Not surprisingly, Istanbul is well connected to every part of Turkey. Buses are frequent and plentiful, and the main coach station (otogar) is at Esenler, on the European side.
There are countless private bus companies, all of whom have a ticket office at the station and the larger ones have offices dotted around town, especially in areas like Taksim, Sultanahmed and Besiktas.
Prices vary slightly regarding quality of the vehicle. There are also departures from Harem, on the Asian side. For journeys further afield, there buses to Greece, Macedonia, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Russia, Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria and Jordan.
Tel: (+90-212) 658 05 05, 658 10 10, 333 37 63, 310 63 63.
Within the city, public transport is a good way of getting around. There are minibuses, buses, taxis, trams (from Aksaray) a new subway (between Taskim and Levent) and a tiny electric tramcar (Beyog(lu to Taksim).
Not as popular a mode of transport as buses, with a much smaller network, there are rail connections from Istanbul to Ankara, Izmir and Eastern Anatolian cities. Most of the services are slower than buses, although between the three main cities, there are the mavi tren, mototren or ekspress, which are fast and comfortable.
Reservations are essential for these journeys, and there are several classes of seats and sleepers. International services from Sirkeci (on the European side) and Haydarpasa (Asian side) stations include Vienna, Munich, Budapest, Salonica, (via Eskisehir, Konya, and Gaziantep), Aleppo, (via Tatvan and Van), Tehran, Moscow and Bucharest. Trains heading west leave from Sirkeci, and east from Haydarpasa station.
Tel: (+90-212) 527 0050/51.
Reservations Tel: (+90-212) 520 6575
Tel: (+90-216) 336 0475/2063.
Reservations Tel: (+90-216) 336 4470, 337 8724.
Maritime Lines run both the urban and national transport. Marinas also have connections with European ports.
Urban Maritime Transportation runs ships which operate between the following destinations within Istanbul: Kadikoy – Haydarpasa – Karakoy; Eminonu – Uskudar; Eminonu – Kadikoy; Bridge – Yenikoy; Beykoz – Kavaklar; Sirkeci - Bostanci, Bridge – Prince’s Islands; Bridge – Yalova; Kabatas – Cinarcik; Bostanci - Cinarcik.
Boats operate from Istanbul to the following Black Sea towns: Zonguldak, Sinop, Samsun, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize, as well as Izmir. Marmara Lines run to Marmara Island, Bandirma and Mudanya.
Port Tel : (+90-212) 245 53 66/249 71 78/249 18 96.
Address: TDY Maritime Lines Agency, Rihtim Cad. Kadikoy, Istanbul
Head Office Tel: (+90-212) 245 53 66/249 71 78/249 18 96.
Reservation Tel: (+90-212) 249 92 22/293 74 54
Information Tel: (+90-212) 244 25 02/244 02 07
Ataturk International Airport is 20 km from city centre. The new airport is the biggest in the country, with the most international flights. There are direct flights to every European capital, and many to Asia, USA and the Middle East.
The domestic terminal has flights to every domestic airport in the country, with several a day to major cities like Ankara and Izmir. Turkish Airlines (THY) is the national carrier.
Turkish Airlines: www.turkishairlines.com