In many parts in Europe you can find Turkish truckers, who might be heading to Istanbul. Watch out for Turkish number plates beginning with 34, the city code for Istanbul, however a high proportion of all trucks heading for the Asian side of Turkey still have to go through Istanbul.
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- 1 Hitching in
- 2 Hitching out
- 2.1 Northwest towards Greece , Edirne, Bulgaria E 80 E 84
- 2.2 Westwards towards Cannakale (via Tekirdag)
- 2.3 East and south towards Ankara, Black Sea coast, Antalya E 80
- 2.4 South towards Yalova, Bursa or Izmir
- 3 Wild camping
- 4 Personal experiences
If you drive highway look around and ask your driver to let you out in place where you see a Istanbul in walking distance than ask local people for bus/metro. You should have some small local cash to pay for ticket. Or walk :)
Generally, you can just start hitching anywhere in the city center. Just walk to the nearest highway and stick your thumb out. It might need a few lifts until you get out of the border, but given that you hardly ever wait more than 10 minutes for a lift, it can be faster than public transport.
Test option - Ispartakule Park Area North
Ispartakule Park Area North is a fuel station on E80 highway (See Google maps for getting there and update how its. There is bus 76E going to Sehit Serife Bacı Lisesi bus stop not far place)
Out of city option
You can get out of city bus 303 from Yenibosna Metro to last bus stop Silivri Halk Otobüsü Bekleme Garajı (or bus 303B from Otogar Metro till bus stop Mimarsinan Mah, this bus stop is close to Silivri Halk Otobüsü Bekleme Garajı). Ticket cost 11 TL and you can pay only with Istanbulcard
There is Shell fuel station next to place.
Also 3 km walk away is another bigger E80 highway with Karbey Dinlenme Tesisi rest stop on it
Getting to suburbans of Istanbul
Another way to get to city's western outskirts is to take the metro from Aksaray close to Sultanahmet in the old city centre, and ride it till Yenibosna station (2.0 TL pp, roughly €0.80). Then, take the public bus #448 (Yenibosna Metro-Mimarsinan; an extra 2.00 TL pp), which departs from the stops right next to metro station. You will ride this bus for a long time, roughly an hour, until where it quits the motorway west and turns to right in a cloverleaf interchange near the village of Mimarsinan, where the bus eventually heads. Get off at the stop right at the very location bus turns right, this is where as much west as you can get on Istanbul's public transportation. Then walk a bit further from the junction, and start thumbing. Hitchhiker Vidimian tried this route in 2002 or 2003, when he wasn't very experienced at hitchhiking. The first lift offer arrived so late (after about 2 hours of thumbing) and the following lifts were so short (and, again, late) that he could make it to Tekirdağ, a mere 120 km away from this hitching spot, after the night falls, despite starting early in the morning.
Trains out of city
For those who rather not try hitchhiking through the overgrown western suburbs of the city, a slightly more expensive but a lot easier way to follow this westbound route to Greece may be to take the morning train to Muratlı from Sirkeci station in central Istanbul, and then hitch your way forward to Greece via Tekirdağ from there. See Muratlı article for full details.
Once you have passed the border, try to stay in the car which took you through, as the first 20-30 km on the Greek side is one of the worst places to hitchhike in Europe. Local people there are afraid of stories about immigrants from Iran and Afghanistan etc. so it's especially hard to get a ride. It took hitchhiker Lapulevel a full day to get out of this area—and that wasn't simply a shortage of luck as that happened twice!
Take Bus #34B/C/BZ/G to the last stop and start hitchhiking with a Tekirdag sign there. From Tekirdag continue with a Istanbul sign. Be prepared for a possible long waiting time at Tekirdag.
East and south towards Ankara, Black Sea coast, Antalya
For going east there are different options:
From parking on motorway O4
Take a ferry to Kadıköy on Asian side. Next to the ferry terminal there is a bus terminal where you have 2 options:
- Take bus 19, 19C, 19Y, or just ask which bus is going to Ferhatpaşa the stop you have to get off at (you will see a road going in a circle like a big roundabout). From there walk northeast until you get to the motorway O4 Anadolu Otoyolu. There is a fence along the motorway but it has many holes, so getting to the other side is not difficult, or can just go to the gate where is possible to entre freely. Once you get to the parking area, you can ask around or make a big sign and show it at parking area's exit to the drivers passing by on the motorway, so they can stop on a merge lane. There's one small restaurant in the parking area where many drivers stop for a short break.
- Take bus 130 and after half an hour or so you'll arrive to a Gas station where the bus stops (near Gebze). Get down and from here you can hitch-hike either asking or stopping cars.
From Şekerpınar close to Gebze
Get on the 111, 112 or 200 and stay on the bus almost all the way to the last stop (get off approximately two or three stops before).
You are now located a little bit south of the O4 (E80) heading East towards Ankara. You will need to walk a little bit northwards in order to reach a ramp. There is a bus stop on the on-ramp. You can hitch out from there unto the O4 (E80) going East.
Most people who will take you might just drive for another 10km or so. There are lots of petrol stations on the way in this giant suburban maze but chances are only local people stop there. You will have to go for about nearly 20 or 30 km until you will actually be out of the Istanbul metropolis.
If you want to avoid 30km of urban hitch hiking, from the last stop of 112 take bus 134BK (other 134 buses may work as well) which leaves across the road from where 112 ends. Ride until the end and transfer onto 133Ş and ride it until the last stop. You are then in Şekerpınar and can walk the 2km to the main motorway O4 Anadolu Otoyolu.
From Bostancı Köprüsü (Bostancı Bridge)
From Taksim Square take bus 129T (Taksim - Üst Bostancı line), which, like the other transcontinental bus lines, requires two tickets (3.50 TL). Get off at the leaf-clover interchange called in Turkish Bostancı Köprüsü (literally Bostancı Bridge), close to its last stop. You can recognize the interchange by big signs saying Bostancı and İçerenköy (besides the usual İzmit and Ankara signs) there. Then, after getting off the bus, walk past the interchange until you see a safe shoulder down the road a couple hundred metres away. Start hitching there ready with a sign saying at least ‘Gebze'/'Izmit’, it’ll make you more visible and look like a total hitchhiker. Drivers around here seem to have some concerns about sharing their car with a stranger and looking like a total hitchhiker seems to somewhat ease their anxiety. However, there are also many minibuses heading for Gebze on this road, so hiding your sign when they are passing by and shaking your head both sides when its headlights flash (to ask whether you’d like a ride … for a fee) may prevent some of the unwanted attention. Expect to wait at least 30 minutes until you are offered a lift. Morning hours (approx. between 6:30-8:30) are best since the road is congested at that time and vehicles move slowly, which lets the drivers to think more about taking you in. Beware of the motorcycles by the way, which sometimes illegally drive inside the shoulder and literally skim you over.
There is a petrol station exactly 9km before Izmit where you can be dropped off. It is recognizable for its BP petrol station and Burger King restaurant. Trucks are regularly parked here and bound for all points in Turkey, while sometimes one can even find a lift all the way to neighbouring countries.
The free walking option
While most people would find it more comfortable to take a bus to the outskirts and then start hitchiking there is another, slightly more challenging, option. Generally it is actually faster to just find a good piece of highway somewhere close to where you stay (even if it's in the centre of Istanbul), get ON the highway and put your thumb up. You are unlikely to wait more than 3-5 minute before a car pulls over (many people don't really mind stopping on the highway) and the police is very unlikely to give you any trouble (they picked Theo up, gave him tea and chocolate-cookies and dropped him of 20 kilometers further down the road)
From Taksim: Walk down Cumhüriyet Caddesi for about 40-50 minutes. It's a big avenue which is easy to find (alternatively just follow the signs on Taxim for Şisli). After 40-50 minutes you'll see Cevahir shopping center on your right side and that's about 200 meters from where you'll start hitching. If you manage to get lost (hard as it's a big avenue without any real tricky intersection or anything) you should just ask your way to Cevahir shopping center.
After the 40-50 minute walk (about the time when you pass Cevahir shopping center on your right side) you'll see the highway. This is th spot where the Mercidiköy bridge starts and about 70-80 % of the traffic is bound for the Asian side. When you get to the highway (which is actually about 10 meters over you as you are under the bridge) you'll see the Mercidiköy bustation to your left. Turn left,walk 20 meters until you see a small footpath leading up to the highway, climb up, thumb up, and smile at your audience (often about 50-60 people) who are waiting for the Metrobus to come. They might even give you an applause if you just put up a show.
Important: BE PATIENT AND DON'T JUST ACCEPT ANY RIDE. Wait for someone who's going at least past the main intersection in Atesehir (say that you want to go direction Gebze/Izmit on the autoyol). Even though almost no traffic is going far from here it is important that your first ride is gonna take you to the O4 highway after the two highways merges and that may mean declining 1, 2 or 4 rides. Ask to get dropped of at the highway and not at some on-ramp or something even more silly (this is Turkey remember). You may have to repeat it one or two more times before you get out of Istanbul just because of the city's enourmous size.
Alternatively you could wait for a ride to take you across the bridge and get dropped off at the paytolls on the Asian side and find a ride onto the 04 from there.
See below the Eskihisar links for a road/bridge alternative.
See Eskihisar for how to get to the ferry jetty on the route and how to get into the ferry for free.
An alternative to - and depending on your luck, faster than - the ferry route is to catch a lift across the Osmangazi Bridge (Osmangazi Köprüsü) which opened in 2016. This suspension bridge carries the major O-5 motorway across the Gulf of Izmit, connecting Gebze, the city on the eastern outskirts of Istanbul, to Yalova Province.
A way to get as close as possible to the bridge without having to hitch through the city traffic is to take the Marmaray (kind of metro) to its far Eastern stations. The Marmaray, which runs along the southern coast of Istanbul, can be caught on both the Asian and European sides of the city and many of its major stations, such as Yenikapı and Üsküdar, are connected to the city's metro, metrobus, bus and tram system. Catch the Marmaray east in the direction of Gebze. A ticket costs roughly 5.20TL (~USD 0.92) as of June 2019, and you must use an Istanbulkart which you presumably have.
Get off at Osmangazi Station (two stops before Gebze) as this is closer to the D-100 highway that will carry you east. Walk roughly 300m north up the road from the station until you get to the circle-underpass junction with the D-100 highway. A nice position just after the start of the on-ramp, where cars are still moving slowly, should score you a ride in minutes.
However, the majority of traffic here seems to be going to Izmit, which is past the bridge. Turn down rides if you have to until you get one going over the bridge, to Yalova/Bursa/İzmir etc. If you're really stuck, take a short ride and ask your driver to drop you off on the side of the road at the off-ramp going to the bridge, and continue hitching from there or after the interchange.
For some reason, the few kilometres before the bridge are exceptionally difficult to get a ride from. The traffic is thinner and, possibly to do with the expensive bridge toll, drivers are much less inclined to pick you up. Looking like a foreigner will help, as Turks often don't like stopping for other Turks or Arabs. If you're really stuck on that road leading up to the bridge, you'll have to walk a few km along it until you get to the Petrol Ofisi fuel station, about a Kilometre before the bridge. Hitch at the on-ramp to the highway from there.
Ride metro line 2 to Darussafaka station and next to it on the circle corner of streets Buyukder and Ulu streets you can climb over the fance to Hacı Osman Korusu park. Get only a bit inside but be carefull there ar some sharp plants
Look more at Nomadwiki for these info
- 2020 february i hitchiked from Batumi border to Istanbul and 1200 km i did in 2.5 days (with sleeping in nights). Just stick to main highways and make text with big city 300 km away. On the paid highway i got ride in 5 minutes..
- Hitchhiking out was really a hassle. It is easy to get a lift, but people do not understand that you need to follow the highway. They think you want to take a bus, and thus it gets complicated. In other parts of Turkey I had a recorded message by Turkish friends explaining what I was actually doing and what I needed from drivers. I didn't have it when leaving IST, and it was a mistake. Get a Turkish friend to record a message on your phone which you can play to the drivers who give you a lift. It should say something like: "I'm from XY, and right now I'm hitchhiking from IST to X. Can you take me on this road as long as possible?" ESko
- 2 times I hitchhiked from Istanbul to Asia and once back to Europe. I didn´t have any map of the city and I haven´t use any bus because hitchhiking from Istanbul is very easy. There are a lot of cars and turkish drivers will not let you wait. If you are goning to Asia and you´re still in european part so the best spot is probably on the start of Bosphorus bridge. To get out from Istanbul you always need to take more cars(about 3-5 cars). In this city you can use hitchhiking as a public transport, just raise you´re tumb and there is a big chance that you´ll come forexample to city center faster than by metro. Král všech moří, 2016/17
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