Hello to everyone! If you have a flight to Istanbul, you will need to know how to get to the city center from Istanbul airport. Transportation in big metropolitan cities like Istanbul may be quite complicated for tourists.

I am an experienced tourist who has been to more than 50 countries around the world. Today, as a local that has lived in Istanbul for years, I will tell you about getting to the city center from Istanbul Airport (IST) in the easiest and fastest way. Let’s start my Istanbul Airport transportation guide!

Brief Info About Istanbul Airport (IST)

Istanbul Airport is one of the busiest and largest airports in Turkey and Europe, located on the European side of Istanbul. In fact, local people call this airport the Istanbul New Airport. Because it was just built. I even took part in its construction as a civil engineer 🙂

Istanbul Airport is one of the airports with flights to the most countries in the world. There are direct flights from many points from America to Africa, from Latin America to the Far East.

Istanbul Airport From Above @Alevision

How far is the IST Airport from the Istanbul City?: Istanbul Airport is about 30 kilometers away from the city center of Istanbul.

What is the exact location of the airport?: It is located in the Arnavutkoy district in the northwest of Istanbul.

Is it the biggest airport in Istanbul?: Yes, even one of the largest airports in the whole world.

How long does it take on average to get to the city?: On average, it will take your 1-2 hours. Because Istanbul Airport’s metro has not opened yet.

Getting from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul City?

Now let’s explore all the transportation options (shuttle, public bus, private transfer) from Istanbul Airport to the city center of Istanbul such as Kadikoy, Taksim, Besiktas, Sultanahmet etc. (and of course with the best advices and local tips)

1. Bus (from Istanbul Airport)

The first way to get to the city from Istanbul Airport by public transportation would be to use a bus. There are many different bus lines from Istanbul Airport to the city center. However, they differ from each other according to their route, duration and price.

Basically there are 2 types of buses going from Istanbul Airport to the Istanbul City Center such as Besiktas, Taksim, Sultanahmet;

IETT Municipal Buses

These buses are the cheapest bus lines of the departing from Istanbul Airport. You ride on with a double ticket according to the normal city tariff. It may be difficult to catch that buses because of the less frequent schedule. But these buses go very fast without stopping at many stops.

  • H-1 Line Mahmutbey Metro / Istanbul Airport (departures on average every 1-2 hours)
  • H-2 Line Mecidiyekoy / Istanbul Airport (most frequent bus line)
  • H-3 Line Halkali / Istanbul Airport (you can reach the Marmaray Suburban)
  • H-6 Line Arnavutkoy / Istanbul Airport ( you can reach tram: T4 Edirnekapi  )
  • H-8 Line Haciosman / Sariyer / Istanbul Airport (least frequent bus line)
  • H-9 Line Cevizlibag / Istanbul Airport (one of the least frequent bus line)

*My suggestion is to use the H-2 bus in this category. You can easily go to the Mecidiyekoy and take the M2 Taksim metro line!

Ticket Price: 10 Turkish Lira (it’s about 1.40 USD) double ticket fare applies for these buses.

Don’t Forget: You need Turkish Lira, you have to change your money at the airport

You can get information about bus lines from the official municipality website. Departure times, live bus locations and stops are here…

Airport Express Buses (Havaist) @hava.ist
Istanbul Airport Teminal @ArtemBryzgalov

Airport Express Shuttle Bus (Havaist)

There are also special Havaist airport shuttle buses that you are used to from various cities of the world. You can go directly to Taksim, Besiktas or Anatolian Side of Istanbul from Istanbul Airport with these buses. Airport Express Buses (Havaıst) are one of the most comfortable ways to get to the city from Istanbul Airport.

  • Havaist-5 Line Esenler Otogar / Hasdal / Gokturk / Istanbul Airport
  • Havaist-6 Line Halkali Marmaray  Basaksehir / Istanbul Airport (you can reach the Marmaray Suburban)
  • Havaist-8 Line Beylikduzu / Tuyap Fair Center / Buyukcekmece / Istanbul Airport
  • Havaist-9 Line Avcilar Cami / Bahcesehir Merkez / Ispatakule Bloklar / Istanbul Airport
  • Havaist-10 Line Bakırkoy  / Atakoy / Sirinevler / Yenibosna / Istanbul Airport
  • Havaist-12 Line Beyazit / Aksaray Metro / Ayvansaray / Nurtepe / Istanbul Airport
  • Havaist-14 Line Kadikoy / Acibadem Metro / Yenisahra / Kavacik / Istanbul Airport (you can go to the Anatolian Side directly)
  • Havaist-15 Line Besiktas Meydan / Zincirlikuyu Metrobus / 4. Levent / Istanbul Airport (you can reach metrobus and metro lines)
  • Havaist-16 Line Taksim / Piyalepasa / Nurtepe Viyaduk / Istanbul Airport

*My suggestion is to use the Havaist-14 and Havaist-16 in this category. You can easily go to the Taksim or Kadikoy by these buses.

Ticket Price: 30-40 Turkish Lira (it’s about 5 USD) special ticket fare applies for Airport Express Buses (Havaist)

*This lines operates almost 24 hours in every 20-30 minutes.

You can get information about  Airport Express Bus Lines (Havaist) from the official website. Departure times, live bus locations and stops are here…

From Istanbul Metro / M4 Kadikoy-Kartal Line

2. Getting to City Center by Metro & Subway

Istanbul Airport metro has not been opened yet. I told you it is a new airport. However, you can reach Istanbul metros by transferring from buses. In order not to get stuck in Istanbul traffic, you can consider transferring to the metro from the nearest point.

Now let me tell you about the options of going from Istanbul Airport to the city center by metro;

  • First Option: Take the H-2 municipal bus and go to Mecidiyekoy and you can take the M2 metro or metrobus line.
  • Second Option: Take the H-1 municipal bus line and to go Mahmutbey. You can reach the M7 metro from these point.
  • Third Option: Take the H-3 bus and go to final destination. You can reach to Marmaray suburban system from this point.

3. Taxi Services

Of course, one of the most comfortable and fastest ways to get to the city from Istanbul Airport is to take a taxi. You can easily find a taxi at the arrival terminal of Istanbul Airport. Taxi service is usually very high quality.

There are 3 types of taxis according to the size of the car and the quality of service. I will give you the average prices

Taxi fares from the Istanbul Airport to known points of Istanbul

  • Between Bakirkoy- Istanbul Airport: 150-200 TRY
  • Between Taksim – Istanbul Airport: 150-200 TRY
  • Between Besiktas – Istanbul Airport: 150-200 TRY
  • Between Kadiköy – Istanbul Airport: 200-250 TRY
  • Between Maslak – Istanbul Airport: 150-200 TRY
  • Between Sisli – Istanbul Airport: 150-200 TRY
  • Between Tuzla – Istanbul Airport: 300-350 TRY
  • Between Sabiha Gokcen Airport – Istanbul Airport: 250-300 TRY
  • Between Beylikduzu – Istanbul Airport: 250-300 TRY
  • Between Etiler – Istanbul Airport: 150-200 TRY

Good news for you! Istanbul Airport taxi fares have a fixed price tariff. Here you can check the current taxi fares.

İstanbul @Ant Rozetsky

4. Airport Shuttles & Private Transfer

I am sure you are coming to Turkey for the first time or at least the first time to Istanbul Airport. As a local, getting to the city from Istanbul Airport is complicated even for me.

Therefore, you can choose private airport transfer options. They pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel. This is the easiest and most comfortable way to get to places like Taksim, Kadıkoy and Sultanahmet from Istanbul Airport.

If you need a private transfer for Istanbul Airport, please write to me in the comment section at the end of the article, I can find it to you.

5. by Renting a Car

You can rent a car at Istanbul Airport and go to the city with it. The offices of all world-famous companies are located in Istanbul Airport.

You can rent a car for 15-25 euros per day. But you need some experience to drive in Istanbul traffic 🙂 By renting a car, you can go to points outside of Istanbul.

Me And My Guests: Eugenia, Vlad! / Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque / Welcome to Istanbul!

Which is The Best Way to Go from Istanbul Airport to City Center?

“Gorkem!! Tell me the best way to go city center from Istanbul Airport!”

The best way for tourists to get to the city from Istanbul Airport is to use the airport express buses. (Havaist) With these buses, you can go directly to places such as Taksim, Sultanahmet, Beyazit.

if you need the cheapest option, choose the municipal IETT buses 🙂 However, you need a city card called Istanbul Card for these buses.

Finally, if you are a few people, I think you can use taxi and private transfer options. Fees for these transfers are quite low compared to Europe.

Practical Information & Tips from Real Local

  • Don’t forget to change your money to Turkish Lira in the Airport!
  • Consider that you will spend at least 1-2 hours on the road.
  • In order not to get stuck in traffic, first consider going to nearest metro stations, then go to Taksim or Sultanahmet by metro.
  • Enjoy Istanbul 🙂 Explore Anatolian Side!
  • Taxis have fixed price! You can easily use them!
What a Beautiful City Isn’t it? @Anna

FAQs About Istanbul Airport Airport Transportation

What is the best and convenient way to get from Istanbul Airport to the city?

I think, the most convenient way is to use express buses (havaist , the details are written above

What is the cheapest way to get to the city?

The cheapest way to get to the Istanbul city from Istanbul Airport is by Municipal Bus. It’s only standart double ticket cost.

How to get to Istanbul Airport the fastest?

The fastest way of transportation is to use the metro transit options. First please try to reach one of the metro, suburban system.

Is there a metro or rail system at Istanbul Airport?

No, it will open soon. But for now, you can go to the nearest metro by bus.

Which is the most comfortable way to get from Istanbul Airport to the city?

The most comfortable way of transportation from Istanbul Airport to city center is taxi and private transfer services.

How long does it take to get from Istanbul Airport to the İstanbul city?

Whichever way you use it takes at least 1-2 hours. This is Istanbul!! 🙂

Is There a transfer from Istanbul Airport (IST) to Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW)

Yes, there is a bus running between Sabiha Gokcen Airport and Istanbul Airport. For details see here

How can I Get to the City from Istanbul Airport at Night?

Airport Express Bus (Havaist) busses are operating almost 24 hours a day.

Istanbul Railway Network Map / You May Also Need

Transportation to Some Known Places in Istanbul

How can i get from Istanbul Airport to Kadikoy

Take Havaist-14 line just it 🙂 You will cross the Bosphorus Bridge on this road and watch the view

Getting to Taksim From Istanbul Airport

First option, you can take the Havaist-16 line. In this option you can directly go to the Taksim and Taksim Square. Second options is to take H-2 bus from Istanbul Airport then go to the Mecidiyekoy and take M2 metro!

Getting to Sultanahmet From Istanbul Airport

Take Havaist-12 bus and enjoy the journey! You will need to walk 5-10 minutes after get off.

Getting to Besiktas From Istanbul Airport

You can use the Havaist-15 line to reach to Besiktas!

Explore Istanbul With “Gorkem” ? This is Balat which is one of popular places in Istanbul

Further Reading for Your Visit to Istanbul

If you want to enjoy Istanbul, how about taking a tour with the advice of a local? Only locals know the best secrets 🙂 Don’t forget to read my travel articles in Istanbul! Read more about Istanbul’s Asian SideGetting to Asian Side of Istanbul

That’s all! If you have any questions about private and public transportation to / from Istanbul Airport, please ask me in the comments section below, I answer them all, love to everyone! “Gorusuruz” (bye bye in Turkish)

Notice: There are two airports in Istanbul. One is Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) and the other one is Istanbul Airport (IST) which I mentioned in this article, don’t confuse which airport to go to 🙂 If you are landing at Sabiha Gokcen Airport, get information from my another article.

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