You won’t always have to rely on your wit, charm, and bargaining power to save money in Istanbul. The passes explained below are designed for savings on museum admission and public transportation.
One card can be used by up to five people, and it conveniently fits in your wallet like a credit card.Skip queues and gain “free” entry to major museums, including the Ayasofya and Topkapı Sarayı (Topkapı Palace), for a 72-hour period with the 85TL Museum Pass. The card also gives discounts on some tours, as well as discounts on entry to Pera Müzesi (Pera Museum) and Kız Kulesi (Maiden’s Tower), to name a few. Purchase the card from the ticket booths of the Ayasofya, Topkapı Palace, and other locations listed at www.muze.gov.tr. Before purchase, check the entry fees in Moon Istanbul and the Turkish Coast against your itinerary and confirm that the pass is worth your while.
Boarding the tram, ferry, or metro requires a 4TL pp jeton. Do what the locals do and purchase an IstanbulKart swipe card, which reduces the fare to 2.15TL pp per journey. These are sold at confectionery kiosks near public transportation stations for a non-refundable 10TL, and you can add value to the card at these kiosks as well. If you travel within a two-hour period, the subsequent fare is only 1.25TL. One card can be used by up to five people, and it conveniently fits in your wallet like a credit card.
Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Istanbul & the Turkish Coast.