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Travel & Transport in Turkey

Last Updated on May 14, 2024

Turkey is a well-developed country with 81 cities and seven regions, which are connected to each other through many transportation methods the country has to offer. Moreover, Turkey has one of the highest road quality ratings in the EU, and there are many options for traveling by public transportation in Turkey, such as planes, buses, cars, trains, ships & ferries

We have to mention while Turkey is a large country (see maps), it’s fairly easy to get around. You can find distances and travel times, in both kilometers and miles, for all major and many minor destinations on our Where to Go in Turkey page. However, take into consideration that there’s more congestion during major holidays so it’s advisable to book further in advance during those times. 

Read more about how to compare costs for various means of transport.

For transportation methods from other countries to Turkey, see Flights to & in Turkey

Transportation Methods in Turkey

As we mentioned, Turkey is a well-developed country, especially when it comes to reaching your destination through the wide variety of traveling options the country has to offer. In Turkey, you can find a number of transport options, ranging from planes, buses, cars, and trains to ships & ferries, and weighing the pros and cons of each mode of transportation can help you decide which is the best for your vacation.

Planes

While average fare prices can vary depending on the season, flights in Turkey are available and fairly inexpensive. There are a vast number of choices when it comes to choosing an airline company, with many reputable airlines operating in the country, such as Turkish Airlines, Anadolujet, Pegasus Air, and Sun Express. Turkish Airlines is the national carrier and offers the best service but at higher fares, but for short domestic flights, there are many options.

When it comes to traveling larger distances, flying is generally preferable. Additionally, many airports in Turkey offer various services to make your journey more comfortable. From shops and restaurants to lounges and WiFi access, you'll find what you need to relax before or after your flight.
While booking your flights, it's advisable to compare prices from different airlines as you might get a better deal. Find more information about Major Airports and Airport/City Codes

Buses

Buses and dolmushes are another mode of public transport one can choose when traveling between cities in Turkey. You can find a bus terminal in all towns and cities (within or just outside of the city centre) and the fares are very affordable. In fact, using local buses will be the most budget-friendly option when traveling in Turkey. 

This is also how most Turks travel, and as a result, thousands of modern and luxurious buses travel between Turkish cities and towns daily. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get fares and schedule information about bus services from outside the country, but you can make arrangements easily when you arrive in Turkey at the bus station. Moreover, most of the time, departures from bus stations are so frequent that you won't need advance reservations for most routes. However, many bus companies also provide ticketing services through their website or other sites like Obilet, but this is often in Turkish. In addition to intercity buses, you can easily take a city bus to visit many popular tourist destinations.

Find more information about how to buy bus tickets, bus routes from Istanbul, and a list of popular bus companies.

Rental Cars

Traveling with a car in Turkey is a great option if you prioritize privacy and flexibility while traveling. Moreover, rural areas and regions such as the Black Sea and Anatolia can only be explored fully with a car. So, if you are an experienced driver and want to have more freedom when traveling, consider renting a car in Turkey. 

Getting a rental car is also very straightforward with reputable rental agencies and hassle-free legal processes the country has to boost tourism. However, you might want to check the cost of a rental car and the extra fees that might come up to compare your options before making any decisions. For example, if you are not traveling in a group, flying could be a cheaper option than car rental due to petrol costs

When choosing a rental car, consider the size and features you might need. Small cars can be more convenient for navigating the narrow streets of city centers, and air conditioning is a must for the hot Turkish summers. If you plan on exploring rural areas, check the locations and working hours of service stations along your route to avoid any fuel-related inconveniences. 

Moreover, make sure to learn more about the driving rules and safety steps to ensure a better driving experience. For example, people drive on the right side of the road in Turkey, and Turkish drivers tend to drive aggressively. 

Trains and Railways

Trains are a great choice if you want to take in the vast scenery of the country without the hassle of the roads and the high prices of planes. Turkish State Railways are well-developed and connect most major destinations in the country. So, while the Orient Express is long gone, Turkey is hard at work building an impressive network of high-speed trains that will link 15 cities holding half the country's population. A number of useful routes are already in operation.

These high-speed trains, known as "Yüksek Hızlı Tren" or "YHT", provide a comfortable and efficient travel option. They are equipped with modern amenities like reclining seats, air conditioning, power outlets for your devices, and sometimes even Wi-Fi. Moreover, trains in Turkey usually have a dining car where you can grab a meal or a snack. The high speed train routes through the YHT network connect major cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Konya, and Izmir.

Older, conventional trains can also be useful on some routes (here's a map). They may be slower than the buses but offer more seating-room and comfort for less money, though the train station and the train itself may not be as modern. Taking a train with high speed service is a fast and economical way to travel.

ship, ferry, boshphorus, istanbul, marmara

Ships & Ferries

Turkey is surrounded by water, so ships and ferries play a significant part in the Turkish transport picture. The seaway is especially important and integrated into day-to-day travel in the cities of Istanbul, Izmir, and Çanakkale (Dardanelles). The ferries in Istanbul are famed for their picturesque views, offering another perspective to the famous sites along the coast and connecting Europe and Asia in one stride. So, if you ever wind up in one of these cities, take advantage of your time and experience the charm of the sea. 

Cruise Ships

Cruise ships from other countries dock in Turkey at IstanbulKuşadası (for Ephesus), and other ports. Getting on a cruise ship to explore the popular coastal towns is always a great idea.

Here's information on the ports and docks.

Ferries

  • Sea of Marmara ferry services run between Istanbul on the north shore and Yalova and Bandırma on the south shore (map). Locals use these ferryboats to commute daily, and tourists take advantage of them to cruise the Bosphorus Strait practically for free.
  • Dardanelles ferries connect Europe with Asia, Çanakkale, and Troy with the Gallipoli battlefields, which once the whole destiny and defense line of Turkey depended on.
  • Greek Island—Turkey ferries connect the islands with the Turkish coast. These ferries are especially popular during the summer, with ferry lines operating almost daily along the route. Look up ports, dates, times, and fares on Feribot.net.
  • Island-to-Island ferries in Greece help you travel between Athens, the Islands, and Turkey, a perfect way to combine your visit to Turkey with a short trip to Greece.
  • Cyprus—Turkey ferries connect Girne (Kyrenia) in the Turkish section of the Cyprus island and Taşucu/Silifke all year and Alanya in summer.

All in all, ferries and ships in Turkey can offer a unique and relaxing travel experience. You can enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and the beautiful coastal views and even spot some marine life along the way. There are many different ferry types and lines in Turkey.

Private Transfers

Getting around Turkey can be tricky, especially if you don't know the language. It can feel stressful trying to navigate from city to city or from the airport to your hotel. Taxis can end up being quite expensive due to traffic and distance, so taking a private transfer can become an excellent alternative. 

When using a private transfer service, not only is there plenty of room for luggage, but it can also be a very affordable option if traveling with others or as a family. You can easily book a transfer by filling out the form below.

—by Tom Brosnahan, updated by Can Turan

Rental Cars in Turkey

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