Getting around Istanbul

Public transport

Istanbul has a modern metro system complemented by private and state-owned buses ( Trams run through the city centre to the outlying suburbs.

Light railway services operate to Atatürk airport, the main bus station and Aksaray, and Haydarpasa and Gebze Banliyö. Information on rail, metro and trams is available from Istanbul Ulasim (tel: +90 212 568 9970;

More unusual transport services include funiculars between Kabatas and Taksim; the vintage Nostaljik Tramvay, which clatters along Istiklal Caddesi; the Tünel underground, which opened to service in 1874 and travels the steep hill between Karaköy and Beyoğlu; and the small circular tramway between Kadiköy and Moda.

Passenger ferries connect points along the Golden Horn and Bosphorus. Buy tokens at dockside kiosks. The Istanbul Deniz Otobüsleri (sea bus) (tel: +90 850 222 4436; offers a quicker but more expensive service. Small privately operated ferries also run between Üsküdar and Besiktas.

Dolmus (shared) minibuses operate fixed routes throughout Istanbul and suburbs and can be flagged down anywhere. Pay the driver when boarding.

The Istanbulkart is a contactless smartcard for fare payment on public transport; it's available at more than 2,000 sales outlets throughout Istanbul.


You can hail taxis almost anywhere and at any time in Istanbul. Turks do not normally tip, but drivers often hope for a tip from foreigners. Demand that the meter (taksimetre) is switched on, and by law it must be switched on too. Reliable taxi companies include Çamlica Turizm Telsiz Taksi (tel: +90 216 318 3289).


Istanbul's vast urban sprawl is prone to severe congestion and navigating its streets can be difficult.

Car hire

Major car hire companies are present, including Avis (tel: +90 212 244 9350;, Europcar (tel: +90 212 254 7710; and Hertz (tel: +90 212 465 5999; Drivers must be over 21 years and have held a licence for at least one year.

Bicycle hire

Istanbul on Bike (tel: +90 553 440 5544; hires bikes and runs cycling tours.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.