Here are small tips on Travel & Transport in Turkey by plane, bus, car, train, ship & ferry.
For transport from other countries to Turkey, see Getting to Turkey.
Turkey is fairly easy to travel in, but it’s a big country (maps). I’ve noted distances and travel times, in both kms and miles, for all major and many minor destinations in the Where to Go section of TurkeyTravelPlanner.com.
All methods of transport may be crowded on major holidays. Plan accordingly!
Here’s how to compare costs for various means of transport.
Turkish Airlines and a number of other competent air carriers have flights among major cities which are convenient for longer distances, and relatively inexpensive (most fares are TL89 to TL250 one-way). Onur Air, Atlasjet, Anadolu Jet, Pegasus Air and Sun Express have growing route systems and reasonable fares. See also Major Airports and Airport/City Codes.
Thousands of modern, luxurious buses roar between Turkish cities and towns daily. This is how most Turks travel. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get fares and schedules (try here), but you can do that easily when you arrive in Turkey. Departures are frequent, and you don’t need advance rservations on most routes. Here are sample routes, fares and travel times from Istanbul to many cities.
If you are an experienced driver and can manage a standard shift (“stick shift,” not automatic) transmission, and want freedom of movement, consider renting a car in Turkey.
Orient Express poster
The Orient Express is long gone, but Turkey is hard at work building an impressive network of high-speed trains which, within a decade, will link 15 cities holding half the country’s population. A number of useful routes are already in operation. More…
Older, conventional trains can also be useful on some routes (here’s a map). They may be slower than the bus but offer more seating-room and comfort for less money.
Ship & Ferry
Turkey is surrounded by seas, so ships play a significant part in the Turkish transport picture. Here are the major services:
Cruise ships from other countries dock in Turkey at Istanbul, Kuşadası (for Ephesus) and other ports. Here’s information on the ports and docks.
Sea of Marmara Ferryboats
Sea of Marmara ferry services run between Istanbul on the north shore and Yalova and Bandırma on the south shore (map).
Dardanelles ferries connect Europe with Asia, Çanakkale and Troy with the Gallipoli battlefields.
Inter-Island Ferries in Greece
Island-to-Island ferries in Greece help you travel between Athens, the Islands, and Turkey.
Italy—Turkey ferries: no longer any direct service, but you can go via Greece.
Cyprus—Turkey ferries connect Girne (Kyrenia) and Taşucu/Silifke all year, and Alanya in summer.
Odessa (Ukraine)—Istanbul ferries have ceased operations, unfortunately.