The Big Bus features Townsville

Only got a couple of days to get to know a new city? Our Big Five City Guides can help. We break each destination down into culture, history, food, shopping and relaxation must-sees and dos. We call them our Big Five and they’re everything you’ll need to experience the essence of a new city. Here, local writer Len Rutledge shows us around fabulous Townsville in Queensland’s tropical north. With its palm-fringed waterfront, cosmopolitan culinary scene and Magnetic Island right on the doorstep, Townsville has all the ingredients for a top travel experience…

As the largest city in tropical Australia, Townsville combines federation and modern architecture with sophisticated restaurants, accommodation, events and shopping like no other Queensland regional city.

It basks in more than 300 days of sunshine each year and is surrounded by a myriad of natural wonders from the Great Barrier Reef and magical islands to the Wet Tropical rainforests and the gold mining centres of the Outback.

Here’s a city guide to the top things to do in Townsville.

Top things to do in Townsville

Need to know

Base yourself: City centre, The Strand, South Townsville
Average hotel price per room/per night: $140
You can’t go wrong with: Seafood, Thai, Mexican, Modern Oz, pub grub
Great breakfasts: Jam, The Ville Resort-CasinoStone’s Throw cafe and Bar, Betty Blue & The Lemon Tart
Awesome coffee: Juliette’s The Strand, Specialty Coffee Trader
Top spots for a beverage: Crown on Palmer, The Taphouse, Townsville Brewery
Must-dos: ReefHQ, Magnetic Island, The Strand, Billabong Sanctuary

Best times to visit

The tropical winter (April to November) is the best time to visit. Days are warm, nights are cool, and there is unlimited sunshine and very little rain. December to March is hot and humid and there can be rain periods which last several days. The advantage of this time of the year is that accommodation prices are low and most tourist attractions and tours still operate.

Top things to do in Townsville


If museums, live theatre, local artisan and farmers’ markets, or visits to attractions are your style, then you’re spoilt for choice in Townsville.

Reef HQ allows you to explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet. The world’s largest coral reef aquarium is home to thousands of fish, sharks, and turtles and, of course, a wide range of living corals. A highlight for some will be a visit to the aquarium’s Turtle Hospital where sick and injured turtles are cared for.

Top things to do in Townsville

Billabong Sanctuary encourages you to get in touch with your wild side. This picturesque area allows you to hold a koala, cuddle a wombat, smile at a crocodile or wrap a python around your neck. There are animal talks and feedings throughout the day.

Top things to do in Townsville

There always seems to be a festival or event happening in and around Townsville. Some of the best are the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Strand Ephemera: the North’s Sculpture Festival, the Townsville 400 Supercars, and Magnetic Island Race Week.

Castle Hill is the perfect place for visitors to orientate themselves. The hill is just metres from the CBD and there is vehicular access and a number of popular walking tracks. Lookouts at the top provide stunning panoramas of Townsville, Magnetic Island and the Coral Sea.

Top things to do in Townsville


Townsville was founded in 1864 as a port and remains a major import and export centre today, while developing into a university and research institute city.

Top things to do in Townsville

To experience some of the city’s history, visit the award-winning Museum of Tropical Queensland where you can explore a shipwreck, visit a rainforest and discover the reef, all in one day. Then head outdoors to the 15 hectare heritage Jezzine Barracks precinct, which commemorates the military and Aboriginal heritage of the Kissing Point headland.

Another outdoor venue is the Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park, where the historic Quarantine Station is a highlight. Across the water on Magnetic Island, the Forts Walk leads to historic WWII fortifications and infrastructure. Lookouts along the way afford excellent views to the Palm Island Group and Bowling Green Bay National Park. Koalas are often seen in trees along the track. The walk culminates in 360 degree views from the top of the fortifications.

Top things to do in Townsville


From award-winning fine dining to casual eats to suit every taste, Townsville offers an enviable range of cafes and restaurants.

You can enjoy Australia’s best breakfast at Jam on Palmer Street. That’s according to the Savour Australia Awards. While on Palmer Street, capture the essence of fine dining and international cuisine at Michels Restaurant or Ribs and Rumps.

Top things to do in Townsville

Discover City Lane – a creative laneway bursting with dining options with New York flair, street art, funky decor and an atmosphere to match. Here you can travel the world without leaving town. Donna Bionda is an Italian restaurant, Sakana serves Japanese, Shaw and Co has burgers and more, while The Courtyard offers Americana-style street food. Also here is The Taphouse, North Queensland’s first self-pour craft beer bar.

Top things to do in Townsville

For more chances to refresh with a locally brewed beverage or enjoy a great meal, head for the Townsville Brewery or the Cowboys Leagues Club in Flinders Street. Further east you’ll find an eclectic mix of restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and cocktail bars on Flinders Street East.


As North Queensland’s biggest urban centre, there’s no shortage of top things to do in Townsville that revolve around retail therapy.

Townsville is served by many of Australia’s popular department and chain stores but the real treats are in local boutique outlets. The Home Room in Gregory Street has locally crafted items like scented retro milk bottle candles or super cute sustainable bamboo tumblers for long-lasting memories of your Townsville visit.

The Strand Emporium on Flinders Street is a cool little coastal store with blue and white prints and seashell accents. Pop in for beach inspired decor, batik resort wear, accessories and homewares.

Stellar Moda on Palmer Street stocks edgy, bohemian and vintage styles from labels like Lucette, Kachel, Talulah and Mogil.


Magnetic Island, just 8km from Townsville, is a unique blend of national park, holiday paradise and small residential villages.

The island has some of the best beaches in Queensland and the lifestyle is relaxed and friendly. You can choose to jetski, sail, skydive on the beach, scuba dive, snorkel, fish, fly in the Red Baron seaplane, ride horses on the beach, play a round of golf or just relax in a peaceful bay.

Top things to do in Townsville

The Strand is Townsville’s thriving beach foreshore. There is a 2.5km walkway with spectacular views, restaurants and cafes, BBQs, the popular Water Park, the Rockpool and plenty of places to chill-out under the palm trees.

Top things to do in Townsville

Why not take advantage of the great weather and warm water to learn to scuba dive? Several operators on the mainland and on Magnetic Island can get you certified in a few days. For those with more experience, the Yongala wreck is considered Australia’s best dive site and is in the world’s top 10. The coral-encrusted structure attracts prolific marine life and is justifiably popular. Adrenalin Dive offers day trips and liveaboards.

Five tours we love

Great Barrier Reef Dive and Snorkel Cruise from Townsville

Explore the magnificent underwater world off the coast of Townsville on a custom-built snorkelling and diving vessel. Choose from an introductory dive with an experienced instructor, or two certified dives in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which is UNESCO World Heritage-listed. You’ll journey out to Lodestone Reef for the chance to see reef fish, sea turtles and stingrays. A delicious lunch and your equipment for the day are included.

Top things to do in Townsville

Townsville City Sightseeing Tour

Townsville is considered the unofficial capital of North Queensland and has a rich history and culture to explore. On this afternoon tour you’ll get to experience many of the highlights, including a stroll along The Strand, stunning views of Magnetic Island from Castle Hill, and visit to the Jezzine Barracks precinct. Travel by air-conditioned minibus, and enjoy your local guide’s commentary. You’ll pick up plenty of tips for great places to eat during your stay.

Scuba Dive the S.S. Yongala Wreck on the Great Barrier Reef

The SS Yongala wreck is considered to be one of the best dive sites anywhere on the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy a day trip out to the wreck site, including two dives, lunch and refreshments on board.

Top things to do in Townsville

Townsville Military History Walking Tour

There has been a military presence in Townsville since the 1800s and this engaging military history tour will give you much of the back story. Led by a former member of the Australian Defence Force, tour highlights include Kissing Point Fort, the Royal Australian Air Force Museum, the Black Hawk Memorial and Lavarack Barracks. You can add a city tour that takes in many of Townsville’s scenic landmarks.

Townsville Helicopter Tour

Get a bird’s eye view of Townsville and Cleveland Bay on a scenic helicopter flight. Choose from a shorter flight around Townsville or a longer flight that also takes you over stunning Magnetic Island. You’ll enjoy expert commentary from your pilot and breathtaking views of Castle Hill, The Strand, Townsville Port, Ross River and the Coral Sea.

Do you have any tips for top things to do in Townsville? We would love to hear from you. Please send us a message.

Additional images: Bigstock


About the writer

Len Rutledge has been travel writing for 40 years. During that time he has written thousands of newspaper articles, numerous magazine pieces, more than a thousand web reviews and around 35 travel guide books. He has worked with Pelican Publishing, Viking Penguin, Berlitz, the Rough Guide, and the Nile Guide amongst others. He has lived in nine countries and currently resides in Townsville. Along the way Len started a newspaper, a travel magazine, a Visitor and TV Guide and completed a PhD in tourism. His travels have taken him to more than 100 countries and his writings have collected a PATA award, an ASEAN award, an IgoUgo Hall of Fame award and other recognition. He is the author of the Experience Guides series of travel books – available as ebooks or paperbacks from

Luxury around the World

Luxperience is an annual 4-day global business exchange trade show held in Sydney, Australia. It is the only such event in the southern hemisphere covering high-end experiential travel. I wrote this article on a few of the participants in last year’s show.

Luxury Around the World

Posted on Oct 5 2016 — 10:40pm by Len Rutledge

Len Rutledge

Luxury and experiential travel are changing the travel industry and the way many people think about travel. While trips to see grandma will always occur, family trips today are often camping safaris through Africa or visits to remote lodges in Bhutan.

Today’s travellers are braver than ever and are prepared to travel well off the beaten track. They are looking for something unique and individual.  As new destinations emerge, traditional tourist hotspots and resorts have to rethink their approach in order to stay relevant.

I have just returned from Luxperience, an unmissable annual get-together for all those associated with the high-end travel industry. It was a meeting which exposed all the newest and best operators and showed where this growing part of the industry is heading.

I have selected five products which show the level of luxury and diversity that is now available to world travellers. Any of them would be an experience of a lifetime for most people.

Deccan Odyssey

This is a luxury train in India comprising 21 luxuriously appointed coaches; 11 are to accommodate guests and the rest are used for different purposes such as dining, lounge, conference car and health spa. All the cabins of Deccan Odyssey are fully equipped with air-conditioning, internet connectivity, and personalized guest amenities that make sure that your journey is a comfortable and memorable one. There are two restaurant cars available which serve Indian, continental and oriental delicacies.


There are six itineraries which travel to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an excellent vineyard, palatial residences, sun-kissed beaches, magical cities, and tranquil backwaters. All is done with the luxury and pomp that only India can muster. Truly, this is the journey of a lifetime.

Over the Top

This New Zealand helicopter company based in Queenstown provides more than just a helicopter ride. You can visit alpine glaciers and remote lakes, for hiking, boating, extreme golfing, winery visits, heliskiing or fly fishing. For guests wanting an interaction with some distinctive New Zealand characters, you can fly with eco-guides, chefs, artists – genuine New Zealanders who delight in making your stay a once in a lifetime experience.


One activity that is gaining in popularity is Over the Top Golf. This provides access to New Zealand’s most picturesque golf hole. Nestled at 4500 feet in the New Zealand alps this par 3 hole overlooking Queenstown has four tee boxes so you can attempt your hole in one. Players have to fly in, drive, chip and putt out on the top.

The Racha

This deluxe island hideaway in Thailand is set on a pristine beach on Racha Island 18 km south of Phuket. The resort features 85 luxurious villas and strives to be recognized as a leader in responsible and environmentally sustainable tourism. The island is known for its natural beauty and for its excellent corals and marine life. It is also a wonderful place for relaxation and for doing nothing.


Many rooms have a large living area and a spacious private terrace. Each villa is superbly designed and features a luxurious bathroom and a rain-shower outside. The Earth Cafe is a contemporary chic international café serving Western and Thai food in air-conditioned comfort or on the terrace. Sunset Beach is a casual restaurant serving local specialties and snacks for lunch and fresh barbequed seafood and steaks for dinner right next to the beach. Firegrill is a fine dining restaurant offering Mediterranean cuisine.

R.M. Williams Tour

R.M.Williams was an Australian hero who did much to put the Australian Outback on the map. His famous boots became a symbol of toughness and style which continues to this day. The Tailor, in conjunction with R.M.Williams, has designed the ultimate tribute to RM Williams. In RM’s Footsteps is a 4-day journey which traces his personal history, telling the story of how he created the famous leather boots now sold around the world.

This amazing trip offers guests a rare opportunity to explore the legend of RM Williams by visiting several magnificent Outback destinations, such as the Flinders Ranges and Lake Eyre, enjoying traditional country hospitality and eating delicious regional cuisine. Guests travel in ultimate luxury aboard a Swiss-built Pilatus PC12 aircraft.


The trip begins in Adelaide with a private tour of the RM Williams workshop, factory, and museum, plus a chance to be fitted with your own boots, clothing and other bush apparel. You will receive a complimentary pair of Craftsman Boots. Another highlight is a visit to the historic Nilpena Station, a tour of the nearby red desert dunes, and a rare visit to the heritage listed Ediacara fossils made famous by the likes of Sir David Attenborough.

The Strand Cruise

On a languid journey along the Ayeyarwady River, the new luxurious Strand Cruise reveals the core of Burma in exceptional comfort. Cruise itineraries include 4 nights from Bagan to Mandalay and 3 nights from Mandalay to Bagan. While cruising you can clear your mind with a rejuvenating massage, or relax by the swimming pool. Enjoy the magnificent sunset from the upper deck while the sommelier delights you with a wide variety of wines. At dinner, the Chef will take you on a journey through refined cuisine.


Pampering and relaxation are the goals of the spa. You can heighten the experience with a massage in either an individual room or share the experience in our double room. The foot reflexology station will leave you ready to take on a new day of exploration and discoveries. The fitness room comes complete with treadmills, weights, and other gym equipment; everything needed for an invigorating workout.

Excursions allow you to explore the royal cities of Mingun, Amarapura, and Ava by horse-drawn cart; take in landmarks such as the U Bein bridge; and marvel at the enduring beauty of the country’s innumerable temples and monasteries.

Further information:

Deccan Odyssey:

Over the Top:

The Racha:

R.M.Williams Tour:

The Strand Cruise:

Len Rutledge
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Len Rutledge

Len Rutledge has been travel writing for 40 years. During that time he has written thousands of newspaper articles, numerous magazine pieces, more than a thousand web reviews and around 25 travel guide books. He has worked with Pelican Publishing, Viking Penguin, Berlitz, the Rough Guide and the Nile Guide amongst others.
Along the way he has started a newspaper, a travel magazine, a Visitor and TV guide and completed a PhD in tourism. His travels have taken him to more than 100 countries and his writings have collected a PATA award, an ASEAN award, an IgoUgo Hall of Fame award and other recognition.
He is the author of the Experience Guide ebook series which currently includes Experience Thailand, Experience Norway, Experience Northern Italy, Experience Myanmar, Experience Istanbul, Experience Singapore and Experience Ireland.

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Philadelphia USA article from The South African.

Fabulous Philly is full of surprises

Philadelphia may not be the top of everyone’s United States bucket list, but it sure is worth a pit stop. Cannon

Featured Image: Cannon
Other Image Credits: Phensri Rutledge

Most people have heard of Philadelphia in the USA yet it doesn’t seem to rank as high as New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco on most visitors’ lists. That is a pity because this thriving metropolis has many attractions and is full of surprises.

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania, the second-most populous city in the eastern part of the United States and the fifth-most populous in the whole country. For visitors, it is ideally situated just 90 minutes from New York City and two hours from Washington, D.C., by train. The city attracted 40 million domestic tourists last year and the number is growing.

First-time visitors immediately notice the picturesque streets of the central area which are lined with parks, rivers, shops, public art, restaurants, and museums. Everything seems to be within walking distance from downtown.

You will quickly become aware that history is big here. In 1682, William Penn founded the city to serve as the capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. A century later this is where the Founding Fathers of the United States signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. The city then served as temporary U.S. capital while Washington D.C. was under construction.

Philadelphia is home to many national historic sites which are much loved by U.S. citizens but international visitors who know at least something about American history will also be impressed. Independence National Historic Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the centre of these historical landmarks and here Independence Hall, and the Liberty Bell are the famous attractions.

Both are free but timed tickets are issued for Independence Hall so you need to plan ahead. A limited number are released each morning at the Independence Visitors Center but they can also be reserved in advance on-line for a small fee. The line of people wanting to see the Liberty Bell can be very long so perhaps the smart thing to do is view it through the pavilion window without going inside.

The number one most visited attraction in Philadelphia is Reading Terminal Market, the city’s famous indoor foodie paradise that is a one-stop shop for everything from local produce and delicious sandwiches to artisanal cheeses and desserts. This was established in 1892 and is now the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market.

Phensri Rutledge

My wife and I walked wide-eyed as we explored the 80 or so merchants that trade here. The Amish have several booths with interesting foods and crafts. Don’t miss it!

Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest inhabited street in the United States. The original homes, which are still inhabited, stand beside a narrow cobblestone street. For a million dollars you can become a local and live on the Alley. On the other hand, a visit is free.

Head to Christ Church Burial Ground (located just off Independence Mall) and throw a penny on Benjamin Franklin’s grave, a practice encouraged by Franklin’s motto that “a penny saved is a penny earned” (though the actual phrase was “A penny saved is a penny got.”)

But it’s not only historic locations that attract visitors. The steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art have become known as the “Rocky Steps” as a result of their appearance in the film Rocky and its five sequels. Tourists often mimic Rocky’s famous stair climb, before posing for a photograph at the statue located at the bottom right of the steps. Most don’t set foot in the museum, thus missing out on one of the best museums in the United States.

Boxing enthusiasts now have a new site to visit. A sculpture of the real hometown champion Joe Frazier was unveiled in 2015 in South Philly.

The area’s many universities and colleges make Philadelphia a top international study destination, as the city has evolved into an educational and economic hub. Philadelphia is the third-largest student centre on the East Coast, with over 120,000 college and university students enrolled within the city and nearly 300,000 in the metropolitan area. This makes for a buzzing cultural life.

Until I went there I had no idea that Philadelphia has more outdoor sculptures and murals (4000 and counting) than any other American city, nor that Fairmont Park is the largest landscaped urban park in the world. If this huge park seems intimidating try one of the city’s original green spaces as laid out by William Penn.

Lagan Circle with its beautiful Swann fountain and nice view of City Hall is a good place to start. Then enjoy a mini-tour of Philadelphia as you putt your way through the city’s iconic sites at Philly Mini Golf in Franklin Square, or close your eyes and take a nostalgic ride on the old carousel.

You can’t visit Philadelphia without trying a cheesesteak which was developed by German and Italian immigrants. These savoury sandwiches of chopped steak and a choice of cheeses and/or fried onions on a hoagie roll are definitely the city’s most famous food.

Philadelphia boasts a number of cheesesteak establishments, however, two locations in South Philadelphia are perhaps the most famous among tourists. Pat’s King of Steaks, and Geno’s Steaks are opposite each other and both open 24/7.

Just about everywhere I have mentioned is walkable from downtown but the Indego bike share program may appeal to some. The Philly Phlash is a quick, easy and inexpensive bus connection to key Philadelphia attractions that has 22 stops on its loop. Buses run every 15 minutes and cost $2 per ride or $5 for an all-day pass. During summer these operate every day but for the rest of the year, there are reduced times.


South Africans need a travel visa to visit the United States. These are obtainable from the U.S. Embassy.

Philadelphia International Airport was the 15th busiest airport in the world measured by traffic movements last year. There are daily direct connections from London on British Airways, American, and Delta.

For more travel inspiration from Len, visit his website or download one of his travel guides.

The original of this article appeared at

Istanbul article in Pique News Magazine (Canada)


Where nothing is as you expect



A minaret-dotted skyline, bustling bazaars, fabulous food and monumental museums provide a compelling invitation to visit Istanbul, that gargantuan metropolis connecting Europe to Asia.

Istanbul deserves at least a week of your time as there are opportunities for memorable experiences which you will talk about for months. Many of these will be found in the backstreets and on the waterways of this intriguing city where nothing is exactly as you might expect.

Istanbul’s 14 million residents occupy an area that has been a world-city for two millennia. While many lead a thoroughly modern lifestyle, there are ever-present reminders of the city’s Ottoman, Byzantine and Roman past. No visitor should ignore the wonderful churches, mosques, museums, palaces and other remnants from the past, but equally you need to visit the ultra-modern shopping centres, the amazing bars and clubs, and the picturesque wealthy villages along the Bosphorus.

I like to start my day with a visit to the area adjacent to the historic Galata Bridge. As the morning mist rises the seagulls, fishermen and morning commuters are revealed. Street hawkers offer freshly baked bread rings while the Imam’s call to prayer from the New Mosque drifts past. Walk uphill to Gülhane Park and find a seat in the terraced tea garden with its lovely view of the Bosphorus, order a tea, and be content.

Many of the major attractions of the Old City are near here and you can spend a day or more exploring the Hagia Sophia, the greatest church in the world for 1,000 years; the Blue Mosque with its instantly recognized exterior and its six minarets; the Great Palace Mosaic Museum; Topkapi Palace where the ruling Ottoman sultans lived for 400 years; the wonderful Basilica Cistern and so much more.

The New City across the Golden Horn is a huge area. Probably the most interesting part is along the shore of the Bosphorus so I suggest you take a bus to Bebek or Emirgan. These are two of the wealthiest areas of the city and are fascinating to walk around. In fact, the walk from here back towards Ortaköy along the coast provides wonderful vistas, some nice museums and places to stop for a drink or snack. A visit to these quaint seaside neighbourhoods is a must for those who want to catch a glimpse of how Istanbul’s young and well-to-do spend their days.

Ortaköy itself is an artsy neighborhood dominated by the baroque Ortaköy Mosque and the First Bosphorus Bridge. The charming waterfront hides a lattice of narrow cobbled streets filled with nice cafés and trendy small clothing boutiques. When the sun goes down, this becomes a hotspot for Istanbul’s young and trendy set.

Nearby Galatasaray Islet is a small island on the Bosphorus owned by the Galatasaray Sports Club. It has an Olympic-size saltwater swimming pool, expensive restaurants, great parties and fantastic views. You can spend a day relaxing by the pool, and then treat yourself to a romantic sunset dinner. There’s a free boat service to the island from Kuruçe¸sme.

Another place in the New City that cannot be missed is Istiklal Caddesi, one of the most important streets in the city. This is also the original diplomatic district when Istanbul was the capital of the Ottoman Empire. See the antique red trams, the lively bookshop-cafes and a couple of beautifully restored arcades. I particularly like to walk up and down this pedestrian street on a weekend evening simply people watching and enjoying the atmosphere, but there are many bars to drop in on if you feel so inclined.

So far we have stayed in Europe but now it is time to visit Asia where there are vast suburbs generally ignored by visitors. This is perhaps not a surprise because there are few grand tourist attractions here but the whole area is different and more conservative compared to much of the European shore.

The best way to start exploring the Asian side of Istanbul is by taking a ferry to Kadköy. This is a lively place with a local feel. I never tire of watching the scene from the back of the boat with a glass of hot tea and Turkish-style bagel in hand. There are the seagulls, the call to prayer coming from a distant minaret, and the whistle of other boats to listen to, and just being out on the water produces a feeling of peace.

There are several alternative ways to go once you leave the ferry. One option is to turn right, then start walking the boardwalk. This lines the entire neighborhood, is several kilometers long and has some neat bazaars, antique shops, and restaurants along its length. If you happen to be in town on a Tuesday, then you should head to the famous Tuesday market.

Undoubtedly the most famous street on the Asian side is Bagdat Caddesi, a brand-name shopping destination. If you thought of Asian Istanbul being behind the times, come here and be amazed. It easily ranks with London, Paris and New York for sophisticated shopping. Elsewhere there are tiny villages along the Bosphorus and some of the city’s most expensive waterside homes.

Getting around has been made much easier by the construction of the undersea rail tunnel connecting Asia and Europe and various tram and train extensions that fit in with this new development. Buy an Istanbulkart and it becomes even easier because you don’t have to buy individual tickets. It can be used as a ticket on buses, trams, suburban trains, metro and even the cross-Bosphorus ferries.

I particularly recommend the modern air-conditioned trams that operate in both the New and Old City by crossing Galata Bridge. They are comfortable and frequent and go close to many of the major attractions of the city. If you stay in a hotel near this route it makes sightseeing so much easier.


There are no direct flights to Istanbul from the Canadian West Coast, however, there are numerous one-stop services. The fastest are KLM via Amsterdam, Lufthansa via Munich and Swiss via Zurich. Air Canada flies via Toronto and British Airways via London.

Information on Istanbul is available at

The latest edition of my Istanbul guide book, Experience Istanbul 2016 is available as an e-book or paperback

The original article appeared at

All books now available

This is just a reminder that the eight 2016 editions of Experience Guides are available as e-books and paperbacks. Probably the easiest way to find them is to go to then type Len Rutledge into the search bar. All the books in both formats should then appear. Amazon allows about 10% of the book to be read free for those who are interested.

Experience Guides books pics