Think twice about traveling to or from Safranbolu on Metro. I rode a Safran Turizm bus on my way to Safranbolu; it transported me from Ankara in three hours and ten minutes. When I left Safranbolu for Istanbul, Metro covered this same stretch in five hours (largely because it made many detours to collect passengers at tiny, out of the way stations). I checked my luggage at the side of the bus. When I arrived in Istanbul, it was no longer on the bus. Although I don't speak Turkish, I think I managed to impress on the baggage handler that I was very upset at its disappearance. He directed me to Metro's offices, where one of the employees got on the phone and managed to find out my baggage was in Ankara. Through a coworker who spoke English, she informed me that it it would be conveyed to Istanbul the following day and instructed me to come back for it. Metro refused to deliver my baggage to me in Istanbul. They did not offer me a survival kit or do anything to mitigate the inconvenience. I would suggest avoiding Metro buses or, if you have the patience to ride with them, at least make sure you peek out the window at every station to make sure your baggage isn't being removed.
You can also ride the Karaelmas ('Black Diamond') train going from Ankara to Zonguldak, but get out at Karabük, and take a bus or taxi to Safranbolu, but the train runs only 3 days per week, and takes 8 hours from Ankara to Karabük; the bus travels the same distance in half the time (4 hours).
Direct buses run from Istanbul and Ankara to Karabük, from which minibuses run you to Kiranköy, the modern hilltop district in Safranbolu. From Kiranköy, take a taxi or municipal bus to your inn, which may be down in the valley (called Çarsi (market) about one km (6/10 mile) beyond Kiranköy.
Ankara is about 2 to 4 hours' drive from Safranbolu and Karabuk to the north, depending on weather conditions. Overall, the drive is easy, the roads range from good to excellent, and the signs are clear and easy to follow.
The otoban, toll highway, is excellent. A large, broad ighway it excellent condition, it rings the city and goes all the way to Istanbul before heading on to Edirne on the Greek and Bulgarian borders. Driving between the Karabuk-Safranbolu area and Ankara, one can take the otoban for much of the distance, all the way between Ankara and Gerede, which takes about 1 hour in good weather or 1.5-2.5 hours in inclement weather, depending on how much wind, rain, or snow one encounters in the mountains near Dorukkaya. Between Karabuk-Safranbolu and Gerede, the drive is again about 1 hour in good weather and 1.5 to 2 hours in bad weather. It's a good, divided highway, though, and the drive is fairly easy. The signs switching between the otoban and the regular highway in Gerede are clear and easy to follow and one need only pay just under 2 lira for the whole stretch of otoban between Ankara and Gerede.
As is normal on Turkish highway, gasoline/petrol/filling stations are numerous as are excellent rest facilities with stores, bathrooms, restaurants, etc. (they are truly wonderful places, not like the inferior rest stops or service areas we are used to here in the US).
The comfortable Metro Turizm bus is running direct to Safranbolu. The estimated time is 6 hours, but it took more than 7 hours to reach the Safranbolu bus terminal in Kirankoy. The old part of the town (Carsi) is down below the valley, about a kilometer away. You may either walk (long walk though), or your hotel/hostel will pick you up from the bus terminal. Or take the minibus from Kirankoy to Carsi.
Metro Turizm bus as usual, have comfortbale seats, though the pull-down tray on my seat is not working. It will stop at Karabuk before proceeding to Safranbolu. Refreshments such as hot tea or instant coffee, pastry/cake, soda and water is being served during the long travel.
You also take the same bus coming back to Istanbul.
Booking is not necessary, though you can buy your ticket at any available travel agencies in Sultanahmet or Taksim. But you can just go to the main otogar terminal and buy the ticket from there. Be early especially during peak season.
There are limited options for direct transfer from Amasra to Safranbolu, and the schedules could be quite inconvenient (e.g. late afternoon), which gives you very little time in Safranbolu to scout for lodging - if you are like me who relishes in the spontaneity of independent travel.
Best bet is to go to Bartin where there are frequent mini-buses to Safranbolu. Savas Turizm operates an hourly schedule from 7 AM (not sure until what time though) to Karabuk (from Bartin otogar), which will pass through Safranbolu. Travel time is about two hours, passing through some very scenic countryside. Fare as of June 2006 was YTL 7 (EUR 3.50).
The driver will usually drop you at the junction between Carsi and Kirankoy, the modern part of Safranbolu. From there it's a short walk to Carsi, the older part of the town which the driver will assume you, the tourist, have come to see.
Safranbolu; is in the West Black Sea region and is 406 kms away from Istanbul, 240 kms. away from Ankara and 10 kms. from Karabük. A huge part of the road that connects Safranbolu to Ankara and Istanbul is highway.
The closest connection to the sea is 91 kms far touristic Inkumu and 97 kms far touristic Amasra.
The minibus to Kiranköy is 400 000 TL. In Kiranköy there are several buscompanies that have offices.
I bought a ticket with Güven bus company for only 5 000 000 TL. There was a service pýckup from the office to the otogar.
Arrýving in Ankara the service (didn't cost anything extra) then took me just next to my hotel.
Amasra - Safranbolu
From Amasra there are frequent minibuses to Bartin (1 650 000 TL) and from Bartin there are buses to Safranbolu/Kiranköy (5 500 000 TL). The bus passed the outskirts of Safranbolu but dropped me in Kiranköy. I guess this was better as the dolmush from there (400 000 TL) stops at the Meydani in Safranbolu and I didn't have to walk with my laguage and it didn't take many minutes more.
Safranbolu is a six hour bus ride from Istanbul...you'll have to hunt around for a company which has direct services, as they are not plentiful...Metro was the only one we found. You'll be dropped off in Karabuk, the modern town on the hillside above Safranbolu...it is a 2 kilometre walk downhill to the old town, or you could take the dolmus which runs between Karabuk bus station and the main square in Safranbolu. More decrepit buses make the trip to Amasra from Karabuk, taking about two hours...or there are direct buses to istanbul along the coastal road in more comfortable buses. From Amasra to places east, the situation is not so good...you'll have to take dolmus between the villages. It is possible to get to Sinop in one day, if you start early (we managed it), but it is a long and uncomfortable journey involving three changes of buses.