AM
  #3  
Paulo
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We arrived in Istanbul by car ... but took a taxi from the hotel to the aiport. Istanbul is a huge city. Even if there are convenient transportation means from the airport to the city, chances are that you'd still not be out of the woods A taxi all the way seems to be indeed the best option. A word of caution, though. Many taxi driver's in Istanbul cheat shamelessly (the meter is tampered with and may mark several million Turkish Lira above the correct reading). You may check with your hotel. When we were there in summer of 98, a free transfer to/from the hotel was included in the rate (based on a 5 night stay).

Paulo

PS. When using taxis in Istanbul, try always to pick one on the run (stop an empty one that's running instead of taking one that is parked close to a major sight) or one that is arranged by your hotel. We got ripped off the first evening riding from Sultanahmet to Taksim Square and got into a big argument whe getting from Sultanahmet to the Chora Church the next morning (this time out we gave the taxi driver to either discuss the subject at a police station or to accept 1 million Lira for the ride ... he settled for the latter From there on we only took taxis on the run and had no further troubles.
 
Apr 3rd, 2000, 10:29 AM
  #4  
Patrick
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Where are you staying in Istanbul? Every hotel I checked with (not necessarily big and expensive ones, either) offer transportation to their hotel -- included in the room rate. We are paying about $60 a night and the hotel will meet us at the airport for free with a sign with our name. It seems to be a pretty standard inclusion in their bid for tourists.
 
Apr 3rd, 2000, 10:12 PM
  #5  
Tonya
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Thanks for the help, everyone.

Patrick, I was trying to decide between the Hotel Empress Zoe and the Hotel Nomade, but neither has complimentary shuttle service. I know that the Ambassador offers pick-up service(not return), but I got a little concerned reading a recent thread about that hotel. Would you suggest I go with a hotel that offers this service instead of the ones above? I'm traveling alone, so maybe that is the wisest option.

Thanks again for the assistance.
 
Apr 4th, 2000, 02:28 AM
  #6  
Ben Haines
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Fodors

For Tonya: THY Turkish Airlines run busses that anybody can use for a dollar or two from the airport every half hour to their offce on Taksim Square, bang in the middle of most hotels, and with taxis waiting.

For Patrick: That's good. Please can you say where you paid 60 dollars a night, was that single or double, and whether you liked the place ?

Ben Haines, London
 
Apr 4th, 2000, 03:22 AM
  #7  
Paulo
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I have no idea on how much you would be paying at Empress Zoe or Namade. In case US$ 70 for a single is within your budget, I would recommend Hotel Spina. It's a very clean, fully a/c hotel, with a very nice staff. Rooms have all ammenitites. It's location is hard to beat, on a very quiet street just off Sultanhamet Square (less than 100 meters from the Four Seasons). IMO it'd perfect for a woman travelling alone. According to their page, the rate above includes breakfast, VAT, 10% service and two way transport to/from the airport.
http://www.istanbulhotels.com/spina/english.htm
(just click on on-line reservation to get the rates)
Paulo

 
Apr 4th, 2000, 06:41 AM
  #8  
Pete
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Tonya,

Which thread were you reading about the Ambassador hotel? I have friends coming in a couple of weeks and they booked that hotel. What made you concerned about it?
 
Apr 4th, 2000, 08:09 AM
  #9  
Tonya
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Pete: Hope I'm not stirring the pot, but I did a search on this forum about the Ambassador. Many people expressed pleasure with their accomodations; however, others suggested that the hotel was overrated and that they were using this forum as a marketing ploy. I did find one thread that was a direct copy of the guestbook comments on the Ambassador's website. I wasn't overly concerned, but I decided to go with Paolo's suggestion of the Hotel Spina: two-way airport transfer was too good to pass up.

Thanks again to all. This forum has always steered me in the right direction.

BTW, any favorite tour operators for a half- or full-day tour of Istabul highlights?
 
Apr 4th, 2000, 08:29 AM
  #10  
don
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You didn't ask, but please don't miss seeing the Chora church. It is a bit out of the way ( you'll need a taxi)but weel worth it. It has the most beautiful Byzantine mozaics ( 13th or 14th century) that will take your breath away.
 
Apr 5th, 2000, 11:06 AM
  #11  
George Holt
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The church of St. Saviour in Chora is known as the Kariye Camii (thats jar-me-ee) or the Kariye Museum in Turkish. In my not so humble opinion, when you've seen all the usual must see sites around Sultanahmet this is the must see site that many casual tourists miss. Its well worth the trek out to the city walls. Whilst in this area you can walk to the city walls by the Edirne Gate. From here you can follw the walls down to the Golden Horn and take a ferry ride to Eyup. Here is the shrine of Eyup Ensari the Prophet Muhammed's standard bearer, one of the most sacred places in Islam.

The reception at your hotel will have leaflets for many full and half day tours. If you're new in town I'd recommend an appropriate tour to see the city in bredth rather than depth. After that you can explore the nicest places at leisure on this or the hopefully inevitable follow up visit.
 
Apr 5th, 2000, 01:03 PM
  #12  
Paulo
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Tonya

Once you decided to follow my suggestion, I feel kind of responsible and want to make sure that things go "straight"

a) we were there in July 1998 with a couple friend of ours. I deal the reservations directly with the hotel owner, by email. Just to make things clear, I confirmed the reservations via fax (giving my cc data, and lining out the whole deal: 5 nights from *** to ***, breakfast and 10% service included, free transfer for the 4 of us to the aiport - we didn't need airport pick up) and asked a confirmation fax on return, to keep as a document of the "contract" we had dealt. When we were there, the owner was travelling. A couple of hours before leaving, we wanted to close our bills. Because of our luggage (why does the luggage sweels so much in a trip?) the 4 of us didn't fit in a single car. Surely enough, the manager (a very nice person but not at all stupid when it came down to $) tried to deal us into paying some of what he called "an increased cost" once we needed two cars. The hotel bill also came with a 10% service charge ... Maters were settled in no time because I had the fax. So ... get a "contract" and take it with you!

b) don't use beverages of your room's fridge ... they're quite expensive relative of what you'll pay in the streets. There's a newstand and parlor on the way from the hotel to Sultanahmet square. Soft drinks cost less than 1/2 of what you'd pay at the hotel. Buy only what you think you need for the night ... it's "impolite" to use the fridge for your own stuff, so empty if in the morning before room service shows up!

c) right in front of the hotel there are a couple of rug dealers ... which will try hard to talk you into their stores ... they're nice people to talk to ... any subject. But if you're not interested in rugs make it clear right away the first time up!

d) if you plan to leave the hotel in a taxi (for visiting, as suggested, the Chora church for example) instead of strolling to the square, go to the 4 Seasons Hotel (to your left leaving the Spina) and pick one in the queue there;

e) if you need anything (I do mean anything ... from a sawing needle, to a box to dispatch things by mail, etc), just ask at the front desk ... it's amazing how Turks go out of their way to accomodate whatever guests need ... of course, they expect to be tipped

Have to go now ... later I can suggest some places I think are appropriate for a single women to dine.

Paulo

 
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