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A Complete Guide About Istanbul Metro: Maps, Fares, Routes & Timetable

İstanbul is on of the busiest and crowded places in Europe and it’s also Turkey’s most crowded city with its 15-milion population. Such big cities like Istanbul, needs transportation networks that works smoothly and efficiently. Istanbul delivers its transportation needs with trams, rail systems, metro, bus routes, metrobus and taxis. 

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 Bus routes are the widely used transportation system in Istanbul. After that, metro comes. Metro is a  faster and cheaper way to travel around Istanbul and has a very large coverage of the city with its wide routes and stations. Metro system operates since 1989 and it has been growing ever since that year. It has 73 (and growing) stations connected by 59 miles of track and operates 6 am to midnight.  


We try to explain everything about Istanbul metro that a tourist might need and how easy to navigate around the city with the metro system. 


How to Buy Tickets and Istanbulkart  

If you are planning a long trip and to use public transportation multiple times during your trip, you will need Istabulkart to use the metro which is one of the best ways to travel around Istanbul. It’s a good investment to make and you can also use it through the city’s other transportation options like trams and metrobus. This travel card is selling for six Turkish liras. The card is pre-paid and rechargeable. You can load credits for your liking but there has to be at least 4 liras in it, so that you can use it.

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You can buy this card from vendors around the city. These vendors mostly have a sign on them that says AKBIL DOLUM or Istanbulkart. Also you can buy them from IETT counters or automatic ticket machines around metro stations. There are other versions of this card that are for single pass or more.

Peak Times of the City 

As any other crowded cities, Istanbul also has rush hours of traffic and peak times for travel. Generally, in the mornings between 7 am to 9 am, and in the after noon between 5 pm to 7 pm, people travel between their homes and work places. Metro gets too crowded at these rush hours. If you don’t like crowds you should avoid these periods.

List of Istanbul Metro Routes

M1A, Yenikapı-Aksaray-Atatürk Airport: You can transfer from this route to T1 Kabataş tram for Sultanahmet Square and Eminönü. Yenikapı Metro Station is a stop on Marmaray suburban train line.

M1B, Esenler Otogar-Kirazlı: This line connects intercity bus terminal (Esenler Otogarı) to Kirazlı. You can transfer to M3 from Kirazlı.

M2, Yenikapı-Hacıosman: This line Yenikapı to Şişhane. From şişhane you can transfer to Taksim Square, Beyoğlu. Also this line can be used to travel to Şişli, Sarıyer and more.

M3, Kirazlı-Başakşehir-Metrokent: Suburban line.

M4, Kadıköy-Tavşantepe: From Kadıköy, you can use this line to travel to Sabiha Gökçen Airport and to fast ferry docs at Pendik for Yalova and Bursa. This line soon will be extended to Sabiha Gökçen Airport.

M5, Çekmeköy-Sultanbeyli: This route is under construction. It’s a suburban line.

M7, Kabataş-Mecidiyeköy: This route is under construction. In the future this line can be used to visit Beşiktaş and Şişli. It’s an extension to Mahmutbey route.

M7, Mahmutbey-Esenyurt: This route is under construction. Another extension to main line to Mecidiyeköy-Mahmutbey route.

M8, Bostancı-Dudullu: This route is under construction.


There are more routes are being build and expending.


Istanbul Metro Map and Timetable

Metro operates between 6 am to midnight every day. On Fridays and Saturdays, it works till morning but only some of the entrances are open. You should check before using. You can check maps and schedules on information boards in stations.