A Guide to Traveling via Bus in Turkey

by Megan Hettwer

Dec 21, 2014

Istanbul Traffic, Turkey © Nikolai Sorokin | Dreamstime

Destination

Bus travel is, without a doubt, the best way to get around in Turkey. The bus system covers the entire country, and the buses are clean, safe and affordable … and many of the longer-distance buses even have WiFi. You’ll have air conditioning, snacks and drinks, and an extremely pleasant journey.

 

Choosing a Bus Company

There are tons of bus companies operating in Turkey. You’ll see signs for each company at most bus stations, so do a bit of research before showing up at the station. In smaller towns, the bus station won’t be overwhelming, however, in large cities like Istanbul navigating the bus station can initially appear stressful.

 

Buying Tickets

Hostels, hotels and travel agencies can help you purchase tickets for travel within Turkey, and for international travel, albeit with a mark-up. Another option is to go directly to the office of the bus company you have chosen to travel with. Even if the staff doesn’t speak English, they are typically friendly and willing to help out. Overall, purchasing tickets is a pain-free task.

If you’re traveling to popular locations during high season, booking in advance can be helpful.

 

The Bus Journey

Once you have your ticket, it’s time for the journey! The buses are extremely comfortable, many even have small television screens, and your trip should pass without incident. Oftentimes, passengers are seated according to gender. There will be frequent rest stops where you can use the restroom, purchase snacks and stretch your legs. During the day, these stops are a welcome respite. However, on overnight bus journeys the frequent stops can be annoying.

Once you reach your destination, the bus station (called the otogar) will often be several kilometers outside of town. The bus companies usually run smaller buses, called dolmuş, from the otogar to the city center. The dolmuş is free of charge; so don’t let a taxi driver, or any other person, fool you on this!

 

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