Istanbul's Metro system of underground
and surface rapid-transit trains, trams and funiculars 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.
Click here for
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.
The most useful lines for foreign visitors are shown in italics.
M1A 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. More...
Otogar - Kirazlı
This line connects Istanbul's main intercity
bus terminal to the suburb of Kirazlı,
meeting the M3 Metro
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. This is the fastest way to reach northern Bosphorus destinations such as Emirgan, Sarıyer and the Black Sea beaches at Kilyos. More...
M3: Kirazlı - Başakşehir - Metrokent
Northwestern continuation of Metro Line M1B.
M4: Kadıköy - Kaynarca
Going from Kadıköy on
shore of the Bosphorus southeast
via Kozyatağı and Bostancı to Kartal, Pendik 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: Üsküdar - Çekmeköy
This line is under construction
from the Asian-shore Bosphorus ferry docks in Üsküdar eastward to the suburb of Çekmeköy.
Not technically a part of the Istanbul Metro system, the suburban trans-Bosphorus Marmaray underground train line is fully integrated with the Istanbul Metro system. More...
İstanbul Ulaşım also operates several surface tram lines, the most useful of which are the T1 Bağcılar-Kabataş tram and the T2 Taksim-Tünel Nostalgic Tram.
İstanbul Ulaşım operates the F1 Füniküler line linking Kabataş with Taksim Square, and the historic F2 Tünel underground line between Karaköy and Tünel Square.
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.
To use İstanbul Ulaşım website's Journey Planner (Nasıl Ulaşırım?), you must know the exact names, correctly spelled with all Turkish accents and diacritical marks, of your departure and arrival stations, and these must be served by İstanbul Ulaşım's system.
As a foreigner unfamiliar with the system, you are unlikely to know this, and very likely to get the spelling wrong. (For example, Sultanahmet is acceptable, but Sultan Ahmet is not.)
So, for example, if you put Sultanahmet as your departure station and Emirgan as your destination, it will tell you "Route not found. Try other settings." It won't tell you to take the T1 tram toward Bağcılar, then the M2 Metro line north toward Haciosman, getting out at the İTU - Ayazağa station, then an İETT city bus eastward to Emirgan.
Click on Schedules, select a Metro line, and you are shown a map of the line with stations indicated as white circles...but no station names. You must search for your chosen station by holding your cursor over each circle to see its name. Click on the circle and a cryptic schedule is shown. The number to the left is the hour, the numbers to the right the minutes after the hour of each departure.
I could not get the Sefer Tarifesi function to work at all. It ask you to put in your Arrival station first, then your Departure station (how backwards is that?!) I put in an arrival station and the function froze. I tried again and was never able to get it to work.
A simple, traditional printed matrix schedule would be far faster and easier to use.
This having been said, the İstanbul Ulaşım website has in fact improved in recent years, and may soon actually be useful to foreign visitors.
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