The quickest and easiest way to get to Yalova from Istanbul is to take a fast ferry . Fast ferries operate from Yenikapı (south of Sultanahmet), the voyage takes 70 minutes and costs 14 TL per person, 12 TL per person in vehicles, 67 TL for cars and 5 TL for bicycles. Concessions of about 1-2 TL is available for students and for those who buy their tickets online through İDO's (the ferry operator) website, as are early booking discounts.
Fast ferries also operate from Pendik, a suburb of Istanbul on the Asian Side, with a shorter voyage duration of 40 minutes. Sea-buses run from Kartal also on the Asian Side and similarly take about 40 minutes.
There is a cheaper ferry line between Eskihisar just east of Istanbul and Topçular, about 30 km to east of Yalova. These ferries take about 45 minutes to cross the Gulf of Izmit and in 2010 it costs 45 TL for a car and 55 TL for a minibus, free for passengers within the car. Passengers without a vehicle pay 2.80 TL per person. You cannot book this service, you just turn up and pay when you get there. In Topçular, it’s possible to find minibuses heading for Yalova running on the highway lying just next to the harbour.
Yalova is a small city and for the most part very walkable. In the warm months, Gazi Paşa Caddesi is very popular for strolling with tourists and locals alike. To get to Gazi Paşa Cad. from the İDO terminal, go straight along Atatürk Cad. towards town, and cross directly over the large intersection at Heykel.
Like most small Turkish cities, Yalova has a dolmuş (mini-bus) system. Yalova's dolmuşes are light blue and run from the most important sites in the city, primarily along Atatürk Caddesi and Fatih Caddesi. Noteworthy stops include: Yalova Otogar (bus station), İDO (ferry terminal), Heykel (merkez/city center), and Termal. Stops can be requested at any time directly from the driver. Dolmuş-riding costs 1.50 TL (in Turkish bir buçuk, "one and a half") to most destinations, although from the city center it costs 2.50 TL (iki buçuk) to ride to Termal.
Taxis are also readily available, especially from the İDO station.
Yalova has a few tourist attractions, including the Köşk, an Ottoman-Turkish style mansion that was used by Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkey, during his visits to the city. This mansion has a legend connected to it. It is often referred to as the 'walking house' because, as the legend goes, Atatürk believed the mansion was too close to a beautiful tree, so he ordered the mansion to walk. The house did just that, and moved 3 km down the waterfront to its current resting place (of course, with the help of rail system built underneath the building, not metaphysically).
Termal is a beautiful area in the hills outside of Yalova. There are (as the name suggests) thermal hotsprings here—accompanied by hammams, a large public swimming pool and hotels galore.
Another attraction is the Karaca Arboretum on the way to Termal.
Visit the hot springs. There are many services offered.
To get the best produce, and have an authentic Turkish bazaar experience, visit Yalova's bazaar. The bazaar is opposite the ferry terminal on the seafront. (Take dolmuş to İDO.) Though a permanent structure, the bazaar is only open on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. A huge and superb selection of very fresh, mainly locally grown fruit and vegetables, plus a good selection of other stalls selling everything from kitchen utensils to underwear, can be found here. Surrounding the bazaar, is a maze of stalls specializing in such things as clothing, housewares, linens, shoes, lingere, and cheeses. These stalls are open daily.
Yalova has most of the (international) chain stores that can be found throughout Turkey on its cobbled street, Gazi Paşa Caddesi. Clothing stores include Colin's, LC Waikiki, Polo Assn., Seven Hill, and Mavi. Shopping here is okay, but variety pales in comparison with what can be found in Bursa and Istanbul. For people who need to do serious shopping, it might be worth the ferry or bus ride to better malls.
There are some tea gardens by the shore where you can also eat balık ekmek (a fish sandwiched inside half a bread).
The telephone code of Yalova is 226 (+90 226 when calling from out of Turkey). It used to be 216 prior to late 1990s, so old guidebooks may say so, which is not useful any more.