Istanbul Airport Transfer: best ways to go to the city

You are traveling to Istanbul by train? This article will cover you! Here you will find all answers about how many airports Istanbul has, at which airport you should land and how to arrange a transfer from the airport to the city center or your accommodation! 

Complete list of transportation possibilities from Istanbul’s Airports

Are you traveling to Istanbul by plane? This article has you covered! Here you will find all the answers about how many airports there are in Istanbul, which airport you should land at and how to arrange a transfer from the airport to the city center or your accommodation! 

  1. Transportation from Istanbul Airport:
    1. Istanbul Airport taxi prices:
    2. Sabiha Gökcen Airport taxi prices:
  2. Shuttle Bus Services from the Airport
  3. How to go from Istanbul airport to the city?

How many Airports are in Istanbul?

There are two airports in Istanbul, Sabiha Gökcen Airport and Istanbul Atatürk Airport. Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the main airport on the European side of Istanbul. Located in Yesilkoy, it was the airport with the busiest traffic in Turkey. Istanbul Atatürk Airport no longer operates since the opening of the third airport. 

Istanbul’s third and largest airport opened in October 2018 on the Black Sea coast of Istanbul. It replaced Istanbul Atatürk Airport and is Turkey’s busiest international airport. There are currently two airports in operation, Sabiha Gökçen Airport and Istanbul Airport.

Sabiha Gökçen Airport is Istanbul’s second airport, located in Pendik on the Asian side of Istanbul. The airport is named after Sabiha Gökçen, the world’s first female fighter pilot and Turkey’s first female pilot.

Where is Istanbul Airport?

Istanbul Airport is located on the European side of Istanbul on the Black Sea coast. Istanbul Airport can be easily reached by public transportation such as Airport Buses, Havaist shuttle, Airport transfer services as well as taxis and private cars.  

Where is Sabiha Gökcen Airport (SAW)?

Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, Sabiha Gökcen Airport can be reached by many means of transportation such as buses, private shuttles and taxis.  

Which Airport in Istanbul should I fly to?

Both airports have similar distances to the most popular destinations, but that doesn’t mean the travel time is the same. Istanbul is notorious for traffic jams and a 50 km journey can take up to 90 minutes, sometimes even longer. Even if the distance from Istanbul to Sultanahmet and Taksim is similar to the distance from Sabiha Gökçen Airport, we recommend flying into Istanbul Airport on the European side. The roads from Istanbul Airport to the city center are less busy than the roads from the Asian side to the city center. There are also more airlines flying to Istanbul Airport. Find the best deal for your flight to Istanbul here. 

  • Istanbul Airport – Sultanahmet: 45-60 km 
  • Istanbul Airport – Taksim: 40-45 km
  • Sabiha Gökcen Airport – Sultanahmet: 45-50 km
  • Sabiha Gökcen Airport – Taksim: 45-65 km 

Transportation from Istanbul Airport:

Going from Istanbul Airport by taxi

You can easily reach any destination you want from Istanbul Airport by taxi. Taxis are usually waiting for passengers in the queue outside the arrivals hall. You don’t need to call a taxi, you can get the first taxi in line and leave the airport. Taxis in Turkey are yellow or turquoise in color. Yellow taxis are ordinary cars and turquoise taxis are of a higher standard, but it can be said that there is not much difference between the two. The only difference is that turquoise taxis have a higher price than regular taxis. Many taxis accept payment by credit card but there are still some that only accept cash. 

Istanbul Airport taxi prices:

From Istanbul Airport to Sultanahmet: 

  • Price: 300 – 390 TL (approx. 16-21 EUR or 17-21 USD)
  • Distance: 45-60 km 

From Istanbul Airport to Taksim: 

  • Price: 260 – 295 TL (approx. 14-16 EUR or 14-17 USD)
  • Distance: 40-45 km 

Sabiha Gökcen Airport taxi prices:

From Sabiha Gökcen Airport to Sultanahmet: 

  • Price: 295 – 325 TL (approx. 16-18 EUR or 17-18 USD)
  • Distance: 45-50 km

From Sabiha Gökcen Airport to Taksim: 

  • Price: 300 – 420 TL (approx. 16-23 EUR or 17-23 USD)
  • Distance: 45-65 km  

Shuttle Bus Services from the Airport

Busses from Istanbul’s airports

The buses departing from both airports are coaches with enough space for luggage and personal belongings. Although the bus service is run by the municipality, the buses offer higher standards of comfort and depart when all seats are full. If there are no empty seats, no passengers are accepted. This means that you will never sit or stand on an overcrowded shuttle bus and can always enjoy a comfortable bus ride. 

How to go from Istanbul Airport by airport bus?

There are buses operated by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and called ‘Havaist’. Havaist Airport Passenger Transportation Service was established to transport passengers between Istanbul Airport and the city center. There are a total of 20 bus lines running from Istanbul Airport to all parts of the city and back to the airport. Buses depart every 15-45 minutes depending on the time of day and destination. You can find Havaist buses as you exit the arrivals hall of the airport. You can find more information about fares on the Havaist website. 

Everything you need to know about the Havaist airport shuttle

  • Location: Istanbul Airport, outside of the arrivals hall on floor -2
  • Price: between ₺40 and ₺65 depending on the bus line 
  • Payment method: Online on the hava.ist website, credit card in the bus or cash at a ticket machine in the airport
  • Destinations: Sultanahmet, Taksim, Beşiktaş, Kadıköy, Beyazıt and many more

How to go from Sabiha Gökcen Airport by airport bus?

There are two bus lines from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to the city center. You can easily find the bus stop as you exit the arrivals hall. The buses are located across the street from the arrivals exit and are operated by ‘Havabus’. Buses depart every 30 minutes or when all seats are full. You can find more information on the Havabus website. 

Here you can also take a look at the time schedule for the Sabiha Gökcen – Taksim airport transfer line:

06:3007:0007:30
08:0008:3009:00
09:3010:0010:30
11:0011:3012:00
12:3013:0013:30
14:0014:3015:00
15:3016:0016:30
17:0017:3018:00
18:3019:0019:30
20:0020:3021:00
21:3022:0022:30
23:0023:3000:00
00:30

Everything you need to know about the Havabus airport shuttle

  • Location: Across the Terminal Building at the Exit of the Arrivals Passenger Floor 
  • Price: ₺39 to Kadıköy and  ₺52,50 to Taksim
  • Payment method: only cash in turkish currency TL
  • Destinations: Kadıköy and Taksim

Metro line from Sabiha Gökçen to Kadıköy recently opened

In October 2022, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality opened the M4, the first metro line connecting Sabiha Gökçen Airport and Kadıköy on the Asian side of Istanbul. Kadikoy is not only the most popular district on the Asian side, it is also well connected to the European side by public transportation. To get from Kadikoy to Taksim, Sultanahmet or anywhere else, you can use the ferry or the underwater subway Marmaray. 

The journey from Sabiha Gökçen airport to Kadıköy takes about 52 minutes and 23 stations. The metro runs every 5 minutes from 6.00 am until 12.00 am. The M4 line is the cheapest means of transportation from the airport and costs around ₺13. Please note that you need an IstanbulKart to use the metro. Read where and how to get an IstanbulKart for public transportation.

Istanbul airport private shuttle bus

There are also many private shuttle buses at the airport. You can easily organize a pick-up after your flight from the comfort of your home. Looking at the price, we cannot say that this is a good deal. Most of the shuttles are 10 to 20 times more expensive than public transportation and twice the price of a taxi you can take directly from the airport.  

How to go from Istanbul airport to the city?

We always recommend using the shuttle buses that run between the airports and the most popular destinations in Istanbul. Using airport buses will save you money, especially if you are not traveling with a large group. If you are traveling with a group of more than five people, a taxi can be close to the price of a shuttle bus. 

From Istanbul Airport to Taksim: The easiest and cheapest transportation

As mentioned before, Havaist buses are the easiest and fastest way to get from Istanbul Airport to Taksim. Havaist bus line HVIST-16 departs from the -2nd floor outside the arrivals hall of Istanbul Airport and goes directly to Taksim without a transfer. The ticket fare is ₺52/person and the approximate travel time between Taksim and Istanbul Airport is 90 minutes with Havaist Airport Buses. This time may vary depending on weather and road conditions. 

havaist-istanbulairport-taksim-transfer

From Istanbul Airport to Sultanahmet: The easiest and cheapest transportation

The same goes for traveling to Sultanahmet; the easiest and cheapest way to get from the airport to Sultanahmet is to take the shuttle bus. There used to be a bus line that went directly to Sultanahmet but it is currently out of service. Instead, you can use Havaist bus line HVIST-12 until Aksaray-Beyazıt Meydan stop. The duration is 90 minutes and the ticket costs ₺52 per person. From Aksaray-Beyazıt Meydan bus station, you can reach Sultanahmet within a reasonable walking distance. If you have heavy luggage, taking a taxi from the bus station or airport may be a better option. However, if you can carry your luggage, taking the shuttle bus is the best way to leave the airport. 

istanbul-airport-transfer-sultanahmet

Plan your trip to Istanbul today

A city spanning two continents, Istanbul is a destination you should not miss. If you haven’t booked your trip yet, hurry up and grab the best flight deal. Don’t miss our articles on the best places to stay in Istanbul and what to do for the best experience

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