Transportation from Istanbul Airport to City Center (Sultanahmet)

Istanbul International Airport (IST)TransportationAirport to City Center (Sultanahmet)

Transfer Options from Istanbul International Airport to Istanbul City Center (Sultanahmet)

The new Istanbul International Airport is connected to Istanbul city center via taxi, bus, and subway. Alternatively, lavish private transfers and independent airport car rentals are also available at IST Airport. Briefly, an Istanbul airport taxi will comfortably transfer you to your accommodation in the city center in about 50 minutes, costing you 19.18€/19.10$ (350₺), while the ride with an airport bus will take approximately 100 minutes with a fare of 67₺ (3.67€/3.60$) depending on the chosen service line. However, in both cases, the journey duration is unfortunately subject to the traffic levels. On the other hand, Istanbul airport Metro Line M11 combines speed and low prices, but for the moment, traverses only a 34-km distance from the airport, heading to the Kâğıthane district.
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Istanbul Airport to Istanbul City Center by Taxi

Taking a taxi from Istanbul Airport guarantees a comfortable transfer but not a quick one due to the heavy traffic on Istanbul streets. Nevertheless, with an Istanbul airport taxi, you will reach your exact destination in Sultanahmet’s historic area stress-free with an average fee of 350₺ (19.18€/19.10$) depending on the travel time as taxis don’t offer fixed prices. The approximately 50-km ride lasts about 50 minutes. You will find the official taxi ranks just outside every airport level.

Yellow taxis are the ordinary and cheapest ones, while you can also hire a more comfortable blue taxi (15% more expensive) or a black, luxurious taxi vehicle (100% more expensive).

Note that you should never take individual unofficial vehicles, and you should pay attention to the “traditional” taxi drivers’ scams and overcharges.

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We selected one of the best, most trustworthy and convenient 5-star airport taxi companies for your transfer from Istanbul Airport based on user reviews across various platforms such as Google, Tripadvisor and Trustpilot. Welcome Pickups offers a great experience and safety to its travelers.

  • Local English-speaking drivers

  • Flat, pre-paid fee

  • Flight monitoring for delays

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Istanbul Airport to Istanbul City Center by Bus

Two bus companies handle the transportation from and to Istanbul International Airport, Havaist buses, and IETT public buses. However, only Havaist shuttles offer a direct connection to the famous Sultanahmet, as IETT buses serve mostly less popular parts of the city. Therefore, you can always take the IETT H-2 or H-9 buses, but you will have to further use other bus and metro lines to reach your final destination. On the other hand, the luxurious Havaist Buses iSt-12 will drop you off at Aksaray – Beyazit Meydan bus stop in about 90 minutes (depending on the traffic congestion). From that point, Sultanahmet Square is only 1.5km or a 10-minute walk away.

Havaist buses run around the clock with every 20/25-minute route, and their ticket costs only 67₺ (3.67€/3.60$).

The bus station is located at the -2 airport level. In that area, you can also purchase an Istanbulkart, valid for all public transportation means, even for public toilets. Moreover, you can also pay using your credit card via Havaist App or book your tickets in advance and simply download a QR code. Cash can be used only at the designated airport cash payment points.

Istanbul Airport to Istanbul City Center by Metro

The Istanbul airport Metro Line M11 now links Istanbul Airport to Istanbul, providing a fast and affordable option to the airport’s ground transportation system. Thus, if you opt for a subway ride from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul city center, you’ll have to head to IST airport subway station, lying right outside Exit 11, on the front side of the car park. After hopping on Metro Line M11, you’ll disembark at Gayrettepe Station and transfer to Line M2 to Vezneciler Station, a 15-20-minute walk from Sultanahmet Square. Overall, the journey with the Istanbul airport metro to Sultanahmet will last around 40 minutes, plus an approximate 10-minute waiting time, as subway routes are frequent. However, please keep in mind that the Istanbul subway operates only from 06:00 am to midnight.

The purchase of a rechargeable Istanbulkart is necessary to pay for your metro tickets. Istanbulkarts are available through the automatic machines of the Istanbul airport metro station, only via cash. After buying your card, you can load it with money and buy your metro ticket to Sultanahmet. The price for the Istanbulkart is 60₺ (2.94€/3.10$), while a one-way subway ticket costs 9.90₺ (0.48€/0.50$). Still, you’ll have to pay for your onward ride with Line M2 as well. However, when the change of lines takes place within 2 hours, a discount is applied at the second metro fare, reducing the fee to 7.09₺ (0.35€/0.40$). Hence, the total cost of the ride from Istanbul Airport to Sultanahmet will be 16.99₺ (0.83€/0.90$), plus the Istanbulkart cost. Fortunately, Istanbulkarts aren’t personal but can be used by multiple passengers. Thus, you can buy only one card even if you are traveling with a company. Children up to 6 years of age travel for free.

Our Tip: The Istanbul airport Metro Line M11 was put into service on January 2023, heading to Kâğıthane Station. Gayrettepe Station is expected to be added to the line’s itinerary during the next months. Thus, currently, to get from Istanbul Airport to Sultanahmet, you’ll have to take M11 to Kâğıthane Station, change to Bus 41St, and afterward, hop on Tram Line T1 at Topkapi. As a result, the journey time is considerably higher, and the 3-time change of lines adds a big hassle to the airport transfer.

Car Rental from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul City Center

Another alternative for your transfer from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul city center is renting a car. An Istanbul airport car rental will give you freedom and independence but you will have to deal with the traffic jams and navigate through the hectic streets of Istanbul. However, if you wish to hire a car anyway, it is always a good idea to book your preferred vehicle in advance to guarantee the best deal. Exiting the airport complex, you will have to follow highway O-7 and you will reach your destination in Sultanahmet in approximately 50 minutes covering a 50-km distance.
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Private Airport Transfers from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul City Center

Private transfers are an excellent option for people who want to travel from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul city center in comfort and style. Combining convenience and privacy, an Istanbul airport private transfer service will pick you up from your location and drop you off at your destination, which saves time and effort. Moreover, you will travel in style without worrying about being surrounded by strangers on public transportation or waiting hours for a bus or train to arrive.


The distance between the new Istanbul Airport and the historic center of the city (Sultanahmet) is approximately 50km. Therefore, the journey by car should last around 50 minutes if the traffic conditions are normal.
Istanbul airport taxis are metered and therefore, there isn’t a set price for the transfer from Istanbul Airport to Sultanahmet. However, you can expect to be charged approximately 350₺ (19.18€/19.10$) if the traffic levels aren’t too high. The taxi fee is the same no matter the time of day.
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