With a developed transport infrastructure, getting around Turkey is quite easy. Most towns and cities have taxis and bus services, and railway and bus routes also connect most destinations across the country. The road network is well developed, so it's possible to drive in Turkey, but road conditions are not always of a high standard.


Public transport in Turkey

Buses

Turkey has a well-developed bus network. Bus travel is one of the easiest and cheapest options for getting around the country. Most Turkish cities and towns have a central bus station (otogar) where expats can catch a bus to most destinations across the country. Tickets can be bought at the bus station or bus company offices. Most city buses in major cities only accept pre-purchased tickets; in Istanbul, expats can purchase jetonlar (tokens) or an Istanbul Kart (smart card).

Most buses are air-conditioned and offer a good quality service. Many are staffed by assistants who serve drinks and snacks. Long-distance Turkish buses aren't usually equipped with onboard toilets, but there are frequent stops at rest stops along the way. Cell phone use is generally restricted on many buses, and expats may get a few dirty looks if they talk too loudly.

Trains

Turkish Republic State Railways operates passenger trains across the country and links all the major cities. 

On some routes, there are comfortable seating and sleeping compartments. The high-speed Istanbul to Ankara line is the most used in Turkey, with several daily trains operating on this line. Delays are frequent, but the journey generally takes six to ten hours.

As well as the Istanbul to Ankara route, the high-speed train also operates on the Ankara–Konya and Eskisehir–Konya routes. Turkey's transport minister announced plans to have high-speed train routes operating throughout the country within 30 years.

There are also metro systems in many of Turkey's main cities, including Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa, Adana and İzmir. Some cities and towns in Turkey also have light-rail transit systems, including trams.

Ferries

There are numerous ferry services in Turkey. They include a regular service across the Dardanelles at Gallipoli, cross-Bosphorus and short-hop ferries between various parts of Istanbul. Ferries also connect Turkey with other countries in the region, including Greece and Cyprus.

Useful links


Taxis in Turkey

Taxis are available in most Turkish cities and are reasonably priced. Yellow cabs are metered. Most drivers don't speak English, so it's best to have the address written down in advance to show the driver. Tipping is not expected, but a small tip may be appreciated.

Mini-bus taxis, commonly known as dolmuş, are available in large cities and towns. These taxis stop to pick up and drop off passengers anywhere on a pre-established route. They can be flagged down anywhere along their route. Although these taxis are cheaper than yellow cabs and are often faster than regular buses, they can make for a scary ride as drivers tend to be reckless.

Local rideshare apps such as BiTaksi operate in Istanbul and Ankara. Many expats prefer using these apps as it gives them more control over routes and service prices while diminishing language barrier issues. After being banned in 2019, Uber has made a comeback in Turkey and is operating in the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Therefore, this is another option for travel around the city. 

Useful links

  • New arrivals to Turkey can use BiTaksi and Uber to book a taxi in the city. 

Driving in Turkey

Although the country has a good network of roads, driving standards in Turkey are generally poor. Turkey has one of the world's highest motor vehicle accident rates, and local drivers are notorious for being reckless. Expats should drive defensively and with caution.

Renting a car in Turkey should be easy and straightforward. There are a few international car rental companies like Hertz, Europcar, and Budget available throughout the country.

Traffic drives on the right side of the road, and road signs are similar to those used in Europe and are plentiful. There is no shortage of petrol stations, which are often open 24 hours a day. That said, petrol is expensive in Turkey.

Expats who will be living in Turkey for six months or longer will need a local driving licence to drive in the country legally. New arrivals must receive a health certificate from a medical practitioner and take an eye test to confirm their fitness to drive. Thereafter, expats will need to take and pass both theoretical and practical tests to secure their driving licences. Expats from certain countries can simply exchange their driving licences for local driving licences if their governments have reciprocal agreements with Turkey. 

Useful links


Air travel in Turkey

Turkey's main airports include Atatürk International Airport, located outside of Istanbul, and Ankara Esenboğa, which is just outside the capital. There are daily domestic flights to and from many destinations across Turkey. The national carrier, Turkish Airlines, is the most popular, but there are several smaller carriers offering flights to various destinations in the country.

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