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Local time in Istanbul

Currency in Istanbul

YTL

Getting around Istanbul

Public transport

Istanbul has a modern metro system complemented by private and state-owned buses (tel: 444 1871, in Turkey only; www.iett.gov.tr/en). Trams run through the city centre to the outlying suburbs. 

Light railway services operate to Atatürk airport, the main bus station and Aksaray, and Haydarpasa and Gebze Banliyö. Information on rail, metro and trams is available from Istanbul Ulasim (tel: +90 212 568 9970; www.istanbululasim.com.tr).

More unusual transport services include funiculars between Kabatas and Taksim; the vintage Nostaljik Tramvay, which clatters along Istiklal Caddesi; the Tünel underground, built in 1877, which travels the steep hill between Karaköy and Istiklal Caddesi; and the small circular tramway between Kadiköy and Moda.

Passenger ferries (tel: +90 212 251 5000; www.tdi.com.tr) connect points along the Golden Horn and Bosphorus. Buy tokens at dockside kiosks. The Deniz Otobusu (sea bus) (tel: +90 850 222 4436; www.ido.com.tr/en) offers a quicker but more expensive service. Small privately operated ferries run between Üsküdar and Besiktas.

Dolmus minibuses operate fixed routes throughout Istanbul and suburbs and can be flagged down anywhere. Pay the driver when boarding.

The Istanbulkart is a smartcard which you can use on the majority of public transport in the city; it's available at more than 2,000 sales outlets throughout Istanbul.

Taxis

You can hail taxis almost anywhere and at any time in Istanbul. Turks do not normally tip, but drivers often hope for a tip from foreigners. Demand that the meter (taksimetre) is switched on, as it must be by law. Reliable taxi companies include Çamlica Turizm Telsiz Taksi (tel: +90 216 318 1859) and Zincirlikuyu Taksi (tel: +90 212 272 3625).

Driving

Istanbul's vast urban sprawl is prone to severe congestion. Navigating its streets is difficult, driving standards are poor, and overall it is neither advisable nor necessary for foreign visitors to drive in the city.

Car hire

Hiring a car in Istanbul is not advised but is available from Avis (tel: +90 212 244 9350; www.avis.com.tr), Europcar (tel: +90 212 254 7710; www.europcar.com.tr) and Hertz (tel: +90 212 465 5999; www.hertz.com.tr). Drivers must be over 21 years and have held a licence for at least one year.

Bicycle hire

Istanbul on Bike (tel: +90 553 440 5544; www.istanbulonbike.com) hires bikes and runs cycling tours.