Travel options in Istanbul

Getting around Istanbul is fairly straightforward and easy to navigate.  The city boasts a highly integrated public transport system, with metro, buses, ferries, minibuses, and taxis all throughout the city.  Here, we’ll look at some of the most popular ways to get around the city.

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Getting Around in Istanbul

One card to rule them all

The IstanbulKart is the only card you need to get around the city!  This card can be purchased at most metro stations and at kiosks throughout the city, and you simply top it off and swipe it at the entry point to most public transport, like buses, metro, and ferry.  You buy the reusable card for a small fee then just top it off throughout your stay in Istanbul!

Avoid traffic on Metro and Metrobus

The metro system in Istanbul is easy to use and full of useful signs and maps so that you don’t get lost between your transfers.  Metro stations are clearly marked with the unique “M” logo, so they’re easy to spot when you’re above-ground. Also, for long-distance travel through the city, the Metrobus operates along the highway as a sort of above-ground metro. The bus comes every couple of minutes, bypasses traffic, and stops at every stop, just like a metro. These are the best options for avoiding that infamous traffic, and for efficient Istanbul travel.

Public Buses: Everywhere, all the time

Public buses are all over the streets, and they’re a really popular way to travel in Istanbul, especially through places that aren’t connected by metro.  Buses generally run on time. For up-to-the-minute bus info, you can download the MobIETT or Trafi apps on your smartphone and see exactly which bus to take, to which stop, and at what time in order to get to your destination.  Ask your local friend which app is best; everyone seems to have a favorite!

Top day trips in Istanbul

A Day Trip to Princes' Islands

from

€20.00 p.p.

3-Day Cappadocia Road Trip

from

€230.00 p.p.

Private 2-Days in Magical Bozcaada: Road Trip & Camping

from

€186.00 p.p.

Other options to keep moving

Go local with the Minibus and “Dolmus”

Minibuses and “dolmus” (literally, “stuffed”) are the local flavor of travel in Istanbul.  A minibus is a small bus, and a dolmus is a large, shared taxi. Both of these options operate with cash only, so don’t try to use the IstanbulKart on these!  The drivers just wait until the vehicle is almost full, and then head out on a set route. For places further outside the city, the minibus often departs more frequently than the public bus. The other advantage of the minibus and dolmus is that many routes run late into the evening, or even all night!

And finally, the Ferries

The hands-down most beautiful way to travel in Istanbul is by ferry.  The ferries that cross the Bosporus are basically an institution in Istanbul.  From the ferry, no matter where you’re going, you can get a breathtaking view of the city.  You can also enjoy the company of hundreds of seagulls waiting for snacks to be thrown by passengers.  Relax with a cup of Turkish tea and pastry, listen to the buskers who love to make music on the ferries, and just watch the city float by.  Even if you don’t have a destination in mind, riding the ferry is an adventure in itself!

This is what guests are saying about our hosts

Withlocals guest
Withlocals host
about
Dia Riccardo
Rating

Best Views from the Asian Side Private Tour

Responsive, polite and very nice, Riccardo gave us the best Istanbul experience. Thanks a lot!

Withlocals guest
Withlocals host
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Luella Deniz Ali
Rating

Istanbul Food Tour: Street Flavors

Deniz was a warm and engaging guide and provided a great introduction to the sights, history and tastes of Istanbul. Being in a private group meant we were able to go into shops along the way that we couldnt have on a large tour! Amazing!

Withlocals guest
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Kristina Deniz Ali
Rating

Istanbul Food Tour: Street Flavors

We loved our tour with Deniz. He knew a great deal about the city and art history.
He has a very pleasant personality and was great about communicating with us before and during our tour of Istanbul. We appreciated her depth of knowledge and his easy-going nature.
We enjoyed our time with him and would recommend tours with to anyone.