Discover the wonders of Istanbul with ease using the IstanbulKart, the city’s all-in-one public transportation card. Navigate the city like a pro with our comprehensive guide, covering everything from purchasing and loading credit to utilizing special offers and navigating the diverse transportation options available.

See also: Unlimited City Travel Card

What is IstanbulKart?

IstanbulKart is a versatile, prepaid smart card designed to provide full access to Istanbul’s extensive public transportation system, including the metro, buses, trams, ferries, and more. With a single card, you can effortlessly explore this enchanting city at your own pace.

Benefits of Using IstanbulKart

The IstanbulKart offers numerous advantages for tourists, such as simplified fare payment, discounted transfers, and special offers at museums and attractions. Moreover, IstanbulKart can also be used for access to public toilets and certain car parks, making it an indispensable tool for exploring the city.

Purchasing Your IstanbulKart: Where and How

Istanbul New Airport (IST)

Upon arrival at Istanbul Airport, you can purchase your IstanbulKart from yellow/blue vending machines or authorized exchange offices located on the -2 arrivals floor.

Sabiha Gokcen Airport

You can purchase an Istanbul public transport card from the kiosk located on the street level across from the exit of the arrivals terminal.

Alternatively, you may buy it from IETT’s supervision booth at the public bus station after exiting the terminal if you intend to take the public bus to your destination.

Metro Stations and Other Locations

IstanbulKart can also be acquired from over 2,000 points across the city, including subway, tram, ferry, metrobus, and funicular stations. Look for yellow/blue vending machines or ticket-matics and kiosks near public bus stops.

IstanbulKart Vending Machines

These user-friendly machines allow you to purchase an IstanbulKart by depositing cash. Simply follow the on-screen instructions and use banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, or 200 TRY.

IstanbulKart Pricing: Know the Costs

Card Price: The Anonymous IstanbulKart, recommended for travelers, costs 70 TL without any credits. Additional versions cater to local residents, but tourists generally won’t need them.

Pre-paid and Rechargeable

IstanbulKart is a pre-paid and rechargeable card, which means you’ll need to load credits onto it before using it for public transportation.

Fare System, Transfers, and Discounts

The fare system is based on zones and pricing structures, with opportunities for transfers and discounts. IstanbulKart offers substantial savings compared to single-ride tickets.

Understanding Fares and Pricing of Public Transport Options with IstanbulKart

  • Buses: 15 TL
  • Tram: 15 TL
  • Metro: 15 TL
  • Metrobus: from 10 TL
  • Cable Car: 15 TL
  • Funicular: 15 TL
  • Ferry: from 13 TL
  • Marmaray Train: from 15 TL

Check all prices and transfer discounts here.

Fare Zones and Pricing Structure

Metrobus, some ferry routes, and Maramray IstanbulKart fares are determined by a zonal pricing structure, where the cost of a journey depends on the number of stops.

After using your IstanbulKart on the Ferry, Marmaray Train or Metrobus, you can place your card on a special stand near the exit to receive a refund for the part of trip on your card.

metrobus istanbul

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Stress-Free Transport Cards for Your Istanbul Adventure

If the Istanbulkart system seems a bit complicated for you, we recommend booking a transport card, pre-charged with 5 or 10 rides, for a seamless travel experience in Istanbul. Available for pickup at Havalines Kiosks at the airport or delivered to your hotel, this card allows you to effortlessly navigate the city and focus on soaking up the rich history and culture that Istanbul offers.

Loading Credit onto Your IstanbulKart

To add credit to your IstanbulKart, put the card onto a yellow/blue vending machine, wait for it to scan, and then deposit cash. Alternatively, you can top up your card online at Istanbulkart.

How Much Money Should I Load?

When using the Istanbul card for public transportation, it’s important to consider your approximate usage and load the card with the appropriate amount of cash. The yellow vending machines, which are the most common machines for loading the card, do not give change in return. This means that if you load more cash than you need, you won’t be able to get the excess cash back.

On the other hand, the blue vending machines are capable of giving change in return, but only in the form of 20 TRY banknotes. Additionally, the maximum amount of cash back is limited to 3x 20 TRY. Therefore, it’s important to keep these limitations in mind when loading your Istanbul card.

If you plan to take at least 20 rides on Istanbul’s public transportation system, it’s recommended that you load up to 300 TRY onto your IstanbulKart to ensure you have sufficient credit.

IstanbulKart Mobile: A Digital Option

IstanbulKart Mobile is an app developed by the Municipality of Istanbul, enabling users to manage their card and load credits online. It offers a convenient alternative to physical cards and can be found on both the App Store and Google Play.

How to Set Up and Use IstanbulKart Mobile

To start using IstanbulKart Mobile, download the app from your device’s app store and create an account. Once logged in, you can add your IstanbulKart details, check your balance, and top up credits as needed. The app also offers an English version for international users.

How to Use Istanbul Card?

When boarding a metro, tram, bus, ferry, or funicular, you will see card readers at the entrance. Simply hold your Istanbulkart up to the reader until you hear a beep, which indicates that your card has been successfully read.

It’s important to remember to tap your card again when you exit the transportation mode. This is necessary to calculate the correct fare for your journey, and to ensure that you’re not charged extra for not tapping out.

Transfers and Discounts: How to Save on Your Trips

IstanbulKart allows you to transfer between different modes of transportation, such as metro, tram, bus, and ferry, for a reduced fare. This means that you can easily switch between modes of transportation without having to pay for each trip separately, which can add up quickly. Read more…

The Istanbul City Card: Unlimited Transport Access for Your Trip

Unlock the wonders of Istanbul with the Istanbul City Card, a passport to unlimited public transportation throughout the city. Effortlessly navigate its vibrant streets, hopping between enchanting attractions and soaking up the rich tapestry of local life.

The Istanbul City Card comes with 1-3-5-7-15 day options for you to choose from, so you can tailor your experience to the length of your stay and explore Istanbul to your heart’s content. Say farewell to ticket queues and embrace the freedom to roam, as this indispensable pass propels you on an unforgettable urban adventure.

Easily purchase it online and have it delivered to your hotel for ultimate convenience. To buy a transport card, click on the link below and click “Book this attraction” after that:

IstanbulKart for Families and Groups

Child Fares and Family Discounts

Children under the age of six can travel for free on public transportation in Istanbul.

Find more places to visit with kids in Istanbul >>

Another important thing to keep in mind is that the Istanbulkart is not a personal card. If you’re traveling with a group, you can purchase only one card and use it for each passenger. Also, children under the age of 6 do not need a card.

IstanbulKart Online with Free Hotel Delivery/Airport Pick-Up

Traveling to a new city can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to navigating the public transportation system. But did you know that you can also purchase and receive your IstanbulKart online with free hotel delivery or airport pick-up?

Istanbul Welcome Card offers this convenient service for those who want to skip the hassle of waiting in line and buying their IstanbulKart from vending machines or kiosks. With Istanbul Welcome Card, you can have your IstanbulKart delivered directly to your hotel in the areas of Taksim, Sultanahmet, and Besiktas, or you can pick it up at the airport between 8:00 AM and 11:00 PM.

Conclusion: Mastering IstanbulKart for an Unforgettable City Experience

Recap of IstanbulKart’s Benefits

IstanbulKart provides an affordable, efficient, and convenient way to explore Istanbul’s public transportation system, granting you access to various modes of transport and helping you save money on your journeys. It’s an essential travel companion for tourists visiting the city.

Final Words of Advice for IstanbulKart Users

When using IstanbulKart, always ensure you have enough credit to cover your journeys, stay informed about fare zones and pricing structures, and take advantage of the various discounts and benefits available. By following these tips, you can make the most of your IstanbulKart and have an unforgettable city experience.

In summary, IstanbulKart is the ideal way to navigate Istanbul’s public transportation system, providing tourists with an affordable, efficient, and convenient way to explore the city’s various attractions. With a range of purchasing and loading options, as well as numerous benefits and discounts, IstanbulKart is an essential travel companion that can make your trip to Istanbul even more enjoyable.

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