The Karaköy Yolcu Salonu,
for decades Istanbul's cruise ship passenger terminal, has been closed, and now all ships use the Salıpazarı docks (map).
In 2015, this whole area will be under construction to develop the new Galataport cruise ship reception area.
Landing at Salıpazar
Leave your ship, check to see that
you have your Landing Card,
and walk out the Salıpazarı (sah-LUH-pah-zah-ruh)
gateway to the
shoreline boulevard (Meclis-i Mebusan
The nearest hotel to the dock is the 4-star, 90-room modern Nidya Hotel Galataport. Others are in Karaköy, 2.6 km (1.6 miles) to the southwest along the tram line.
You can take the Bağcılar-Kabataş
tram to points of interest, or a taxi (but read this). You might prefer a private transfer—more trustorthy, pleasant, and value-for-money.
For the tram: as you exit the port
you are in between tram stops.
The Fındıklı stop to the right has
no jeton machine,
so turn left and go to the Tophane stop,
about a 10- or 12-minute walk. Here
After you've turned left, in
the distance you will see the conical
roof of the Galata Tower. Closer, you'll
see the Ottoman baroque Nusretiye
Mosque 1826). Walk toward
the mosque. You'll pass several small
café-restaurants and a shop or two
selling such handy things as snacks
and bottled water. On the opposite
side of the boulevard are banks with
Just before you come to the mosque,
on the left, is the entrance to the
Modern Art Museum.
You can walk around the mosque on
either side, but if you walk around
to the left (Bosphorus) side, you'll
walk through a maze of nargile cafés,
which I recommend. You needn't stop
for a water-pipe break,
but these comfortable, intriguing,
and very Istanbul places also serve coffee, tea, drinks and light meals.
On the far side of the Nusretiye Mosque
and its park is the Kılıç Ali
Pasha Mosque (1580) and its beautifully-restored hamam (Turkish bath), and on
the mosque's right (inland) side, the Tophane tram
stop. The Tophane (TOHP-hah-neh), or
Cannon Foundry (1803), is that Ottoman building on the other side of the boulevard,
with all the chimney-like structures
on top. It's now an art and exhibition
The Tophane tram
stop has Jetonmatik machines from
which you can buy jetons
(tokens) for the tram. Take the tram
southwest (the way you've been walking)
in the direction of Bağcılar for
Karaköy, Eminönü, Sirkeci, Gülhane,
Bazaar. (Trams in the opposite
direction go to Kabataş).
Want to go to Atatürk Airport? Take
the tram to Zeytinburnu and
change for the Metro to
Airport), or set up a private transfer.
—by Tom Brosnahan