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Transfers - how to get from Istanbul Ataturk airport to city center

Transfers - how to get from Istanbul Ataturk airport to city center

Airport transfers - if you are coming to Istanbul by air plane for the first time, you will probably want to know how to get from Istanbul Ataturk airport to city center





Unless your hotel has arranged for a free airport pick-up, you will need to find transportation from the airport to your hotel. From the Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul, you have several options regardless the location of your hotel — Sultanahmet or Beyoğlu (Taksim/Cihangir).

General Guidelines

Get Turkish Liras – If you don’t have Turkish liras on you, use one of the many ATMs in the airport to withdraw some cash money. None of the transportation options mentioned below will accept credit cards, foreign currencies or big Turkish lira notes. Make sure you have some 5, 10, 20 or maximum 50 notes handy. Also, check out our Istanbul money strategy.

Make sure that you write down or print out the exact address of your hotel, together with its telephone number. Istanbul is a huge city with an uncountable amount of (small) hotels. Even locals don’t know them all by heart. So, if you need help, just hand over the piece of paper. It’s not unusual for taxi drivers to ask for directions at traffic lights or call the hotel. Don’t worry, he’ll get you there.

Basic info

Most planes arrive at Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IATA: IST), 20km west of the city centre. From the airport, there are various options for getting into Istanbul: you can take a taxi (about TRY35-40 to Taksim. There is no night fare in Istanbul anymore - the price would be the same at midnight or midday. About the same to Sultanahmet), the express bus service run by the local airport service called "Havataş" which departs half-hourly between 4AM-midnight and costs TRY10 to Taksim and Aksaray, the public bus (line #96T) run by İETT costing TRY5 (TRY3.50 with İstanbulKart), which has fewer departure times now, due to Havatas, which is also a municipality engaged bus service.

Getting from Istanbul Ataturk airport to city center by Metro

The metro (06:00-00:05) (signposted "light rail" in the airport, when you get outside the baggage claim its about a 10 minute walk in the airport to the metro line. Just follow the signs), which will take you directly to the Otogar (bus station) or to numerous stops within Istanbul (Aksaray in the city centre is the last stop, transfer stations for tram heading for deeper into old city is available at Zeytinburnu and Aksaray). It costs TRY3, by token (+an extra TRY3 when boarding the tram) and getting to Aksaray takes around 45 minutes. It is possible to be at your bus departing from Otogar within less than one hour after landing by taking the metro.

When entering the metro station, you need to buy a jeton (token) for TRY3. Just hand the cashier TRY3 and he'll give you a token, or use the automatic dispenser (Jetonmatik), which accepts banknotes (TRY5, TRY10) as well as coins. Use 'select' to choose the number of jetons and then push 'ok'. They don't accept credit card or foreign currency here. This will get you on the red metro line (towards Aksaray). From this line, if you are going to Sultanahmet, you can transfer at Zeytinburnu and buy another jeton (TRY3) - see the section on "Istanbulkart" if further travel within Istanbul's metro system will be undertaken. Note that the jeton token here is different than the first one. From Zeytinburnu, take the blue tram line T1, towards Kabataş which passes by: Sultanahmet, Eminönu and Tophane. The trip from the airport to Sultanahmet takes about 45min.

Other Notes: Note that people are working on commission at the airport trying to make you use special shuttle buses for very high fees (TRY30+), so for people who wish to travel more economically the Metro/tram-combination is easy and fairly quick, and offers very good value. Travel by metro/tram cost 1 token per trip which is equal to TRY3. No matter how long you travel, it costs 1 token per trip.

Getting from Istanbul Ataturk airport to city center by shuttle bus

Airport Shuttle services are organized by Havas company. Buses of Airport Shuttle services waits outside the arriving hall.  There are shuttle services to the following destinations Taksim, Etiler & Kozyatagi (Asian side). Most of the travelers do use the Taksim line. Shuttle destinations, working hours and fares are according to;
  • Buses to Taksim square : Runs daily at 05:00 and at every half hour between 07:00-23:00. A stop is also made in Aksaray. Fare: 8,5 TL ( 6 USD).
  • Buses to Etiler (Akmerkez): Runs daily between 07:00- 23:00 at every two hour. Fare: 9,5 TL (7USD)
  • Buses to Kozyatagi (Asian side): Runs daily between 04:00 - 23:00. Shuttles are available at every hour.  Fare 14 TL ( 9,5 USD)

Getting from Istanbul Ataturk airport to city center by Taxi

All Istanbul Taxis are in yellow color, except the airport taxis, which are in orange color. There are around 450 Taxis working at the airport 24 hrs. Unlike other taxis, airport taxis are more thrustable as they are operated by an organization. All taxis have a taximeter.

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