Getting to know Istanbul can be overwhelming. It’s a huge city, inhabited by people from all over the country and the world, with diverse neighbourhoods, confusing street layouts and a language most foreigners find hard to master, at least at first. Feeling at home and comfortable in your everyday life can take some time, so I decided to come up with a list of useful Istanbul apps to help speed up the process. Some are available for free while others you have to pay for.
Turkish food is wonderful, there’s no doubt about it, but you don’t always want to have to go out to eat. After a long day at work, when the weather is bad or you just don’t feel like cooking, Yemeksepeti is just what you need. You can order from your favourite restaurant or tempt your tastebuds by searching by food type. Best of all, you can pay on delivery.
Language & communication
Getting beyond the basics in Turkish can be hard work. It’s stressful wondering if you’re getting the words right, especially when it’s essential you do so. That’s where Seslisozluk comes in handy.
These days, going anywhere without an internet connection is as likely as going out naked. When you first arrive in the city RentConnect is a good way to go. You can choose a package that suits you and have it delivered to your hotel. This gives you the time to roam wherever you want and always stay in touch.
Making sense of Istanbul’s transport routes is a life time undertaking. Luckily there are a number of useful apps to make it easy to get from A to B, leaving you free to do other things. For those who prefer taxis, Bitaksi lets you book online, track its progress and pay by card.
Once you’re more familiar with your surroundings, you’ll know that public transport is fast, efficient and cheap. Navigating the Metro, Metrobuses and ferries is quite easy, but the buses are more challenging.
However, even with the most basic Turkish, you’ll find the IETT app really helpful. It not only has the bus numbers, but route maps and bus stop names too. What I love is that you can see which buses intersect at particular stops, giving you a much wider network of buses to use.
As any local will tell you, Istanbul doesn’t have a peak hour, it’s peak all day long. Knowing all the different ways of getting where you want to go is vital if you don’t want to be stuck in traffic forever.
That’s where Trafi comes into play. Although only in Turkish, this easy to use site lists all forms of transport in Istanbul including a comprehensive list of all the minibus and dolmuş services across the city. You can learn the routes, frequency, and last daily services of whichever form of transport you plan to take, making this site one of the best I’ve seen.
After all the hard work of settling in is over, it’s time to go and explore the city. These audio guides show you where to view some of the best street art , discover Kadikoy’s multicultural past, and see Galata through a camera lens. They’re a great way to experience the city.
I hope these Istanbul apps and websites help you get the most out of your time in the city. If you know of any other handy links, let me know by writing the information in the comments section below.