Departures are frequent to many cities and you don't need advance reservations most of the time, except for on special occasions like religious holidays and special events such as the Formula-1 grand prix.
Istanbul has two main bus stations. The Büyük Otogar (Grand Bus Station), also known as Esenler Otogar, is the main bus terminal of Istanbul and it is located in the Bayrampasa district. It is 10 km away from Sultanahmet Square.
The other bus station, Harem Otogar, is located on the Asian side in Üsküdar.
If you are going to travel to the Asian parts of Turkey from the Sultanahmet region, you can also board the buses in the Harem Otogar rather than the Büyük Otogar. Many buses leave from the Büyük Otogar, pass the Bosphorus Bridge (which is most of the time congested and time-consuming) and then stop at Harem Otogar to pick up passengers. Therefore you can save some time by going directly to the Harem Otogar.
However, if you are travelling to the Thrace region or heading to the European parts of Turkey, you should use the Büyük Otogar.
How to travel from the Büyük Otogar to Sultanahmet or Taksim
You can travel from Sultanahmet to the Büyük Otogar via tram and metro in about 30 minutes.
At the Büyük Otogar you will see the Metro signs right in the centre of the terminal.
Take the M-1 metro train in the direction of Aksaray and travel to the end of the line.
When you arrive at Aksaray station, exit the Metro station and cross the main street, Adnan Menderes Bulvari, towards the little mosque that you will see in the distance. Keep the mosque on your left and pass it until you arrive at Millet Caddesi and see the T1 Zeytinburnu-Kabatas tram. You can reach the Yusufpasa tram station via the pedestrian overpass which provides access to the tram platform in the middle of Millet Caddesi.
From there, take the tram in the direction of Kabatas. For Sultanahmet, exit the tram at the Sultanahmet stop.
For Taksim, take the same Kabatas tram from Millet Caddesi, and get off the tram at the last station, Kabatas. From Kabatas take the funicular which runs directly to Taksim.
How to travel from Sultanahmet to the Büyük Otogar
From Sultanahmet, take the T1 Kabatas-Zeytinburnu tram in the direction of Zeytinburnu. Get off the tram at the fifth station, 'Yusufpasa-Aksaray'.
Climb the stairs of the pedestrian overpass and turn right. After descending the steps, you will walk about 20 meters and then turn left. Walk for about 50 meters until you reach Adnan Menderes Bulvari. Cross the Boulevard and enter the Metro terminal. Take any train (it is only one way) and get off the train at the sixth stop, 'Otogar'.
Note that the tram and Metro start running at about 06:00 (6 am) and stop running shortly after midnight.
How to travel from Sultanahmet to Harem Otogar
The easiest way is to get to Harem Otogar from Sultanahmet is to use the vehicle and passenger ferry from Sirkeci.
You can either walk or take the T1 tram to go to Sirkeci until you reach the Harem pier directly in front of Sirkeci Train station.
You can find the timetable for Sirkeci-Harem ferry on the page of IDO (Istanbul Sea buses and Fast Ferries Incl.) under the 'Conventional Ferry Timetables 'section.
Bus reservations in Turkey
Below are some selected bus companies which provide good service and secure travel to many cities in Turkey with modern buses:
It's also possible to make reservations through some of the websites above though the level of English is often limited.
Alternatively, hotels or travel agencies are often willing to call ahead and make reservations on your behalf.
Departures are frequent to many cities and advance reservations are not needed most of the time, except for on special occasions like religious holidays, and special events such as the Formula-1 grand prix.
Sultanahmet © Yildirim Inceale...
Bosphorus © Yildirim Incealemd...
© Simona Mimmo Lilly Obino
"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page" - Saint Augustine