Evliya Çelebi Way Transport
The best months to travel the EÇW are April-June, after the spring rains and before the summer heat hits, and September-early November, before the winter cold begins. Other months can be equally pleasant, especially if you only want to spend a few days on the trail, and can rely on the weather forecast.
Turkey has an excellent bus service between cities and towns, from where minibuses can be taken to villages.
The EÇW is close to some of Turkey’s cities, and is therefore well-served by public transport.
The start of the route is most conveniently reached by flying to Istanbul. Atatürk airport (code: IST) is on the European side, west of the city, and Sabiha Gökçen airport (code: SAW) is on the Asian side, east of the city. Turkish Airlines (THY) flies to Istanbul from many overseas destinations, as do other foreign national carriers and Turkish and foreign non-national carriers.
Bursa’s Yenişehir airport (code: BTZ) may be reached by internal flight from Istanbul.
The new Zafer airport (code: KZR) situated in the triangle between Kütahya, Afyonkarahisar and Uşak, also serves the end of the route at Simav.
Airport transfer to city centres:
– Istanbul: shuttle buses, metro, and taxis take you into the city; the distance from each airport to the city centre is:
- 25km from Atatürk airport to Taksim square terminal
- 40km from Sabiha Ğökçen airport to Kadıköy terminal; 50km to Taksim square terminal
– Bursa: the distance from Bursa airport into the city is 53km and there is no airport shuttle bus; taxis are expensive. Ask about other bus services at the airport. Your best bet may be to fly to Istanbul and enquire there about transfer to Bursa.
– Zafer: the airport is far from local cities; shuttle buses are rare and taxis expensive. The distance from the airport to local city centres is:
- Kütahya 41km; Afyon 59km; Uşak 103km; Simav 129km
Gediz 83km; Şaphane 107km; Domaniç 109km are also close to the EÇW
Given the poor/expensive transport from provincial airports to the EÇW, bus is the best way to reach intermediate points along the route. Many bus companies run directly from Istanbul to the towns and cities on the route—all are equally safe and reliable. Once you have arrived in Turkey, you can get anywhere easily at very reasonable cost by the excellent network of intercity and local buses. They run night and day all over the country. Intercity bus stations (otogar) are usually on the outskirts of town; a minibus (servis) will take you into town.
From the otogar or from a dedicated terminal nearby, minibuses (dolmuş; münübüs) will transport you to the smaller towns and larger villages; sometimes these run from a stand in town. You will have to ask for information in each case.
The main bus terminal on the European side of Istanbul is at Esenler; it can be reached directly from Atatürk airport by metro to Otogar-Esenler in 10 stops.
You can also reach the Esenler bus terminal by servis buses running around the clock from the in-town bureaus of the various bus companies.
There is no central bus terminal on the Asian side of Istanbul. Each of the larger bus companies has its own terminal close to the motorway. These can be reached by servis buses running around the clock from their in-town bureaus.
Except on holidays, you are likely to be able to find a bus seat by turning up at the bus station.
By ferry-bus/minibus combination:
The start of the EÇW, at the village of Hersek, on the southern shore of İzmit Gulf, can most easily be reached by ferry from Yenikapı terminal in Istanbul. The crossing from Yenikapı to Yalova takes about 80 minutes, and the ferries run according to a timetable. You should only have to book in high season.
From Yalova you may catch a minibus/bus to Altınova, half an hour east along the coastal highway, and 50 minutes walk south of the start of the Way at Hersek.