Getting Around: The Istanbulkart

Travel from Europe to Asia for 2.30 Turkish Lira (~ USD 0.70)? Yes you can with an Istanbulkart aboard a Bosporus ferry! For starters, the Istanbulkart is a prepaid smart card about the size of a credit card (see pics below). It is also the most convenient way to pay for public transportation in Istanbul

As of 2016, the Istanbulkart costs 6 TL and you can buy it at both of the airports. In Istanbul Ataturk Airport, you can get the card at the metro station (just follow metro signs in the airport). In Sabiha Gokcen Airport, you can buy your card from the kiosk across the street from the domestic flights exit of the terminal. After buying your card, you need to load credit into it. Note that the HAVATAS airport shuttles also accept Istanbulkart

The advantages of using the Istanbulkart are numerous. Firstly, it works on a variety of services including trams, metro, nostalgic trams, funiculars, buses, trains, cable cars and ferries

Secondly, you can transfer between the various public transportation at discounted rates as long as you make the transit within 2 hours. This can lead to substantial savings if you intend to explore Istanbul over a few days

Finally it is just very easy to use even when traveling in big parties as one Istanbulkart can pay for several passengers. Just place the card on the sensor, allow a passenger to go through the turnstile, then place the card on the sensor again for the second passenger and so on for up to 5 passengers. (Note: The Istanbulkart only requires the user to “tap” the card at the start of a journey. Hence, all trips are the same price, irrespective of distance traveled)

The Istanbulkart is available at over 2000 counters, vendors and machines throughout Istanbul and can easily be reloaded at newsstands and small shops (look for the Istanbulkart sign), or at self-service vending machines at major transit stations

Here’s a detailed public transport network map of Istanbul, and the few most notable useful lines for tourists are as follows

Hopefully this article helps in answering your transportation queries for Istanbul, do leave a comment if you need more information or additional tips for traveling in Turkey. One thing’s certain, you are surely going to have a delightful time there!

Hafiz mustafa.jpg
Turkish delight!

 

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