Golden Horn Tramway Line

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Have you seen the new Golden Horn Tramway route?

On the 4th of January 2021 a new tramway line that runs the length of the Golden Horn opened. In Turkish Golden Horn translates as Haliç, meaning mouth or inlet. It’s named for the horn-like shape of this estuary which stretches approximately seven kilometres from the point where the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus meet up to the inland neighbourhood of Alibeyköy. Settlements around the Golden Horn date back to 660BC but in more recent years it has been the site of heavily built up residential areas, shipbuilding facilities and assorted factories. At one time it was the city’s most important port but as ships have increased in size the Golden Horn is no longer able to carry as much large marine traffic.

I took my first trip on the T5 Golden Horn Tramway a few weeks after the opening. It was a lovely sunny day and I travelled all the way up to Alibeykoy Otogar at the very end of the water source and alighted at the Eyüpsultan Teleferik on the way back. At the moment the trams run every 15 mins and trundle rather than race along the line. The main reason for this are the large numbers of seagulls on the line, who squawked angrily when required to move. Have a look at the short video I took for a taste of what it’s like. Underneath that there’s a list of the stops the tram makes and brief information on what you can see when you alight.

View along the Golden Horn Tramway Line

The starting point of the Golden Horn Tramway is at the end of the waterfront where you can get trams and ferries to other parts of the city. You can also head inland on foot through Eminonu and visit the Grand bazaar and other parts of Istanbul.

From here you can catch the M2 metro line that runs from Yenikapi to Hacıosman. Useful if you want to link up with the Marmaray or go to Taksim, Şişli etc.

Beautiful worked iron gates at St Stephens of the Bulgars.

St Stephens church
The Greek Patriarchate
Gül Camii – this former Byzantine church is located in the Dexiokratous quarter of Istanbul near Aya Kapı (Holy Gate). It’s Turkish name comes from the belief that when Byzantium fell to the Turks on May 29, 1453, the church was full of roses to commemorate St. Theodosia. As of February 2021 the oldest part of the structure is usually closed.

Küçuk Mustafa Paşa Hamam is opposite Gul Mosque. This hamam was built by Kara Mustafa Pasha in 1477 during the reign of Mehmet the Conqueror. Kara Mustafa was executed by Abdulhamid I in 1483, because Mustafa favored Cem Sultan during a dispute between the two brothers over who would rule after Fatih Sultan Mehmet. This structure operated as a hamam until 1995. It was restored in 2015 and became an exhibition space but has been closed for the last few years.

Balat Or-Ahayim Hastanesi (private hospital – formerly used by the Jewish community)
– on waterfront, to see from exterior
Meryem Ana Kanlı Kilise (St Mary of the Moghuls Church)
Ahrida Synagogue
– to gain access you must apply in advance to the Chief Rabbi in Istanbul

City walls
Vlaherna Ana Meryem Kilise (Church of St Mary of Blachernae)
– former fez making factory converted into an exhibition hall and a Luna Park. Find out what it’s like during Ramazan in this post.
– on opposite bank is the Haliç Congress Centre with lots of wooden caiques moored on the shore

Entrance to Eyupsultan Camii, Eyup.

Eyüpsultan Teleferik
Cable car up to Pierre Loti cafe
Eyüp Sultan Camii
Reşad Camii, Mihrişah Valide Sultan Mosque complex and lovely back streets lined with wooden buildings to explore.

Eyüpsultan Devlet Hastanesi

Silahtarağa Mahallesi

– After this stop is less than scenic

Alibeyköy Merkezi

Alibeyköy Metro

Between this stop and the next the tram passes a gasilhane – place where bodies are washed and prepared for burial

Alibeyköy Cep Otogarı

If you board at Eminonu, the Alibey Cep Otogari is the last stop on the Golden Horn Tramway line. Do note each tram is quite short with only three carriages so if you want to get a window seat it’s probably best to travel outside peak hours. I’ll be adding more links to posts about the area in the future so don’t forget to check in again for more ideas on where to go exploring.


Planning to come to Istanbul or Turkey? Here are my helpful tips for planning your trip.

For FLIGHTS I like to use

Don’t pay extra for an E-VISA. Here’s my post on everything to know before you take off.

However E-SIM are the way to go to stay connected with a local phone number and mobile data on the go. Airalo is easy to use and affordable.

Even if I never claim on it, I always take out TRAVEL INSURANCE. I recommend Visitors Coverage.

I’m a big advocate of public transport, but know it’s not suitable for everyone all the time. When I need to be picked up from or get to Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gokcen Airport, I use one of these GetYourGuide website AIRPORT TRANSFERS.

ACCOMMODATION: When I want to find a place to stay I use

CITY TOURS & DAY TRIPS: Let me guide you around Kadikoy with my audio walking tour Stepping back through Chalcedon or venture further afield with my bespoke guidebook Istanbul 50 Unsung Places. I know you’ll love visiting the lesser-known sites I’ve included. It’s based on using public transport as much as possible so you won’t be adding too much to your carbon footprint. Then read about what you’ve seen and experienced in my three essay collections and memoir about moving to Istanbul permanently.

Browse the GetYourGuide website or Viator to find even more ways to experience Istanbul and Turkey with food tours, visits to the old city, evening Bosphorus cruises and more!

However you travel, stay safe and have fun! Iyi yolculuklar.

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  1. Thanks Lisa, as you know very envious of your exploring currently.

    I love the thought that seagulls were making the tram slow. Oh the (in Scotland) hated seagulls.

    Looking froward to the updates.

    1. I hope you’re enjoying travelling vicariously through me! Attitudes to seagulls are interesting, aren’t they? I like them because their presence reminds me I’m near the water but I have to admit the huge Istanbul ones, with their fiery red eyes are a bit intimidating. They even scare our local street cats, and they’re pretty tough.

  2. Thanks for this update Lisa, it’s very interesting and helpful – love the video!
    I really hope the new tram helps towards traffic reduction in time.

    1. I agree it would be nice if it had an impact on the traffic but in my experience every time there’s a new bus or tram line in Istanbul people appear out of the woodwork to use it, while the number of cars on the road remain the same. Nonetheless it’s a positive step and I’m pleased you enjoyed the video. I’m a tad camera shy but plan to do more.

  3. I love travelling by tram in Istanbul! I would love to explore this new tramway line once we can visit Turkey again. Thanks, Lisa!

    1. My pleasure. Trams are so much fun aren’t they, so grand in a way, even the modern ones. I know you’ll enjoy the trip.

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