How To Get From Istanbul Airport To City Center

Chasing the Donkey may include affiliate links - if you decide to make a purchase through these links, we receive a commission without any additional cost to you. Disclaimer & privacy policy.
Post author Nicky

Written by our local expert Nicky

Nicky, originally from the UK, is now a local in Turkey. She moved to Marmaris, Türkiye for love 12 years ago and is now your Turkey travel planner.

This detailed transportation guide tells you how to get from Istanbul Airport to the city center. We cover the bus, metro, taxi, and private transfer options.

Turkey Travel Blog_How To Get From Istanbul Airport To The City Center

If you’re visiting Istanbul for the first time, you’re in for a treat! For sure, you’ll be exhausted when you leave, but you will have seen some of the most impressive sights ever, enjoyed food like nowhere else and probably shopped ’til you definitely dropped! Ask anyone; Istanbul is a city that never disappoints.

However, Istanbul is huge, which means you really need to know the best ways to get around.

Many people ask how to get from Istanbul Airport to downtown, but the first thing to consider here is where exactly is the city center. Istanbul doesn’t have a clearly defined center! There are very popular spots that are in the middle of the city, so perhaps that’s what people are asking.

So, to narrow it down, let’s say that the city center of Istanbul is either:

Thankfully, there are ways to get from Istanbul Airport to all these places downtown.

How To Get From Istanbul Airport To Taksim

Istanbul Airport To Taksim By HAVIST

Taksim is often regarded as the city center, although the modern center. This bustling part of the city is full of nightlife, shopping, and gastronomy. Taksim literally never sleeps.

You have a few options if traveling from Istanbul Airport to Taksim. Firstly, you could take the HAVAIST bus. This coach shuttle runs between the airport and Taksim 24 hours per day. However, this is a VERY popular coach, so if it’s full, you’ll have to wait for the next one.

Catching a bus at Istanbul Airport

This bus stops in Levent and Besiktas before arriving in Taksim, and the daily times are:
00.20, 01.00, 01.50, 02.40, 04.40, 05.40, 07.30, 08.30, 09.30, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00, 17.00, 18.00, 19.15, 20.30, 21.30, 22.30, 23.30.

You need to look for the HVIST-15 bus as you leave the airport arrivals terminal, and a one-way ticket currently costs 74 Liras. The journey time is around 90 minutes but depends heavily upon traffic. The bus will drop you at Taksim Square, and from there, it’s easy to get to wherever you are staying in Taksim by foot.

Istanbul Airport To Taksim By Metro

Another way to get to Taksim from the airport is by Metro. There is a Metro station outside exit 11 of the airport, and this will connect you to the Metro service that runs all around the city. Taksim Square has a Metro station, and you can reach everywhere else in that part of the city on foot.

The Metro service runs from 6 am until midnight, and trains run to Taksim every 10 minutes or so. This is a bustling line, especially in the afternoon, so it may not be the best option if you have a lot of traffic. However, it will take around 35-40 minutes, and you won’t encounter traffic! You take the M11 line to Gayrettepe and then switch to the M2 line to Taksim.

To use the Metro, you will need to get an IstanbulKart, which you can buy from the Metro station at the airport, and you then top it up to pay for your journeys on a pre-paid basis. You will then ‘beep’ your card at the Metro gates to use it.

Istanbul Airport To Taksim By Taxi Or Private Transfer

You can take a taxi from outside the airport arrivals terminal and ask to be taken to Taksim Square. There are three types of taxis at the airport, and the most common are the yellow taxis. To Taksim, you can expect to pay around 440 liras for a journey of 40 minutes, depending upon traffic.

You can also pre-book a private transfer which costs a little more than a taxi, but there are big benefits to pre-arranging a private transfer from the airport to your Istanbul hotel. For starters, you’ll avoid the hassle and stress of trying to hail a taxi or navigate public transportation after a long flight. A private transfer lets you relax and enjoy the ride as someone else takes care of the driving.

In addition, private transfers are often more comfortable and luxurious than other transport options. You can choose to ride in style in a limousine or SUV or opt for a more budget-friendly sedan. Either way, you can sit back and enjoy the scenery as you’re whisked to your destination.

Finally, by pre-booking your transfer ahead of time, you can be assured of a smooth and seamless experience. Your driver will be waiting for you at the airport when you arrive and will help with your luggage before escorting you to your vehicle. This is the perfect way to start or end your trip without any worries about getting around town.

Brands We Use And Trust

  

How To Get From Istanbul Airport To Sultanahmet

Lesser Known Istanbul Street Foods -

How To Get From Istanbul Airport To Sultanahmet By HAVAIST

There is a bus to Sultanahmet every half an hour from Istanbul Airport, and you need to look for the sign that says ‘Sultanahmet/Eminonu.’ The bus journey takes 45 minutes but can often be more depending upon traffic. The bus will drop you in Sultanahmet Square, which is across from Hagia Sofia.

A one-way ticket is currently 87 Liras; however, this may change over time, so check before you take your journey.

How To Get From Istanbul Airport To Sultanahmet By Taxi Or Private Transfer

If you prefer to get a taxi to Sultanahmet, you can use the yellow, blue, or black taxis outside the arrivals terminal. However, the most common type is the yellow taxi, and for a journey of 53 minutes (depending upon traffic), you’re looking at around 480 Liras.

Just like with Taksim, you can book a private transfer that will cost a little more than a taxi, but you will avoid the hassle and stress of waiting in long lines, and the driver will be waiting for you at the airport when you arrive and will help with your luggage before escorting you to your vehicle. This is the perfect way to start or end your trip without worrying about becoming a taxi scam victim.

How To Get From Istanbul Airport To Besiktas

How To Get From Istanbul Airport To Besiktas By HAVIST

The HAVIST bus to Besiktas is the HVIST-15 bus that also stops in Taksim. However, Besiktas is the stop directly before. It will also stop in Levent before you get to Besiktas.

Departure times are:
00.20, 01.00, 01.50, 02.40, 04.40, 05.40, 07.30, 08.30, 09.30, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00, 17.00, 18.00, 19.15, 20.30, 21.30, 22.30, 23.30.

You need to look for the HVIST-15 bus as you leave the airport arrivals terminal, and a one-way ticket currently costs 74 Liras. The journey time is around 80 minutes but depends heavily upon traffic.

How To Get From Istanbul Airport To Besiktas By Taxi

You can also use a taxi from Istanbul Airport to get to Besiktas, and while you may be stuck in traffic at some point, you will get to where you need to be in comfort. As before, there are different types of taxis, but the most common type is the regular yellow taxi. This journey should take around 39 minutes, depending on traffic, and cost about 440 Liras.

Istanbul Airport To The City Center FAQs

ISTANBUL AIRPORT TO THE CITY CENTER FAQs

How much is a taxi from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul city?

You will need to budget around 450-500 lira for a taxi from the Istanbul Airport to downtown.

How much is a taxi from Istanbul to New Istanbul Airport (IST)?

A taxi will cost around 500 lira to the Istanbul Airport from the city center.

Does the Istanbul Airport have a metro?

Yes, and as of 2023, the line goes from the Airport to the center of Istanbul.

Is there a shuttle bus from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul?

Yes.

Now that you have your guide on getting from Istanbul Airport to the city center, we hope you enjoy your time in Istanbul. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Move This Adventure To Your Inbox & Get An Instant Freebie

Subscribe To Unlock Your FREE Customizable Travel Packing List & All Our Best Tips!