Istanbul's Metro system of underground
and surface rapid-transit trains, trams and funiculars is
growing quickly and will be useful to you during your visit.
Hours of Operation
Metro and tram system runs from about
06:00 (6 am) to a little past 24:00
midnight) or 01:00 (1 am), depending on the line and the direction of travel.
Click here for
a map of the complete system. (Click
on a section to magnify it.)
There are multiple ways you can pay your fare. Here they are.
The most useful lines for foreign visitors are shown in italics.
M1A Yenikapı - Aksaray - Havalimanı
You're most likely to use the M1
Metro line that
runs from Yenikapı and Aksaray Square in Old
Istanbul via Istanbul's main Otogar (bus
terminal) to Atatürk
(The last Metro train from Atatürk
Airport via the Otogar to
Yenikapı departs the airport at 01:00
Arriving in Istanbul by intercity
bus, you can take Metro Line 1 right
from the Otogar to Zeytinburnu and
board the T1
Kabataş tram for Sultanahmet
Square and Eminönü.
Metro station, also a stop on
the Marmaray suburban
train line, is near the terminal for "seabus"
catamaran ferryboats and fast
car ferries. More...
Otogar - Kirazlı
This line connects Istanbul's main intercity
bus terminal to the suburb of Kirazlı,
meeting the M3 Metro
M2: Yenikapı - Hacıosman
The M2 line connects Yenikapı (and its Fast Ferry Terminal and Marmaray suburban
train station) with Şişhane (near Tünel Square) in Beyoğlu, Taksim
Square, then north via Şişli
through the modern business and
residential sections of the Levents
as far as Hacıosman, only 5 km (3 miles) southwest of Sarıyer on the European shore of the northern Bosphorus. This is the fastest way to reach northern Bosphorus destinations such as Emirgan, Sarıyer and the Black Sea beaches at Kilyos. More...
M3: Kirazlı - Başakşehir - Metrokent
Northwestern continuation of Metro Line M1B.
M4: Kadıköy - Kaynarca
Going from Kadıköy on
shore of the Bosphorus southeast
via Kozyatağı and Bostancı to Kartal, Pendik and Kaynarca, this line is convenient for getting to Sabiha Gökçen Airport (İETT city bus KM22) and to the fast ferry docks at Pendik (Bus KM20) for Yalova and Bursa. By 2018, this line should be extended all the way to Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
M5: Üsküdar - Çekmeköy
This line is under construction
from the Asian-shore Bosphorus ferry docks in Üsküdar eastward to the suburb of Çekmeköy.
Not technically a part of the Istanbul Metro system, the suburban trans-Bosphorus Marmaray underground train line is fully integrated with the Istanbul Metro system. More...
İstanbul Ulaşım also operates several surface tram lines, the most useful of which are the T1 Bağcılar-Kabataş tram and the T2 Taksim-Tünel Nostalgic Tram.
İstanbul Ulaşım operates the F1 Füniküler line linking Kabataş with Taksim Square, and the historic F2 Tünel underground line between Karaköy and Tünel Square.
Istanbul's Metro system is operated
Ulaşım. Their website has an English-language version that proves to be mostly unhelpful.
The Network Maps (those that actually appear when you click on the link) are at least useful. Here's the most useful map.
Here's İstanbul Ulaşım's info on fares.
To use İstanbul Ulaşım website's Route Planner is unlikely to be useful. If you manage to input departure and arrival locations that it understands, it renders a cryptic list of bus, Metro and tram numbers, and a map that shows the two locations connected by a straight line. Huh?
I'm surprised at this, because Turkey has plenty of highly accomplished software engineers who could build a route planner that tells you exactly how to go from one place to another, as do the route planners for Paris and Boston.
This having been said, the İstanbul Ulaşım website has improved in recent years, and may soon actually be useful to foreign visitors.
New Metro in an Old City
Imagine the difficulty of constructing
a Metro in Istanbul,
a city that is nothing but layers
Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul—every
excavation discovers some new archeological
site that must be studied,
—by Tom Brosnahan