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LOCAL TRANSPORTATION

Turkey is a beautiful country with so much to explore. Many travelers are most likely visiting Turkey for one week or two, and fortunately, public transport in Turkey is efficient and reliable for visits of this length. The buses and trains here really manage to open this incredible country with a wonderful insight into daily life.

Options of transport depend on the expected length of time and how fast tourists want to move from one point to another.

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TAXIS

Yellow city taxis are everywhere with ranks at appropriate places. Hailing one in the street is the best way to get a cab, in suburban areas, a telephone may be found on the street corner, and the best way to call is by pressing a buzzer and waiting for a cab to turn up. City cabs all must have a working digital-display meter, and fares which are reasonable. If a driver doesn’t automatically start the meter, passengers must mention it by saying 'saatiniz' (your meter). Each town sets its rates, which include the minimum charge and a unit charge for the distance covered. The main problem with using a cab is that few drivers – even in tourist areas – don’t speak much English, so passengers may have to write down the destination on a piece of paper.

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MINIBUS OR DOLMUŞ

One of the most common forms of public transportation in Turkey is the minibus.

These are shared taxis that operate 24/7, fast and economical. They run on a specific path and leave once they fill up (8 passengers). Of course, since the card provided by the municipality for transportation by minibus is not acceptable, it is necessary to pay the driver in cash. The payment method is simple, once seated, inform the driver about the desired destination for a price to be stated.

The main dolmuş lines are in Europe: Beşiktaş – Taksim; and Taksim – Bakırköy, Yeşilköy; Sarıyer – Beşiktaş and Kadıköy and Üsküdar from Asia. There are also lines connecting Europe to Asia from Beşiktaş and Taksim.

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TRAINS

Traveling by train in Turkey is an adventure that offers many options including high-speed trains. Overnight trains with comfortable sleepers, long-distance trains roaming through amazing landscapes, old diesel trains whose sounds are unforgettable and mixed trains that will sometimes stop in the middle of nowhere giving the passengers a moment to enjoy the sound of silence.

Turkey’s train networks are run by Turkish State Railways.

Suggested Regional Routes:

  • Van Gölü Ekspresi (Van Lake Express) – Starts from Ankara and travels through Kirikkale, Kayseri, Sivas, Malatya, Elazig, Mus, and Tatvan. Serves food and has sleeping car options.

  • Güney Kurtalan Ekspresi (Southern Kurtalan Ekspres) – Starts from Ankara and travels through Kirikkale, Kayseri, Sivas, Malatya, Diyarbakir, and Batman. It has magnificent views with many lakes, rivers, and mountains.

  • İzmir Mavi Tren Ekspresi (Izmir Blue Train Express) – Starts from Izmir and travels through Manisa, Usak, Afyonkarahisar, Kutahya, Eskisehir, and Ankara.

Booking is available online or at the stations. Online booking is not available for some regional routes such as the ones listed above; for those, a personal visit to the central stations is required to reserve and purchase tickets.

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BUSES

Turkey's intercity bus system is as good as any may find, with modern, comfortable coaches across the country at all hours for very reasonable prices. On the journey, hot drinks and snacks are served plus liberal sprinklings of the Turks' beloved kolonya (lemon cologne).

with about 400 bus lines in Istanbul, most of the work proceeds until midnight each night, except for Sultanahmet (accessible by tram), buses go all over the city. Destinations and major stops are written in yellow on the sides of the buses.

For most city buses, passengers must buy their bilet (ticket) in advance at a special ticket kiosk which is found at major bus terminals and points; they are sometimes attached to shops near bus stops, costing around ₺2 per ticket.

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METRO

Turkey stretches over 783,562 km² so a metro in Turkey is a must for people to navigate efficiently.

Fortunately, Turkey's metro is based on the world standards of the metro line and is available in five cities in Turkey which are Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Bursa, and Adana. Noting that the most advanced metro line in Turkey is Istanbul's metro.

Additionally, the Marmara subway line that runs underwater in Istanbul is the only subway line in the world that connects Asia to Europe.

Hours of Metro Operation:

The Istanbul Metro and tram system run from about 06:00 (6 am) to a little past 24:00 (midnight) or 01:00 (1 am), depending on the line and the direction of travel.

Payment Methods:

To use all public transportation in Istanbul, tourists will need a magnetic card (İstanbul Kart). Cards can be found in the small kiosks near all metro stations, piers, and bus stations and will cost around 7 TL, which then will be added as credit. 

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FERRIES

Ferries are another popular method of transportation, particularly in and around Istanbul, over the Bosporus, around Izmir, and from the Turkish holiday centers of Bodrum and Marmaris to the Greek islands.

Ten main ferry docks are available to choose from and get into a breathtaking Bosphorus tour. 

Ferry docks are situated in Karakoy, Kabatas, Besiktas, and in Eminonu on the European side; Uskudar and Kadikoy on the Asian side.

Immediate research is needed on the costs and frequency of services, as they’re subject to change. This type of travel is affordable on the main routes serviced in Istanbul, while day trips to the Greek Islands are about 35 euros.

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