Turkish people drive on the right-hand side of the road. Istanbul is highly pedestrianised, which creates some problems for the city's many drivers. It is very important to pay attention to people walking on or near the street in any major Turkish city. In general, foreign nationals who intend to drive in Turkey need only a valid licence, which means that your home-country licence will suffice. However, an international driver's permit, which can be obtained through your home-country automobile club, may be useful if you are stopped by the traffic police.

Bright yellow in colour, Turkey's taxis are often easy to find and relatively inexpensive compared to other European countries. Most taxis use meters which charge passengers according to the distance travelled.

Similar to ordinary buses, Turkey also offers dolmus or minibus services. Like regular buses, most dolmus' operate on a fixed scheduled route, often picking up and dropping off passengers en route to their final destinations. In fact, you can flag down a dolmus from the street, just as you would a taxi. The signs marked Dolmus Durak indicate places where drivers usually stop when flagged down. When you enter, sit down and then pass the correct amount of money to the front via the other passengers. Just before your stop you must yell out "Inecek Var" (pronounced in-a-jeck-var) to let the driver know there is someone who wants to get off. Be prepared for frequent stops but know that dolmus' are considered to be even cheaper and more convenient than the regular public buses.

Akbil System

The Akbil electronic travel pass is definitely the best feature of the constantly improving Istanbul public transportation network. Akbil is short for ‘akıllı bilet‘, which means intelligent ticket. And that’s exactly what it is. It’s a basically a small stainless steel button in a plastic holder, together not bigger in size than any key on your keychain. Akbil serves as computerized fare tag which you can use for all public transportation except on a dolmuş or minibus.City Buses
City buses reach every corner of the city, but they may prove to be difficult to board and exit, particularly during rush hours. Bus numbers are indicated in bold and followed by an ordered list of visited districts. There are two types of buses operating in Istanbul, the private buses and the city-run "belediye" buses. Although they do not publish any route maps, you can find a bus going to your destination by inquiring at any bus station office. When taking a belediye bus, you need to use Akbil. However, when taking a private bus, you can either pay the driver in cash or use your Akbil.
Istanbul is one to the first cities to build an underground railway. This short route built in 1800's is still working between Karakoy and Beyoglu. Today, there is a considerable work to expand the metro network.
Ferries are slower but larger than sea buses. Like sea buses they are very useful to avoid traffic. Ferries on most of the routes below run every 15-30 minutes. We highly recommend ferry tours to the islands and the Bosphorus.
Sea Buses

Sea Buses are fast catamaran type boats. They are a very good alternative to city buses 
Train routes are very limited in Istanbul. They are useful for residents but not very interesting for visitors. There are two main routes:
1. Sirkeci - Kumkapi - Zeytinburnu - Bakirkoy - Yesilkoy - Kanarya - Halkali
2. Haydarpasa - Bostanci - Kartal - Pendik - Tuzla - Gebze
Intercity coaches:
Buses seem to be the most convenient, effective and inexpensive mode of transport for long distance journeys. As there are numerous coach companies scattered throughout Turkey, you would be wise to ask friends and colleagues which companies are the most reliable. The bus companies in Turkey are all privately owned, very competitive with one another, and vary in comfort and services. Fares and destination times should be available outside bus offices. During some holidays and certain times of the year, advance reservations may be necessary for a long bus trip. Reservations are generally handled by ticket agents throughout Turkey's larger towns and cities.
Intercity coaches (Bus) Terminals are ISTANBUL OTOGAR and ISTANBUL HAREM
The Turkish State Railway
The Turkish State Railways offer service to many areas of Turkey. When planning an intercity train trip, it is wise to take the blue train (mavi tren), an express or motor train. These trains run faster than the other types of trains and are generally more comfortable. Train seats on the better trains must be reserved in advance, and it is advisable to reserve sleeping cars well in advance. Railway Stations are ISTANBUL Asian Side HAYDARPASA and European Side SIRKECI Info: (0212) 527 00 50 - 51



city map

Where to pay utility bills

Istanbul Paintings
Original paintings by artist Zana Morina To see all her works click here

Basic Turkish