Buses from Istanbul take about 6 hours and cost 45-50 TL. Buses from Ankara take around 3 hours and cost around 25 TL. If you want to go by car from Ankara, it is 220 kms.
The nearest train station is in Karabük, 8 km away. There are daily trains from Zonguldak and Ankara to Karabuk, which are too slow compared to the buses.
If you're coming from the east, Metro and Ulusoy run overnight buses from Samsun. Alternatively, you can get to Kastemonu (on a bus at noon from a small company in Samsun, for example) and from Kastemonu get on a bus to Karabuk/Safranbolu, also ran by a small bus company.
Overlooking the Çarşı (Market) Section of Safranbolu
Dolmuses regularly drive the 2 km between the old town (Çarşı) and the new town center, which is where buses are likely to let you off / pick you up. Once in the old town, everything is reachable by foot. Additionally, some intercity buses might drop you off in the nearby steel down of Karabük. From there you'll have to find a dolmus into Safranbolu.
Safranbolu is famous for its Ottoman houses both in Çarşı (old town) and the neighbourhood of Bağlar (literally "orchards"), and qualifies as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Mencilis (Bulak) Cave which is 3 km from city center, worth to see since it is the 4th biggest cave in Turkey.
Take a look (and a tea?) inside the Cinci Hanı, a massive hotel in the center of the old town. Wandering around the city you will take in much, but to see inside the houses, head to one of the historic homes open to the public. Kaymakamlar Müze Evi is located just above Bastoncu Pansiyon, to the south-east of Cinci Hanı. Keep walking up the hill, and take in some beautiful views at Hıdırlık Tepesi.
Cyristal Glass Terrace in Tokatlı Canyon was opened in 2012. It is similar with the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Entrance fee is only 1-2USD.
Incekaya Su Kemeri. An old aqueduct north of Safranbolu past the village of Incekaya. Ask around to get there. There are also some organized tours that go there in the morning.edit
Hiking to Incekaya Aqueduct - The hike from Safranbolu to the aqueduct takes about 1.5 to 2 hours each way, going along a gorgeous gorge. The path is well-defined but not well-marked. From the old town, head north along the main road from Safronbolu Old Town to the new town. Prior to reaching the new town the road turns west and there’s a bridge over a small river near the large UNESCO sign. Before you walk over the bridge turn right off the main road which has houses on the left hand side and head north to effectively follow the route of the river and gorge, although the view is initially blocked due to the buildings. Keep walking on this road for 2-3km which will open up with the gorge and river on your left hand side until you reach a childrens playgrond on your right at the start of a bridge that crosses back over the gorge and river. Cross over the bridge and walk for another km or so north on the sealed road with steel railings and the river on your right hand side until you reach another bridge over the river. This bridge has a single arch and is made of stone. Walk past this bridge and approx 30m on your right under the railing there is a worn dirt path that leads down the embankment to the path in the gorge. You can see this path from the bridge you’ve just passed. You’re now on the gorge path to the aqueduct. Keep heading north in the gorge along the dirt path this until you reach the picnic area and wooden walkway to the Incekaya Aquduct. There is a teahouse at the top with excellent view of the gorge and the aqueduct. The walkway used to end at a road, but that path is now blocked up, and you are diverted to the teahouse. If you want to re-enter the walkway after leaving, there is a turnstile that costs 2 Turkish Lire per person.
At Incekaya Aqeuduct you can do horse ride tours along the gorge. A nice idea if you're tired of cities coming from Istanbul, etc. The guide is nice.
Safrantat. Try their saffron flavored lokum (Turkish delight) in their main factory in Kıranköy, Safranbolu.edit
Lokum in a Store Window
Adanadan Dürümce, Kaya Erdem Cad. 40. Absolutely the best food in Safranbolu, and worth the trip up to the "new town" if you're staying in the old town. Excellent kebabs and mantar, delicious fresh ayran, menengic coffee (from a plant related to pistachio) from the south-east of Turkey and more. If you catch a dolmus up the hill to the new part of town, get off at the first stop and the restaurant is just ahead on the right-hand side. CLOSED as of 07/07/13edit
Zencefil Traditional Restaurant (Zencefil), Cinci Han Arkası Sok. No:11 Eski Çarşı Safranbolu KARABÜK, ☎ +90 370 712 51 20, . 09:00 AM. Traditional food. Local Restaurant(10:00 PM,)edit
Baglar Saray Otel Has a capacity of 42 rooms and 120 beds. 39 of the rooms have standard quality and 3 of them is suite. Huge bathrooms with full time hot water and a hair drier, a minibar, a phone that is open to the abroad and a television. Safranbolu Baglar Saray Otel shows historical marks and at the same time and it has an unlimited modern service understanding.
Bastoncu Pansiyon & Kafeterya, ☎ +90 370 712-34-11 (Cell +90-535-642-12-75.). One of the cheaper options in Safranbolu. It is clean and homely, with excellent meals. The owner speaks Japanese and English, and can help you plan your onward trip. Call them for a free pickup from the bus station.25 TL per person for dormitory, rooms are 50 TL without bathroom, 90 TL with. (Breakfast is included.). edit
Safir Konak Safranbolu, Baglarbasi Mahallesi, Koyici Meydani Arslanlar Cd., No. 2, Baglar, ☎ +90 370 712-70-60, . Nine rooms, all of which have DSL internet connection, cable TV, telephone, and complimentary breakfast.From € 65. edit
Rasitler Bag Evi Safranbolu, Baglarbasi Mahallesi, Degirmenbasi Sokak No. 65, Baglar, ☎ +90 370 725 13 45, . A 280 years old Ottoman Mansion in the orchards with a huge garden and five authentically decorated rooms, all of which have central heating,Wi-Fi internet connection, bathroom and hair drier. Lastly renovated in 2012. Price includes traditional breakfast including a variety of home made jams, pastries,organic fruits and vegetables from the Mansion's garden. Lunch and dinner can be prepared upon request. Owner speaks English. They also offer a free shuttle service from the Safranbolu Bus Terminal.From € 60 for two people. edit
Gulevi Safranbolu, Hukumet Sokak 46 (in the old quarter), ☎ +90 370 725-46-45, . checkin: 1PM; checkout: noon. Housed in three adjacent mansions all dating back to 18th century.DBL BB incl. VAT €90-200. (41˚ 14' 44 N,32˚ 41' 30 E)edit
From Safranbolu you can go, with bus or minibus which you can find at the bus terminal, to Amasra, a little touristical Black Sea village, two hours away, which is popular with local people as well as with turkish tourists coming from Ankara and Istanbul. The Castle of Amasra and Bird's Rock Road Monument, herited from Romain Empire, are the two main historical places that should be seen. The beaches are crowded, so you may choice to swimm at the places near to the castle or the breakwater if you have confidence in your swimming skills. In Amasra it is also possible to find some good fish restaurants with a good view of Karadeniz (Black Sea).
7 km away from Safranbolu, Bulak Village is a well preserved little village which can be reached in 15 minutes from Safranbolu. Unfortunately there is not enough means of transport as like as Safranbolu City Center. Taking the "dolmus" for Karabuk, than changing it for another dolmus to Bulak, at the very beginning of the little and deformed way to Bulak at the right hand (which is the midpoint of the main avenue between Safranbolu and Karabuk) is the most practical option. Bulak Village gives his name to the Mencilis Cave, the locals call it "Bulak Mağarası", which is one of the most deeper caves of Turkey. It is possible to reach Bulak village from north, following the Mencilis Cave Route, without turning back to Safranbolu, instead of that going forward to south, following the way ahead between the cave and the Village will lead the visitor to Bulak. That is a short, but worth to explore trekking parcours also. Old houses, alleys paved with stones and the little hamam of the village make from Bulak an outgoing attraction point near to Safranbolu, which is not explored enough yet by the tourists.
8 km away from Safranbolu, Karabük is the first industrial city of Turkish Republic, with his Iron and Steel Factory (Kardemir A.Ş.), constructed by Soviet technology in 1937. As a young industrial city it is 2,5 times bigger and populated than Safranbolu (which is administratively a sub-district of Karabük), but touristically there are not too much things to see, but if you are interested in seeing how the people of this industrial city lives it is worth to try; also the outskirts of Karabük elarged to the hills at the backyard has little and sympathic village-looking streets populated by the workers family (like a turkish "How Was Green My Valley" scenery).