Istanbul's Metro system of underground
and surface rapid-transit trains is
growing quickly and will be useful to you during your visit.
Hours of Operation
Metro and tram system runs from about
06:00 (6 am) to a little past 24:00
midnight) or 01:00 (1 am), depending on the line and the direction of travel.
a map of the complete system. (Click
on a section to magnify it.)
There are multiple ways you can pay your fare. Here they are.
M1 Yenikapı - Aksaray - Havalimanı
You're most likely to use the M1
Metro line that
runs from Yenikapı and Aksaray Square in Old
Istanbul via Istanbul's main Otogar (bus
terminal) to Atatürk
(The last Metro train from Atatürk
Airport via the Otogar to
Yenikapı departs the airport at 01:00
Arriving in Istanbul by intercity
bus, you can take Metro Line 1 right
from the Otogar to Zeytinburnu and
board the T1
Kabataş tram for Sultanahmet
Square and Eminönü.
Metro station, also a stop on
the Marmaray suburban
train line, is near the terminal for "seabus"
catamaran ferryboats and fast
car ferries, and
M2: Yenikapı - Hacıosman
The M2 line connects Yenikapı (and its Fast Ferry Terminal and Marmaray suburban
train station) with Şişhane (near Tünel Square) in Beyoğlu, Taksim
Square, then north via Şişli
through the modern business and
residential sections of the Levents
as far as Hacıosman, only 5 km (3 miles) southwest of Sarıyer on the European shore of the northern Bosphorus.
Otogar - Kirazlı
This line from Istanbul's main intercity
bus terminal to the suburb of Kirazlı,
meeting the M5 Metro
line there, is under construction.
M4: Kadıköy - Kaynarca
Going from Kadıköy on
shore of the Bosphorus southeast
via Kozyatağı and Bostancı to Kartal and Kaynarca, this line is convenient for getting to Sabiha Gökçen Airport (İETT city bus KM22) and to the fast ferry docks at Pendik (Bus KM20) for Yalova and Bursa. By 2018, this line should be extended all the way to Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
M5: Kirazlı - Olimpiyat Parkı/Başakşehir
This line is under construction
in the western suburbs.
Istanbul's Metro system is operated
Ulaşım. Their website has an English-language version that proves to be surprisingly dysfunctional and unhelpful.
The Network Maps (those that actually appear when you click on the link) are at least useful. Here's the most useful map.
Here's İstanbul Ulaşım's info on fares.
The İstanbul Ulaşım website's Journey Planner didn't work. As of November 2014 it is under construction—as it has been for a year.
To use the Routes and Timetables function you must know your beginning and ending stations in advance which, as a foreigner unfamiliar with the system, you are unlikely to know. Also, you must input your Arrival station first and your Departure station second—how backwards is that?
If you do know the station names and spell them exactly, you will be shown a page (all in Turkish, even in the English-language section of the website) with two maps, both of which are nearly useless for finding the stations.
You will be pleased to know that this dysfunctional website won an Altın Örümcek (Golden Spider) website award for its excellence—no, this is not a joke.
New Metro in an Old City
Imagine the difficulty of constructing
a Metro in Istanbul,
a city that is nothing but layers
Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul—every
excavation discovers some new archeological
site that must be studied,
—by Tom Brosnahan