Best Way To Get Around Istanbul

April 18, 2018

The first thing that comes into the mind of people coming to Istanbul is how to get around in Istanbul. Well you don’t have to worry about as we have a guide providing best way to get around Istanbul without any hassle. This guide will surely help you out. Go through it and enjoy your trip in Istanbul. 

Luckily, being a cosmopolitan city, Istanbul provides multiple and diverse transportation facility. Buses, minibuses, sea buses, ferries, trams, metro, taxis, rental cars and trains are at your disposal to travel within and outside the city. Although at first the abundance might confuse you a bit, but they are connected so well that they reach every spot in Istanbul. 

Our guide will list best way to get around Istanbul by using the available transportation.

Get Your Istanbul Kart

As a first step to move around in Istanbul, we recommend you to get this. If you are planning on using these means, then the first thing is to get your Istanbul Kart. Istanbul Kart is one of the option for getting around on public transport in Istanbul. It can easily be used for:

  • Metro
  • Marmaray Line
  • Metro bus
  • City buses
  • Tramway
  • Funiculars
  • Ferries and Sea Buses

Unfortunately, it will not help you if you opt for dolmuş, an airport Havataş coach, a taxi or a sea taxi.

How It Works

It is like any other debit card and works as long as you have enough money loaded in it. At one time maximum five people can travel on this card at once. In case you are unable to purchase this card then you can opt for jeton which costs around 4 TL and will allow you for a single trip. You can also purchase electronic ticket which is good enough for 10 passes and costs around 4 TL to 30 TL.

 It can be purchased from ticket offices near transport stops and costs around 10 TL. Moreover, you can also purchase cards from “akbil satış noktası (literal meaning “they also sell cards”). Please do note that you cannot purchase the card from inside the station, but you can get your card loaded from electronic booths.

Our suggestion, if you are going to stay for longer duration buy this kart and get an easy transportation facility. For more information you can also visit Istanbul Kart website.


Best Way To Get Around Istanbul

We have tried to come up with the all the best ways to get around in Istanbul. The listed ones are best ways and we have also tried to give an estimate cost and expenditure so you can analyze it yourself.

 1. Metro

Istanbul has one of the best and well functioning metro system since 2000. It has three metro M1, M2 and M6.

M1: This line connectes Ataturk International Airport and Aksaray in Fatih. You can get on this metro from either Yusufpasa stop through tramway from Sultanahment and Beyoğlu

M2: This line was added in 2014 and uses Golden Horn Metro bridge to connect Yenikapi and Hacıosman. You can easily access areas like;  Haliç, Şişhane (close to Tünel/Galata), Taksim Square, Osmanbey , Şişi/Mecideyköy, Gayrettepe, Levent, 4. Levent, Sanayı, Seyrantepe, İTÜ, Atatürk Oto Sanayı, and Daruşşafaka.

M6: This line was inaugurated in 2015 which connects Levent metro station to Etiler and Bosphorus University.


2. Marmaray Line

Marmaray connects European and Asian side through an underground metro rail link thus materializing the dream of Ottoman Sultan Abdulmejid. He propsed in 19th century to link this strait for trade. It took around 150 years to finally put his dream onto paper and then to actually be built.

The line goes beneath the Bosphorus connecting Sireci (near Sultanahmet) to Uskudar (Asian Side). This is a must have metro experience as it is labelled as one of the deepest underwater rail link through 13.6km tunnel between European and Asian sides of Istanbul. Although some engineers have shown their serious concerns regarding this tunnel. According to them Istanbul city is on tectonic plates and any activity in coming years can severely damage this and the city. 


3. Metro-bus:

These buses operates on three special lines thus bypassing the traffic jams in Istanbul. There are three lines between European and the Asian sides:

  • 34 between Zincirlikuyu and Avcılar
  • 34T between Topkapı and Avcılar
  •  34A between Cevizlibağ and Söğütlüçeşme (over the bridge) 
  • 34AS between Avcılar and Söğütlüçeşme (over the bridge) 
  • 34BZ between Beylikdüzü and Zincirlikuyu
  • 34U between Uzunçayır and Zincirlikuyu
  • 34Z between Söğütlüçeşme and Zincirlikuyu (over the bridge) 

For detail information and stops you can visit Metro-bus Website to get more details about the stop-overs.



4. Havatas Coach:

Travelling from airport to main city in Istanbul can be stressful as there are two airports and both of them are built at far distance from the center.  But worry not we have bought a cheap way to move from airport to main city .

Havatas bus provides reach to city center with reasonable fare of 20 TL maximum. This bus leaves every 30 minutes and operates between 4.30 am to 1 am. If you want to choose this for your airport transfer then make sure that you keep an extra time margin for traffic jams and rush hours.

To Ataturk Airport

You can easily get a bus from Taksim or Yenikapi for the transfer to Ataturk airport.

To Sabiha Gokcen Airport

To travel to or from airport, you can get bus from Kadikoy, Yenisahra metro stop or Taksim.

These buses are white and blue coaches, usually parked outside the arrival gate. Please do confirm the destination before boarding on it. They will also assist you with stowing your luggage. During the journey, the  ticket collector will collect the money. For more information about their timings and stops you can visit Havatas Bus website.

4. City Buses

There are many local transports available in the big city of Istanbul which connects to every part of Istanbul. This is consider a cheaper option to travel to almost all parts of the city. But there is a downside of using it is that you will have to experience the traffic jams. Green/Red and Big Blue buses requires that you have an Istanbul Kart to travel in them. Only blue buses allow you to pay cash.

You can visit IETT website for more information about routes and their offers.


5. Dolmus

These are mini yellow or blue busses that have fixed route and operate full night. Their capacity is 10 people and they can allow you to get off at any point. This is a cheaper option than a taxi and costs around 2.25 TL max.

 These buses are known to be speedy and are also operating inside lanes. They have stops near Taksim and Gumussuyu Park on European Side and Sahil at Asian side. There is an inter-continental dolmus which departs from Bagdat Caddesi and charges around 7.5 TL. Downside the accept cash only and not Istanbul Kart.

           European Side

  • Taksim – Bakırköy
  • Şişli – Bakırköy
  • Taksim – Cevizlibağ
  • Topkapı – Taksim
  • Beşiktaş – Taksim

            Asian Side

  • Kadıköy – Taksim
  • Kadıköy – Şişli
  • Nişantaşı – Kadıköy
  • Bostancı – Taksim
  • Bostancı – Şişli

       European-Asian Side

  • Üsküdar-Kadıköy
  • Üsküdar-Bağlarbaşı
  • Kadıköy-Bağlarbaşı
  • Üsküdar-Beykoz

6. Ferry

Ferry also known as vapur are easiest and cheapest way to move between European and Asian Side. This experience must have and a best way to avoid traffic noises. The first vapur starts at 8AM in the morning and ends at around 6PM at night. They leave from three famous ports; Besiktas, Kabatas and Karakoy. Ferries also operates from Eminonu to Kadikoy. You can enjoy Bosphorus while commuting between the two continents. You can use your Istanbul Kart here.


  European Side

  • Beşiktaş
  • Kabataş (temporarily closed)
  • Karaköy
  • Eminönü
  • Haliç


    Asian Side

  • Üsküdar
  • Kadıköy
  • Bostanci

Golden Horn Strait

  • Haliç
  • Ortaköy
  • Arnavutköy
  • Bebek






View their timetables at Sehir Hatlari website.

6. Sea Taxis

In case you want to travel outside the normal time frame of governmental ferries, we recommend sea taxis. These are operating 24/7 and a bit more expensive alternative to get you across from Bosphorus and Princes Island. Deniz, Su samuru, and Ido provides an option of commuting between asian and european sides.

7. Tramway

This one of the ideal commuting option for tourist as it stops at most of the historical places in Istanbul city.  The tramway connects Beyoglu with Fatih. You will be able to drop off at places like Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet, Aya Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand bazar and Eminonu.It starts from Kabats and ends in Bagcilar.  For more information, see IEET website.

Nostalgic Tram

One famous tram is Nostalgic Tram which runs the length of Istiklal Street and on Asian Side from Kadikoy to Moda through T3 Tram line. They take you to the old tram system of Istanbul and you are surely set to enjoy the ride.

8. Funiculars

There are three funiculars operating in Istanbul:

  • Tunel – Karakoy which is 140 year old tunnel and take you down hill from Tunel to Karkoy
  • Kabatas- Taksim which can take you from Kabatas to Taksim in 5 min. It is called one of the shortest underground metro
  • Eyup: This funicular takes passengers up the hill to Pierre Loti Cafe and mesmerizes you with an amazing view 

9. Taxis

These are yellow cars usually called  as “Taksi”. You can get Taxis at any time of a day or at a night. You can also book a taxi by calling at the taxi depot or by going to nearest taxi depot. If you know Turkish you will be lucky to get cheap rates but as most of the times they ask for higher rates from foreigners.

Normal fare starts from 3.45 TL and can charge till 45 TL for Ataturk International Airport from Sultanahmet. Taxis charge extra amount as toll cost for crossing Bosphorus bridge. You can check and download BiTaksi on both Andriod and Iphone.

You can also opt Uber as it is available in Istanbul. But do  remember that it is illegal in Turkey and government has not accepted them as legal mode of transportation. Just be careful when calling or booking an Uber as you might end up getting fined!!

10. Private Transfer In Istanbul

Istanbul also offers various private transfers in the city. It is a bit expensive to travel in them but they are very comfortable options specially when you are visiting with extended family. There are couple of options but Effendi Travels and Turkey Travel Group are the most famous private transfers facilities in Istanbul.

Turkey Travel group has the biggest operations in the city and is a renowned company. They provides car rental system for Istanbul and other cities in Turkey. You can also choose make and model of the car. Moreover, you can pick the car from the center of city i.e. Sultanahmet. Fleet provide diverse range of car from regular to the most expensive one with the great quality. All cars are insured and maintained in a very good conditions.

Moreover, the company also provides pick and drop to and from any location in Istanbul. They offer affordable rates. They also offer diverse range of services from VIP to a regular commute. The drivers can understand English which ease your travelling with this company.

Furthermore, if you want to travel in the city on a guided tour, city transfer also offer it. They offer tailored made solution for you needs. For more questions and queries you can connect with them at their website City Transfer In Istanbul. If you are thinking of visiting other cities, this company can also help you with that.

The below image can help you out with using the listed best ways to move around in Istanbul. Our recommendation is that you get a printed coloured copy of it or this can be found at your hotel reception or at any bookstore/stall in Istanbul.

We are sure that this blog will help you in making your commute easy in Istanbul. There are plenty of option in Istanbul to explore on. One of the best ones is on foot. If you have stamina, we will recommend that you explore the city on foot and a map.

Do You Have Questions?

Do you have any questions about Istanbul? Are you interested in visiting other places in Turkey? Worry not, just drop us a message or your query in comment section. Our experts will handle everything for you. We look forward to having you in Istanbul and Turkey. 

Dear Guest;

It is really important for us to know how the tour(s) or other service went on such as greetings, guide/drivers behavior, vehicles cleanness and comfort etc. because guest satisfaction is a basic component of our work.

We appreciate your opinion and feedback; it is highly valuable for us. We believe that it will guide us on how to improve our services in the future. We guarantee that all the reviews will be posted here.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

One thought on “Best Way To Get Around Istanbul

  1. Rubina Raza
    May 2, 2018

    Your guide “best way to get around istanbul” has helped me a lot during my stay. I was residing at European side and commuting from to other tourist places using public transport was concern for me. But your guide to best way to get around istanbul helped me a lot.


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