How to Get from Istanbul Airport to Sultanahmet-Taksim

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Istanbul New Airport to City Center

How to Get from Istanbul New Airport to Sultanahmet or Taksim?

Sultanahmet (Old City) is about 50 km away from the New Istanbul Airport, and Taksim (Beyoglu) is around 40 km away. They are both very popular tourist destinations and when your flight has landed you will need help to get yourself and your luggage to your hotel.

There are several options to choose from all of them with their own pros and cons. Which you choose could be decided by budget, time scale or comfort, but here are a few details to help you choose.

What to Do before Leaving the Istanbul Airport

What to do before leaving the airport? Please make sure you do these 3 steps!

Hotel Adress

Firstly, write down the name and address of your hotel. Print it clearly with the phone number as well. There are a huge number of hotels in Istanbul and even many of the locals do not know them all.

Do not be phased if a taxi driver phones the hotel for directions, they will get you there in the end. Have your hotel address and phone number handy so that there can be no misunderstanding about where you are headed for.

Turkish Lira

Before you even get into a taxi or other form of transport, stop at an airport ATM if you have no Turkish liras on you. The local currency is all that most forms of transport will accept and it does help if you have some smaller notes ready to pay with.

The operators do not like large denomination Turkish notes and if possible, you should not offer them a note that is for more than 50 liras.

It’s safe to get a taxi from Istanbul’s New Airport. However it might be a bit tricky in the city center. Offering small notes will protect you from possible taxi scams. Please also check Istanbul Taxi Scams post after finishing this article.

Istanbulkart (It’s a must)

Lastly, before you leave the airport, get yourself an Istanbulkart and put some credit on it. If at any time during your holiday you use the public transport system, this is a cheaper way to travel and there are some public transportation lines that will only accept this payment method.

Istanbul Airport Shuttle (Havaist) accept the payments only through Istanbulkart. Please make sure you get it before you leave the airport. If you are looking for more information about Istanbulkart, this blog post will be helpful.

Istanbul New Airport to Sultanahmet and Taksim

Now you are ready to get from Istanbul New Airport to city center and we need to look at the different options you have to get you there. It’s possible to use airport shuttle or taxi from Istanbul Airport to city for now. Metro from Istanbul New Airport to Sultanahmet and Taksim will be available soon!

  • Havaist Airport Shuttle

The Havaist Airport Shuttle is a new service that operates between Istanbul New Airport and locations all over the city. There are several bus lines involved in the venture and the shuttles are very simple to use.  You just look for the name on the front of the shuttle and get the one that has your destination shown. If you are unsure, speak with the driver as they will always direct to the right one.

For instance, if you are heading for Taksim, you get the IST 19. This is the Istanbul New Airport to Taksim and it stops on the way at Zincirlikuyu, Levent and Besiktas areas as well.

The fares are cheap at only 18 Turkish lira each trip, and that includes your luggage too. The journey can take over one and a half hours, but thankfully Wi-Fi, USB charging points and TV-Movie-series services are available to help pass the time.

Cost of Istanbul Airport Shuttle for Sultanahmet-Taksim

  • Sultanahmet (Beyazit, Sirkeci, Eminonu)

Sultanahmet is the most popular tourist destination. It has Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque. Yet, there are only a few 5 star hotels in the area. You should stay in Sultanahmet if you’d enjoy nice boutique hotels.

Bus Number: IST-1 S

Price: 18 TL

Distance: 52 Km

Duration: 110 Dk.

  • Taksim -aka Beyoglu- (Karakoy, Galata, Cihangir)

Taksim is literally the heart of Istanbul. The area is commonly known as “Beyoglu”. Beyoglu‘s Taksim Square, Istiklal Avenue and Galata Tower are the top tourist destinations in Istanbul.

Bus Number: IST-19

Price: 18 TL

Distance: 40 Km

Duration: 95 Dk.

  • Besiktas (Ortakoy, Etiler, Bebek)

Besiktas is one of the most area to stay in Istanbul. It’s also a public transportation hub. It’s fairly easy to reach business district (Levent, Maslak), tourist areas (Taksim, Sultanahmet) and Bosphorus (Ortakoy, Bebek) from Besiktas. Luxurious hotels like Shangri-La, Conrad, Kempinski and Four Seasons are located in here.

Bus Number: IST-5

Price: 18 TL

Distance: 43 Km

Duration: 110 Dk.

  • Kadikoy (Asian Side)

Kadikoy is the most popular area of Asian Side. It’s a must visit area for foodies. Eating local food at Kadikoy Fish Market, shopping in Bahariye and Bagdat Avenues and relaxing at Moda Neighborhood are must-do activities in Kadikoy.

Bus Number: IST-7

Price: 25 TL

istance: 64 Km

Duration: 110 Dk.

  • Mecidiyekoy (and Sisli)

Mediciyekoy is located in the heart of business district. There are lots of 5 star business hotels in the area.

Bus Number: IST-18

Price: 18 TL

Distance: 37 Km

Duration: 60 Dk.

  • Yenikapı (Aksaray and Marmaray Station)

Yenikapi is one of the public transportation centers of Istanbul. You may take Marmaray, Tram T1 or Metro M2 from here. These vehicles help you get to anywhere in Istanbul!. The IDO car ferry station is also located in here.

Bus Number: IST-1 Y

Price: 18 TL

Distance: 48 Km

Duration: 110 Dk.

Shuttle Bus from Istanbul New Airport to Sultanahmet-Taksim
Havaist Airport Shuttle Sultanahmet

Havaist Airport Shuttle at Sultanahmet Square

Havaist Airport Shuttle is the best price/performance vehicle when it comes to travel from Istanbul New Airport to Sultanahmet, Taksim, Besiktas and Kadikoy areas of Istanbul.

  • Taxis

For some holidaymakers when they have landed in a place they have not been before especially, it is a natural instinct to jump in a taxi as that seems the simplest. However with Taksim at 40 km away this could cost you as much as 110 Turkish lira, and that is assuming the driver really does go the shortest route. To get to Sultanahmet would be 140 Turkish lira.

There are no fixed prices for taxis and if they run into traffic on the way and get slowed down, they are likely to increase the fare even more.

There are two types of taxies in Istanbul. Yellow ones and Blue ones. I would recommend you to get the Blue one if you would like a more comfortable journey. It cost around %10-15 more but it provides a better ride since it offers more luxury and room.

At the airport, you will find official taxi ranks and these are the drivers you should use. (Make sure you take the taxi from the station) The ‘hustlers’ hanging around may be seeming to offer a better deal, but you may not be covered if there is an accident.

When the taxi is ready to pull off, insist that they clear and reset the metre.

Taxi from Istanbul New Airport to Sultanahmet-Taksim
Istanbul New Airport Taxies

Yellow Taxies of Istanbul

Taking a taxi from Istanbul New Airport to Taksim will cost approximately 110 Turkish Lira. Taxi ride from Istanbul Airport to Sultanahmet would probably cost 140 Turkish Lira.

  • Public Transport

Public transport can be the cheapest option of all, but you do need to understand where you are trying to reach. At the wrong times of day, you could get caught up in all the workers going to and from work, and this could create a bit of a struggle when you are trying to get suitcases on and off buses.

Not all public transport heads into tourist areas, although in early 2020 the new metro line from the airport will begin to operate and that will reach many of them.

Metro from Istanbul New Airport to Sultanahmet-Taksim
Istanbul New Airport Metro

Public Transport

Istanbul’s metro system has been growing quickly for the last couple of years. However the metro line is still under construction to get from Istanbul New Airport to Sultanahmet and Taksim.

  • Private Transfer

Most hotels offer a collection service, although this usually has to be requested and they do make a charge for picking you up. This can be the most expensive option of all.

These are just a few of the facts about getting to your destination, it is now your choice as to which you think will be the best for you.

Private Transfer from Istanbul New Airport
Istanbul New Airport Private Transfer

Private Transfer from Istanbul Airport

Some hotels offer free pick ups if you stay more than 3 days.


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Written by Serhat Engul

Istanbul Airport to City Center > Sultanahmet & Taksim 2019

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