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Istanbul transport and travel


Istanbul transport and travel

Istanbulkart

If you plan to make many trips during your stay, it is in your best interest to buy this magnetic card.

It costs 6 TL and can be found in newsstands and some stores like grocery stores. It can also be bought at the automatic terminals located near the tram stops or in the metro stations (in this case, count 10 TL; you then benefit from a credit of 4 TL for travel).



It is charged and recharged as required at the automatic terminals for the amount you want (only banknotes are accepted; the machines do not give change). The credit remaining upon your departure is non-refundable. During major festivals (for example that of the Sheep), transport is free for all.

The Istanbulkart allows you to circulate, roughly speaking, at a price in municipal and private buses Loti, the funicular (füniküler) connecting Taksim to Kabataş (in short, everywhere, except in taxis and boats that cruise on the Bosphorus); the trip then costs around 2,60 TL, then around 1,90 TL for connections during the next 2 hours.

The card is not nominative; You can therefore travel with more than one with the same card, but only one of the passengers benefits from reduced-price connections.

- Tickets by unit: they can be used to take the tram, metro, Tünel, funicular and Marmaray. They can be bought at the automatic terminals near the stops. Price: 5 TL whatever the number of stations, so much less interesting than a card.

The tram

Operates from 6 a.m. to midnight, but the hours may vary slightly depending on the season.


- The main line (T1) connects Kabataş (near Dolmabahçe Palace) to Bağcılar after crossing old Stamboul:; Sultanahmet, Grand Bazaar, Beyazıt, Askaray, etc.


- Line T2 connects the upper funicular station (Tünel) to Taksim Square, at the top of İstiklâl Caddesi. It is the original tram from the beginning of the XNUMXth century, kept in perfect condition.

- Line T4 connects Topkapı station toi-Selam (northern suburb of the European side of Savior-in-Chora, Sultan Mihrimah Mosque, etc.

- Line T5 should soon connect the new bus station (Alibeyköy Otogarı) to Eminönü.

The Metro

Operates roughly from 6 a.m. to Saturday). We point out the three main lines. The others shouldn't be very helpful to you.

- Line (M1a) departs from Yenikapı, in old Istanbul, and goes to Kabataş at Yusuf Paşa and Zeytinburnu stations. After Otogar station, this line splits; a small section leads to Bağcılar Meydan (line M1b), another leads to the old airport (Havalimanı). It will soon be extended to Halkalı railway station.

- M2 line Yenikapı-Hacıosman connects Sultanahmet with the glass towers of modern Quoville districts (Beyoğlu - pl. Of Taksim).

- On the Asian side, the line M4 connects Kadıköy to Tavşantepe. It allows to reach Kadıköy from Sultanahmet by the Marmaray, changing at Ayrılık Çeşmesi.

- La line M11, which should open in 2020 or 2021, will connect the new airport to central Istanbul via Gayrettepe station (north of Taksim).

The Marmaray line

Every day from 6 a.m. to 7 minutes during rush hour). The méville, we can be reimbursed for part of the trip. To do this, you have to scan your Istanbulkart at the exit of the station.



After 10 years of work, the line was inaugurated in October 2013, between Kazlıçeşme (European side) and Ayrılık Çeşmesi (Asian side). It is in fact the reactivation of an old project developed in the 1860s by a visionary French engineer.

The Marmaray line connects the 2 continents by underground rail. To cross the Bosphorus, a 1,4 km earthquake-resistant tunnel was submerged and buried 60 m deep, between Sirkeci and Üsküdar. On the European side, it passes under the old town to reach Halkalı train station (about 20 km west of Istanbul) via Yenikapı. On the Asian side, the tunnel continues to Gebze via the Pendik TGV station.

The Tünel (old metro)

The old metro is a very short line that connects the Galata Bridge to İstiklâl Caddesi. Operates from around 7 a.m. (7:30 a.m. Sunday) to 22:45 p.m., with magnetic tickets sold at automatic kiosks near the start (5 TL for one ride), or use your Istanbulkart.

The füniküler

Operates from 6 a.m. (6:30 a.m. on Sunday) to midnight. This funicular (which is more like a metro) connects Taksim Square and the tram terminus, Kabataş (detachable map, F2). It thus makes the junction between the tram line which comes from Bağcılar and the metro line which serves the districts north of Taksim.

ÀLoti, perched on a hillside.

Taxis (taksi)

They are yellow in color, like in New York, numerous and ubiquitous. It is a cheap means of transport for several people. Count around 4 TL for pick-up.

Some ideas for prices (excluding heavy traffic jams):


  • Sultanahmet-Taksim: around 28-35 TL.
  • Sultanahmet-Kariye: around 25-35 TL;
  • Sultanahmet-Yenikapı: around 15-20 TL;
  • Sultanahmet-Dolmabahç35 TL.
  • Sultanahmet-Kariye MüSauveur-in-Chora): around 25-30 TL.

Always plan to top it up, because the drivers never (or very rarely) have change to give you ... except by insisting heavily.


Drivers are not always familiar with the city, which is evident from your hotel's business card, that your driver has understood the destination and that the counter (taksimeter) is not faulty. If you want to go to Topkapı Palace, specify "Topkapı Müzesi". Otherwise, we risk driving you to the district also called Topkapı, near the ramparts, located 8 km from the museum.

Avoid taking taxis waiting for tourists in strategic places, in front of certain buildings, luxury hotels and at the exit of bazaars. They always offer a disadvantageous package.

No special rate at night, on Sundays and public holidays.

Last point there.

The bus

The cheapest means of transport but beware, it is often full of wind for the most recent models). This obviously implies knowing the city or seeking advice.

Accessible with l & rsquovert (with yellow signs). In private buses, you can pay for your trip with the driver.

The dolmuş

The dolmuş (pronounced “dolmouche”) is a collective taxi. Very practical and economical, the dolmuş follows regular lines. You pay at the start of the race by specifying your destination (you can get off before the terminus, it is then cheaper). Be careful to pay the same price as the other passengers.

Possibility to get off where you want on the trip, as long as you warn the driver. We can also hail him along the way if there is room. There are no dolmus everywhere. Do not look for it, for example, in Sultanahmet.

If you sit in the middle row of seats, the back passengers will pass you the change to send to the driver by telling you their destination, a message you will be supposed to pass on to the driver. Embarrassing situation, often comical when one does not understand anything in Turkish.

Boats or ferries (vapur)

The boat is the most pleasant way to get around Istanbul and take a mini-cruise, within reach of all budgets! At rush hour, you have to see the incessant ballet of these white boats (vapur or motor) between the two banks of the Bosphorus.

There are 4 companies; Şehir Hatları municipal company and 3 private companies, Turyol, Dentur Avrasya and Mavi Marmara.
Schedules and routes displayed at the piers, in tourist offices or on company websites. Identical prices except for cruises on the Bosphorus and the Princes' Islands. Tickets sold at the piers (5 TL for a simple crossing of the Bosphorus) or possibility of using the Istanbulkart.

Water taxis (deniz taksi)

Water taxis connect in particular Eminonu, Ortaköy, Fashion (Asian side) and many points along the Bosphorus and the Princes' Islands. In all, around thirty stopovers.

Each boat works like a taxi with a meter. We tell you, but it's very expensive!

By car

To avoid. If you have a vehicle, the wisest solution is to leave it in a car park (otopark).



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