The public transportation in Istanbul is an integrated system administrated by the local government. The system can only be accessed by using electronic cards. Having these card will give you access to all public transport means in Istanbul, except private ones.
You can purchase 1-ride, 5-ride cards or the Istanbulkart. The advantage of the Istanbulkart is that it can be credited as many times as you wish and can be used by any number of people as long as there is enough credit for the ride per passenger.
Unfortunately in Istanbul, unlike in many cities in Europe, there are no daily or weekly unlimited public transportation options and the service is charged per ride. For that reason, we provide 24-hour access to the Hop-on & Hop-off Bus Tour and 1-loop/1-day free access to the Hop-on & Hop-off Boat Tour in the Istanbul Tourist Pass.
In 2019, the main airport of Istanbul (Ataturk Airport) has been permanently closed and the new Istanbul (ISL) airport is operational. With this change, there is no longer a railroad that connects the airport to the city. Sabiha Gokcen Airport is also not offering a railroad access. There are buses and shuttles to common locations such as Taksim Square; but it is highly advisable, especially if you are carrying suitcases with you to book an airport transfer in advance, in order to avoid having to take a taxi after the shuttle, which may end up being more expensive and much less convenient.
Booking an airport transfer is easy. Regardless of your hotel location or your airport, the fee for a transfer is fixed: €45.
You can purchase the İstanbulkart from the yellow vending machines located in every station of the subway, trams, metrobus, funiculars and some kiosks located near most stops of the public buses. As of February 2019, the cost of the card is only 6 Turkish Liras (TL) (from the machines) or 7 TL (from most kiosks).
If you were to buy 1-ride cards for each ride, you would be looking at a cost of approximately 5.00 TRY (€0.90 / $1.05 USD) per ride per person. Instead of that, you can purchase the Istanbulkart from the yellow machines located in all stations of the public transportation system, except the bus station. With the Istanbulkart your per person per ride cost will be as follows:
The transportation card (İstanbulkart) is NOT included with the Istanbul Tourist Pass Buy a Pass
The card or the balance does not have an expiry date. It can be used at any time, as long as it has enough balance.
The card is valid almost at all means of public transportation, such as buses, trams, metro, funiculars, cable cars, boats, etc. Just scan the card once for each passanger.
You need to purchase and credit the Istanbulkart public transportation card to be able to use the public transportation system.
1 card can be used by multiple people.