Istanbul Card: The Art of travelling in Istanbul

Istanbul Card is an electronic ticket for public transportation in Istanbul, which you can preload credits and use for all type of transportation types.

Your question probably is: Do you need this card as a tourist?

istanbulcard istiklal

The short answer: If you plan to use public transport more than three times, then yes; you should get it.

I will explain below why.

General Info

Istanbul Card, often called 'Akbil' by locals, is the same size of a regular credit card, and provides its owners discounted fares for public transportation. You can buy it from IETT counters, private vendors or seldomly from Automatic Vending machines in front of major bus and rail stations. It is usually 6TL at the machines and you can buy it from 7TL or more from the kiosk in the city.

istanbulcard turnike

To use it, you need to scan it down to the (0-8 cm away from the screen) electronic card reader at the gates before you enter the stations. You will use this card all the time during your trip, including all of your metro and bus rides, for ferries to the Asian side, or even for the nostalgic tram on the famous Istiklal Street.

The Math

First ride costs 2,30 TL for rail, bus and the most ferry systems. Up to 2 hours after the first ride you get a discount for every other ride you take. However you should take notice that the interchanging discounts are only available for one person: If you use a single card for multiple persons, only the first person gets to use the discounted rate and it charges the regular fee for every other person.

  ISTANBUL CARD REGULAR TICKET
FIRST RIDE 2,30 TL 4 TL
1. INTERCHANGE 1,65 TL 4 TL
2. INTERCHANGE 1,25 TL 4 TL
3. INTERCHANGE 0,85 TL 4 TL
4. INTERCHANGE 0,85 TL 4 TL
5. INTERCHANGE 0,85 TL 4 TL

Getting from one place to another in Istanbul rarely takes a single ride. One often needs to take patchy rides with several interchanges. For example from Taksim; the most central point in Istanbul, to the historical peninsula Sultanahmet, where Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque resides, you need to take the metro to Taksim, interchange to the funicular in Kabatas and then catch the tram to the Sultanahmet.

istanbulcard gemiler

Let's assume you are a group of 4. The ride from your hotel to the Sultanahmet would cost 25,90 TL for 4 people with a single Istanbul Card, whereby 4 different cards would mean only 20,80 TL for a group of 4. That's why multiple Istanbul Cards may be a better idea even if you always travel as a group, since interchange discounts would be pretty advantageous.

istanbulcard machine

To refill the card you can go to the IETT counters, private vendors and Automatic Vending Machines. Just don't leave it to the last minute since there can be hefty lines. Plus you get no change at the machines. You would think that the machine would ask how much credit you want it load to your card after you inserted a 100TL bill but it will instead take the whole 100 TL, load to the card and won't give any change. The credits you load on the Istanbul Cards also non-refundable.

When you book an Alldaywifi, you will not only have internet wherever you go, but you can also rent multiple Istanbul Cards for free! You only pay for the amount of the rides you wish to purchase. They come prepaid and ready-to-use for you, so you don't have to look for vendors or machines, or wait in lines and can enjoy more of your trip!

It would be unfair if I didn't mention the alternative. It is a multiple pass ticket, and is available as 1 (BİRGeç), 2 (İKİGeç), 3 (ÜÇGeç),5 (BEŞGeç) and 10 (ONGeç) rides.

Name Rides Price Cost per ride
BIR-Gec 1 4 TL 4.00TL
IKI-Gec 2 7 TL 3.50TL
UC-Gec 3 10 TL 3.33TL
BES-Gec 5 15 TL 3.00TL
ON-Gec 10 30 TL 3.00TL

Alldaywifi provides unlimited mobile internet to travelers in Turkey via renting portable hotspots. You can order using Alldaywifi.com with your travel dates, pick-up and drop-off points. It is very easy to add some extras like Istanbul Card rides, fast museum tickets or airport transfers. If you are planning to visit Turkey soon, you can book an Alldaywifi to avoid expensive roaming costs and hassle of getting a local SIM card. Book your Alldaywifi now and stay connected wherever you go in Turkey for less and enjoy extra services to save time and money.

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