How to get from Istanbul Airport to Sultanahmet or Taksim 2024

How to get from Istanbul airport to city center

Starting from 2019, the airport began operating according to all divisions and at full speed. With an area of 76.5 million square meters, the new airport acts as a global hub between Asia, Africa and Europe.

Located on the European territory of Istanbul, namely on the Black Sea Coast, between two villages (Tayakadin and Akpinar). On the European part, the airport is 36 km from Levent and 40 km from Taksim. On the Anatolian part, total length is 47 km from Uskudar and 52 km from Kadikoy.

So here is some information how you can get from Istanbul Airport to city center — Sultanahmet or Taksim.

Istanbul Airport

New Istanbul Airport

New Istanbul Airport

Full name of the airport sounds like Istanbul Havalimani.

Duty-Free area of the Istanbul Airport covers 53,000 km squared.

Since the beginning of April, more than 40 million people have visited the new airport.

According to passengers, Istanbul Airport has an unsurpassed interior design, innovative technologies, a developed transport system and excellent infrastructure. The airport building and passenger service system is currently considered the best in the world and can serve as a model for the construction of air gates in other countries.

The airfield is located approximately 50 km northwest of the center of Istanbul. In the present time there is still construction being carried out, and the building not only impresses with its size, but also with the speed and efficiency of the services. After landing, in just 15 minutes we, having passed passport and customs control, are already in the transfer zone. By the way, you can book a fast transfer from the airport to the hotel and back to the airport. In 2020, with the construction of a new terminal — The Metropolitan Hotel, the airport will be able to handle even more passengers.

On the airport website you can find online scoreboard:

It is worth noting that designation of Istanbul Airport on tickets is IST.

The airfield is big enough, the distances are long, it will take a long time to go, so consider your time when planning your travel/transit etc.

How to ger from New Istanbul Airport to city center

How to ger from New Istanbul Airport to city center

If you are traveling in transit or via transfer flight, when calculating the time to move, please note that the planes park slowly (10-15 minutes), the transitions are very long and there are few escalator paths, so you have to go on foot (this is also about 20-30 minutes). This sums up to about 60 minutes from the moment of landing and before baggage reclaim. In total, given that you probably won’t navigate as quickly in a new place, you will probably spend at least an hour, or even 90 minutes.

After receiving the luggage, follow into the arrivals terminal, where you will find further directions. If you don`t see any directions, then look for the downwards escalator (on the 2nd floor), where Havaist buses stop.

This video briefly shows which directions you need to follow after arriving on an international flight:

This video briefly shows which directions you need to follow if you are flying back internationally:

You can go down to the buses by escalator or by elevator. In any case, you should carefully look at the directions.

On the left you will see a position to the Hawaist buses stop, get down. Here you can purchase a transport card to pay for the fare.

On the right you will see a position where you can buy and top up Istanbul cards, as well as take a regular bus (not Hawaist).

Go down to the 2nd floor (via any exit). There are buses all along the platform. Look at the electronic scoreboard at the top, near the bus stop and ticket vending machines, and find the route that you need. If you did not see it, do not panic, instead go to the beginning or end of the platform. Again, look at the scoreboard. Each electronic scoreboard will show 3-4 Hawaist bus routes.

In addition to the vending machines (blue and black-yellow), there is also a black kiosk that sells the transport cards. You can read about how to buy and how to use a card here. In short: select the desired language, if you want to purchase a card or replenish its balance. Blue machines accept not only paper money, but also credit/debit cards. Black-yellow machines only accept cash.

How to get to the Taksim or Sultanahmet from Istanbul Airport?

To do this, you can use three modes of transport: bus, subway or taxi.

Here is a review that will help you make the right choice based on your needs, preferences or budget.

Havaist Airport Shuttle

New Istanbul Airport

New Istanbul Airport

Havaist carries out passenger and luggage transportation services on 12 different lines, 46 stations. Ensuring full time city integration from Istanbul Airport,

Havaist organizes two-way bus services with 15 minute and 90 minute intervals.

You can get to Sultanahmet or Taksim from the new airport by Havaist buses, payment for the fare can be made with Istanbulkart, credit or debit card.

Buses depart from 2 floors. Here you can see the departure time of the nearest bus (on an electronic scoreboard).

Istanbulkart, which are needed to pay for bus travel, can also be bought at the airport (in the ticket machine, which is located near the bus stop).

The fare on bus lines is 120-160 lire per person, one way, including baggage. Travel time takes about 100 minutes, more at rush hour. Fortunately, the buses are equipped with TV, Wi-Fi and USB chargers to make the trip more enjoyable. You can find the schedule on the Havaist website.

Timetables of HAVAIST shuttle from Istanbul Airport 2024

HVIST-12 Aksaray (Sultanahmet)

Timetable of Havaist-12 to Aksaray (Sultanahmet)

Timetable of Havaist-12 to Aksaray (Sultanahmet)

This is the bus route to the stops of Beyazıt Meydan, Aksaray Metro, Ulubatılı, Ayvansaray, Nurtepe. Buses to Sultanahmet nowadays stops here — at Beyazıt Meydan (near Beyazit tramvay stop and Grand Bazaar).

The bus schedule is presented in the table. Average journey time is 110 minutes.

Ticket price is 136 tirkish lira per person.

When planning your return trip from Sultanahmet to the new airport, keep in mind that it is a popular tourist route, therefore, when calculating the time, add an extra 30 minutes so that you can get on the second bus if you miss the first one.

HVIST-16 Taksim

Timetable of Havaist-16 to Taksim

Timetable of Havaist-16 to Taksim

This route can get you from the airport to Taksim Square, or straight to the hotel if it is located in the Taksim or Galata Areas. From there, you can move on foot or by metro. The price is 136 TL.

HVIST-14 (Kadıköy)

Timetable of Havaist-14 to Kadikoy

Timetable of Havaist-14 to Kadikoy

On this route you can get to the Asian side of Istanbul. The bus goes to a stop near Kadikoy Pier. From here you can get to other parts of Asian side by metro, bus or taxi.

Average journey time is at least 1 hour 40 minutes.

The fare is 149 turkish lira.

Important note: although information is taken from official sources, departure times may vary.

HVIST-1 *cancelled

On this bus route you can reach the Yenikapi Marmaray (in which case stop next to the Marmaray metro line), to the Yenikapi Sahil (stop closer to the promenade), to the Aksaray Metro (near the metro in Aksaray, from where you can also get to Laleli) and to the Ulubatli Metro.

This route also leads to the Yenikapi İDO (this is a stop near the Yenikapi Pier, from where you can take a taxi or bus to the hotel in Sultanahmet).

If your hotel is located in Sultanahmet, it will be more convenient to get on the ist-20 route, and for those who stayed in Laleli it is better to choose the ist-1 route.

General GuidelinesHow to get from Istanbul airport to city center

  • How to get TRY: If you do not have Turkish Lira, you can use the ATM, which is located inside the airport. All the above transports do not accept payment by Bank cards, also refuse foreign currency and Turkish Lira banknotes with large denominations. Be sure to exchange money for the presence of small bills, such as: 5, 10, 20 (no more than 50 lire). In addition, do not forget about the strategy of Istanbul money.
  • How to get IstanbulCard: if you intend to use public transport, be sure to purchase Istanbulkart at the airport and replenish it. The card doesn’t simply save money, but is necessary for travelling by most public transport while you are in Istanbul.
  • How to remember the hotel address: Be sure to write down or print the exact address and phone number of your hotel. Istanbul is a very large city with countless hotels, big and small. So, in order not to get lost, always keep a piece of paper with your hotel address on it.

The airport in Istanbul has a special addition. It is extremely useful and functional, and can make your journey even more convenient. You are able to get detailed information about your flights, by using the function “flight tracking” and “home to the airport”. You can even use it to cancel a transfer from the airport, and in addition it includes a map of the airport. Click here to download for iOS. Click here to download for Android.

There are 150 cafes and restaurants at Istanbul Airport, which serving food and drinks.

The Duty-Free area, consisting of 9 sections, has an assortment of brands and follows with the best prices.

The most technologically advanced, new travel add-ons are also available at Istanbul Airport. Here, you no longer need shopping carts, as there are mobile safes and electronic systems for identifying and analyzing customer profiles. With the addition of an ”Ayna Magic Mirror», customers can try on virtual watches, sunglasses, devices, clothes and cosmetics, without physically holding them. Special vehicles are provided to impaired customers, you can safely traverse the building and talk comfortably to trained sales consultants.

Metro Line M11

After arrival, when you leave the airport building, outside you will see the sign with red colour — you should follow it to get to Airport metro station.

Istanbul Airpoort

Istanbul Airpoort

Starting from 2023 new metro line M11 (Gayrettepe — Yeni Havalimanı) is open for visitors. But before you choose this way to get from airport to old city there are some things you need to know about.

First, you have to walk about 400 m to get to metro entrance, and don’t forget that the airport itself is very big so untill you get to the exit you also have to walk a lot. So if there is a big luggage with you — think twice before you choose to go by metro.

Second, after you get to the Kağıthane station you also have to walk about 400 m. So in total there is a lot of waking during your trip by metro line and it’s not very comfortable way if you have big or heavy luggage with you.

Istanbul Airpoort

Entrance to Istanbul Airpoort metro station

How to get from Istanbul Airport to Sultanahmet by metro?

You have to do 3 transfers until you reach an Old city:

  1. First step ıs M11 Istanbul Airport to Kağıthane station
  2. Then we have to change the line to M7 Kağıthane and get to Mecidiyeköy
  3. After we should change the line to M2 Şişli and get to Yenikapı
  4. And the last one — change to М1А Yenikapı and get to Aksaray


Taxi is the de-facto service for most toursists, when getting to a place or hotel. However, Istanbul Airport is 40 km away from any locations, so you may want to consider other forms of transportantion. A taxi ride will cost you at least 850 liras, however, this is not a fixed cost. In case your taxi gets stuck in traffic or passes through toll roads, the price grows very rapidly. If you still intend to take a taxi, it is avalivable near the exit of the terminal.

The fare to Sultanahmet and Sirkeci by taxi is typically about 800 liras. To Kadikoy — 950 liras.

Important: Feel free to ask to turn on the taximeter.

Private transfer

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Private transfers are a great alternative to taxis, and for standard airport transfers. They are much more comfortable than taxis and have a fixed fare, and offer a quiet and safe trip to your hotel. Private transfers, unlike airport transfers, will take you straight to your hotel doors. Also, it’s ideal when traveling with babies, as the driver also has a child seat.

A great shuttle service is available at online. They provide a selection of cars, from Micro 3 passenger cars, to minibuses for up to 19 people.

Public transport

Of course you can use public transport, it is cheaper than a taxi, but you should first learn about the disadvantages. First is your baggage, where a bus trip during rush hour will turn into a terrific quest to find your items. Then, there is so far only one bus line that’s convenient for tourists, H2, to Mecidiyekoy. Finally, buses only run at daytime, exclusively from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

There is also a new M11 metro line, which you can use to get at first to Kağıthane (M7) and then to Mecidiyeköy, afterwards you can walk to M2 Şişli station.

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