Istanbul, just like Rome, is built on seven hills. So, when you’re exploring the city on foot – which is the best way – at one point or another you will be challenged with a rather steep slope to reach your destination.
This is for instance the case if you’re coming from Eminönü after visiting the Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşı) or after disembarking from a Bosphorus Tour and planning to take a stroll on Istiklal Caddesi in Taksim. Or if you just want to visit Cihangir, home to many excellent restaurants, cafés and bars as well as the luxury design Witt Istanbul hotel. Here are a few inexpensive and quick options to avoid the steep climb.
With the Funicular to Taksim Square
If Taksim or Cihangir is your final destination and you find yourself in Sultanahmet or Eminönü, the easiest and cheapest way is to hop onto the Zeytinburnu-Kabataş tram line (T1) in the direction of Kabataş. Since Kabataş is the final station, you can’t go wrong. There you will connect with the Taksim-Kabataş funicular (F1) to reach Taksim Square.
Then you can either hang around Taksim or walk down (always easier) to Cihangir. These tram lines operate daily from 6:00 till midnight. A token costs approximately 2.15 TL per person, per ride.
With Tünel to Istiklal Caddesi or Galata
If you want to reach the other end of Istiklal Caddesi and visit the Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) or walk the full stretch of Istiklal Caddesi in the direction of Taksim Square, then this is your best option. From Sultanahmet take the Zeytinburnu-Kabataş tram line (T1) in the direction of Kabataş and get off in Karaköy (the first stop after crossing the Galata Bridge) to connect to Tünel. If you’re already in Eminönü, just cross the Galata Bridge on foot and enjoy the view.
When looking in the direction of Taksim, you’ll find the Tünel entrance on your left in a building on a corner. Buy a token and hop on the world’s shortest and third-oldest underground railway system. A mere 90 seconds later, you’ll find yourself on Tünel Square. Tünel operates from 7 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.
Taking a taxi is of course the easiest, but probably not the quickest nor the cheapest way. During rush hour, you’re better of with public transportation. And unless you’re with a party of 3 or more, taking a taxi may not be the cheapest solution either. But, of course the taxi driver will drop you off in front of the door and you won’t get wet in case it rains.