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Getting There and Away - Travel to Istanbul

Ataturk Airportİstanbul's Atatürk Airport is Turkey's largest and busiest. Any number of popular regular services from the Middle East, the USA, Australia and Europe land here. Although the city's major airline, İstanbul Airlines, went bust, the main domestic carrier, Turkish Airlines (THY), has regular flights to major European and Asian cities. Another smaller airport, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, some 50km east of the Old City on the Asian side, is becoming increasingly popular with cheap airlines. The price of your air ticket will usually cover the airport departure tax.

Ataturk Airport is 23km (14mi) west of Sultanahmet. A taxi into the city centre is the quickest option; it takes around half an hour. A cheaper option is to catch the LRT (Light Rail Transit) from the airport to Zeytinburnu, from where you connect with the tram that takes you directly to Sultanahmet. Another cheap option is to take an airport bus, which costs around EUR4.5 and takes 35-60 minutes to get to Taksim Square. If you are heading for Sultanahmet, get out at the Yenikapı stop beneath the underpass.

A number of local bus companies service other European destinations, but these services are slower and often more expensive than the equivalent flights. Within Turkey, bus is the most widespread and popular way of getting around; they go literally everywhere, all the time. The main bus station, the otogar, is a town in itself, with 168 ticket offices, restaurants, mosques and shops. Buses leave here for domestic and international routes. There's also a bus station on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus at Harem. Currently train is the least preferred option for international visitors travelling to Turkey, as the services are generally slower, but it's becoming increasingly popular for those with time to burn and a love for a journey. The main station is Sirkeci, and there's also Haydarpaşa station on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus.

Driving through Turkey is becoming more popular too. You can bring a car over on a ferry from Italy or Greece; however, you'll find yourself docking in İzmir or Çeşme rather than İstanbul. Car and passenger ferries operate fairly regularly around the Turkish coastline - book your trip well in advance, as they're popular.