Uber in Istanbul: Everything you need to know

Whether you need a transfer to and from the airport or an in-city ride – you can find all the information you need about using Uber in Istanbul, alternative transport options, and which is the best choice for you right here.

Is there Uber in Istanbul?

Yes, Uber is in Istanbul. To cut a long story short, Uber originally started operating in Turkey in 2014, however, the company ran into a few issues which led to the ceasing of operations for some years. As of 2021 however, Uber is back up and running in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and some other larger cities in Turkey, albeit with limited services.

Whilst you can use Uber in Istanbul, the app only offers rides in local taxis rather than the classic Uber services travellers are typically used to. You can choose between four vehicles: yellow/orange taxis, turquoise taxis, black taxis, and large taxis. Yellow taxis are standard sedans for up to 4 people whilst turquoise taxis are premium cars. You can also opt for a large taxi for up to 8 passengers or a black taxi, a premium 8-seater van.

Cost of an Uber in Istanbul

Uber prices in Istanbul are calculated according to local taximeter rates, so don’t expect significantly cheaper prices. However, the Uber app still has its benefits, allowing you to see an estimate of the final fare before you request your ride in the app. Once you’ve requested a ride, you’ll get the actual price based on real-time factors such as time of day, demand, and so on.

With that being said, a yellow taxi is the most affordable option, typically costing around €26 (TRY 900) for the ride from Istanbul Airport to the centre of Istanbul (Taksim). Likewise, you’ll pay around €5 (TRY 170) for a 5 km ride within the city centre.

Istanbul International Airport to city centreTaksim Square to Hagia Sophia (5 km)
Yellow Taxi – €26 (TRY 900)Yellow Taxi – €5 (TRY 170)
Turquoise Taxi – €35 (TRY 1200)Turquoise Taxi – €6 (TRY 210)
Standard taxi – €30 (TRY 1040)Standard taxi – €6 (TRY 200)
Welcome Pickups private transfer – €41 (TRY 1423)Welcome Pickups private transfer – €6 (TRY 210)

What are the alternatives to taking an Uber in Istanbul?

From the airport

Private transfers are the best way to travel to and from Istanbul’s airports. You can secure a competitive fixed fare and a trained, English-speaking driver if you pre-book your Istanbul Airport taxi with a trusted provider like Welcome Pickups. That way, you can get from the airport curb to your hotel as quickly as possible.

It is still possible to book an Uber taxi from Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gokcen International Airport but pick-up locations are dependent on the terminal and the driver. Therefore, it’s common for travellers to walk outside of the complex and request an Uber from Istanbul Airport on the main road to avoid complications.

You can also catch an Istanbul taxi from the ranks at either airport, although these taxis are not always the best option. As detailed above, local taxis come in three different forms: black taxis (E), turquoise taxis (D), and yellow/orange taxis (C). Keep in mind that you won’t receive a fixed fare and drivers are known to be pretty unreliable. Nevertheless, you can find taxi stands just outside the “Domestic and International Passenger” exit doors at the Plaza Section outside Arrivals.

*Please note that you may be approached by drivers inside the terminal offering cheap rides. You should never accept these offers, as the drivers are often unlicensed.

Getting around the city

Aside from using Uber to hail a taxi, there are a few ways to get a taxi once you’re on the streets of Istanbul: you can hail one from the street, head to the closest rank, call for a pickup, or book a private transfer. Taxi ranks are located near the main squares, railway, bus and metro stations, the port, and popular tourist areas.

Whilst Istanbul taxis are easily accessed, local drivers usually speak limited English and there’s often a surcharge for calling a taxi. Having said that, they are a good option for short rides within the city. If you’d rather have the peace of mind of using a known ride-hailing app, you can download other popular taxi apps used in Turkey aside from Uber such as BiTaksi.

Lastly, if you’d rather stick with a reliable company offering world-class service and 24/7 customer support, you can still use private transfer companies like Welcome Pickups for in-city rides.

Istanbul Yellow Taxi
Yellow Istanbul taxis

Is Uber safe in Istanbul?

Taxis in Istanbul can be a little hit-and-miss, even when booking through Uber! Taxi drivers can be honest and professional but it’s not uncommon to hear stories of Istanbul Uber drivers cancelling the trip in the app once you’ve set off and instead, using a taximeter to calculate your fare and charging cash. 

Furthermore, when it comes to standard taxis, there’s always the risk of running into common tourist scams such as drivers taking a longer route than necessary, stating the taximeter or POS doesn’t work, and so on. 

To avoid this, it’s best to ask for the estimated price in advance and check the route on Google Maps. It’s also a good idea to write the name, ID, and taxi number of your driver so that you’re covered if you experience anything unsavoury. Ultimately, the best way to ensure your safety and comfort is to book a private transfer and pay a fixed fare in advance.


Does Uber work in Istanbul?

The short answer is yes, Uber works in Istanbul. However, you won’t find usual Uber vehicles. Instead, Uber in Istanbul offers standard taxi services through the app. Even though you can’t enjoy the usual Uber experience, travellers still use the app, as receiving an estimated price ahead of time provides some extra peace of mind.

How much is Uber in Istanbul?

The price of an Uber taxi in Istanbul is similar to that of a local taxi, with the app calculating fares according to local taximeter regulations. So, a trip from Istanbul Airport to the city centre in a standard yellow taxi sedan costs around €26 (TRY 900), whilst a 5-km ride in the city will cost approximately €5 (TRY 170).

Can I pay by card?

Ride-hailing apps like Uber allow you to pay by card through the app once the ride is terminated. However, it’s important to be cautious as Istanbul Uber drivers have been known to claim the app doesn’t work and ask for cash instead. Alternatively, you can also select the “pay in cash” option in the app. To pay by card in advance and avoid the hassle altogether, you can pre-book a private transfer with Welcome Pickups.

Do I need to tip my Istanbul Uber driver?

Taxi drivers in Istanbul don’t expect a tip, however, if you particularly enjoyed the service, you can round up the final fare to say thank you. If you don’t have any cash handy, the Uber app lets users add a tip before the end of the ride.

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