Getting around by air:
Turkish Airlines (website: www.turkishairlines.com) provides an important network of internal flights from Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Antalya, Dalaman, Izmir & Trabzon to all of the major Turkish cities. Recent liberalization of the domestic air industry has allowed the proliferation of cheap, no-frills carriers operating routes from Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya & Izmir to the main regional airports. Private airlines include Atlasjet (website: www.atlasjet.com), Corendon Airlines (website: www.corendon-airlines.com), Onur Air (website: www.onurair.com.tr), Pegasus Airlines (website: www.flypgs.com) & SunExpress (website: www.sunexpress.com.tr).
Getting around by water:
A frequent car ferry crosses the Dardenelles at Gallipoli, from Canakkale to Eceabat & Gelibolu to Lapseki. Istanbul Fast Ferries (tel: (212) 444 4436; website: www.ido.com.tr) operates frequent seabus services from Bostanci, Kadikoy, Kartal, Yalova & Büyükada Island to Bakirkoy, Karakoy, Yenikapi, Yalova, Avcilar & Bandirma. Deniz Cruise & Ferry Lines (tel: (212) 444 3369; website: www.denizline.com.tr) serves the Istanbul-Izmir route. Local travel agents can make reservations.
Getting around by rail:
Many trains of the Turkish Railways (TCDD) (tel: (212) 527 0050; website: www.tcdd.gov.tr) have sleeping cars, couchettes & restaurant cars. Some are air-conditioned. Fares are comparatively low, but are more expensive for express trains. Discounts of 20% are available for students (though a Turkish student card may be required), groups, round-trips & passengers over 60. Children aged seven & under travel free. Tickets can be purchased at TCDD offices at railway stations & TCDD-appointed agents. The journey from Istanbul to Ankara takes between 6 hours 30 minutes & 10 hours, depending on the type of train.
A Train Tour Card issued by TCDD allows for 30 days’ unlimited travel on the Turkish train network. Tour cards are available for express trains & sleeping car trains. Validity begins on the first day that the card is used.
InterRail One-Country Pass: offers travel for three, four, six or eight days in one month within Turkey. Travel is not allowed in the passenger’s country of residence. Travellers under 26 years receive a reduction. Children’s tickets are reduced by about 50%. Supplements are required for some high-speed services, seat reservations & couchettes. Discounts are offered on Eurostar & some ferry routes. Available from Rail Europe (website: www.raileurope.co.uk/inter-rail).
Getting around by road:
Road conditions & standards of driving in Turkey can be poor. Serious road accidents are common. Traffic drives on the right. In case of an accident, call the traffic police (tel: 154) & do not move your car until they have arrived. The Turkish Touring & Automobile Club (tel: (212) 282 8140; website: www.turing.org.tr) provides insurance & advice for foreign drivers.
Coach: Many private companies provide frequent services between Turkish cities. Services are generally faster than trains. Tickets are sold at the bus station or the companies’ offices in town centres. Shop around for the best prices & most convenient departure times. Coaches depart from the bus stations (otogar) in large towns & from the town centre in small towns. There is generally a service bus (servis) from the centre to the bus station. The best coach operators are Varan (tel: (212) 551 5000; website: www.varan.com.tr) & Ulusoy (tel: 444 1888, within Turkey only; website: www.ulusoy.com.tr).
Car hire: Both chauffeur-driven & self-drive cars are available in all large towns & resorts. All international companies are represented.
Regulations: The minimum driving age is 18 & front seat belts are compulsory. Children under 12 may not sit in the front. The speed limit is 120kph (75mph) on dual carriageway, 90kph (56mph) on highways & 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas.
Documentation: An International Driving Permit or photo-ID license is necessary. Green Card International Insurance, endorsed for all Turkish territory (or Turkish third-party insurance obtained at a frontier post) & car ownership documents are also required. A ‘carnet de passage’ is required for those continuing to the Middle East. Cars can be brought into Turkey for a maximum of six months in any year. For longer stays, it is necessary to apply to either the Ministry of Finance & Customs or the Turkish Touring & Automobile Club.
Getting around towns & cities:
Bus & trolleybus: Extensive conventional bus (& some trolleybus) services operate in Istanbul, Ankara & Izmir. There are buses in all other large towns. These are generally reliable, modern & easy to use. Tickets are bought in advance from kiosks & validated on board. In Istanbul, an Akbil electronic pass can save money on bus, tram, ferry & metro journeys.
Taxi: There are many types of taxi, share-taxi & minibus in operation. Taxis are numerous in all Turkish cities & towns & are recognizable by their chequered black & yellow bands. All taxis have a meter which must be switched on at the start of the journey. For longer journeys, the fare should be agreed beforehand. A dolmus is a collective taxi or minibus which follows specific routes. Each passenger pays according to the distance travelled to specific stops. The fares are fixed by the municipality. The dolmus provides services within large cities to suburbs, airports & often to neighbouring towns. This is a very practical means of transport & much cheaper than a taxi. Taxis may turn into a dolmus & vice versa according to demand.