Complete Guide to Public Transport in Istanbul

Our guide to public transportation, routes as well as tickets for locals and travelers in Istanbul.

How does public transportation work in Istanbul?

The electronic ticket for the public transport system in Istanbul is the Istanbulkart. The card pays off after three single rides and is usable during your whole stay in Istanbul. It applies to the entire transport system of Istanbul.

It is available and rechargeable at Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW), as well as at all major bus and boat terminals, at kiosks with the corresponding sign, and at the service stations and vending machines of the municipal transport companies.

There are fares for single tickets, but no day tickets in Istanbul. You can also get the advantageous Istanbul Welcome Cards for travelers, specials deal transport cards that also provide tours and cruise on the Bosphorus. Check our different options.

Get Istanbul Welcome Cards for Transport

Check the different Istanbul Welcome Card options providing easy transport and guided tours. Pick the one that fits your trip and enjoy!

Public transportation Network in Istanbul

Find below all the transport means available in Istanbul.

  • Metro: The route network, the Marmaray and the nostalgic Tünel subway (second oldest subway in Europe)
  • Ferry: Bosphorus cruise, from continent to continent, Golden Horn, Princes’ Islands, car ferry, speedboat, catamaran.
  • Tram: Operates on the European side of Istanbul.
  • Nostalgic Tram: Runs on Istiklal Caddesi between Taksim and Tünel Square
  • Funicular: Connects Kabataş Station with Taksim Square
  • Bus: There are bus routes all over Istanbul
  • Shared taxi (Dolmuş): There are blue minibuses, in which you can also stand while driving, and yellow shared taxis that only have seats. Simply wave your hand or get on at the station. 
  • Cable car: Maçka-Taşkışla and Eyüp-Piyer Loti

Fare: A single ticket costs 6 TL per person. There are no day ticket and no fare zones in Istanbul. In some means of transport, such as the bus, only the Istanbulkart is valid. In shared taxis (Dolmuş) only cash payments are accepted.

Children up to 6 years do not need a ticket.

What tickets are available?

Here is an overview of the most important tickets:

  1. 1
    Single ticket: One ride costs 6 TL per person. There are also 2-ride tickets for 10 TL, 3-ride tickets for 15 TL, 5-ride tickets for 23 TL and 10-ride tickets for 40 TL. You can find the current and official price list here.
  2. 2
    Istanbulkart: Istanbulkart is valid for the entire public transport network in Istanbul, except for shared taxis (Dolmuş). As a traveler, the Anonymous Istanbulkart is the best option. The other versions are of interest to the locals. To buy a rechargeable card, you need to pay a non-refundable 13 TL fee. A credit of at least 20 TL is ideal for the Istanbulkart, as you pay 4.03 TL for a ride. Please pay attention to the fares of the respective transport companies, as these are variable due to the distances and whether municipal or private transport services. The Istanbulkart pays off with an average of 50% savings compared to regular prices. 
  3. 3
    Akbil: There is also a public transportation card called Akbil. This is an electronic transit pass in the form of a steel button, and basically the older version of the Istanbulkart. Even though Akbil is slowly being phased out in favor of the Istanbulkart, it is still available and quite popular. Passengers using Akbil can transfer between different transport means and lines within 120 minutes at discounted prices, thus saving money. Another advantage is that two or more people can use the same Akbil. The downside is that there are currently only a few Akbil sales points left.
  4. 4
    Istanbul Welcome Cards: The Istanbul Welcome Cards include a loaded Istanbulkart. In addition, there are more benefits that will make your stay in Istanbul cheaper and more fun, including fast track entry, a Bosphorus Cruise, guided tours at Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, and Audio Guides for Istanbul's top museums. Another advantage is that the package will be waiting for you at your hotel when you arrive in Istanbul. More details here.

Istanbul Public transport network details with Maps

Istanbul-Railway-Network-Map

Find below all the Istanbul Public Transport network details. Check the Istanbul railway network map here.

Subway (Metro) daily from 6:00 to midnight

  • Line M1A Yenikapı-Atatürk Airport
  • Line M1B Yenikapı-Kirazlı
  • Line M2 Yenikapı-Hacıosman
  • Line M3 Kirazlı-Olimpiyatköy-Başakşehir
  • Line M4 Kadıköy-Tavşantepe  (Asian side)
  • Line M5 Üsküdar-Çekmeköy (Asian side)
  • Line M6 Levent-Boğaziçi University/Hisarüstü

Here is the metro lines network map. For detailed information about the night metro lines, see the night metro lines network map.

Subway (Marmaray) daily from 6:00 to midnight

  • Ayrılık Çeşmesi (Asian side) - Kazlıçeşme (European side)
    The Marmaray train runs every 5 to 10 minutes.

Nostalgic Subway (Tünel)

  • Line F2 Karaköy-Tünel Mon-Sat 7:00 - 22.45, Sun 7:30 - 22:45

Tram (Tramvay)

  • Line T1 Bağcılar-Kabataş daily from 6:00 to midnight
  • Line T3 Kadıköy-Moda daily 7:00 - 21:00
  • Line T4 Topkapı-Mescid-i Selam daily 6:00 to midnight

See here the Istanbul tram lines network map.

Nostalgic Tram (Nostaljik Tramvay)

  • Line T2 Taksim-Tünel Mon-Sat 7:00 - 22:45, Sun 7:30 - 22:45

Bus (Otobüs)

  • Istanbul's municipal public bus network is widespread. Departure times and almost all bus stops can be found here.

Metrobus (Metrobüs)

  • Line 34   Avcılar-Zincirlikuyu
  • Line 34A Söğütlüçeşme-Cevizlibağ
  • Line 34AS Avcılar-Söğütlüçeşme
  • Line 34BZ Beylikdüzü-Zincirlikuyu
  • Line  34C Beylikdüzü-Cevizlibağ
  • Line 34G Beylikdüzü-Söğütlüçeşme
  • Line 34U Uzunçayır-Zincirlikuyu
  • Line 34Z Zincirlikuyu-Söğütlüçeşme

The metro buses operate in 1 to 2 minute intervals. Depending on the line, they run between 1:00 and 5:30 every 30 to 60 minutes. For more information about the stops, see here.

Metrobus lines network plan

Funicular (Füniküler) daily from 6:15 am to midnight

  • Line F1 Taksim-Kabataş
  • Line F3 Seyrantepe-Vadistanbul

Cable Car (Teleferik) daily from 8:00 - 22:00

  • Line TF1 Maçka-Taşkışla
  • Line TF2 Eyüp-Piyer Loti

Suburban train (Banliyö)

  • Line Halkalı-Gebze
  • Line Gebze-Halkalı
    The train runs in 8 to 15 minute intervals.

Shared taxis (Dolmuş) 

  • The minibuses, which operate as shared taxis, are a cheap alternative to the normal taxi. The minibuses do not drive until all seats are occupied. Hence, the Turkish name Dolmuş, which means "is full". In addition to the main routes Taksim-Beşiktaş, Taksim-Kadıköy, there are many other fixed routes on which you can get on and off anywhere you want. The price depends on your destination and is paid directly to the driver in cash.

Our Tip: If you're not sure how to get to your destination, you can use the route planner - a fantastic tool that will help you figure out what mode of public transportation to take, how long the trip will take, and how much it will cost.

Airport Transfer Options in Istanbul

Airport Transfer Options in Istanbul

Istanbul has two international airports. On the Asian side, is Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW), around 40 km from the city center, and on the European side is Istanbul Airport (IST), approximately 50 kilometers from the center. Check below the best options to get from the respective airport to Istanbul's center.

From Istanbul Airport (IST):

  • Shuttle Bus: One of the most popular options to get from Istanbul airport to the city center and vice versa is a shared bus transfer. The official airport shuttle service in Istanbul is called HAVAIST and features 9 lines. One-way prices range from 16 to 45 TL per person.
  • Public transport: Municipal public buses (H-1, H-2, H-3 and H-4) are currently the only public transport option. A new metro line (M11 from Gayrettepe), which will run from the city center to Istanbul Airport, is currently under construction and is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2022.
  • Private airport transfer (VIP transfer): The most convenient transfer option is a private airport transfer that will bring you directly to your hotel.
  • Taxi: For a taxi ride from Istanbul Airport to Taksim, you will pay about 20 €.

From Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW):

  • Shuttle Bus: HAVABUS is the official airport shuttle service of Sabiha Gökcen with 3 lines running every half hour to Taksim, Kadıköy and Yenisahra. Visit the official website for up-to-date information on HAVABUS schedules, routes and fares.
  • Public transport: Sabiha Airport is well-connected with Istanbul city center by public bus lines, such as the regular bus line E-11 to Kadıköy.
  • Private airport transfer: A private airport transfer that takes you directly to your hotel would be the most comfortable transfer option, especially for family with children or VIPs.
  • Taxi: A taxi ride from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Taksim cost around 25 €. You can calculate your estimated taxi fare in advance here.
Ferry connections in Istanbul

Ferry connections in Istanbul

Being a seaside city, ferries are a very popular means of transportation in Istanbul. Sea transportation is a faster, more economical, and probably the most beautiful way to travel in Istanbul. Apart from the magnificent view, you can avoid the notorious traffic jams by traveling by ship. Ferries are especially popular for commuting between the Asian and European sides of the city, but there are also Bosphorus, Golden Horn and Princes' Islands lines.

There are daily regular connections by the main ferry lines and sea buses that operate from several ports of  the city. In total, there are 10 main ferry docks. On the Asian side there is one in Üsküdar and in Kadiköy, on the European side there is one in Kabataş, Besiktaş, Karaköy and five in Eminönü. It is also advantageous that the ferry docks are well-connected with other transport systems, such as metro stations or major bus terminals.

Istanbul's public inner-city ferry lines run regularly every 15-20 minutes from 07 am to 11 pm. You can use your Istanbulkart or tickets for the ride. Tickets are also sold at the ferry docks. The price of a ferry ride ranges from 3.50 TL to 5 TL, depending on the route. Some lines also offer night rides (00:30 am - 05:30 am) on the weekends. These trips have a night tariff, which is why they are 2 times more expensive than normal trips.

See below the ferry connections and links with up-to-date timetables, prices and routes in detail:

Ferry, Sea Buses, Fast Ferries (Vapur, Deniz Otobüsleri, Hızlı Feribotlar) 

  • Ferries operate between the European and Asian side of the city, between the area north and south of the Golden Horn, and between the mainland and the Princes' Islands. They also drive through the Bosphorus towards the Black Sea.
  • Istanbul Public Ferry Liners Şehir Hatları is a subsidiary of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
    With a total of 22 routes, it carries out 600 trips a day via 50 ship terminals. For more information on the departure times and prices, check the website of Istanbul Liners Şehir Hatları.
  •  The  private company Turyol also provides public transportation by sea. Check the official website for further details on routes, schedules and prices.
  • Sea Buses are catamaran-type ferries. They are usually a faster option for sea transport. With a fleet of 28 catamarans, including six fast car ferries, the IDO (Istanbul Deniz Otobüsları) company serves 29 terminals. You can find attractive tours and offers of the IDO here.

Speedboats (Deniz Motor)

The speed boats of the private company Dentur Avrasya Grup operate daily and very often:

  • Mon-Sat:
    Üsküdar-Beşiktaş 6:10 – 0:45
    Beşiktaş-Üsküdar 6:20 – 1:00
  • Sundays & holidays: 
  • Üsküdar-Beşiktaş 6:20 – 0:45
    Beşiktaş-Üsküdar 6:30 – 1:00 
  • Mon-Sat:
    Üsküdar-Kabataş 7:15 – 20:00
    Kabataş-Üsküdar 7:25 – 20:10 
  • Sundays & holidays:
    Üsküdar-Kabataş 9:00 – 20:00
    Kabataş-Üsküdar 9:10 – 20:10 
  • Midweek:
    Kabataş-Kadıköy 7:15 – 19:45
    Kadıköy-Kabataş 7:15 – 19:45 
  • Saturdays:
    Kabataş-Kadıköy 8:15 – 19:45
    Kadıköy-Kabataş 8:15 – 19:45 
  • Sundays & holidays:
    Kabataş-Kadıköy 11:45 – 19:45
    Kadıköy-Kabataş 11:45 – 19:45 
  • Bebek-Arnavutköy-Ortaköy-Beşiktaş-Eminönü (only once a day, not on weekends)
    8:30 – 8:35 – 8:50 – 9:00 – 9:15 * temporarily suspended
  • Eminönü-Beşiktaş-Ortaköy-Arnavutköy-Bebek (only once a day, not on weekends)
    18:30 – 18:45 – 18:55 – 19.05 – 19:15 * temporarily suspended
  • You can check the up-to-date schedule of all Dentur lines here.
  • See departures to the Princes' Islands as well as short and long Bosphorus tours here.
Taxis and Uber in Istanbul

Taxis and Uber in Istanbul

In addition to the public transportation means mentioned above, taxis and Uber are also frequently used in Istanbul. 

Taxis: Taxis offer a convenient way to get around the city and are comparatively cheaper than in Europe. Since there are many taxis in the city, you will have no problem to find one. The most common taxis are the yellow ones, but there are also turquoise and black taxis, which are more luxurious but also more expensive. In Turkey, city or county authorities set taxi fares. The current switch-on price is 5.55 TL. The price per kilometer is currently 3.45 TL. Make sure to check that the taxi meter is always turned on. A popular application is the BiTaksi app, which allows you to book a cab from your smartphone and pay without cash. Read our article Taxis in Istanbul for more information.

Uber: Uber is a preferred mode of transportation for tourists and locals alike. From 2014 to 2019, the ride-hailing company also offered transportation services in Istanbul. After being banned in Istanbul in 2019, Uber re-launched operations in 2021 and now works with the yellow and turquoise taxis of the metropolis. You can arrange your ride by using the Uber app. There is also a price calculator that calculates the approximate cost in advance, which will help you plan your trip.

Public Buses in Istanbul

Public Buses in Istanbul

The public bus, operated by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, is one of the most used forms of public transport in Istanbul. This is likely because there are so many bus routes in Istanbul, serving a huge area throughout the entire city. With about 500 lines and 8,000 stops, the public bus network is widespread and very effective.

Public buses tend to be crowded and a bit slower than railway services, as they face traffic, which is often pretty bad in Istanbul, especially in the mornings and evenings. One advantage, however, is that they are one of the most economical means of transport. As with all other public transportation in Istanbul, the Istanbulkart is valid on all public buses.

Traveling by bus can be confusing for tourists because you don't always know which bus to take and there are no maps inside the bus. Therefore, buses are not very popular with tourists, but rather with locals. A good idea is to check the routes on the official IETT page, where they are all listed. You will find there the departure times, bus stops along the route and a map of the line. Alternatively, you can get a map at any bus terminal.

Transport company contact information

  • Association of Public Transport Istanbul: For the subway, tram, funicular, cable car. Call center: +90 850 252 88 00 / Website: MetroIstanbul
  • IETT: Bus, metro bus, nostalgic tünel subway, nostalgic tram. Call center: +90 153 / Website: IETT Istanbul
  • Istanbul Şehir Hatları (municipal provider): Ferry Call center: +90 212 313 80 00 / Website: SehirHatlariIstanbul
  • Turyol (private providers): Ferry, speed boats +90 212 251 44 21 / Website: Turyol
  • Dentur (private providers)Ferry, speed boats +90 444 63 36 / Website: DenturAvrasya
  • IDO (private providers): Catamaran +90 850 222 44 36 / Website: IDO

FAQ Istanbul Public Transport (Frequently Asked Questions)

HOW MANY Fare zones ARE THERE IN ISTANBUL?

There are no fare zones in Istanbul. Universal fares apply in the entire transportation system. However, there may be slight differences between municipal and private providers. The prices for a ride to the Princes’ Islands or a ride from continent to continent with the Marmaray subway are slightly higher.

Is there a day ticket in ISTANBUL?

No, there is no day ticket in Istanbul. You can use the Istanbulkart for public transportation.

Is there a special ticket for tourists in Istanbul?

Yes. The Istanbul Welcome Card is the ticket for public transportation in Istanbul and a discount card for entry to many top museums, sights and attractions in Istanbul. In addition to the public transportation card, you can benefit from Fast Track Entry to 12 top museums, guided tours of Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern, a Bosphorus Cruise and audio guides for Istanbul's top museums.

How many rides do I need to take for the Istanbulkart to pay off?

The card pays off after three rides. The single ticket costs 6 TL. With Istanbulkart you pay 4.03 TL per trip.

How much is public transportation in Istanbul?

A single ticket for public transport costs 6 TL per person. There are also 2-ride tickets for 10 TL, 3-ride tickets for 15 TL, 5-ride tickets for 23 TL and 10-ride tickets for 40 TL. In addition, there is an electronic card that is used for the entire public transport network in Istanbul, the Istanbulkart. With the Istanbulkart, you pay 4.03 TL for a ride. To buy one of these rechargeable cards, you need to pay a non-refundable 13 TL fee.

How to get around in Istanbul?

Istanbul has an extensive and developed public transportation network, making it easy to discover the city. You can use the bus, Dolmuş (minibuses), metro, ferry, tram, nostalgic tram, funicular and the cable car. In addition, taxis and Uber are also very popular with tourists and locals.

How to use public transport in Istanbul?

To use public transportation in Istanbul, you will need the Istanbul Kart. The rechargeable electronic ticket is valid for the entire Istanbul transport system (ferryboats, metro, buses, trams, funiculars). You can buy it at the airports as well as at all major bus and ship terminals, at kiosks with the appropriate sign and at the service stations and vending machines of the municipal transport companies.

Is the Metro in Istanbul safe?

Yes, the metro in Istanbul, as well as the trams and funicular, are constantly monitored by security personnel and well-maintained. Nevertheless, as in all big cities, you should always beware of pickpockets.


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