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Turkey - Getting there & away, getting around

Turkey - Getting there & away

There are plenty of ways to get into and out of Turkey by air, sea, rail and bus, across the borders of six countries. There are international airports at Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and some of the Mediterranean resorts. Turkish Airlines has direct flights from Istanbul to two dozen European cities and New York, as well as the Middle East, North Africa, Bangkok, Karachi, Singapore and Tokyo. Departure tax is about US$12.

By train, the daily Istanbul Express links Munich, Slovenia, Croatia, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria to Istanbul. Major European cities such as Frankfurt and Vienna are also well serviced by Turkish bus lines. There are daily train and bus connections between Athens and Istanbul via Thessaloniki. The bus is much faster than the train. You can also travel by bus to Syria, Georgia and Iran. Turkish Maritime Lines runs car ferries from Antalya, Marmaris and Izmir to Venice weekly from May to mid-October. Private ferries run between Turkey's Aegean coast and the Greek islands.

Getting around Turkey

Turkish airlines link all major cities, including the busy Istanbul-Ankara corridor. Buses go everywhere in Turkey frequently, cheaply and usually comfortably. Trains have a hard time competing with long-distance buses for speed and comfort, but the sleeping-car trains linking Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara are good value. If you're driving around Turkey, you'll find mechanical service easy to find and relatively cheap but dealing with psycho drivers may be more of a problem. Driving in cities should be altogether avoided - traffic is terrible and parking impossible. Private dolmuses (shared taxis) are a good option for short trips. Car ferries can save you days of driving and offer the opportunity to take a mini-cruise along the Turkish coasts. Ferries operate from Istanbul to Izmir, from Istanbul to Trabzon (June to September only) and there's a hydrofoil from Istanbul to Yalova, for Bursa.

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