Posted on Posted in TRAVEL TIPS


Istanbulkart;  It's a time saving, budget friendly, a must have tourist pass of Istanbul. I always have it in my pocket. I feel sad when I lose it. In this post, I am going to give you detailed, useful information about where to buy istanbulkart (in the city or at the airports)?  How to buy istanbulkart without any help? How to load istanbulkart? What are the travel fares? How many people can use it? Does each person need istanbulkart? Is there a monthly pass? and much more.




Where to buy Istanbulkart ?

If you are planning to visit Istanbul soon or if you have just arrived at one of the Istanbul airports and if you don't know where to buy Istanbulkart, you are at the right website. As every budget traveler or as someone who wants to explore deeper of the city and the culture as I am, you certainly will want to travel by public transportation. In order to do that, you definitely need one istanbulkart. You don't have other option like paying cash or buying one pass tickets (except some routes).

    Where to buy istanbulkart at Ataturk airport?

After you pick up your luggage, you need to go down to metro level at Ataturk airport and buy your Istanbulkart from the kiosks or ticket machines that are located just before the entrance of the station. After you buy your istanbulkart, you might want to check my post about How to go to Sultanahmet area from Ataturk airport by metro or How to go to Taksim from Ataturk airport by metro.


Istanbulkart buying and/or loading machine at Ataturk airport

Where to buy Istanbulkart at Sabiha Gokcen airport?

Istanbul kart is sold in the small kiosk across the street from the exit of the arrival terminal. You can also buy it from IETT's (Istanbul electric tramway and tunnel establishments) Supervision booth at the public bus station after you go out of the terminal if you will choose the public bus option to reach your destination.


Where to buy it in the city?

You can find automated Istanbul card buying and loading machines almost at every metro, tram, Metrobus and ferry station. Besides that, you can also buy at every kiosk or store that is located near the station. You just need to look for the sign "istanbulkart" or "Akbil". Akbil is the old device we were using in Istanbul. Some people still like to call it Akbil.  Just like some  German friends of mine still use Deutsche Mark instead of Euros when they talk about the currency 🙂


How much does it cost?

If you buy it from the ticket machine, it costs 10 TRL (Turkish Liras). It comes with 4 TRL loaded on it. So the card itself actually costs 6 TRL. If you buy from local store, prices may change. While some stores charge 10 TRL only for the card and have minimum loading limit of 20 Liras, others don't charge anything extra. You just give 20 TRL and say "Istanbulkart lütfen". Lütfen means, please. And you get a card with 10 TRL on it.


Where to use it ?

You can use it in bus, double decker bus, Nostalgic tram( in Taksim), Metrobus, tunnel, metro, tram, funicular, cable car,
IDO ( ferry), City lines (ferry), Turyol (Bosphorus cruise), Dentur (Bosphorus cruise), TCDD ( railways) and HAVABUS (formerly known as HAVATAS) busses.

Click on the text to read about  Havabus time Schedule and fares.


Travel Fares

In the image below you can find the list of all fares. As you can see, if you buy one pass ticket it costs 4 TRL and it's not easy to find it at every station. If you use Istanbul Card, it costs 2.30 TRL and you can have additional discount if you
interchange. For example, it costs 1,65 TRL if you change from M1 Ataturk airport metro to T1 Tram in order to go to Sultanahmet / Blue Mosque area.
It will cost you 2,30 TRL+ 1,65 TRL = 3,95 TRL totally to go to Sultanahmet from Ataturk airport by metro.
As of May 2017, travel fares are as above


How many people can use it? Does everyone need to buy?

1 Istanbulkart can be used by up to 5 people. But keep that in mind that only 1st person will be discounted when you make
interchange to other transportation units.

Is there a monthly pass?

Yes, there is a monthly pass and it's called Blue card or monthly card. As of May 2017, it's 180 TRL (i assume that you are not a student) and valid for 30 days or for 180 passings.
That's a personalized card. you can not use it for another person even though there are 180 passings credit on the card. You need to load extra credit for additional people.

Can I return it and get a refund?

Many people will tell you that it's a non-refundable 6 TRL for the card and you can't get it back. It's not true but true.
I explain why;
You can actually get a refund but it's a very long process. You need to fill the refund form (there is refund only for the card) on their website and wait until they complete necessary inspection (that's how their website says).

Nobody knows how much time it will take. And then they will tell you where to get your refund, either way from a branch of a bank or atm or the post office.
I recommend you to load small amount each time and pass it or sell it to the next traveler that you met in the hotel. Or reception does it for you. Or you just take it home with you as a souvenir.
*Do not take it to use for your next Istanbul trip, unless you plan to come back in 2 years. It expires in 2 years.


I hope it will help and the information I provide will be useful for the travelers who will visit Istanbul & Turkey soon.  If you have any questions, write them in the comment section below. I will be glad to answer them.


Happy traveling!        


  1. wow, this will be so helpful to someone traveling in this area! I tweeted! I love these types of guides bc every city does public trans their own way! I should write one of these guides for where i live, NYC

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