How To Get Around Using Public Transport In Turkey

This blog post is on how to get around using public transport in Turkey. We have included all the necessary information we recommend you to learn before starting to use public transport in Turkey. Including, making bookings, general information on prices, how to plan your routes, different methods of transportation and travel jargons in Turkish so you can make the most out of your travels in Turkey. 

Travelling to Turkey is an absolute joy due to the many gems spread throughout the country. Around 55 million tourists visit Turkey every year and a considerable amount of them do stay in for 2-3 weeks and travel around the country just using public transport services. 

Using public transport in Turkey will give you the independence and freedom to stay wherever you want while taking part in Turkey society. We strongly believe that if you would like to find out about a culture you must live like them and travel like them.

Using Busses To Travel In Turkey

Anyone who visits Turkey and takes an intercity bus ride knows the immaculate bus service and network Turkey has to offer its travellers. Using busses to travel in Turkey is incredibly simple and cheap. Every seat will have the infrastructure to watch movies, charge your phone with air conditioning as well as reclining seats. Furthermore you there is also the availability of free pillow, blankets as well as snacks for even the sort 2-3 hour rides. 

Every bus also has a waiter who helps with suitcases as well as the service during the trips. Also every three or four hours there will be a rest stop in a complex with lots of restaurants, souvenir shops and toilets for passengers to get some fresh air and eat hot food of their choice. 

All bus networks are privately owned in Turkey. The abundance of companies available keeps the pricing low in this incredibly competitive market. Please be aware that long journeys that are over 10 hours generally take place at night time and due to the frequent stops, buses average around 60 km per hour. 

How To Buy Bus Tickets In Turkey

All companies have ticket booths in the bus terminals in Turkey. Alternatively, you can also visit their offices in the city centre as well. Online or telephone booking is also available through the English version of bus companies websites. There will also be an English option when you are trying to book tickets on the phone too. 

Generally, once you have learned the time of the bus ride, you should be able to just turn up to the bus terminal to purchase your ticket. However, never ever do take this risk when there is a national or religious holiday in Turkey. A little bit of organisation and preparation will drastically improve your travel experience in Turkey so please do book your tickets in advance to avoid waiting long hours in the bus terminal. 

When you book your seats, you will realise that in general seating is arranged with same gender. Turkey is a conservetive society and these things matter so please do not take it personal and  cooperate if you are asked to change your seat in order to accommodate this once as the journey is about to begin. Everyone will appreciate you for doing it. 

Also when you are buying tickets please ask for a free transfer from the city centre to the bus terminals. Nowadays the bus terminals in Turkey are few kilometres outside the city centre so you can get transferred for free. 

Best Bus Companies In Turkey

Please take a look at the table below to find the premium bus companies in Turkey with the biggest networks as well multi language customer service;

Premium Bus Companies In Turkey
Ulusoyulusoy.com.tr
Varanwww.varan.com.tr
Kamil Koçkamilkoc.com.tr
Pamukkalepamukkaleturizm.com.tr

Bus Fares In Turkey

We have prepared a baseline pricing for bus tickets in Turkey. Please be aware that ticket prices might change drastically according to the company and peak times as well as holiday times. However, the table below should be a good guideline. 

Distance (KM)Price (TL)Distance (KM)Price (TL)
101-115100701-800200
115-130105801-900225
131-150110901-1000250
151-1751151001-1100275
176-2001201101-1200300
201-2501301201-1300325
251-3001401301-1400350
301-3501501401-1500375
351-4001551501-1625400
401-4751601626-1750425
476-6251701876475
551-6251752001 and over500

Travelling By Air In Turkey

With each year passing travelling by air in Turkey is becoming the predominant way to travel. In 2021 there are 81 airports that are spread throughout the country. However please be aware that most flights are from Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya. So be aware that if you are not in one of these locations you may have to transit in one of those airports. However, the fears of airline competition in Turkey increases the destinations day by day and keeps the prices rather reasonable. 

If you are looking to buy cheap tickets the key is to make sure you buy them early. We recommend everyone to buy their tickets at least a month before their travels. When you are booking in advance you will realise that the flight prices become comparable to the busses. However please be aware that there might be extra costs in terms of getting to airports as airlines do not offer free transfer services from the city centre to the airport like bus companies in Turkey do. 

If you are flying domestically in Turkey please be at the airport at least one hour before your flight. You will be told to be at the airport one hour and thirty minutes before the flight but one hour is more than enough for check-in and security checks. Different companies have different allowances for baggage and they tend to be between 15 to 20 kg. Please check with your airline so you can avoid paying extra at the airport. 

Please note that Istanbul has two airports located on different continents. Sabiha Gokcen is located in the Asian side and Istanbul and the recently built Istanbul Airport is located on the European side of Istanbul. You must check the airports during your booking to get to the correct one. 

Airlines In Turkey

We have prepared all the national airlines that have domestic flights in Turkey as well as destination details about them. Please be aware that the airline industry is a rapidly changing industry so destinations may have changed so please check every single airline to get the best options. 

The fares for flights change daily in Turkey due to the fierce compassion. Also season and the overall traffic is a massive determinant as well. So it is hard to give rough guidelines when it comes to prices for flights in Turkey. So to get the most accurate and up to date prices, check online. 

In Turkey
Turkish AirlinesState owned flag carrier airline in Turkey. Covers most destinations in Turkey. Higher prices buy premium service. https://www.turkishairlines.com/
Anadolu JetSubsidiary airline to Turkish Airlines that covers about 50 destinations in Turkey offering cheaper flights. https://www.anadolujet.com/en
PegasusPrivately owned budget airline that covers around 30 destinations especially in the eastern part of Turkey. https://www.flypgs.com/en
Sun ExpressAnother subsidiary of Turkish Airlines that covers around 20 destinations offering budget options. https://www.sunexpress.com/en/
Onur AirSmall airline that only has one destination from Antalya to Istanbul. https://www.onurair.com/en/

Travelling By Train In Turkey

Train journeys cover less than %5 of the transportation in Turkey. However, over the last decade, there have been improvements on trains with the initiation of a high-speed train network in some parts of Turkey. If you would like to save money an overnight journey is a great option when compared to busses and planes.

Also, there is a whole community of travellers who love choosing trains to witness the beauty of the Turkish countryside in a slow pace journey while meeting with locals in their carriage. Unfortunately due to the mountainous geography of Turkey, building train lines are incredibly expensive and circuitous routes make travelling take much longer. So we only recommend travelling by trains if you are really short on money or one of those people who are specifically looking for a different slow-paced experience. 

Using Dolmus Public Transport In Turkey

Dolmus literally means stuffed in Turkish. Dolmus is a shared minivan that has a predetermined route and it is one of the quintessential ways of travelling from in the countryside as well as in big cities.  The best thing about using a dolmus is the fact that it does not have a set stop so you can hop in and out anywhere along the route.

Each passenger pays a small price regardless of their length of the destination and only in cash. If you want to learn where exactly the dolmus is going take a look at the front of the minivan to see the destinations. This type of transportation is very popular when you are trying to get to small villages in the countryside. Or in touristy places, there will be dolmus routes from the villa areas to the closest towns. 

The fares usually cost 3 lira and once you get it just take a seat and hand the money to the person in front of you and they will pass it on to the driver. Please try not to give a large note such as 10 or 20 lira as it will make things rather difficult when it comes to breaking the money and passing it back to you. It’s etiquette to do so. Once you are ready to leave the dolmus just say “inecek var” and the driver will stop when it’s convenient and safe.

When you are in the dolmus it will be a thrilling ride, so please do not worry if your driver has a rather wild driving method. The drivers of dolmuses are incredibly experienced and know the roads in and out. Accidents of dolmuses are incredibly rare. To get on a dolmus just wave your hand as they are getting close to you and they will stop.

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