I have always regretted the fact that I came to know Besiktas years later, after I was done studying. Had I known Besiktas better, would my life have been much easier for sure. Still, I hope to think I made the best of it. So, here is my advice to you, if you are to visit Istanbul, have a fixed or limited budget, and wish to enjoy the city without suffering the traffic, know where Besiktas is!
Besiktas is “the” transportation hub on the European side. It might not have metro access (yet) but you can get to the nearest metro station in about 5 minutes under normal conditions. Considering Istanbul is suffering heavy traffic almost anytime during the day, Besiktas offers several transportation options when you want to see around. Let’s start with what Besiktas offers, and what is nearby. From Besiktas port, there are several places that are in walking distance:
– Dolmabahce Palace (15 min. walk)
– Naval Museum (across the port)
– Besiktas Bazaar (Carsi) (5 min, across the lights, back of Sinanpasa Mosque)
For avid walkers
– Ortaköy (25 min walk-and recommended since traffic to Ortaköy is always heavy)
– Yildiz Park (20 min)
– Taksim (35 min)
Please note that Besiktas sea side, Besiktas Carsi offers various options for good food, baked goods, ice cream and coffee. Best part of it would be the price. Since it is a living & working neighbourhood, what they offer will always be at a reasonable price, fresh, and tasty.
There are yellow minibuses that can get you to Taksim & Mecidiyeköy, and one of the biggest bus stops in the city is directly at the port as well. Best part: If you would like to do a Bosphorus tour, Besiktas is the right spot to start it! Here are some options for you:
Dentur Avrasya Hop on Hop off: http://www.denturavrasya.com/tarifeDetay.asp?ID=31
Both offer good prices and several options to see the Bosphorus. If you would like go across and visit the Anatolian side as well, avoid the bridges and hop on a boat from Besiktas, which will take you Üsküdar and Kadiköy, and in the evenings to Beykoz, Kandilli as well. Of course, you can also use the Bosphorus tour as your transportation means to Anatolian side!
And finally, a city guide courtesy of Istanbul Municipalty