Transportation in Turkey
Turkey spans on two continents, being located in the Anatolian region of West Asia, with a small section in Southeastern Europe. Tourists from all over the world get to Turkey either by plane – into one of the large airports -, by ferry or boat – thanks to its many ports –, by train – as the country is linked with both European and Middle East by rail – or by bus. Once in Turkey, you can choose to explore its beauty by plane, bus, train or rental car .
Arriving and Departing Turkey
When arriving or departing the country, travelers choose the main gateway: Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport. During the summer season, a considerable amount of traffic is handled by Antalya Airport, the biggest hub on the Turkish Riviera.
Arriving and departing Istanbul
Istanbul is served by two major airports, out of which Atatürk International Airport get the most traffic. It is located on the European side, 24 km from the city center. It receives flights from all over the world and is hub for several airlines: Turkish Airlines, Atlasjet, North Cyprus Airlines and Onur Air.
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Arriving and departing Antalya
Antalya Airport (AYT) is located 13 km from the city center. The airport was built to handle the large amount of traffic occurring here in August, every year. It receives year-round flights, although some routes are seasonal. There are plenty of low-cost airlines flying here.
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Getting around Turkey
Being quite a large country, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you’ll get to use several means of transport when you plan to get from one city to another. And most importantly, you need to know how to get from the airport to the hotel without wasting money and time.
From Airport to the City Center
In Istanbul, there is a metro line (signposted as “light rail”) linking Atatürk Airport with the city center. The other aiport, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport is connected to the city center by buses.
In Ankara, the airport (Ankara Esenboğa International Airport) is also connected to the city center by buses. The same choice is available if you need to get from Antalya Airport to the city center. However, if you head to the resorts, ask whether the hotel offers the transfer.
From one city to another
Driving in Turkey
While it’s not very expensive to rent a car in Turkey, purchasing fuel can burn a whole in your pocket. Still, driving is a lovely way to experience the country. You should be able to get from Istanbul to Ankara in less than 5 hours, while if you need to get to Antalya (from Istanbul) , you’ll spend more than 10 hours on the road.
Turkey has a good long-distance bus network. The buses have AC and the quality of the service is good. You need to reserve the seat in advance. Buses tend to get quite crowded. Do you research , because it’s not uncommon for long-haul companies to drop off passengers on the ring-road.
Trains are a cheaper alternative to buses, but they are also slower. However, Turkey doesn’t have too much railroad, so many cities and tourist spots aren’t covered.
Flying in Turkey
The major cities in Turkey are served by low cost airlines and in many cases it is actually cheaper to fly than to take the bus. The two main domestic hubs are Istanbul and Ankara. These two cities are linked to the rest of the country and to each other.
Ferries in Turkey
Fast ferries connect Istanbul to the other side of the Marmara Sea. There are connections between Istanbul and Izmir, as well as other places in the Black Sea region. All inhabited islands are also connected to the mainland by ferries. Please note that ferries only run during the summer months.
Walking in the cities
In Istanbul, it’s a good idea to plan to get around in the city on foot. There are so many superb things to do and you can easily plan a walking tour, either by using the ideas already on line or by creating a tour yourself (just get a map and enjoy).
Although Ankara is not as beautiful as Istanbul, you shouldn’t just take the public transport to get from one place to another. There are plenty of walking tours you can check out online and you can , of course, create one yourself.
In Ankara, you can choose between the metro (two lines) and the extensive bus network. While Istanbul’s public network can be a nightmare to figure out, you can choose between tram, metro, bus and ferry, in order to avoid taxis and save money. In Antalya, you have to choose between buses and trams.