Coming from South Africa , most European transport systems are very impressive to me and Istanbul doesn’t disappoint. 15 million people moving around with out a hitch(well maybe very few hitches)!!
In the old town area we have mainly used the T1 overground tram
Zeytinburnu – Kabatas
This line covers a lot of the sightseeing attractions and has connection to the Asian Side and Taksim (via the furnicular from Kabatas )
The “start of the tram” for us. It doesnt actually start there but we have never used it to go further than here. If you have time, it is worth the walk for shopping from Aksaray to Laleli station as theres a range of shops with ladies and kids clothing and shoes.
Right outside Doubletree by Hilton hotel Old Town.
Lots of wholesale and retail shopping in this area. Nice vibe during the day. A bit quieter at nights. Limited restaurants in this area but try kariferein.
This is the stop obviously for The Grand Bazaar .With 58 streets and around 4,000 shops the Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s largest and oldest covered markets
It is worth spending an afternoon wandering the alleyways of the Bazaar and picking up a bargain or two. Remember the Bazaar is closed on Sundays
There are a few restaurants here and a burger king but just outside the grand bazaar the row of fresh juice shops and restaurants are marketed towards tourist so u get a decent plate of food but for much more than you would pay normally . On the street outside the grand bazaar running alongside is an outdoor market.
Use this stop if you want to go to Nusret restaurant at the Grand bazaar. Its nearer to the exclusive entrance which is better to use especially at night or on Sundays when the grand bazaar entrances are closed.Can use this stop as an alternate entrance to The Grand Bazaar.
Blue Mosque and Hagia sophia stop. Few good restaurants in this area with lots of activity .Dubb indian is on one of the side streets from this stop.
There is a newer Hafez Mustafa open in this area as well and its easier to get a table here.
Use this stop for Topkapi museum
And the beginning of the a street full of restaurants and food outlets leading up to the Sirkeci area.
The main stop for restaurants and popular hafez mustafa dessert shop.
Favourites here are esmer chef ,mado and hafez mustafa
Use this stop for The Spice bazaar and ferrys for asian side .
Cross the road towards the water for ferrys for bosphorous cruises or ferrys to Asian side .on that side as well there are lots of street food options. The pickled veg in cups was interesting. Try the hot logmades (syrupy doughnuts)
Cross the road towards masjid and the spice bazaar. Best to buy your turkish delight and spices from here . Lots of street shopping behind spice bazaar ( linen and dishes )
Last stop on the tram. Need to use the furnicular from here to go to taksim.
Tips for using the tramway :
The tramway is a very quick and easy system to use.
Buy your transport card and keep it topped up with enough for a few rides. I find it easiest to do that at the little kiosks selling snacks and newspapers all over the place than at the ticket machines at the stations.
You can use one card for a few ppl so just scan the card and pass to the next person in your group.Same card can be used for ferry rides to the Asian side and also for the Pierre lotti cable car .
The tramline is a hot spot for pickpockets so be aware of your belongings while you on the tram.
Remember also that each stop is just a few minutes from each other.