There are two bus options to get from SAW Airport to central Istanbul:
❯ The most convenient, most direct option is the Havabus Airport Shuttle, which will take you to Kadikoy (central Asian side) or Taksim (central European side).
The journey takes around 45 minutes to Kadikoy, and around 90 minutes to Taksim.
Tickets cost ₺10 (to Kadikoy) and ₺15 (to Taksim).
These white-colored shuttles are located just outside of the arrivals terminal and they operate every 30 minutes between 3:30 AM–1:00 AM.
In Kadikoy, the bus arrives at/departs from the pier. In Taksim, it arrives/departs from in front of the Point Hotel.
❯ Another option is to take one of the public buses that are also located outside the arrivals terminal, right next to Havabus shuttles, but keep in mind that the public buses are much less convenient as there's no space for luggage, and that they take much longer to reach central parts of Istanbul.
To get to the European side (4. Levent in the business district) you can take either bus 122H or E3.
To get to the Asian side (Kadikoy) you can take either bus E10 or E11. From Kadikoy, you can then take a ferry to get to the European side and continue to the old town by tram.
Tickets cost somewhere between ₺7-12, depending on the bus (the E-buses cost more than regular buses).
The public transport ticketing system in Istanbul charges per trip, meaning that each time you change mode of transportation, you're charged a new 'trip'.
Rechargable cards (Istanbulkart) cost ₺6, and can then be loaded. If you're spending more than a few days in Istanbul, it's best to get one of these, as you save around 50% on all fares (and you'll most likely end up saving a lot more than the initial ₺6 price of the card, since Istanbul is huge). You can buy the rechargable cards at the ticket counters at the entrance to metro and bus stations.
There are no metros or trains connecting Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International (SAW) Airport to Istanbul city center.
Taxi ranks are located just outside of the airport.
A trip from the airport to Kadikoy, on the central Asian side, takes about 30 minutes without traffic. The journey costs around ₺90.
Taxi journeys to the Taksim and Sultanahmet areas on the European side take about 45 minutes, and cost around ₺120.
If you don't want to deal with the hassle of taxi companies or long bus queues, you can prebook a ride via Kiwitaxi, an online booking platform that offers reliable and cheap airport transfers worldwide. The English-speaking driver will wait for you at the airport even if your flight is delayed, holding a sign with your name on it.
Before taking a taxi, please keep in mind that heavy traffic and congestion is very common in Istanbul, and may result in a much higher taxi fare.
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