Istanbul has two international airports: Istanbul Airport (IST) on the European side and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) on the Asian side of the city.
There are daily scheduled flights as well as almost daily charter flights during the holiday season to Istanbul. Sabiha Gokcen Airport, which is located on the Asian side and is approximately 40 km outside the city center, is often used by European low-cost airlines. Direct flights from Germany, Austria and Switzerland vary between 2.5 and 3 hours.
If you want to start your holiday already on the train enjoying all the extras, you can travel with the nostalgic Orient Express from Europe to Istanbul. This exclusive option is very expensive. From Munich, there are much cheaper and faster offers to travel to Istanbul by train. The journey takes about 40 hours including a change of train in Budapest, but there are wonderful landscapes and interesting cities to see along the way.
Traveling to Istanbul by bus is a bit more tedious than traveling by train, as you have to spend most of your time in your seat. The journey varies between one and two days and is relatively inexpensive.
Getting to Istanbul by car is also very time-consuming, but very adventurous due to the customizable route. However, you should pay attention to the highway tolls and visa requirements in some transit countries. If you want to drive the entire route, you will reach your destination in about 40 hours.
Car ferries to Istanbul depart from Venice and Ancona and will bring you to your destination after a three night journey. The shortest voyage starts from the Italian port cities of Otranto or Brindisi to Igoumenitsa/Greece and continues by car via Thessaloniki to Istanbul.
Getting to the city center by public transportation, shuttle bus and taxi
There are several ways to get to the city center and other districts of Istanbul. Here is an overview with the most important information:
The bus lines H-1, H-2, H-3 and H-4 operate from Istanbul Airport.
The regular bus E-11 departs from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Kadıköy. For the passage from Kadıköy to the European side there are daily regular connections with the ship.
Further information on the timetable of the buses can be found here
The metro line M11 from Gayrettepe station to Istanbul Airport will be completed and ready for use in early 2020.
Overview of all public transportation in Istanbul >>
Istanbul Airport, which is about 50 km away, is located northwest of the historic center of Sultanahmet. For transportation, you can use the shuttle buses from HavaIst. Depending on the destination/starting point, prices range from 16 TL to 25 TL per person. In addition to the direct connection to Sultanahmet and Taksim there are 18 more routes. Current timetable HavaIst
For example, the trip to Taksim or Sultanahmet takes about 70 minutes and costs 18 TL. As with the other regular buses, you can only pay with the Istanbulkart.
To get from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to the city to Taksim, Kadıköy and Yenisahra, the Havabüs Shuttle www.havabus.com operates every half an hour, serving almost 24 hours a day (see timetable on the website). The departure and arrival point in Taksim is at the Point Hotel Taksim.
You can also book a private airport pick-up. Take advantage of our airport transfer
A taxi trip from the Istanbul airport to Taksim costs approximately 20 Euro. From Sabiha Gokcen you pay around 25 Euro. Calculate your taxi fare in advance here.