Getting to Istanbul
There are two international airports in Istanbul: Istanbul Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport on the Asian side. Both airports have flights from all countries almost every day, although the international flights are mostly directed to Istanbul Airport. The flights from Europe take about 3 hours on average, whereas from the United States, it may take up to 13 hours.
Note that you need a transportation card (Istanbulkart), and charge it from charging machines (Biletmatik) or İstanbulkart app to take any public transport in Istanbul. You can get a card from the charging machines or IETT kiosks.
From Istanbul Airport:
- By taxi: Getting from Istanbul Airport to the city center may be a bit costly, since the airport is located about 40 km’s out of the city center. Getting to Taksim area will cost around 300 TL, and to Karaköy around 350 TL, and take about 50 minutes without traffic.
- Airport shuttle: This is the most convenient way to reach the city center from the airport. There are shuttles called “Havaist” to/from many destinations with various costs that can be checked from https://www.hava.ist/. The shuttle to Taksim costs 52 TL, and takes about 90 minutes. They operate almost 24/7.
- Public transportation: You can take bus no. H2 from the airport, transfer to M2 metro line Mecidiyeköy Metrobüs station, and get off at Taksim station to reach Taksim area. The metro lines and airport buses operate 24/7, however, the frequency decreases after midnight.
From Sabiha Gökçen Airport:
- By taxi: Sabiha Gökçen Airport is also about 40 km away from Taksim area, so the taxi ride will cost around 300 TL, and to Karaköy around 350 TL, however, bridge passing fees are applicable and not included in this cost.
- Airport shuttle: “Havabus” shuttles operate between Sabiha Gökçen Airport and the city center (Taksim and Kadıköy areas). Detailed information can be found at: https://www.havabus.com/ The shuttles operate until 00:30 from the airport. It will take about 90 minutes to get to Taksim depending on the traffic, and cost 52.5 TL.
- Public transportation: Bus no. SG-2 goes from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Taksim, and E-10 and E-11 bus lines go to Kadıköy. To go to Taksim from Kadıköy, you can take the ferry to Kabataş and then tram to Taksim. Detailed information on ferry schedule is on: https://www.sehirhatlari.istanbul/en
Getting around Istanbul
Taksim and Karaköy are very centrally located, and getting around Istanbul with public transport is quite easy. M2 metro line and F1 tram line pass from Taksim, and T1 tram line, and ferry lines can be used to reach Karaköy. For detailed information on rail transportation, click (https://www.metro.istanbul/en/), on metrobus transportation, click (https://metrobus.iett.istanbul/en), on public bus transportation, click (https://www.iett.istanbul/en)