Istanbul Airport Transportation – Atatürk Airport:
Atatürk International Airport (Atatürk Uluslararası Havalimanı) is Istanbul’s main airport and most international visitors to Istanbul arrive at this airport, except for those flying on low-cost carriers which mostly operate out of Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Atatürk Airport is located at Yeşilköy, which is about 24 kms west of Istanbul city centre. Most major European carriers have flights to Istanbul.
Passengers arriving at Atatürk Airport have a choice of airport transfers.
By Airport Bus
For nearly 30 years, the Havas company has been operating a regular shuttle service from Atatürk Airport to Taksim Square in Beyoğlu where their base is located. Havas also provided airport transfers from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Istanbul city centre. As of January 14, 2012, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has ordered Havas Airport buses to cease operations and the Municipality has instead replaced Havas with their own Havataş Airport buses (interesting choice of a similar name!). Havas has brought a legal suit against the Municipality and the case is still with the courts. Until that legal challenge is sorted out, Havataş is the airport bus service. Travel time is approximately 40 minutes and ticket price is TL 10. See their service schedule here.
Atatürk Airport is linked to Istanbul city centre by the metro, which is located under the airport terminal. However this requires a change to the tramway system. Travel five stops on the metro to Zeytinburnu and then change to the Kabataş tramway which goes to the Sultanahmet Square, Istanbul’s main tourist area, and then to Sirkeci Station, Eminönü and on.
The metro from Atatürk Airport travels to Aksaray where taxis are available. Taxis from Aksaray are less expensive than those operating at Atatürk Airport.
There are many local shuttle operators that offer private transfers to and from Atatürk Airport. It’s advisable to only book shuttle services with reputable companies, or one that has been recommended to you by your travel agency or a friend. Viator is a large tour operator that provides arrival and departure airport transfers.
Many of the major hotels offer a chauffeur service for guests of their hotel. Do check out this option as the cost of the hotel transfer could be less expensive than an airport taxi and will also be a more comfortable ride.
All the major car rental companies are represented at Atatürk Airport.
Taxis operating out of Atatürk Airport do charge a higher rate than those away from the airport. If you are catching a taxi from the airport, be sure to agree a rate before taking the ride or insist that the taxi driver turns on the meter. A common trick is for taxi drivers to not turn on the meter and then insisting on a high fare at the end of the journey.
- The Atatürk Airport is an extremely busy airport and can be quite chaotic. It is recommended that you begin your check-in process a minimum of two hours before your flight time.
- If you’re taking a shared private shuttle service to the airport, be aware that the shuttle van usually goes around to other hotels to pick up customers before heading to the airport. Do allow time for this. On a recent trip to the airport, we found ourselves still picking up passengers when we should have been at the airport check-in.
Atatürk Airport Hotel
If you have an early flight there are several hotels within 1.5 to 2 kms from Atatürk Airport. Most of these airport hotels have free shuttle transfers to the airport as well as into town. For the list of Istanbul airport hotels, see Here.If you think of anything I left out of this post, please feel free to put that on the comment.