Country profile

Travel and accommodation in Turkey

Most international flights arrive at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport which is 20km from the city centre.  Charter airlines however fly into the city’s other international airport; Sabiha Gokcen, near Pendik. There is a separate terminal at Ataturk for domestic routes, which Turkish Airlines serves along with others such as Atlas Jet. Izmir’s international airport is Adnan Menderes Airport, around 10 km from the city centre.

The best way to get from the airport into Istanbul centre is by taxi, and there is no need to negotiate a fee because they operate with meters.  Alternatively, Havas run a shuttle bus service to and from the city centre from both the international and domestic terminals every half hour which takes around 40 minutes to Taksim Square (the centre of town).  Istanbul has a small metro system as well as a very modern tramway (this is a very comfortable and quick way to get about town).  Izmir also has a small metro network.

Getting around the country

You can travel to almost anywhere in the country by coach and there are a handful of intercity bus companies.  Some of the leading ones are Varan, which is considered to be the superior bus company Kamil Koc and Ulusoy. All three run regular services from Istanbul’s main bus station.

For shorter distances, i.e., getting about the city consider a ‘Dolmus’ – a shared taxi-come-mini-bus which is something of a tradition in Turkey.  Following set routes, Dolmus buses are a very popular, cheap and easy way to get about, particularly to areas outside the city centre, but no good if you’re in a hurry as they only depart once they’re full!

The National Rail in Turkey is called TCCD (Turkish State Railways).  Visit www.tcdd.gov.trfor information about rail routes, timetables and fares etc. There are direct connections into Izmir from Istanbul and Ankara.

If you’re keen to drive in Turkey then there are plenty of car hire options at airport arrivals although many visitors are put off by the high road accident rate and the fact that Turkey has only a few fast highways (the Trans European Motorway around Istanbul and Ankara and a motorway network around Izmir).  Driving is on the right hand side.

As for accommodation a double en-suite room in a three star hotel in Istanbul costs from €35 to €60, and a four star from €70 to €100.  The currency in Turkey is the New Turkish Lira (YTL) which was introduced in 2005 and there are approximately 2.7 YTL to €1. Many places will also accept Euro currency and GBP, but this is at the discretion of the owner.


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