There are few places in the world that feel as authentically Turkish as Turkey. From its mosques to its markets, traditional houses and modern cityscapes, Turkey is a country steeped in history and culture. This also means that if you’re visiting from another part of the world (like Australia, for example) there are some special considerations you need to make when planning your trip. The best way to get around Turkey will depend on where in the country you’ll be staying; however, there are some general tips that apply wherever you go. From taxis and public buses to walking or hiking, here’s some insider advice on how best to get around Turkey.
As you plan where to stay in Turkey, you’ll want to take into account your budget as well as your travel style. If you’re looking for ultra-luxury and comfort, you’ll want to stay in Istanbul, where you’ll find five-star hotels in almost every neighborhood. If you’re looking for a more authentic and affordable option, you’ll want to stay in Cappadocia, where boutique hotels and hostels are the norm. For culture vultures, staying in Istanbul, Izmir, or Ankara will give you easy access to the country’s largest museums, while those looking to get off the beaten path will want to stay in places like Cappadocia; the Turkish Riviera; or the Black Sea Coast. These areas are less touristy, giving you a more authentic experience.
Buses in Turkey are a great way to get around, especially if you’re on a tight budget. While you can find them almost anywhere in the country, they are especially popular on the east coast, including in places like Ankara, Kayseri, and Kastamonu. In Izmir, the bus is one of the major ways to get to the nearby Greek islands, as well as to the neighboring cities of Selçuk, Çeşme, and Dalyan. While public buses in Turkey are clean, reliable, and comparatively inexpensive, you’ll want to keep in mind that they don’t always run on a set schedule. In fact, many locals use buses as their primary method of travel from one place to another—making them more of a service than a means of transportation. If you’re visiting in high season, you’re encouraged to purchase your bus ticket in advance. This will not only help you get on the bus, but it will also secure you a seat.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get around while in Turkey, taxis are a great option. While there are plenty of places to hail a taxi in Turkey, they are especially common in Istanbul, where there are both public and private taxis. While these taxis usually have meters, it’s important to verify that they are, in fact, working. If you don’t see a meter, you should ask for a cost before you get in. Taxis in other parts of the country, like Cappadocia, are less common, and you should be especially careful when hailing one on the street. When you do go with a taxi, make sure to confirm the cost before you get in—and don’t forget to tip your driver.
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path in Turkey, hiking and walking are two great ways to do this. While Cappadocia is a popular hiking destination, it’s also one of the best places in the world to go walking. The nearby Ihlara Valley is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can walk through some of the most stunning landscapes in the country. If you’re in Istanbul, you’ll want to head over to the nearby Princes’ Islands, where you can walk the shores of nine islands. You’ll want to be sure to wear comfortable, breathable clothing that is appropriate for the time of year. In summer and early fall, it can be very warm, so you’ll want to go for light fabrics in natural, breathable fibers. As you transition into fall and winter, you’ll want to layer up, so you can regulate your temperature as the day goes on.
If you plan to explore Turkey, especially in the summer months, renting a bike or scooter is an excellent way to get around. From Istanbul to the Black Sea or Cappadocia, there are plenty of places to rent a bike or scooter. In these cities, you’ll find that most hotels or hostels offer a scooter or bike rental as a part of their service. If you want to explore the countryside, rental cars are a great option. While renting a car in the country is a great way to explore, it’s important to remember that some areas have different driving rules. In Istanbul, for example, you drive on the right, but in the rest of the country, including Cappadocia and the Black Sea, you drive on the left.
No matter where you plan to travel in Turkey, it can be helpful to know the best way to get around the country. Buses are a great option for exploring the country on a budget, and taxis are a quick and easy way to get from one place to another. If you’d like to hike or walk, you’ll want to visit Cappadocia, the Turkish Riviera, or the Black Sea Coast. Bikes and scooters are a great way to explore the countryside, and renting a car is a great way to explore the entire country.