Travel & Transport in Turkey

Transportation in Turkey is the transfer of passengers, cargo, and news from one place to another. Transportation routes are important in terms of evaluating the economic resources of a country and establishing economic, social, health, and cultural relations with other countries. The frequency and quality of transportation in a country is very important as it is an indicator of the development level of that country. Thus, the total length and quality of roads and the number of vehicles are high in developed countries.

In Turkey, the total length of roads and the number of transportation opportunities are increasing day by day. There are 4 types of transportation in Turkey, namely Road transportation, Railway transportation, Sea transportation, and Air transportation.

1. Bus

The most common type of transportation in Turkey is structured on highways. 70% of freight transport and 90% of passenger transport is done by road. Since the 1950s, highway construction and transportation have been increasing in Turkey. Currently, highways can reach almost every part of Turkey.

Buses, which have made great progress in public transportation and general transportation, have been one of the most important means of transportation in Turkey for many years. Bus transportation in Turkey can be done in a very comfortable way by vehicles driving outside the city as well as inside of it. Many bus companies offer luxury and comfort together with which you can travel among different cities inside Turkey. For instance; Pamukkale, Kamil Koc, Metro.

Initially, there are also many countries where you can travel to, from Turkey by bus. Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, and Azerbaijan are on the list.

Secondly, public transport in Istanbul is usually provided by Bus, Metrobus, Minibus, Tram, Metro, Taxi, and highway Buses. Istanbulkart is used for transportation fare payments. This card’s full electronic ticket is 7,67 TL / 0,50 USD and the student ticket is 3,74 TL/ 0,24. In addition, by making a monthly subscription with your Istanbulkart, you can travel to any region in Istanbul at affordable prices day and night.

In 2019, approximately 77% of the transportation in Istanbul was provided by the vehicles mentioned above.

2. Plane

Turkey has an important potential in the air as well as land, rail, and sea transportation. Turkey’s airspace and airports have strategic and economic importance in transportation between the continents of Asia and Europe. Due to this significant feature, Turkey is the center and transit line in terms of air transportation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Today, the air transport sector in Turkey shows a great development with the participation of private airline companies and increasing passenger capacity. Istanbul’s New Airport is Turkey’s biggest airport. This port is of great importance for both domestic and international transportation. Istanbul Airport was considered among the top 10 airports in the world during the World’s Best Awards 2021 survey of New York-based Travel and Leisure magazine.

Currently, in Turkey, 54 airports host domestic and international flights. Turkey-based airline companies such as Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, Sunexpress, and Anadolujet have made plane travel very comfortable and affordable in every aspect. If you do not miss the offered opportunities, for example, you can make your Antalya-Izmir round-trip flight for only 1297 TL / 84,71 USD!

Turkish Airlines is Turkey’s flag carrier airline and the most important figure for air transport in Turkey. The company flies to 253 destinations in the world in 2021.

3. Train

In Turkey, railways take second place in passenger and freight transportation after highways. The railway network is used to transport heavy materials such as coal or to transport passengers.

Before the proclamation of the Republic in the country and during the first years of the Republic’s establishment, railway construction was given priority. According to TCDD (Turkish State Railways) data, the length of the railway reached 12,485 km with the sidelines in 2014. Whereas, the length of the electrified line is 666 km. In Turkey, there are also high-speed train routes between cities such as Ankara-Eskisehir, Ankara-Konya, and Istanbul-Ankara. Tickets for high-speed trains cost approximately 143 TL / 10 USD.

In Istanbul, the most populated city of Turkey, the rail system vehicles used are Metro, Tram, Nostalgic Tram, Cable car, Funicular, and Marmaray. On daily basis, approximately 3 million people travel inside Istanbul by these means of transportation with their Istanbulkarts.

The nostalgic tram, one of the symbols of Istanbul, serves passengers on the Taksim-Tunel line. The nostalgic tram is an eco-friendly means of transportation powered by electricity.

4. Sea of Marmara Ferryboats

Turkey is a peninsula surrounded by seas on three sides. It is also located at a point where three continents meet. The development of maritime transportation has made this strategic position more effective. Ports are the gateways of a country’s road and railway network to the world. Commercial goods transferred from the ports are distributed to the interior regions by highways and railways.

Sea transportation in Turkey is the most economical type of transportation while the cargo and passenger capacity of sea vehicles is quite high. Although port construction costs are high, once it is done, the ports can be used for many years. Besides, import and export processes between continents are easier and cheaper by sea.

Marmara Ferryboats and sea buses provide service between cities through the sea coasts. For instance, IDO voyages enable you to easily reach other cities such as Yalova, Bursa, Bandirma, or Iznik from the docks in Istanbul. For example, if you want to travel by ferryboats from Yenikapi port on the European side of Istanbul to Bursa, you can find a ticket for about for economy class is 56 TL/3,65 USD, business class is 101 TL/6,57 USD, first class is 650 TL/42,28 USD. You have to follow the hours on the website, but there are ferryboats and sea buses almost every day of the week.

The number of people traveling by sea in Istanbul was 644.851 per day in 2019.

5. Canakkale Ferries

Canakkale ferries provide service in the province of Canakkale, one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey. Ferry schedules are operated by GESTAS. For Dardenelles ferries, where you can find tickets almost every hour, you can buy online tickets and book your place on the website. The most popular routes for Dardanelles ferries are: Canakkale – Eceabat, Gallipoli – Lapseki, Canakkale – Kilitbahir, Geyikli – Bozcaada, Kabatepe – Gokceada.

For example, here is the price list for the Canakkale – Eceabat line: 5 TL / 0,52 USD for each passenger, 85 TL/ 8,77 USD for each automobile, 265 TL/ 27,34 USD for each bus. If you have a Gestcard, you will get a discount ticket.

6. Taxi

In Turkey, taxis operate within the scope of the permission they receive from the municipality. Taxi drivers have to activate the taximeter as soon as the passengers get in their car. The fares of the taxis serving in each province of Turkey vary.

Most importantly, the yellow taxi’s starting fee is 5,55 TL / 0,57 USD in Istanbul in 2021. While 3,45 TL / 0,36 USD is charged per kilometer. The minimum fare for a yellow taxi in Istanbul is 15 TL / 1,55 USD. The switch on price for turquoise taxis is 6,38 TL / 0,66 USD and the fee per km is 3,99 TL / 0,41 USD. In black luxury taxis, the opening fee is 9,44 TL / 0,97 USD and the fee per kilometer is 5,84 TL / 0,60 USD. Moreover, you can also make further reading about the best taxi apps in Turkey on our website.

7. Cruise Ships

Maritime transport in Turkey is also remarkable. Since Turkey is a hidden paradise for all cruise ships. Turkey has become a popular destination for international cruise ships with emerging cruise tourism and new cruise ports. It is frequently visited by cruise ships sailing in the Aegean, Mediterranean, or Black Sea. Here are the most popular ports for cruise ships in our country are:

  • Kusadasi Cruise Port, Aydin
  • Marmaris Cruise Port, Mugla
  • Istanbul Cruise Port, Istanbul
  • Cesme Cruise Port, Izmir
  • Kas Harbour, Antalya
  • Canakkale Cruise Port, Canakkale
  • Mudanya Port, Bursa

8. Dolmus

To go to smaller towns and villages, you’ll most likely need to change to a minibus. A dolmus is a minibus, but it may also be a van or a sedan, that departs only when it is full of people (dolmus means “filled” in Turkish), which might entail long wait periods in less-traveled regions. Dolmuses follow a predetermined itinerary, but passengers must notify the driver where they wish to get off. In busy cities, you could witness a tout yelling out the routes of the next department. Dolmus lines are being converted to minibus routes in several areas, with regular departures and stops.

9. Bicycle

Although Turkey is not especially bike-friendly, with minimal infrastructure and little motorist knowledge of sharing the road, bike touring in the Turkish countryside may be rewarding for experienced and well-prepared riders. Cyclists and long-distance walkers may use many recognized hiking routes, including the Evliya Celebi Way in western Turkey and the Hittite Trail east of Ankara.

Which means of Transportation Should be Preferred for Transportation in Turkey?

Turkey is very advantageous in terms of geographical location. So that, you can choose Sea transportation from a coastal city like Istanbul to Izmir. If you want to travel to the Central Anatolia of Turkey, you can choose railway transportation. Of course, if you want to travel quickly within the city, a taxi or minibus will make sense. You can also get on Dardanelles ferries with your motorcycle.

What Hours is Easier to Transport in Turkey?

If you live in a big city in Turkey, it would be in your best interest to check the traffic density map online before you set off. However, you can go from one place to another almost every hour by any kind of public transportation or even your private vehicle in Turkey.

Is Transportation in Turkey Expensive?

Transportation cost in Turkey depends on which way you prefer. If you want to carry your heavy cargo, the Sea or Railway offers very reasonable prices. If you want to go to other countries such as Cyprus or Greece, you may prefer ferries. The most expensive but safest option is air transportation. As for the most popular type, then it is road transport. In conclusion, there is a suitable alternative for every budget when it comes to transportation conditions in Turkey.

Is Transportation Safe in Turkey?

The transportation sector in Turkey offers a lot of safe options, based on its versatility. Passengers and shipping companies may choose between, Sea, Road, Air, and other available means. Thus, the channel to opt for is decided as per the transported items and related conditions, to accomplish a reliable procedure.

The country provides safe transportation from the east to the west, as well as external trips to other countries.

Otogar – Bus Station

The Otogar (Bus station) is where interstate buses receive and drop off passengers.

Large bus terminals in Turkey include ASTI in Ankara, Harem and Esenler Bus Terminal in Istanbul and Bursa Intercity Bus Terminal in Bursa. For customers who wish to go to the bus terminal from the city, or who have transferred to the bus terminal from another city, there are generally shuttles from the bus companies, the terminal’s own shuttles, or public transit vehicles owned by the municipality.

Otobus – Bus

Buses of various sizes and standards crisscross Turkey at all hours of the day and night, backed by a massive network of 24-hour rest stations, some of which might pass for tiny shopping malls. Most long-distance buses stop here every few hours so that passengers may smoke, dine, pray, use the restroom, and buy local food and gifts.

Larger bus operators, such as Kamil Koc, Pamukkale, and Varan, provide coaches between major cities with reclining seats, food service, and, on occasion, seat-back entertainment systems and wi-fi. Journey durations might be lengthy, and ticket rates aren’t always comparable with aircraft pricing, but it’s a relatively local mode of transportation.

Dolmus – Minibus

A minibus is a light commercial vehicle that transports passengers by arranging seats within a 3.5 – 4 meter closed vehicle. Minibuses are motor vehicles that contain varied numbers of seats other than the driver, ranging from eight to fourteen, and are used to carry passengers.

Tren Istasyonu – Train Station

A train station is a railway facility where trains often stop to pick up and drop off passengers or cargo. It typically has at least one platform as well as a station structure with ticket sales and waiting areas. Stations are larger train stations.

Train stations can be situated on the ground, underground, or above ground. Transfers between intersecting railway lines and other modes of transportation, such as bus, metro, or tram, are possible if they are available.

Train travel in Turkey is traditionally restricted and sluggish, however, this is changing. The bustling high-speed route between Istanbul, Eskisehir, and Ankara is a notable exception. Tickets for this route, as well as the famous overnight excursion on the Dogu Express (Eastern Express), a leisurely and Instagram-friendly trip between Ankara and the border city of Kars, should be purchased well in advance. Turkish State Railways operates all trains, including local services in and around Izmir as well as trains to Konya and Adana.

Bilet – Ticket

A train ticket is a piece of paper that contains information that allows us to travel by rail, such as the name of the train, the date and direction of departure, the time of departure, and the price.

Bilet Gisesi – Ticket Office

The ticket office is the box office set up at the venue where your event will take place for ticket sales and/or ticket distribution. It might be referred to as the event box office, the venue box office, or the main box office.

Sofor – Driver

Drivers are persons who provide transportation services on the road using commercially registered motor vehicles and who have the relevant documentation and training.

Muavin – Driver Assistant

Assistants are persons who assist or aid others. They stand out among the general public as the persons in command of the buses. They are known for checking tickets, offering food and drinks, and assisting passengers on their voyage.

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