Transport in Istanbul, Turkey

By | December 15, 2022


According to clothesbliss, buses are the most common, but also the most inconvenient form of urban transport. They are usually crowded, and during peak hours, riding with open doors and bunches of people on the running boards is common. To understand where and how the bus goes (signs on the sides inform about this), you need to know the city well enough – the explanations given by drivers and invariably sociable passengers are more likely to confuse. There are two types of buses: municipal buses are red or (rarely) green, and private ones are blue or (rarely) orange, newer and more comfortable. Municipal buses will require an Istanbul Kart, a deposit of 10 TRY. However, some points of sale offer it for 12 TRY. The cost of a trip on the card starts from 3 TRY, you can buy and top up Istanbul Kart at kiosks and vending machines. There are no tickets on private buses – everyone pays the conductor. In order for the bus to stop, you need to wave your hand to the driver. The prices on the page are for August 2021.


A fixed-route taxi (dolmus) is more convenient than a bus and cheaper than a regular taxi. There are two types of dolmushi: yellow ones work on short routes, and beige ones can be used to get to those areas of the old city where the tram does not go. Payment – depending on the distance (prices are fixed, about 5 TRY, you can check them with the driver). Minibuses run from 6:00 to 23:00.

  • Map of Istanbul


Today, 5 subway lines are open in Istanbul. The red line M1 (“light metro” or Hafif Metro) connects Atatürk Airport with Aksaray in the Fatih district, the green M2 runs between the Beyoglu and Sarıyer districts. The blue line M3 follows from Kirazli to Basaksehir, the pink line M4 is located in the Asian part and connects Kadikoy and Kartal. The brown line M6, opened in 2015, links Levent and Rumeli Hisarusta. Metro operating hours are from 6:00 to 0:00.


In Istanbul, there is an old underground funicular Tunel (Tunel) – a dwarf metro line, opened back in 1875. Only two trailers run here (interval – 3-5 minutes, travel time – 3 minutes) connecting Beyoglu and Karakoy stations “. Another Istanbul underground funicular allows you to get from the Kabatas pier to Taksim Square in 5 minutes.

There is also a traditional funicular in the city: a cable car takes tourists from the Eyup Sultan Mosque to the observation deck and the famous Pierre Loti cafe with excellent views of the Golden Horn.


The 14 km long Istanbul tram line T1 connects Kabatas and Bagcilar. The tram crosses the Golden Horn Bay and makes 24 stops on its way, the total duration of the trip is 42 minutes. This type of transport is great for moving between the main attractions of the city.

A special pleasure is a trip on the so-called “nostalgic tram”. Old trailers run both in the European part of Istanbul (between Tunel and Taksim squares) and in the Asian part (between the Kadikoy bus station and the Moda district).


There are two suburban train routes in Istanbul. The first one (Sirkeci – Halkali) is laid along the European part of the city, the second (Haydarpasha – Gebze) – along the Asian part. The movement of electric trains is carried out from 7:00 to 23:00.

Water transport

Traditional ferries (vapur), high-speed “sea buses” (deniz otobusu) and small private ferries run regularly between the European and Asian parts of Istanbul. The duration of the trip is from 20 minutes, the main bonus is a magnificent view of the Bosphorus.


Taxis are the most convenient, and at night the only mode of transport, cheap compared to many countries. You can order a car by phone from a hotel or restaurant, or just stop on the street. The average price of a trip is 3 TRY per landing and 2 TRY for each subsequent km.

Every taxi has a meter, and the passenger must make sure that it is turned on when boarding. Having heard that the counter is “faulty”, you should make a movement to the exit – the cunning device will miraculously be repaired immediately. Another point is related to tariffs: night is 50% more expensive than daytime and is valid from 0:00 to 6:00; both of them are indicated on the meter, and during the day it is necessary to ensure that the night rate lamp does not “accidentally” turn on. Bridges across the Bosphorus are paid, and the passenger pays, not the driver.

Car rental in Istanbul

Istanbul has one of the densest traffic in Europe, so taking a car to explore its beauty is crazy. Constant traffic jams, chaotic traffic and lack of signs make the city not the best for motorists. In addition, there is an acute shortage of parking spaces, even if you use the services of paid parking lots.

Roads in Istanbul are very confusing. There are many one-way streets and few signs.

But you can rent a comfortable car with air conditioning in order to go on an exciting journey through the Istanbul suburbs, along the Golden Horn, to the Black Sea or to one of the ruins of Byzantium. To do this, fortunately, is not difficult at all. Many representative offices of large rental companies are open at the airport. All the rest will be happy to bring their favorite car directly to the door of the hotel, if you book this service in advance via the Internet.

The city has offices of well-known international companies: Avis, Budjet, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt. Renting an economy class car costs from 160 TRY, a station wagon – from 200 TRY, a premium car – from 270 TRY per day. A liter of gasoline will cost 5.30 TRY. Read all the subtleties and nuances on the page car rental in Istanbul.

Transport in Istanbul, Turkey