Bus Travel in Turkey
Bus travel is still the easiest, cheapest and most popular way to travel in Turkey. There are thousands of different bus companies are offering different travel options and routes.
Most of these bus companies are operating their trips with luxury and comfortable buses. Almost all the buses, routing between cities have air-conditioning, entertainment systems, free WiFi connection, television, radio, steward, free drinks and snacks.
Many Turks still prefer bus companies instead of flight-companies for short distances. Bus is a cheaper option for traveling to another city and the advantage is, you don’t need to spend time and money for airport shuttles.
Turkish buses usually don’t have toilet facility inside. So use the toilets before your departure or during rest stops (mola). The buses are stopping for rest usually every 3-4 hours. Rest duration is usually 30 minutes but it’s good to ask someone around you, if they don’t announce in English.
Departures are frequent and fares are low. You can find a seat (even without reservation) from/to Istanbul to any location easily. But it’s better to book it before! You can ask your hotel for reservation. For short distances you can also use the taxis of Istanbul, which are not so expensive and much faster then buses.
For example, during a regular day you can find a bus ticket from/to big cities (Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana etc.) almost every 10 minutes.
Before and during the national & religious holidays of Turkey – it is hard to find a ticket for buses! For this reason, if you are planning to travel from Istanbul or to Istanbul with bus during a national holiday – book your tickets 1 week before your departure.
Buses have routes to everywhere and every city in Turkey, even to other close countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Azerbaijan etc. Bus companies obeying traffic rules and it’s good to know, their speed limit is 90km/h so you can approximately calculate your travel duration.
Turkey is quite easy to travel in with bus, but don’t forget – it’s a big country!
Turkey has the biggest land area (780.580 km2) in Europe. For example Spain’s area is 504.030 km2, Norway’s 385.199 km2, Germany’s 357,021 km2 and France’s 674.843 km2. No offence, this numbers are just for comparison.
Because of the huge size of land area, bus travel might not be the best option sometimes. You can make a combination of flight and bus to get your destination if there is no direct flight there.
Bus Travel Costs in Turkey
There is no fixed bus ticket fare system in Turkey. Bus ticket fares are depending on the distance, bus company, time and day.
For example, I will list 3 different routes with 3 different bus companies:
|Bus Company||Istanbul to Ankara (454 km-7 hours)||Istanbul to Izmir (564 km-9 hours)||Istanbul to Antalya (724 km-12 hours)|
|Kamil Koç||50 TL (21 Euro)||55 TL (23 Euro)||70 TL (30 Euro)|
|Metro Turizm||45 TL (19 Euro)||60 TL (25 Euro)||70 TL (30 Euro)|
|Varan||52 TL (22 Euro)||55 TL (23 Euro)||65 TL (27 Euro)|
As you can see, every 100 kilometers costs approximately 10TL which is 4,5 Euro (€)
How to Buy Bus Tickets Online?
Ulusoy and Metro are leading bus companies of Turkey. You can check their pages for latest ticket prices and times. Also you can buy your ticket online via their web pages. Some trusted and popular bus companies have their web pages also in English. My favorite bus companies are:
- Varan (English + Turkish)
- Ulusoy (English + Turkish)
- Metro Turizm (English + Turkish)
- Kamil Koc (Turkish)
- Pamukkale (Turkish)
- Nilüfer (Turkish)
- Istanbul Seyahat (English + Turkish)
etc. These companies are trusted, well-known and popular.
Some good-to-know words if you prefer a company with Turkish web page:
- Bay => Male
- Bayan => Female
- Saat => Time
- Kalkış => From
- Varış => Destination
- Indirimli Fiyat => Discount Price (For students etc.)
- Normal Fiyat => Normal Price (For everyone)
- Satın Al => Buy
- Merkez => Center
- Otogar => Bus Terminal
How to Buy Bus Tickets from Ticket Office?
Turkey has thousands of different bus companies. During regular days it’s easy to find a bus ticket between cities and regions. That’s why, you don’t need to buy your bus tickets in advance. But during national holidays it might be hard to find a bus ticket, so it’s better if you book it before your travel.
In big and touristic cities, just go to the bus terminal and buy a bus ticket on the day you want to travel. Probably you will find a lot of different company and bus options. As I said before, the unique exception to this easy-travelling rule is national holidays!
If you are already in Turkey, just ask your hotel or ask your guide for help. And of course you can visit the bus terminal and buy a ticket by yourself. In bus terminals, you can choose a company and buy ticketsfrom their office.
You can choose your seat position if you want. Otherwise bus company is going to give you a random seat number.
Buying Bus Tickets from Bus Stations
You can find all the bus companies and buy your tickets from these locations. Also you can get buses and go to your destination from this bus stations.
Esenler Otogar (Terminal)
Harem Otogar (Terminal)
Bayrampaşa Otogar (Terminal)
For any questions please write a comment below.