Nothing beats a good travel companion with insider knowledge, but here are some handy digital helpers that will make your Istanbul experience a little more comfortable.
TGI Food & Drink (Free, English, iOS)
So, you’re looking for a table with a good view, somewhere chic and with a prominent chef, and don’t want to deal with unfiltered options online? Enter The Guide Istanbul’s app to the rescue, with curated, location-based listings tailored to your needs. Find restaurants to eat before concerts, bars to head to afterwards with event listings. The app’s trendlists: table with a view, date night, istanbul classics, and more, provide the bests in their categories.
Sesli Sözlük (Free, English and Turkish, iOS and Android)
This dictionary app originates from one of the first English-Turkish online dictionaries and requires an internet connection to work fully. With about 5 million entries—many of them user-generated—Sesli Sözlük will help you find the right words when traversing the city from Arnavutköy to Zeytinburnu.
BiTaksi (Free, English and Turkish, iOS and Android)
Even seasoned travelers to Istanbul and locals get excited over how useful this app is. Once you sign up with your name and phone number or through Facebook, it offers you an easy taxi call system that includes fare calculator, GPS tracking, rating, and much more, so no more arguing over exorbitant fares! You can pay with credit and debit cards as well as cash.
Street Art Istanbul (Free, English only, iOS and Android)
This colorful app lists a handpicked selection of street art in Istanbul that is browsable by mural thumbnails or location on the map. As of the latest update, it also allows its users to upload artwork they have created or discovered. It is a great companion for your next city tour!
İBB Ceptrafik (Free, English and Turkish, iOS and Android)
Whether you are getting into Istanbul’s infamous traffic by dolmuş, car, or bus, it is good to know what awaits you. This app features a concise overview of Istanbul’s traffic points via map, webcam, and ticker. Use the traffic forecast to plan ahead or to find good excuses for postponing appointments.
Trafi Türkiye (Free, English and Turkish, iOS and Android)
Working with realtime data and timetables, this app pretty much unlocks the wondrous world of Istanbul's public transport. This well-designed and easy-to-use public transport map helps you get from A to B by ferry, tram, metro, and bus. Whether you enter an address or just drop a pin, Trafi will suggest the nearest available route along with transfer points and approximate duration. You can also check customizable Twitter feeds for news or look at schedules and transport network maps. The app currently provides data for Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, and Bursa.
If you are traveling to Turkey and do not want to incur astronomical roaming charges with your phone, we might have just the thing for you. It is not another app, but a proper gadget! For a low daily fee, travelers can rent a mobile device that provides 3G wifi for up to 10 devices whenever and wherever. Also available is a tablet guide with preloaded apps sharing local information, maps, and audio tours. Simply visit the website before your trip and the device will be delivered to your hotel or partnered rental service prior to your arrival. How easy!