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Chelsea Fans Guide to Istanbul


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Travelling to away games can be a daunting task especially when they happen to be abroad so TurkeyDiscovered have put together a guide for the travelling Chelsea Fans.

Getting to the Stadium

Galatasaray are based on the European side of Istanbul, the Lions play at the the Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi – Türk Telekom Arena which is actually situated in the area of Şişli, a fair distance from Galatasaray’s old stadium the Ali Sami Yen. A handy tip for travelling around Istanbul is to get yourself an Istanbulkart (Istanbul Card) which is the Turkish equivalent of an oyster card and valid for boarding buses, funiculars, LRT, subway, commuter trains, ferryboats as well as trams operated by the Metropolian Municipality. These can be purchased at most Kiosk’s and make travelling on public transport easier and more cost effective.


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Istanbul police have advised Chelsea fans not to use the Metro to reach the stadium. IETT (municipality) buses have been organised to take Chelsea fans to the stadium from Taksim Square. They will depart from between the Intercontinental and Hyatt hotels between 1800 and 2000 hours at ½ hour intervals.


IETT has agreed that each supporter purchases a 15TL ticket to cover the trip both ways to and from the stadium. Tickets can be purchased from vending machines in Taksim square at the entrance of the Metro.


IETT officials have said that they will also provide mobile ticket vending vehicles around the bus departure point. Buses will return fans to Taksim after the match.


Taxis to the stadium will cost approximately 25 Turkish Lira and take 45 minutes (depending on traffic). Make sure the taxi metre is switched on when you set off.


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Istanbul Atatürk airport

Take a Havatas bus service available from the Istanbul Atatürk which shuttles between the airport and Taksim on the European side of the city for 10 TL. Havatas busses depart every 30 minutes.


Sabiha Gökçen Airport

There is also a Havatas service if you are arriving from Sabiha Gökçen – located on the Asian side – take the Havatas bus from airport direct to Taksim. The shuttle service costs 12 TL and takes around 1.5 hours, but it may vary according to the intensity of the traffic. Havatas busses depart every 30 minutes.  Taxi’s are also available if you don’t mind paying the extra.


Places to eat

If you travelling over from London chances are already quite familiar with Turkish food. According to some culinary experts along with the Chinese and the French, Turkish food is one of the great cuisines of the world. Whether you are vegetarian, a meat lover, pastry enthusiast, want to grab some fast food, a gourmet meal or have a delicious dessert there is something for just about everybody.


Travelling fans will be know all about Döner Kebab’s but will be surprised to find out it’s actually a lot more popular in London than in Istanbul. Also Döner is usually dished on a bed of rice or wrapped in flat bread as well as served between a baguette style half loaf of bread.

There are many alternatives for fast food, Köfte is a type of meatball mixed with different herbs and spices, there are eateries known as Köfteci’s which solely serve these culinary delights – perfect food if your on the move.


Then there is Pide and Lahmacun – the Turkish equivalent of Pizza’s. Pide is a flat pastry with toppings or fillings like meat, cheese, spinach, pastirma, eggs etc baked together in a traditional stone oven. Lahmacun is a round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat and minced vegetables and herbs including onions, tomatoes and parsley, then baked traditionally in a stone oven.


Places to Drink

Istiklal Caddesi – Istiklal Caddesi is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul. Located beside Taksim square, the avenue houses many bars, restaurants, pubs, cafes and nightclubs.


Ortaköy - Ortaköy with its buzzing atmosphere is a fantastic place to spend your evening in one of Istanbul’s most trendy spots.


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Places to Visit

Taksim - Taksim is located on the European side of Istanbul and in recent history has become the city’s beating heart. Taksim is a fantastic place to stay during your trip as it is a major leisure district where some of Istanbul’s best hotels, restaurants and shops are located. More information regarding Taksim can be found here.


Gezi Park - Situated just behind Taksim Square, Gezi Park is one of the few remaining green areas in Istanbul. Like other parks in Istanbul it is very well maintained and you will find many people enjoying the relaxing atmosphere in the shade underneath the huge trees that cover most of the park. More information regarding Taksim can be found here.


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At the match

Chelsea fans travelling by organised coach or specially provided buses will be taken straight to the segregated area from where they will have access to their seats. The Away Fans area is located in blocks A and B in the South stand using gates 418, 419, 420 and 421. Access to the stadium can be slow. There will be ticket checks and body searches at the entrance to the turnstiles. To avoid a last minute bottleneck you should get to the stadium early – doors will open 3 hours before kick-off. Visiting supporters will be kept behind for around 30 minutes after the match to allow the home fans to disperse.


What to Avoid

Generally people in the area are helpful and willing to help however, it would be best to have a small phrasebook at hand as English is not commonly spoken. Respect the local etiquette, steer clear of desecrating the Turkish flag and refrain from indecent exposure – Mooning – both are considered highly offensive.


Stay safe.

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