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In Istanbul, travelers have plenty of excellent ways to see the city. The Bosphorus splits the city into two, making ferries and sea buses handy for getting around Istanbul. For tourists, the three main spots to visit – Sultanahmet, Galata, and Taksim – are all easily walkable.

Important Info about Getting Around Istanbul

Ticket Machine In Istanbul

To get from the European side to the Asian side of Istanbul, taking a ferry is the smartest choice. For those heading to the shopping and business areas of Nisantasi, Etiler, and Levent, the metro line from Taksim Square is the best option. The entire public transport system in Istanbul can be accessed with just one card, the Istanbulkart.

It’s important to remember that traffic in Istanbul is a big issue, and traffic jams are common, especially on the bridges. Sultanahmet Square and many nearby streets are closed to cars and only allow trams and buses. It’s not a good idea to drive to Sultanahmet in your own car, as you’ll need to park far from your destination.

Istanbul public transportation

Getting Around Istanbul By Metrobus

Istanbul offers a huge network of public transport including buses and trains such as the metro, tram, and Marmaray.

Railway network maps

Click on the links below to view the current maps of Istanbul’s railway network.

Bus & Metrobus

Buses are definitely the cheapest and most economical means of transport, but they are usually crowded and it’s not easy to figure out which one you should take.

There is also a private express bus called Metrobus. It serves hundreds of thousands of locals every day and provides fast transportation between the two ends the Asian side and the European side. Visit www.iett.istanbul for more official information.

Subway & tram

Getting Around Istanbul By Metro

Istanbul’s metro and tram system has a wide network and provides easy access to many important points on both the European and Asian sides.

The Istanbul metro system runs from Aksaray – Ataturk Airport to Kirazli (M1 line), Haciosman to Yenikapi (M2 line) and Kirazli to Olimpiyat, Basaksehir (M3 line) on the European side. And runs from Kadikoy to Tavsantepe (Line M4) and Üsküdar to Yamanevler (Line M5) on the Asian side.

Trams are also a quick and easy way to get around Istanbul’s most popular neighborhoods. The trams run from Bagcilar to Kabatas (T1 line) (through Eminonu and Sultanahmet), Topkapi to Mescid-i Selam (T4 line), as well as two nostalgic trams between Taksim to Tunel (T2 line) through Istiklal Street on the European side and Kadikoy to Moda (T3 line) through Bahariye Street on the Asian side.

There are also two funiculars connecting Kabatas with Taksim (line F1) and Karakoy with Tunel (line F2) (end of Istiklal Street). The Karakoy-Tunel cable car is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to the 19th century.

Also visit www.metro.istanbul for more official information.

Marmaray & Gebze-Halkali Train System

Getting Around Istanbul Marmaray
Marmaray line

Marmaray is a train system that connects the European and Asian sides under the sea. The Marmaray is a 76-kilometer-long tube tunnel that allows passengers to cross the Marmara Inland Sea by train in just a few minutes. The quick way to travel between Kazlicesme stop via Sirkeci and Yenikapi on the European side and Ayrilik Cesmesi via Üsküdar stop on the Asian side. Visit www.marmaray.gov.tr ​​for more official information

The Gebze-Halkali commuter rail system also uses the Marmaray network, which also provides a fast connection between the Asian side and the European side, as well as from Sabiha Gökcen Airport (SAW) to downtown Istanbul.

Ferries & Sea Bus

Getting Around Istanbul By Ferry
Istanbul’s Ferry

Ferries (Sehir Hatlari) are the easiest, cheapest, and most convenient way to travel up, down, and across the Bosphorus. Ferries allow you to travel from Europe to Asia and back. There are ten main ferry docks which include; Karakoy, Kabatas, Besiktas, and five in Eminonu on the European side; Uskudar and Kadikoy on the Asian side. Ferries run every 15-20 minutes from 7:00 a.m. until 11 p.m.

You can also find all routes, schedules, and prices of Istanbul’s public ferries at en.sehirhatlari.istanbul/en

There are also sea bus lines that operate from Istanbul to the main areas within the city limits and the cities surrounding the Sea of ​​Marmara. The two inner-city sea bus lines include the Bostanci-Besiktas and Bostanci-Kadiköy-Yenikapi-Bakirkoy lines. The four intercity sea bus lines include the Kadikoy-Yenikapi-Armutlu-Bursa, Bostanci-Yenikapi-Cinarcik-Esenkoy, Bostanci-Yenikapi-Marmara Avsa Island and Kadikoy-Yenikapi-Bursa lines.

For more official information, visit www.ido.com.tr

Yellow shared taxi (Dolmus)

The Dolmus (yellow shared taxi) is a public taxi that runs on a fixed, short circular route. It is an easy and practical way of transportation around the city.

Getting Around Istanbul By Taxi
Dolmus (Yellow Share Taxi)

Many locals use dolmus and there is a fixed fare, payment is made in cash upon boarding (a little more than on the bus). Below are some of the main dolmus circle lines in Istanbul.


Getting Around Istanbul By Taxi

Taxis in Istanbul are yellow and have taxi signs on the roof. It’s easy to find a yellow taxi on the streets almost anywhere. Taxis are cheap compared to other European countries. Taxi prices in Istanbul; The taximeter opening fee is 5 TL and 3.1 TL per kilometer. There is no difference between day and night. You can use this formula to calculate the approximate taxi price for your trip.

How do I get to the city center from any Istanbul airport?

New Istanbul Airport
Istanbul New Airport

Istanbul has two major airports: Istanbul New Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW). There are many options to travel between Istanbul airports and the city center, such as city public buses and shuttles specifically targeted, taxis or private shuttles. There are no direct metro lines to Istanbul airports.

The new Istanbul Airport (IST) is located in the northeastern part of Istanbul, in the Arnavutköy district, near the Black Sea coast. The average distance from Istanbul New Airport to the main districts of Istanbul city center is about 45 km.

Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) is located east of the center of Istanbul, on the Asian side, about 30 km away. from Kadikoy, 44 km from Taksim and 48 km from Sultanahmet.

Car rental companies

Because public transportation in Istanbul is good, we do not recommend car rental if you have a short stay in Istanbul. It’s also easy to explore the most popular places and attractions. Parking is also a big problem in busy regions and most tourist attractions.