"Leaving and arriving in the city by bus" Istanbul Transportation Tip by maykal
Istanbul Transportation: 514 reviews and 666 photos
Buses leave Istanbul for every corner of the country at all hours of the day and night. The main bus stations (otogar) are at Harem and Esenler, but for the most part you don't have to worry about navigating your way around them. If you have a destination in mind, seek out the bus company offices and find which ones serve your destination. Luckily the bus offices tend to be close to each other, so finding the right company is fairly straightforward. Bus companies have offices all over the city, but the most useful ones for travellers are on Gumussuyu Street off Taksim Square and in Sultanahmet. When you buy your ticket, you'll be given a time to arrive at the bus office and board a free shuttle minibus to take you to the bus station.
Arriving in Istanbul, the conductors will ask where you are heading. Most companies also offer complimentary minibuses to their offices around the city, and the conductor will tell you which one to get on. Most buses stop in Harem bus station before continuing on to the European side and the enormous Esenler bus station. If you can't be bothered to sit on the bus for another hour, as the bus gets stuck in traffic, get out at Harem and take the ferry over to Eminonu, from where Sultanahmet is but a tram ride away.
Most companies are excellent, although some are better than others. The best are generally thought to be Ulusoy and Metro, which offer services to most major cities. If you're heading to Bursa or the Aegean, a nice surprise is that just outside Istanbbul, the buses board a ferry to be transported over the Sea of Marmara to Yalova. You can walk around the ferry during the half hour trip.
If you have no particular destination in mind, you could always make your own way to Harem bus station and see what offers you get. Take a ferry from Eminonu to Harem, and bus touts will be waiting to lure you onto their buses. It is no cheaper doing it this way, but is a good option if you aren't too fussed where you go. You'll always be able to find a bus about to leave for somewhere.
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