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Getting around Turkey’s most famous city, Istanbul, is not the easiest thing to do, and congested roads make driving the least pleasurable option. Fortunately, Istanbul has a large network of buses, a metro system and ferries, while the more touristy areas of Sultanahmet, Beyoglu and Galata are easy to explore on foot.
Taking a ferry across the Bosphorus is a great experience, and a handy way to get to the Asian side of the city. Hop on at the Kadikoy terminal (but avoid rush hour!) and enjoy the views across this inland sea.
If you’re very limited on time, flying is the most efficient way to travel around Turkey. The country tends to have good competition on its internal routes, meaning cheap domestic flights.
Airlines such as Pegasus, Turkish Airways and Atlasjet offer internal flights, with Istanbul acting as the hub for trips to Turkey’s coastal resorts. Aim to book at least six weeks in advance to take advantage of lower prices.
Transfers from Turkey’s airports to the main cities, such as Istanbul or Ankara, tend to be fairly easy, with taxis and buses widely available.
If you’re on a tight budget or simply prefer to take your time getting around Turkey, then there are a few other options.
The cheapest option is to take a long-distance bus. These are frequent, extensive, generally comfortable and of a high standard, with air conditioning and reclining seats. Some even have in-bus entertainment showing Turkish films, similar to a long-haul flight. It is, however, the most time-consuming means of getting around.
Popular routes on Turkey’s train network include a new high-speed line between Istanbul and Ankara, which takes three-and-a-half hours. There are also express trains and ‘blue trains’ which run between the different regions – for example, Izmir to Ankara – as well as regional trains.
The standard of Turkey’s trains ranges from very basic to modern and air-conditioned. Most trains can be booked online or at the train station, but if you’re travelling during peak season, make a reservation to guarantee a seat. Online reservations are available up to 30 days in advance.