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From Istanbul Airport to the city


Page update - Apr 15, 2023

How to get from Istanbul Airport (New) to the city to your hotel? Does the Istanbul Metro reach the airport? How much do taxis cost? What buses are available? Do you need to book the transfer in advance? Read the answers on this page.

Prices, timetables and other information on this page were updated in April 2023.

Top news!

The Istanbul Airport Metro Station started operating on January 23, 2023. This is great! Let's talk about the new metro option first.

Metro

The metro line to the airport has been awaited for several years, and more precisely since 2019, when Istanbul's new airport became fully operational. And finally, on January 23, the metro line and station became operational. The first month was even free of charge, but when this page was updated (April 2023), the free period had already ended. The line to the airport is called the M11.

Finding the entrance to the metro station is not difficult, as there are now signposts all over the airport. See the photo near, click to enlarge it.

An important point! The M11 branch is not finished yet. There is not yet connection between Kağıthane and Gayrettepe stations. The direct transfer from the M11 (from the airport) directly to the M2 (the most useful for tourists) line will be available after this connection will be finished. But in the meantime you need to make a detour via the M7.

The fares.

You have to buy an İstanbulkart transport card to get in the metro. At the time of updating this page (April 2023) the card costs 50 Turkish liras (the card price, the balance will be 0). For the current Turkish currency exchange rates, see our review "Money in Turkey".

You need to top up the card by at least 30 liras (12 from the airport + 7,1 for M7 + 7,1 for M2). And if you need to transfer from M2 to somewhere else, top up another +7.1 lira per transfer.

Please note that in the Istanbul Metro, changes between lines have to be paid for separately. The Marmaray line has a special payment system. Luggage is allowed in the metro, but with restrictions. Read our in-depth review "Istanbul Metro" for more details.

The cost for the ride is 12 liras. Travel time is 24 minutes to Kağıthane station. The interval is still high at around 20 minutes. The trains will likely run more frequently in the future.

How to ride.

First, ride from the airport to Kağıthane station. Change to the M7 line (Kağıthane station). Then ride two stations to Mecidiyeköy where you can change to M2 line (Şişli Station).

If you get hungry, there is a large Istanbul Cevahir shopping centre near Şişli Station. There are KFC, Burger King, McDonalds, Pizza Hut inside. A good mall, although not the best in Istanbul. For prices in fast-food outlets and restaurants, see our review "How much money to take for Turkey".

Taxi

The fares below are of a regular (yellow, "sari" in Turkish) taxi. See the current exchange rates in our review "Money in Turkey".

Taxi fares have gone up in 2023! There are three price categories of taxis: Sarı (yellow) - 12,65 lira for boarding and 8,51 per kilometer, Turkuaz (blue) - 14,55 for boarding and 9,79 per kilometer, VIP (black) - 21,51 for boarding and 14,47 per kilometer.

Read about the fare, rules, and features in our review "Taxis in Turkey - rules and prices".

The approximate journey prices are: to Sultanahmet - 400 lira, to Yenikapi - 420 lira, to Taksim - 380 lira, to Sabiha Airport - 750 lira, to Kadikoy - 550 lira.

It is quite expensive for most tourists. Public transport options are much cheaper.

Ordering a transfer online

The transfer will cost about the same as the taxi journey. You should book your transfer in advance. You can always get a taxi at the exit of the airport building. There is no shortage of taxis at Istanbul Airport at the moment. There is no point in booking a transfer.

Buses

Buses remain an important means of transport from the airport to the city. Don't be surprised if the next part of this review is more of a route listing.

There are two types of buses:

HVİST are the most comfortable buses. Pros: luggage compartment, TV, Wi-Fi, you can buy your ticket in advance through the website. Cons: long intervals, highest price, do not go to popular tourist areas.

The city buses are the cheapest. Pros: lowest price, runs frequently. Cons: no compartment for luggage, comfort is minimal.

We'll tell you about all the buses in detail.

Havaist buses

A relatively expensive option. Havaist is a dedicated (not municipal) bus service from Istanbul Airport to the city. The main advantage is that tickets can be purchased in advance on the official hava.ist website (registration is required). Then you can simply show the QR-code at the bus entrance.

If you haven't bought your ticket in advance, you can pay with a credit (or debit) card or cash in the bus. Istanbulkart cards are not accepted in Havaist buses now (April 2023).

Finding the Havaist stop is easy - follow the signs for "Bus/Shuttle". Buses depart from the lower level (-2nd floor), you can take the elevator down.

At the time this page was updated (April 2023) there are 8 Havaist bus routes (HVİST-6 has been canceled):

Number Price, liras Interval, min Terminus station
HVİST-5 68 45 OTOGAR Goes to Esenler Otogarı Bus Station
HVİST-7 85 30-50 BEYLİKDÜZÜ-AVCILAR CAMİ Useless for tourists
HVİST-8 68 45-60 BAHÇEŞEHİR Useless for tourists
HVİST-9 96 60 KADIKÖY Goes to the Asian part of Istanbul. To Acıbadem (M4), Kadıköy (M4), Yenisahra (M4) metro stations
HVİST-10 110 60-120 SABİHA GÖKÇEN Goes to Sabiha Airport
HVİST-12 87 30-45 AKSARAY - BEYAZIT MEYDAN Goes to the T1 tram stops. Can go to Yenikapı, Aksaray, Sultanahmet
HVİST-13 78 30-45 BAKIRKÖY Useless for tourists
HVİST-14 87 30-45 TAKSİM Goes to Taksim Square

Havaist buses are comfortable and have lower bays for luggage, Wi-Fi and TV. The main inconvenience is the long intervals.

Which one should you choose?

If your hotel is in the European part of Istanbul, north of the Golden Horn. Choose HVİST-14 as it stops at Taksim Square, near the Taksim metro station. There you can grab a bite to eat or shop, then continue by the metro.

If your hotel is in the European part of Istanbul, south of the Golden Horn. Choose HVİST-12 as it stops at Beyazit Square, close to the T1 tram stop. Trams will take you to Sultanahmet, Aksaray, Yenikapı.

If your hotel is located on the Asian part of Istanbul, choose HVİST-9. This route is the only one going to the Asian part.

City buses

This is the cheapest way, but also the longest. Unfortunately, Istanbul's city buses are not very comfortable. If you manage to get a seat, you'll get there all right. But standing on a bus for 1.5-2 hours is a dubious pleasure.

There are 6 public bus routes from Istanbul Airport - these are routes H1-H3 and H6, H8, H9. There was also an H7 to Alibeyköy Otogarı Bus Station in 2020, but it has now been removed from the official İETT website, apparently canceled.

The price is 2 standard fares. At the time this page was updated (April 2023) it is 19.8 liras (2 x 9.9). Payment is made with the Istanbulkart, which can be purchased and immediately recharged there - at the bus stop on the lower level. The Istanbulkart was explained in detail in our review "Istanbul Metro".

Route Where to go Travel time
H1 Mahmutbey Metro on the M3 (blue) line 94 minutes
H2 Mecidiyeköy Metro Station on line M2 (green) 98 minutes
H3 Halkalı station on the Marmaray line 107 minutes
H6 Yunus Emre area (European part of Istanbul)* 85 minutes
H8 Hacıosman Subway on the M2 (green) line 127 minutes
H9 Cevizlibağ stop, T1 or Metrobüs tram line 120 min

* - There is no underground station in the Yunus Emre area. However, the H6 stops midway at Mescid-i Selam where you can transfer to the T4 tram line.

Buses run anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes, depending on the day of the week, time of day and season. We will not give exact timetables for each route here. You should check the official website at iett.istanbul/RouteStation/Search

Which bus to choose?

It depends on the location of the hotel. The general recommendations are as follows:

- If your hotel is in the European part of the city and north of the Golden Horn (where Taksim Square is), then choose H2. Change to the M2 (green) line;

- If the hotel is on the European side of the city and south of the Golden Horn (where Yenikapi and Sultanahmet are) then take the H9. Change to the T1 tram line;

- If the hotel is on the Asian side, then take H3. Change to Marmaray.

Travel with luggage

Luggage is allowed, but there are restrictions. Firstly, the luggage must not stand in the aisle and interfere with the movement of passengers inside the bus. Secondly, the weight of luggage must be less than 30 kilos (66 pounds) and the dimensions must not exceed 120x60x50 centimeters (3.9x1.9x1.6 feet).

Important to know

- The exchange rates at the airport are not favorable. It's a good idea to change a small amount so you can pay for the metro or bus about 100 liras (for Istanbulkart + fares). Once in the city, you can exchange currency at a better rate. Read our detailed review "How and where to exchange money in Turkey";

- Don't forget about pickpockets. Unfortunately, pickpockets are still common in Istanbul. Read our detailed review "Dangers for tourists in Turkey".

Have a good trip from Istanbul Airport, and read our interesting pages about Turkey (see the pages list below).

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