Bicycle Touring Experiences From Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who travel to Turkey (you can share your experiences here).

Lost my bike (Istanbul Airport)

We arrived in Turkey with two bikes some two weeks ago. We had to do a connection flight and of course, the bikes were late. They arrived the next day. As you know, the flight company is suppossed to get the bikes to your hotel for free, but the airport staff refused to do it, saying that the boxes were too big and didn't fit into the transports. (!!)

We had to go back to the airport to pick them up. Afterwards, we went to the air company (Olympic) and gave them the receipt for the taxis. They paid off pretty quickly. Hope it helps!

There is a pedestrian path along the water that you can use to bike to and from the airport. It runs parallel to the E5, which goes to the airport. It's kind of slow and bumpy but a good alternative, especially for late afternoon/evening.

After you leave the airport you find a traffic circle. Take the exit toward city center (the left). One kilometer further on you'll be alongside the sea, where the path begins, on your right. It goes right downtown, nearly to the Sultanalhet. Watch out for bumps and potholes and some curbs. The path is really intended for pedestrians, not bikes.

Hay un paseo maritimo que va paralelo a la autovia E5 (la que pasa por el aeropuerto). Es bastante lento e irregular, pero una buena opcion si es por la tarde/noche. Una vez salidos del aeropuerto, se llega a una rotonda. La debeis coger hacia el centro (la izquierda) un kilometro mas alante, estareis pegados al mar, donde podeis ya utilizar el paseo, que estara a vuestra derecha, y que llega hasta practicamente el Sultanalhet. Cuidado con las icorporaciones y los baches. Solo es para peatones, asi que encontrareis bordillos altos y asfalto irregular.
Alicia, June 27, 2005

Turkey: airlines and airports

Turkish airline do take bikes - free if it is within the luggage allowance (23 kg from Heathrow) Any extra is charged if the total weight of bike and luggage is over the 23kg, at normal excess baggage rates of £7 per kilo. I was travelling light with only one pannier, so took that on board as hand luggage, no problem.

The bike needed to have its wheels taken off and secured to the frame, them "packaged." Not having a box, they were happy that bubble wrap only, be used.

In Istanbul, the metro from the airport had plenty of room for wheeling on a bike, no charge. I suspect that on a bad day one may have to pay another token (a few cents) for the bike. Also, from the surprised look of the ticket seller, I suspect that he had never had to deal with the issue before. Same with the guy when I transferred from the train to the tram. A bike would not get on a tram during busy hours. In the train, the place to get on is the back of the back carriage. However, the tram is straight down one road all the way to Sultanahmet, so one could easily ride that route without getting lost.

Biff Frederikson, March 07, 2005

Turkey loves bikes

We did an October (2002) bike trip to southern Turkey via Turkish Airlines (Vancouver-Chicago-Istanbul) and paid Zero $ for domestic and international connections, including United Airlines. United Airlines in Vancouver looked up the rules, found that if Chicago-Istanbul flight was on same ticket as United, we flew free.

Turkish Air honours international tariffs and charges zero. We used plastic bags (which are better than boxes both for baggage handlers and bikes). Only removed the pedals. Because we booked the bikes through to southern Turkey on domestic flight, again no charge.

On return domestic flight inside Turkey we didn't bother to bag the bikes, just removed the pedals and wheeled them to the counter.

Bikes were treated well and there was a weak effort to charge $20 but when we said were were international there was no charge. And Turkish Airlines was one of the better experiences in other ways, including service, food and schedules.

James Spears, October 30, 2002

Istanbul, Turkey

Hi, I recently moved from Istanbul to LA, last month I went to Turkey to bring my bike back. We put it in a bicycle box in the local bike shop. There was no problem at the Istanbul airport. Although a porter did some damage to the box at first, than they fixed it. I've travelled with the British Airways and they didn't charge anything extra for the oversized bike box. I got the box at LAX in Los Angeles with no damages, however there was some tiny bruises on it.

Hope this will help Metin Demirciog

Metin Demirciog, March 16, 2000

Bags vs. Boxes ... (a continuing debate)

FWIW, I've flown BA with my bike 4 times to and from Europe in the past few years. Three of those times my bike was boxed. The first time I picked up my bike at Heathrow, the box was open and I was very, very lucky to not have lost anything (I stuff the box up with camp gear, sleeping bag, panniers, etc.). Other than a hefty gash in the toptube, there were no injuries.

I must admit BA was very helpful in locating some packing tape so I could patch the box up for the connecting flight. There were no problems with flying the bike back to Canada. The third flight, they somehow managed to knock the brakes all out of whack, and since I had my Cooltool stolen at Istanbul airport, I had a heck of a time readjusting them (note: not a bad idea to keep a couple of spare hex wrenches/allen keys handy - very light and very useful in an emergency).

The last time I couldn't for the life of me find a box in Istanbul (and BA will *not* help you out) so bit the bullet and flew it boxless. I don't know how they did it, but the handlers had managed to turn the front wheel blade/tube 360 degrees. It was near impossible to right it without disassembling something. They must have a special knack for this sort of thing!

For me, the major hassle with not using a box is not having that space for all the camping gear (tent, thermarest, sleeping bag, small panniers, etc.). I didn't think it was possible to carry all of that on, along with my big panniers, but I did it. Of course, that meant no souvenirs! I'll probably still continue to box the bike, at least when it's possible, although I know that with BA, the injuries probably won't be life-threatening.


Robin, February 15, 2000

Istanbul, Turkey

My flight into Istanbul was late, so I ended up using a taxi (easy to do, and your bike rides in the trunk for no extra charge). The recommended route--and here I'm quoting a Turkish friend of mine in extenso--is to use the road along the water. I'd be happy to supply some semi-informed advice to anyone contemplating flying into Istanbul or Izmir.

Joe Chapman , March 31, 1996

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