Istanbul is one of Turkey’s most visited cities, offering numerous historical and cultural sites as well as entertainment venues. Fortunately, visitors can benefit from a broad range of transportation options for travelling throughout the city. Many are cheaper and more convenient in terms of time and traffic congestion than personal vehicles or taxis. Beware of rush hour (around 8–9 am and 5–9 pm), as roads can be crowded.


Istanbul transportation options include the metro (subway), trams, funicular, buses, ferries, shared taxi (dolmuş), minibus and taxis. Shared taxis and minibuses only accept cash, and they charge you based on the distance between where you get on and where you want to go. However, foreign visitors may find them a little tricky to navigate compared to other means of transportation. Taxis accept both cash and credit cards, but they don’t accept Istanbulkart. You can use Istanbulkart in all other means of transportation.


Visitors need to buy and add credit to an Istanbulkart card. These can be bought and topped up at small kiosks located near the metro or tramway stations, in addition to local stores near stations. The kiosks tend to be more convenient as they offer service in around 10 languages (depending on the location of the kiosk), whereas local store staff may not know English. It costs 13 TL to buy it for the first time and then you add as much credit as you wish. Trips cost 4.03 TL  with a discount for each transfer that occurs within two hours.


During the Covid-19 pandemic, it became compulsory to get an HES code and pair it with Istanbulkart to ensure a safe trip for everyone.

To get an HES code

To pair HES code with Istanbulkart