Where to Buy Istanbul Card? Price, Top Up, Refund


What is Istanbulkart? How to Get One?

Where to Buy Istanbul Card? Istanbulkart Price, Recharge, Refund 2019

Akbil was the first electronic ticket Istanbulites used for public transport. This ticket saved the residents from the trouble of buying tickets or tokens at ticket counters and it turned out to be highly efficient.

Akbil evolved as the technology developed and it became small enough to fit in a wallet. Today, Istanbulkart is used instead of Akbil and the card looks no different from a credit card

Using Istanbulkart is so common for Istanbulites and there is no need to explain why. However, I believe it is a good idea to explain what Istanbulkart (Istanbul Card) is and how you can use it if you get one.

What is Istanbulkart? Where to Buy Istanbul Card?

Istanbulkart is simply a contactless smart card for fare payment of public transport means such as Metro, Tram, Funicular, and Ferry.

You can get an Istanbulkart at official counters nearby tram and metro stations or ferry piers or you can buy one at a newsstand. Don’t worry about finding a place to get an Istanbulkart, as there are plenty of them nearby important public transport hubs like Besiktas, Eminonu, Kabatas, or Kadikoy. If you happen to be at a touristic spot like Sultanahmet, you can get one at a stall nearby a tram or metro station.

Where to Buy Istanbulkart in Sultanahmet?

where to buy istanbulkart in sultanahmet

Buy Istanbulkart in Sultanahmet

This newsstand is located just a few minutes walk from Sultanahmet Tram Station. You need to walk up the hill in the direction of Grand Bazaar (by leaving the Hagia Sophia behind) then you’ll find it on your left-hand side.

Istanbul Metro Public Transportation Map to Use Istanbulkart
Istanbul Public Transport Map for Istanbulkart

Istanbul Metro and Public Transport Map

How Much is Istanbulkart? Istanbul Metro Travel Card 2019

Cost of an Istanbulkart is 7 Turkish Liras. However, it’s the deposit payment for the card. You need to top up in order to use the card. How much you need to top up is entirely up to passengers. However, for a visitor who wants to spend around 2 days in Istanbul, at least 20 Turkish Liras will be needed.

Apart from exceptions that I will mention later, Istanbulkart charges the same amount every time.  Any time you use the card, it charges 2,60 Turkish Liras. However, if the card is used frequently in a short period of time, a high amount of discount is applied.

In fact, this is the biggest advantage of using Istanbulkart as a discount is applied the second or the third time you use it respectively. Let’s have a look at how the discount is applied when you use Istanbulkart.

Istanbul Card Public Transport Pass for Ferry, Metro and Tram
Istanbulkart Travel Fares and Discounts

Where to Buy Istanbul Card? Price, Recharge, Refund 2019

Istanbulkart Travel Fares and Transfer Discount List 2019

  • Regular Fare – 2.60 TL
  • 1st Transfer – 1.85 TL
  • 2nd Transfer – 1,40 TL
  • 3rd Transfer –  0,90 TL

As you can see clearly, following the first use of the card, a discount is applied three times in a row and the price difference while transferring in a big city like Istanbul is too important to ignore.

Discount is applied if the card is used multiple times within 2 hours window.

Exceptions for Istanbulkard Public Transport Pass Charges

As I mentioned above, there are some exceptions to the transfer charge fares listed. The most noteworthy of these happens when passengers cross from one side of the city to the other side by Metrobus. This is because Metrobus saves passengers time thanks to the rapid transit route it operates on. Therefore, the price is 3,85 TL for a Metrobus ride.

A similar situation is notable for Private Public Buses (Ozel Halk Otobusu) that operate between the two sides of the city or Express Buses which take passengers to the airport. As these buses cover long distances and take toll roads or they take a bridge to cross the other side, passengers are required to pay a double-ticket price or another high amount.

A Single Istanbulkart is Enough for Public Transport in Istanbul

What makes Istanbulkart so useful is that it can be topped up easily and it is simple to use. Moreover, you can use it to pay for others (friends, family etc…). Therefore, if there are others who accompany you, you don’t have to buy two separate cards. As long as you have enough credits in your card, there is no limit to how many people can use it.

How to Return Istanbul Card (Istanbulkart) and Refund

The best thing about Istanbulkart for the tourists visiting Istanbul is that it is refundable. After your visit to the city, you can return your card at any Istanbulkart counter in the city and you can take your 7 Turkish Liras back with ease. You may also keep it for your friends or your next journey.

What is Istanbulkart? How to Use Istanbul Metro Card?
Where to Buy Istanbul Card? Istanbulkart Prices

Istanbulkart Transit Pass for Tourists – Where to Buy Istanbul Card?

How to Top Up (Recharge) Istanbulkart Metro Card?

In order to top up Istanbulkart, you can use the yellow machines at Metro and Tram stations or Ferry Piers. These machines enable passengers to top up only in 30 seconds.

  • What is Biletmatik?

Biletmatik is a yellow and black colored machines that look like an ATM machine, which you can see at some stations. If you place your Istanbulkart on the white space on the right side of the machine, you can top up automatically.

  • What is Jetonmatik?

Jetonmatik is a ticket barrier system where a token can also be used if you don’t have an Istanbulkart. This system is used at tram stations and ferry piers. For example, if you wish to go to Kadikoy from Karakoy or Eminonu and you don’t have an Istanbulkart, you can buy a single-use token instead.

Istanbulkart is it Worth the Money? Should I Really Get One?

If you won’t use public transport more than once or twice, buying and returning an Istanbulkart may be useless. Therefore, buying single-use tokens sounds more reasonable.

However, if you plan to stay in Istanbul for a few days, you are highly recommended to get an Istanbulkart to take advantage of discounts and save yourself from buying a token every time.

You Can Use Biletmatik to Recharge IstanbulKart Metro Card
How to Use Istanbulkart? Top Up or Recharge

Jetonmatik and Biletmatik at Tram Station

Suggested Posts for the Travelers Visiting Istanbul

Travelers who want to visit Istanbul can take a look at the places in Places to Visit in Istanbul and choose the ones they are interested in. Additionally, you can have a look at Things to Do in Istanbul post too. Apart from the places to visit, you can find such topics as dining and fun activities to do in Istanbul.

Istanbul Accommodation Tips

If you want to learn more about accommodation options in Istanbul, you can read the posts Hotels in Sultanahmet, Hotels in Beyoglu, and Istanbul Hotels with Bosphorus View.

Istanbul Public Transportation Tips

In addition to all of these posts above, instructions regarding how to go places from specific locations and travel routes can be found in more detailed posts such as How to Go from Sultanahmet and How to Go from Taksim.

Recommended Blog Articles

Where to buy Istanbul Card blog article by Serhat Engul

Where to buy Istanbul Card? Istanbulkart for Tourists 2019

Where to Buy Istanbul Card? Price, Top Up, Refund was last modified: January 29th, 2019 by Serhat Engül
  • Bilqees


    Do kids under 12 pay require a travel card as well?

    • Serhat Engül

      Public transportation is free for the kids under the age of 6. So the answer is yes! On the other hand, Istanbul Museums are free for the kids under the age of 12. That means they do not need Istanbul Museum Pass.

  • Barbara


    Hi, I thought that an Istanbulkart can only be used for five passengers maximum at one go. There is no limit now? Because i plan to use mine for my group of eight, and I thought I needed an additional Istanbulkart for the remaining three people. Thanks for your response!

    • Serhat Engül

      Hello Barbara, I have never heard about your argument. There is no limitation as far as I know. I checked from official site of IstanbulKart and there is nothing mentioned about maximum number of usage for multiple people. I also googled “8 people Istanbulkart limitation” in every logical keyword combination (in Turkish) and there has never been a limitation like that. It must be a misunderstanding.

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