Travel to Turkey
There are many ways to get to Turkey from Western Europe. The quickest and cheapest method is to fly, but sometimes you may want to turn a journey into an adventure and take the bus or train or ferry.
If you are prepared to travel by bus, you are likely to be able to get to Turkey overland for less than the cost of airfare. Indeed, if you travel by train or drive your own car, it is likely to be much more expensive than flying.
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Travel within Turkey
Public transport system in Turkey is very convenient and reasonably priced. There are various means of transportation such as planes, buses, trains, minibuses (namely dolmus or minibüs), and subways (in major cities). Students have the right to a special discount for intra-city and inter-city transportation.
The intercity private bus network is the backbone of the country’s transport system. Big, comfortable buses equipped with reclining seats and hostess service link up all the big population settlements, usually on a regular basis. Some of the bigger bus companies offer airline-quality service, with single seats, headsets, free newspapers etc, with online ticket reservation and sales system. Fares are still very reasonable, especially on routes where there is plenty of competition. Most towns have a bus station linked to the city centre by free shuttle bus. Buses stop every three or four hours at service stations where it is possible to buy snacks, hot meals, tea, coffee and last-minute gifts.
The Turkish State Railways (TCDD) started building high-speed rail lines in 2003. TCDD has branded its high-speed service as Yüksek Hızlı Tren (YHT) which currently operates on two lines: the Ankara–Istanbul high-speed railway and the Ankara–Konya high-speed railway.
In 2019, the services began from the Halkalı railway station on the European side of Istanbul, passing through the Marmaray railway tunnel under the Bosphorus strait. High-speed rail in Turkey is still developing, with new lines currently under construction or in the planning phase.
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Within towns the local authorities normally provide bus services. These are usually frequent except late at night and fares are generally low.
Like intercity train services, city metro systems have been developing over the years assisting millions of patrons.
If you live in Izmir or Istanbul, you will find that the most pleasant way of getting about the city is by ferry. Inner-city ferries are cheap, regular and usually comfortable. Istanbul has also some enclosed, high-speed seabus services on the longer routes, e.g. to the Princes Islands.
Increasingly the larger towns depend on tram and metro services to move people from place to place. Istanbul has the most comprehensive tram and metro network and this is still in the process of expansion. Similarly, Ankara, Izmir, Eskisehir and Adana have got their own metro systems.
Most of the bigger cities also have dolmus/minibüs services on popular routes. Usually these are minibuses which leave as and when they fill up.
Within major cities, it is possible for regular users of public transport to buy payment cards that not only give them a discount but also save them from having to queue for tickets. There are also reduced prices for students. In Turkey, students and teachers can obtain cards entitling them to discounts on public transport.