Turkey is a huge country offering a variety of landscapes and attractions. Most expats settle in major cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir or Antalya, but should not miss the opportunity to travel around the country and discover the stunning rocky landscapes of Cappadocia or the beautiful beaches of Fethiye, for example.
Here is an overview of the various means of transportation that will allow to you travel inside Turkey.
Turkey is home to 55 airports — Istanbul, Izmir, Dalaman and Bodrum being some of the busiest. Besides the flagship company Turkish Airlines, a handful of smaller carriers, like Anadolu Jet, Atlasjet, Onur Air, Pegasus Airlines or Sun Express operate frequent domestic flights.
Travelling by bus
Private bus and coach companies cover long-haul routes across the whole country. They represent the cheapest transportation option (from 65 Turkish liras for Istanbul-Ankara for example). Coaches tend to be clean, comfortable and rather punctual, especially if you pick a well-known company, and all offer complimentary soft drinks and snacks.
Tickets can be bought either online or directly at the bus stations. Although stations are generally found in city outskirts, carriers usually arrange free transfers from and to city centres.
Good to know:
If you are travelling at peak periods, like national public holidays, you should if possible try to book in advance, as buses rapidly get fully booked. Carriers’ same-sex seating policy —preventing unrelated male and female travellers to be seated next to each other — also reduces seat availability.
Trains in Turkey
Trains connect major cities in central and eastern Anatolia, but the railways network somewhat leaves out the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.
Turkish railways have recently experienced a stride with the launch of a new Yuksek Hizli Tren (high-speed train) connecting Ankara, Konya, Eskisehir and Istanbul. Comfort is also improving, with the rollout of modern, air-conditioned passengers cars, of comfortable sleeping berths for overnight journeys and of restaurant cars serving soft drinks and cold food.
Booking is available online or at the stations.
Good to know:
The Haydarpasa train station, Istanbul’s historic station, is no longer in service since 2012, but talks about converting it into a museum or an entertainment facility are under way.
TCDD - Turkish Railway network: www.tcdd.gov.tr
Istanbul Deniz Otobüsleri (IDO) connects the different Turkish cities through passenger boats and car ferries across the Marmara Sea. You may also travel from Istanbul to Kabatas Cinarcik and Princes' Islands, or to other regions such as Bandirma Yenikapı, Bursa and Yalova.
Istanbul Deniz Otobusleri: www.ido.com
Driving in Turkey
Driving in Turkey may be the most comfortable option provided you own a valid driver's license. Turkey has a quite straightforward traffic regulation, with vehicles driving on the right-hand side of the road. Note however that traffic jams are quite frequent, especially in the outskirts of large cities.
Car rental facilities are available in city centres or in the vicinity of transportation hubs (like train or bus stations).