How to get from the new Istanbul airport to the city center?

How to get from the new Istanbul airport

Opened at the end of 2018, the new Istanbul International Airport is the main gateway to Turkey and the hub for Turkish Airlines. If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, you may be wondering how to get from the new Istanbul airport to the city center?

The former Ataturk Airport was the hub for Turkish Airlines, anyone who has passed through Ataturk knows that the airport no longer supported Turkish Airlines operations. There were problems for all sides, no places to sit, no gates for boarding and huge queues for immigration.

The new airport is being opened in phases, the first phase is ready and has already transformed the experience of passengers flying with Turkish Airlines all other airlines. 

Before explaining how to get from the new Istanbul airport to the city center, let’s clarify some doubts?

Read more:
Where to stay in Istanbul (Best hotels)
How to visit the Blue Mosque in Istanbul


Which Istanbul Airport should you fly to?


First of all, you need to pay attention to the airport code on your booking or boarding pass. The old Ataturk Airport only receives cargo flights. But in addition to the new airport, there’s another international airport in the city, Sabiha Gökçen Airport (code SAW).

This airport is used by low-cost airlines and some regional Turkish Airlines flights, some Qatar Airways flights to Doha and Emirates to Dubai. By the way, the two gulf carriers also fly to the new airport.


How to get from new Istanbul airport to the city center?


Unfortunately the new Istanbul airport doesn’t have access to the city’s metro. The new airport is located 54 kilometers from the city center and the only way to get there is by car, bus or shuttle.

By regular bus

Several regular bus lines are making the journey between the city and the new airport. Take a look at the main options:

Line H2: New airport x Mecidiyeköy. There’re 16 daily frequencies in each direction. Check the schedules here.

Line H3: New airport x Halkalı. There are 14 daily frequencies in each direction. Check the schedules here.

Line H4:
New airport x Ataturk Airport. There are 24 daily frequencies in each direction. Ideal for those staying around the old airport. Check the schedules here

How to get from the new Istanbul airport
How to get from the new Istanbul airport to the city center?

By express bus

Line IST-1: New airport x Yenikapi. There are 13 daily frequencies in each direction. This station is located in the center of Istanbul with convenient access to the metro and the tram network. 
Price: 18 liras (US$ 2.70). Check the schedules here

Line IST-7: New airport x Kozyatağı. There are 9 daily frequencies in each direction. This station is halfway to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport.
Price: 25 liras (US$ 2.50). Check the schedules here

Line IST-19: New airport x Taksim. There are 14 daily frequencies in each direction. The final stop is at Taksim Square, certainly another popular route for those visiting Istanbul.
Price: 18 liras (US$ 2.70). Check the schedules here

Line IST-20: New airport x Sultanahmet. This is definitely the best option to get from new Istanbul airport to the city center. Buses run every 30 minutes during the day and hourly over the night.
Price: 18 liras (US$ 2.70). Check the schedules here

How to get from the new Istanbul airport
Express bus

More options

Transfer services are another great option, however much more expensive, which have an average price of US$ 17. And the taxi, which cost around US$  68 each way.

Uber could be an option, but believe me, the service doesn’t reach the new airport.


What I did?


I took the IST-20 line from Sultanahmet to the airport. The buses are comfortable, they have Wi-Fi connection, and an entertainment system with USB ports, Yeah, just like big planes. The ticket, as mentioned above, cost US$ 2.70 and the trip took about 1 hour. You can by the tickets in the ticket office next to the bus or with the driver.

How to get from the new Istanbul airport
Ticket

In my opinion, the best option to get from the new Istanbul airport to the city center is by express bus. The Turkish government is promising a train service to the new airport, and I saw several billboards about this service on the way to the new airport. But I think they are so far from opening this service.

How to get from the new Istanbul airport
Express bus cabin

Hotels near the new airport


If you are looking for places to stay in and around new Istanbul airport, I recommend the list below which the best accommodations.


Yotelair Istanbul Airport Airside

This hotel is located inside the airport, it is perfect for those who are in transit and don’t want or don’t need to leave the terminal for anything. It’s inside the security area of ​​the airport, after passport control.
Take a look at the promotional prices here


YOTEL Istanbul Airport Landside

This hotel is also inside the airport, but before passport control and offers comfortable and affordable rooms.
Take a look at the promotional prices here


Park Inn by Radisson Istanbul Airport Odayeri

This Radisson is also an excellent option for those who need to be close to the new airport. The rates are cheaper than the others hotels that I mentioned here. It’s a little far from the airport, around 13 kilometers, but the price is excellent.
Take a look at the promotional prices here


Where to Stay in Istanbul


If you are looking for where to stay in Istanbul, take a look here.

On my last visit to Istanbul I stayed at Dosso Dossi Hotels Old City. The Hotel is located in Sultanahmet, near the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The hotel has a fantastic breakfast, and some treats like afternoon tea and late night soup as a complimentary.

On my first trip I stayed in Yenikapi, and this region is full of good accommodation options and I chose the Marmara Place Old City Hotel and I really liked. The location was perfect, just a short walk from the subway and just 2 blocks from the tram station.

Even closer to the trams station, there’s the Eskar Hotel, is also a good option for accommodation in Istanbul. Another one? The Eternity Hotel, with clean decor and incredible view from the breakfast room.

Want to stay in a hotel in the best Victorian palace style and pay less? The tip is the Deluxe Golden Horn Sultanahmet Hotel and as the name says, it is located in the Sultanahmet.

If you prefer to be conservative when choosing where to stay in Istanbul, I recommend Eurostars Hotel Old City. It is close to the Galata Bridge, Bosphorus Tours and the Sultanahmet.

Other options at Sultanahmet: take a look at the Optmist Hotel, which has a beautiful view of the Blue Mosque. Another beautiful hotel is the Coliseum, which is practically inside the Hippodrome and with a perfect view of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and the Bosphorus.


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