First things first welcome to Turkey, a land of rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes! Many tourists find it difficult to find information on how to travel within Turkey. As a local travel blogger, I am delighted to share with you the best ways to travel within Turkey, ensuring you have a smooth and enjoyable journey. From bustling cities to remote villages, Turkey offers a variety of transportation options to suit every traveler’s needs.
What will you find here? In this article, I will provide information mostly related to travel between cities in Turkey and share some web pages that locals genuinely use to book domestic buses or flights. I will also provide information about transportation options between major tourist cities. You will also find information about renting a car and a van, in addition to public transportation. Furthermore, there will be some information about traveling within big cities.
Let’s dive into the wonderful world of transportation in Turkey and discover the best ways to travel within Turkey to explore this enchanting country.
What are the best ways to travel within Turkey?
1. Traveling in the City: Embrace the Vibrant Public Transport Network
When it comes to traveling within Turkish cities, you’ll find a range of transportation options at your disposal. Most cities have buses and dolmuş (let’s say they are basically shared taxis) that serve as affordable and convenient means of getting around. Additionally, larger cities boast tramways, metro, and other modes of public transport, each with its own unique charm.
It’s important to note that there is no universal Turkey public transport card, as each city operates on a different system. However, worry not, as I’ll guide you through the local transportation details for major cities below. Please note that for big cities, you can also use Google Maps to find transportation options.
Recommend: I recommend you buy travel cards since these transportation cards offer the advantage of hassle-free travel as they eliminate the need to purchase individual tickets for each journey. Additionally, they often provide discounted fares compared to cash payments and one-time tickets. Tourists can easily obtain and use these cards during their stay in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, and Antalya, ensuring a smooth and efficient travel experience throughout the cities. Also, remember that travel cards may not be accepted on dolmuş, taxis, or other small regional transportation.
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– Istanbul transportation map and Istanbul travel card
Istanbul has a variety of transportation options for tourists. The city has an extensive public transportation network that includes buses, metro lines, tramways, ferries, and funiculars. In Istanbul, there is also the ‘Marmaray,’ an underground tunnel that connects Europe and Asia, providing transportation between different sides of the city. It is one of the longest lines in Istanbul. Istanbul also has a private minibus system called “dolmuş” that operates on specific routes.
Tourists can find transportation maps and information in Istanbul from several sources. One of the best resources is the website and mobile app of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s transportation authority, called “İETT.” (English is available) They provide detailed maps, timetables, and route information for all modes of public transportation in the city. On İETT, you can also search for a route or for a station. Plus, it has “How can I go” and “Where is my bus?” sections that make traveling a lot easier for a tourist. Another option is to visit tourist information centers, located in popular areas, where you can find maps and receive assistance from staff members.
In Istanbul, the transportation card is called the “Istanbulkart.” It can be purchased and topped up at various kiosks, ticket vending machines, or authorized retailers throughout the city. The Istanbulkart offers discounted fares compared to single-ticket purchases and can be used on buses, metro lines, tramways, ferries, and funiculars. The card can also be shared among multiple passengers, making it a convenient option for group travel.
Additionally, there are taxis available throughout the city. In Turkey, Uber is not available. However, for safer and more cost-effective taxi travels, you can use the Bitaksi app. Simply download the app and utilize it for your taxi needs across various cities in Turkey. Bitaksi is a convenient and reliable option for taxi services. Additionally, in Istanbul, there is another dedicated app called iTaksi that you can use specifically for taxi rides within the city.
– Ankara transportation map and Ankara travel card
In Ankara, the capital of Turkey, tourists can also access various transportation options. The city has a public transportation system that includes buses, a metro, and a suburban railway system called “Ankaray.” There are also taxis available throughout the city. For transportation maps and information, visitors can refer to the website and mobile app of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality’s transportation authority, known as “EGO.” (English is available)
In Ankara, the transportation card is known as the “Ankarakart.” It can be obtained and loaded with credit at designated kiosks or vending machines located at metro stations or authorized sales points. The Ankarakart is valid for use on buses, metro lines, and the Ankaray suburban railway system.
– Izmir transportation map and Izmir travel card
In İzmir, a coastal city in western Turkey, tourists can utilize public transportation options such as buses, metro, tramways, and ferries. The transportation authority in İzmir is called “İzmir Metro A.Ş.,” and their website and mobile app provide maps, timetables, and other information. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an English option on the web page)
In İzmir, the transportation card is called the “İzmirim Kart.” It can be purchased and recharged at various sales points throughout the city, including kiosks, authorized retailers, and İzmir Metro A.Ş. service centers. The İzmirim Kart is accepted on buses, metro lines, tramways, and ferries.
– Antalya transportation map and Antalya travel card
In Antalya, a popular tourist destination on the southern coast of Turkey, visitors can find transportation options such as buses, trams, and taxis. The Antalya Metropolitan Municipality’s transportation authority, “Antalya Ulaşım A.Ş.,” offers a website and mobile app with transportation maps and details.
In Antalya, the transportation card is known as the “Antalyakart.” It can be obtained and loaded with credit at designated sales points, including kiosks and authorized retailers. The Antalyakart can be used on buses and tramways within the city. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an English option on the web page)
DOMESTIC FLIGHTS IN TURKEY
2. Flying: Take to the Skies and Soar Across Turkey
For longer distances or reaching destinations with airports, the best ways to travel within Turkey is flying for sure. Flying within Turkey is an excellent option if you are trying to save time too. The country is served by several low-cost airlines that offer affordable domestic flights. With convenient connections to various cities, you can easily reach popular tourist destinations like Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir, and Cappadocia. It’s worth mentioning that not all destinations have airports, but fear not, as I’ll provide alternative transportation options for such places.
Flying within Turkey is a convenient and popular mode of transportation for both domestic and international tourists. Here is some information about flying within Turkey:
Popular Flight Destinations in Turkey
Istanbul: As the country’s major transportation hub, Istanbul has two international airports, Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW), serving numerous domestic and international flights.
Ankara: The capital city of Turkey, Ankara, has Esenboğa International Airport (ESB), which offers domestic and limited international flights.
Antalya: Known for its stunning coastline, Antalya is a popular destination with Antalya Airport (AYT) serving both domestic and international flights.
Izmir: Located on the Aegean coast, Izmir is another major tourist destination. Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB) in Izmir offers both domestic and international flights.
Cappadocia: Famous for its unique landscapes, Cappadocia attracts tourists from around the world. The nearest airport is Kayseri Airport (ASR), which offers domestic and limited international flights.
Fethiye: To reach Fethiye by plane, you can fly to Dalaman Airport (DLM), which is the closest airport to Fethiye. It offers domestic and limited international flights. Dalaman Airport is located approximately 45 kilometers away from Fethiye.
Bodrum: To reach Bodrum by plane, you can fly to Milas-Bodrum Airport (BJV). It serves domestic and limited international flights. Milas-Bodrum Airport is the closest airport to Bodrum, located approximately 36 kilometers away.
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Popular Airlines in Turkey for Domestic Flights
Several airlines operate domestic flights within Turkey, including:
Turkish Airlines: The national flag carrier of Turkey, Turkish Airlines, offers extensive domestic flight connections to various cities in Turkey.
Pegasus Airlines: Pegasus Airlines is a low-cost carrier based in Turkey, providing affordable domestic flights in Turkey to several destinations.
SunExpress: SunExpress is a joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. It operates domestic flights to popular tourist destinations in Turkey.
AnadoluJet: AnadoluJet is a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines, specializing in domestic flights within Turkey.
Booking Flights within Turkey
To find tickets and book flights within Turkey, you can visit the following popular websites:
Turkish Airlines website: Turkish Airlines’ official website allows you to search and book domestic flights within Turkey.
Pegasus Airlines website: Pegasus Airlines’ official website provides an easy-to-use platform to search and book domestic flights. From this web page, you can check campaigns and find low-cost flight tickets within Turkey.
Skyscanner: Skyscanner is a popular flight search engine that compares prices from various airlines and online travel agencies, helping you find the best deals for domestic flights within Turkey.
Expedia: Expedia is a well-known online travel agency that offers flight booking services for domestic flights within Turkey.
Turna.com: Turna Travel is one of the well-known flight ticket providers operating in Turkey. You can visit turna.com to find domestic flights. In addition to booking flights, you can also utilize their services to book a bus, reserve a hotel, and rent a car. (This link is not an affiliate link. I simply wanted to provide it as a gesture of gratitude, as they assisted me and saved my trip on two occasions in 2016 during my biggest travel journey by bicycle.)
Other: You can also use Enuygun.com, Obilet.com, Hepsiburada Seyahat.
Remember to compare prices, check for any additional fees, and book your flights in advance to secure the best fares for your travel within Turkey.
TRAVELING BY TRAIN IN TURKEY
3. Train: Relish the Scenic Rail Journeys
If you prefer a more leisurely pace and want to enjoy the scenic beauty of Turkey, traveling by train is a delightful choice. The country’s rail network connects major cities and offers comfortable and picturesque journeys. From Istanbul to Konya, Ankara to Izmir, and beyond, trains provide a charming way to explore the diverse landscapes of Turkey. To make your train travel seamless, I recommend booking your tickets online in advance through the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) website.
In Turkey, there is an extensive railway network that connects various cities and offers an alternative mode of transportation for tourists. Here are some popular tourist cities and their railway connections:
Istanbul: Istanbul has train connections to several cities, including Ankara, Konya, and Edirne.
Ankara: As the capital city, Ankara is a major railway hub with connections to many destinations across Turkey, such as Istanbul, Izmir, and Kars.
Izmir: Izmir, located on the Aegean coast, has train connections to cities like Ankara, Denizli, and Bandirma.
Cappadocia: Although Cappadocia doesn’t have its own train station, you can reach the region by taking a train to Kayseri or Nevsehir, and then continue your journey by bus or taxi.
To buy train tickets in Turkey, there are a few options available:
Online train ticket in Turkey: The official website of Turkish State Railways (TCDD) allows you to purchase train tickets online. Visit their website and follow the instructions to book your tickets in advance. The website offers English language options. However please keep in mind that some parts of the webpage may not be fully translated. As a result, you may come across Turkish-language pop-up windows. Be prepared to use Google Translate if needed.
Train Stations: Train tickets can also be purchased directly at the train stations. It’s recommended to arrive early, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your tickets.
Travel Agencies: Local travel agencies in Turkey often offer assistance in booking train tickets. They can provide information on train schedules, and availability, and help you with the booking process.
It’s advisable to check the train schedules and availability in advance, especially for long-distance journeys or during peak travel periods, to ensure a smooth and convenient travel experience.
The popular train travels in Turkey
In addition to the regular train connections, there are some popular train travels in Turkey that offer unique experiences. Here are a few notable ones:
1. Eastern Express: The Eastern Express is a scenic train journey that takes you from Ankara to Kars, passing through the beautiful landscapes of Anatolia. This route is particularly popular among travelers who want to explore the eastern part of Turkey. The train makes stops at various cities and towns, including Kayseri, Sivas, and Erzurum. The journey from Ankara to Kars on the Eastern Express takes approximately 24 hours.
2.Van Express: The Van Express is another fascinating train journey that starts from Ankara and takes you to the city of Van in eastern Turkey. This route offers stunning views of mountains, lakes, and historical sites along the way. It’s a great way to explore the eastern regions of Turkey. The Van Express, which operates between Ankara and Van, typically takes around 26 hours.
To purchase tickets for these train journeys, you can follow similar methods as mentioned earlier. However, it may be challenging to find tickets for these special trains as local travel agencies often buy them in advance and offer them as part of package deals with additional services. Nonetheless, it is still possible to secure a ticket for yourself. Just be aware that tickets tend to sell out quickly, so it is advisable to purchase your ticket months in advance to ensure availability.
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TRAVELING BY BUS
4. Buses: Uncover the Extensive Road Network
One of the best ways to travel within Turkey is by busses. Buses are a popular and well-established mode of transport in Turkey, offering extensive coverage across the country. From bustling metropolises to charming coastal towns and historical sites, there are bus connections from every city to every corner of Turkey.
Traveling by bus in Turkey
Busses offer a cost-effective option with extensive coverage throughout the country. Traveling by bus in Turkey is often considered comfortable and efficient, with modern coaches equipped with amenities like air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and comfortable seating.
In major tourist cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, and Izmir, you can find well-organized bus terminals that serve as major transportation hubs. These terminals provide a wide range of bus connections to various destinations within Turkey. In touristic areas, such as Cappadocia, Pamukkale, and Ephesus, there are local bus services available to connect visitors to nearby attractions and neighboring cities. These buses often operate from designated bus stations or stops located conveniently in tourist areas.
Popular bus companies in Turkey
Several bus companies operate in Turkey, offering reliable services for intercity travel. Some of the most popular bus companies include Metro Turizm, Kamil Koç, Pamukkale Turizm, Ulusoy, VIB, and Varan. These companies have well-maintained fleets, professional drivers, and a wide network of routes covering major cities and tourist destinations.
How to buy a bus ticket in Turkey?
To book bus tickets in Turkey, there are several reputable online platforms available. Some popular all-in-one websites for bus ticket bookings in Turkey include obilet.com, enuygun.com, and turna.com. These platforms allow you to search for available routes, compare prices, and conveniently book your tickets online. You can also visit bus companies’ websites to buy tickets.
Traveling by bus in Turkey offers a convenient and economical option for exploring the country’s diverse destinations. With well-connected routes, comfortable buses, and reliable bus companies, it is an excellent choice for both domestic and international tourists looking to discover the beauty of Turkey’s cities and regions.
RENTING A VEHICLE
5. Renting A Car in Turkey
Another one of the best ways to travel within Turkey is renting a car if you want to have the freedom to travel wherever you want. Renting a car in Turkey is a popular option for travelers who want the flexibility to explore at their own pace. It allows you to conveniently visit various attractions and destinations, especially those that may be less accessible by public transportation.
Here is some general information about renting a car in Turkey:
Renting a Car at Airports: Many major airports in Turkey have on-site car rental offices, making it convenient for travelers to pick up their rental vehicle upon arrival. Airports such as Istanbul Airport, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, Antalya Airport, and Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport have multiple car rental companies operating within their premises.
Popular Car Rental Companies: Some of the most well-known and trusted car rental companies in Turkey include Avis, Garenta, Enterprise, En Uygun, and Yolcu360. These companies have a wide selection of vehicles, ranging from economy cars to luxury models, to suit different travel preferences and budgets. Please note that I do not have any personal experience with any of these websites. I cannot guarantee their trustworthiness, but I can say that they are among the most popular ones.
Trustful Way to Rent a Car: To ensure a smooth and reliable car rental experience, it is advisable to book directly through the official websites or offices of reputable car rental companies. This allows you to have direct communication with the company, access to their customer support, and the assurance of dealing with a trusted provider.
Renting a car in Turkey provides you with the freedom to travel at your own pace and explore remote areas that may not be easily accessible by public transportation. It offers convenience, especially for families or groups traveling together, as it eliminates the need to rely on schedules or crowded public transport. However, it’s important to consider factors like traffic conditions, parking availability, and the cost of fuel and tolls when comparing it to other transportation options.
When renting a car in Turkey, it’s recommended to carefully read the rental terms and conditions, understand insurance coverage, and have a valid driver’s license from your home country or an international driving permit (IDP). It’s also advisable to inspect the vehicle before signing the rental agreement and take note of any existing damages to avoid any disputes later.
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6. Renting a Van in Turkey
Discover the wonders of Turkey like never before by renting a van! Experience the freedom to explore at your own pace, connect with locals, and delve into breathtaking landscapes. If you’re seeking adventure, want to uncover hidden gems, and have the means, renting a van in Turkey is your ticket to an extraordinary journey. Embrace the thrill of the open road and create memories that will last a lifetime.
When renting a van in Turkey, there are a few important factors to consider to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience:
Vehicle Size: Determine the appropriate size of the van based on the number of passengers and the amount of luggage you’ll be carrying. Consider both comfort and practicality.
Rental Duration: Decide on the duration of your rental period. Some companies offer better rates for longer rentals, so plan accordingly.
Driving License: Ensure you have a valid driving license that is accepted in Turkey. Most car rental companies require an international driving permit, especially if your license is not in English or Turkish.
Insurance Coverage: Review the insurance options provided by the rental company. It’s essential to have comprehensive coverage that includes liability, collision, and theft protection. Read the terms and conditions carefully and clarify any doubts before signing the rental agreement.
Additional Equipment: Check if the van rental company offers optional equipment such as child seats, GPS navigation systems, or roof racks. Assess your needs and determine if any additional items are necessary for your trip.
Pick-up and Drop-off Locations: Select the most convenient rental office locations based on your itinerary. Major airports and city centers often have several rental options available.
Compare Prices and Reviews: Research multiple van rental companies to compare prices, terms, and customer reviews. This will help you find reputable companies with competitive rates and reliable service.
Some popular van rental websites in Turkey include:
Vannerzone (A Friend’s Company)
Remember to book your van rental well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure availability and better rates. Carefully read the rental terms, understand the mileage limits, and familiarize yourself with local traffic rules before hitting the road.
BUDGET TRAVELING IN TURKEY
6. Alternative Options: BlaBlaCar and Hitchhiking
For budget-conscious travelers, BlaBlaCar and hitchhiking may appear as cheaper alternatives. BlaBlaCar is a ride-sharing platform that allows you to join someone driving to a specific destination and share the cost. It can be a great way to meet locals and fellow travelers. Hitchhiking, on the other hand, can be unpredictable and less safe, especially if you’re traveling alone. It’s always best to exercise caution and, ideally, travel in pairs or groups if you choose these options.
Personally, I do not recommend using either BlaBlaCar or hitchhiking if you are alone, as there may be individuals who seek to take advantage of others, especially of women. Even if you are traveling with friends, it is important to remain cautious. Therefore, I advise considering the risks involved. If you decide to proceed, here are some safety precautions to take: avoid hitchhiking or using BlaBlaCar at night, take note of the car’s license plate number, share it with your friends, share your location with your friends, carry a personal defense item, and make sure you know how to use it responsibly. Your safety should always be a top priority.
7. Taxi: An Expensive Option Best Reserved for Short Distances
While taxis are available in Turkey, they are generally more expensive compared to other modes of transportation. I do not recommend relying solely on taxis for long journeys, as they can significantly impact your travel budget. However, for short distances within cities or when convenience is paramount, taxis can be a convenient option. Just ensure that the driver uses the meter or agrees upon a fare before starting the ride.
In Turkey, Uber is not available. However, for safer and more cost-effective taxi travels, you can use the Bitaksi app. Simply download the app and utilize it for your taxi needs across various cities in Turkey. Bitaksi is a convenient and reliable option for taxi services. Additionally, in Istanbul, there is another dedicated app called iTaksi that you can use specifically for taxi rides within the city. These apps provide a convenient way to hail taxis and ensure a smoother and more secure travel experience in Turkey.
As you embark on your Turkish adventure, remember that traveling within the country is a joyous experience filled with diverse transportation options. Embrace the vibrant public transport networks in cities, explore domestic flights for longer distances, savor scenic rail journeys, and navigate the extensive bus network to reach every corner of this beautiful land. While taxis, BlaBlaCar, and hitchhiking can be considered, it’s important to exercise caution and consider other options for a safer and more reliable journey. So, pack your bags, embark on this remarkable journey, and create unforgettable memories as you traverse the captivating landscapes of Turkey.
For more detailed information and specific city travel guides, please refer to my comprehensive Istanbul travel planner and other city-specific travel guides on my website.
Need Help? Don’t hesitate to contact me!
Planning a trip to Turkey can be exciting, but it’s normal to have questions or need further guidance. As a passionate local travel blogger, I’m here to help you make the most of your journey. If you have any queries, need recommendations, or seek personalized travel advice, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I would be more than happy to assist you in planning an unforgettable trip to Turkey.
Whether you’re seeking tips on navigating the public transportation system, suggestions for off-the-beaten-path destinations, or advice on creating the perfect itinerary, I’m just a click away. Feel free to contact me through the contact form on my website, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Since I believe in the importance of mutual support, I have created a gig on Fiverr. If you have any questions about Turkey or need detailed advice on your travel plans, I am here to help. Additionally, I can assist in arranging your bookings. Feel free to check out my gig here: I’ll answer your questions & make travel plans
Safe travels and see you soon in enchanting Turkey! Happy travels!