Istanbul Apps & websites – useful ways to navigate the city

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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.


The first hurdle is getting from the new mega huge Istanbul airport to the city. IGA Systems have developed a handy app which provides real-time journey information, indoor navigation, access to free Wi-Fi, information on shops and food outlets, and most importantly detailed information on transport options. You’ll find it in the App Store or Google Play under Istanbul Airport (IGA).

Another useful way to get around Istanbul!

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.

Istanbul Municipality Council sea taxis are another addition to to the city’s public transport options, and the perfect way to beat traffice. They work out most economically if you’re in a group, and are a very comfortable option for families travelling with small children or for people with physical disabilities. This video shows you how the Istanbul sea taxi system works or you can just download the IBB Deniz Taksi app direct to your phone.

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.

Use this great Istanbul App to stay connected, wherever you go.

These days, going anywhere without an internet connection is as likely as going out naked. With Airalo you can buy an esim (a digital SIM card) and load your phone before you arrive so you can hit the ground running. They also have data options that include a phone number too, useful if you need to contact your hotel or maybe that person you got chatting to at the next table in a cafe!


You'll never go hungry with Yemek Sepeti

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.

Here are some tips to consider while planning your trip to Turkey so you have a smooth landing

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.

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.

Discover Istanbul using public transport. Istanbul 50 Unsung Places includes all you need to know to get there and back.

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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